Whether you are a newbie gymnastics parent or an old pro, you have probably heard all the things gymnastics parents are supposed to do but have you heard of all the things you shouldn’t do.
Gymnastics is beneficial physically and mentally for gymnasts in all levels of competition, and as parents there are things we definitely shouldn’t do to make sure our children are happy and passionately enjoy gymnastics.
Following the list of 30 things parents shouldn’t do in regards to gymnastics will help ensure you don’t accidentally interfere with everything gymnastics has to offer your athlete.
- Never compare your gymnast or their progress to others on the team
- Don’t let your ego interfere with your gymnast’s failures or success
- Don’t bribe your kids to get them to practice or meets
- Don’t get obsessed with judges’ scores at meets (this is especially true at lower levels)
- Make time for fun gymnastics events
- Never accept or make excuses for your child’s inappropriate behavior at practice or competitions
- Don’t gossip (seriously….just don’t do it)
- Let coaches coach and don’t interfere, especially during competitions or practices
- Do not put pressure on your gymnast regarding skills or competitions
- Never set unrealistic goals for your athlete
- Don’t let your gymnast skip practices or skimp on strength training
- Your self-esteem is not predicated on the success of your gymnast – don’t let it become that important to you
- Never lose track of your gymnast’s long-term goals in terms of gymnastics
- Don’t let yourself become obsessed with competition results
- Never voice your concerns or confidence in your son or daughter’s coach’s abilities
- Never show negative emotions while watching your gymnast compete (or at practice)
- Don’t start talking about the meet as soon as your gymnast walks off the floor (especially if it wasn’t a great meet)
- Never try to guilt your child into doing better by talking about the time or money it costs you for them to participate in the sport
- Do not say anything unkind about coaches, your gym, another gym, or teammates in front of your son/daughter
- Never coach your only child
- Don’t alienate yourself from your coaches
- Don’t demand more of your coaches than you’re entitled to
- Don’t expect to recoup your gym fees someday through college scholarships or other monetary gains
- Don’t try to live vicariously through your child
- Never make enemies with other teammates parents
- Don’t expect more than a great effort from your gymnast
- Never force your child to work through injuries or sickness
- Don’t embarrass yourself at the gym or meets (your son or daughter will think less of you)
- Never use fear, sarcasm, or threaten your child in hopes their routines will improve
- Don’t expect too much…gymnastics should be about fitness, life skills, and FUN
As you spend time in the stands at gymnastics’ meets, you will see parents violate many of these don’ts, but it’s important that you try to avoid as many situations listed above as possible. All of us may fall prey to one or more of these bad behaviors at times, but the way you rectify the situation and avoid it in the future is extremely important.
It’s important for parents of gymnasts to remember that our job is to be role models for our children. If we help our sons or daughters set realistic goals, respect their coaches, and remind them to have fun, they will.
There will be times when a gymnast gets a seemingly unfair score, misses her turn on the podium, or a time when you as a parent disagree with something a coach is doing, but you need to remember that there is a time and a place for those types of discussions.
We all know who the “crazy gymnastics moms” are, and we all hope we aren’t one, but the best way to avoid this label is by following the advice given in the don’ts above. Instead of concentrating on all of the things that can go wrong at a competition, it’s important to think of all the positives.
The look of pride on your gymnast’s face, even when they place 11th out of 12 in the all-around, and the beaming smile on their face when they add a new skill to their floor routine is what gymnastics should be all about.
By supporting our kids in and out of the gym, we can help them be well-rounded, confident kids that will take the skills they learn in gymnastics and apply it to their everyday lives in the future.
Finally, do you have something to add to the list?
Photo Credit: From the video of Deadspin‘s by Timothy Burke.