When you hear the word “gymnastics” what comes to mind? Do you think cartwheels and somersaults? Glittery pink leos and ballerina buns? How about hard work and dedication? Tears and bruises? Do you think hours of practice or even homeschool? Ice packs or massages?
Not many people realize how tough gymnastics is and that it is a very competitive sport. Many gymnasts start gymnastics at a very young age because gyms and recreational centers offer classes for children as young as toddlers.
You watched your gymnast start from the very bottom and have seen their progress and jump from level to level. Your gymnast is a star! They worked extremely hard to get to where they are today and I am sure it was a bumpy road.
It is common for your gymnast to come to a point where they may feel that they do not want to do gymnastics anymore. Your gymnast may tell you that they want to try different sports, or they rather have more free time. Maybe your gymnast just wants a break from all of the hard work because their body is aching.
So, the million-dollar question is:
How can my gymnast avoid burnout?
I am here to tell you not to panic. If you feel that your gymnast is “burned out” then here are three essential tips to help your gymnast get back into the gymnastics groove!
Communication is key in any relationship. Talk with your gymnast; ask them about their day at the gym and what new skills were learned. If it seems like your gymnast had a rough day ask them what is going on and why.
Build a relationship of trust with your gymnast because it is important to know and understand what happens when you are not there.
Your gymnast may not tell you how they truly feel because they may think you might get upset with them. Reassure your gymnast and let him/her know that you support him/her and that you are there for him/her to always talk to.
I will say it is also important for you and your gymnast to build a trusting relationship with the coaches. Your gymnast’s coaches always want to do what is best for your gymnast and do what they can to push your gymnast to reach their goals.
Your gymnast relies on their coaches to prepare him/her for the season and to reach the goals your gymnast has for theirselves. If your gymnast is uncomfortable or nervous with doing something it should be talked about in a private meeting. The coaches and yourself have to work together when it comes to your gymnast.
Coaches are great to talk to when you are concerned about your gymnast because, at the end of the day, we’re all a team together.
TAKE A BREAK
It is definitely OKAY if your gymnast needs a break from gymnastics. This does not mean your gymnast is retiring their leo forever, but sometimes gymnasts just need a break both mentally and physically from all the hard work.
I am sure your gymnast has come home and mentioned how sore their muscles are because gymnastics practice kicked your gymnast’s butt. You do not want your gymnast to overwork their body because it can make the problem worse.
Always make sure your gymnast stretches before and after workouts to prevent muscle tears and pulls. Stretching is just as important as the actual exercises. Another important factor is breathing! Remind your gymnast to take deep breaths to relax their mind.
It is also okay if your gymnast takes a couple days off to rest their mind because it will surely benefit him/her.
Gymnastics is a sport that exercises the mind along with the body; your gymnast will be using their mind throughout their routines to determine their next move.
Gymnastics is the real deal, and it can be extremely tough at times. Your gymnast needs to keep their mind and body healthy and rested in order to perform to the best of their ability.
It would not make sense if your gymnast performed while being exhausted or tired because it would only discourage him/her.
What I mean by this is that if your gymnast did not get the rest they needed or the energy, your gymnast can result in injury. Gymnasts need to stay alert!
REMIND YOUR GYMNAST
Ask your gymnast why they joined gymnastics in the first place and what they love the most about it.
Did your gymnast say because they like to tumble around? Enjoys the attention and cheering? Loves being around gym friends? Feels accomplished when they stick a landing?
Whatever the reason may be, remind your gymnast of this whenever they are feeling discouraged.
Gymnastics “burnout” can occur when your gymnast does not complete a skill right away or may just be having an “off” day. It is easy for your gymnast to compare themselves to their teammates because they are the peers that they are around the most.
If your gymnast’s teammate completes a skill in no time while it takes your gymnast some time and practice, this can cause your gymnast to lose confidence.
Remind your gymnast that it is okay if they do not complete the skill right away and that everyone’s body is different and works differently.
Explain to your gymnast that just because it may take longer for them to complete a skill does not mean they are not a good gymnast.
Show your gymnast videos of past meets and practices to show how awesome they are. Remind your gymnast of their progress and how thrilled you are over their achievements.
I mentioned earlier in this post that having a trustworthy relationship with the coaches is valuable. This also applies to when your gymnast is feeling discouraged or scared because they personally know what your gymnast is capable of doing.
The coaches are very educated in gymnastics and can most likely relate to your gymnast when they are going through a rough patch.
The coaches are role models to the gymnasts and they will do whatever they can to make sure your gymnast does not give up on themselves.
To answer your question, I totally understand where you are coming from. If you are familiar with gymnastics you understand how dedicated gymnasts are and that they put in nothing but hard work and effort into the sport.
A lot of parents do encourage their child to stay in gymnastics even when the child does not want to. I think parents get wrapped up in the enjoyment of watching their gymnast perform, and I also feel like a lot of parents spend a lot of money for their child to participate gymnastics and get upset if their money goes to “waste”.
I believe in letting your child do what he/she wants to when it comes to sports. I do not believe in “forcing” your child into doing something he/she does not want to because it will effect the relationship and mental health.
On the upside, a lot of people who are involved in gymnastics love the sport. There is a level 10 gymnast in my life who is only 12 years old. She adores the sport and excels incredibly however, there are times where she does needs a break-which is usually a couple days and then she is ready to get back into it. Luckily for her, she has a great support system and great parents/coaches who would never force her to do anything she doesn’t want to do. They also respect her break days.
Another thing to remember is that if your child is on a gymnastics team, your child’s coaches and yourself work together as a team. If your child is doubting gymnastics or having issues with it, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to schedule a meeting with the coaches to talk about your concerns.
Gymnastics can be draining of course, but gymnasts do not like to fall behind because they want to be on track with their skills and performances in time for meet season.