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Gymnast Tips for Parents


Parents, Beware…

Many parents may think that they merely have to plunk down the program fees and gym memberships, drop their child off to practice, and that’s about it.

Those who think this way are doomed to see different. Practices will most likely increase from once-a-week to six-days-a-week. Then there are the uniforms, travel expenses, meet fees, and others to worry about.

If your child quickly takes to the sport like a duck to water, you’re likely to have a fast rising star who will need to stick close to his or her club and coaches, hampering you from relocating or taking a new job out of state. And coaches…changing coaches too soon, or not changing a coach can spell the end of a child’s potential gymnastics career.

This is not meant to discourage you, but to prepare you. If you enroll your children in a gymnastics program, and they turn out to love it so much they become their club’s star athlete, prepare to invest a whole lot of time, effort, money and above all, commitment.

Parents unprepared for this reality take a cold dose of water and have to pull their child out of a gymnastics program. This leaves you with a traumatized and inconsolable kid. So, it’s in the best interest of everyone that you know and understand what you’re getting yourself and your child into.

Be Committed. Be Very Committed

Bringing your kids to practice and back is commendable, but it would be great if you were present at a practice or two. In fact, you should be suspicious of any gymnastics program that doesn’t allow this. Watching your child practice will give you an idea of what’s going on, and allow you to experience what your child is going through. Your child will appreciate your presence, and it will make them feel loved at your interest and support in what their doing. This is the type of parent you want to be.

Cheer Them On To Victories, Empathize With Them in Their Defeat

Give your child unconditional love. Be there for them whether they win or lose. Make them feel loved when they are victorious, and even more so when they are defeated. Your child will need this kind of acceptance and support to thrive. You would want your child to be able to take chances, whatever the result may be. Some kids don’t handle pressure very well, so don’t send the message that they have to win in order to have your love.

Young athletes who know defeat or have performed poorly already feel bad. Don’t make them feel even worse. Let your child know you believe in them and their abilities. That the important thing is, they did their best, and that eventually, they’ll get even better.

Use your child’s defeat as a teaching experience, and explain to them what they might learn from it.

Too Much Pressure

Maybe once, when you were a kid yourself, you failed to make the basketball varsity. When you grew up and started a family, you vowed to get your own kid into sports, just to live the dream that didn’t happen for you.

Big mistake.

You can’t live vicariously through your child. Their goals and your goals are not the same. So don’t dictate what goals they should set. Children should feel that they have ownership of their own dreams and aspirations. Look at it from this analogy: your kid is likely to take better care of a car they bought with their own hard-earned money, than with a car you bought for them yourself.

Be supportive, but don’t be pushy. And know that there exists a fine line between both. A supportive parent will say: “So you fell off the balance beam. That’s fine. At least now you know what happens when if you don’t kip at the right time. You’ll do better next time, I believe in you!” While a pushy parent will yell, “How could you do such a stupid thing like that? And after all the money I’ve spent on your training! You better perfect that move next time, or else!”

Keep Talking

Maintain open communication lines with your child. Make sure you let them know how you feel about their taking part in gymnastics, and listen to them in return. If you have any concerns about the coach’s method of training, talk to the coach as well. Approach your child’s coach in a timely manner, and discuss your apprehensions in a calm and professional way. It will embarrass your kid no end if you leap up at the sidelines screaming at the coach or any other sports official. It’ll be even worse if you cheer raucously whenever your child’s opponent falls or is injured. This is a sportsmanship no-no.

Think about it this way: what kind of message are you sending your child whenever you loudly and rudely boo coaches and judges, or cheer when the opposing team loses points? Are you setting your child up to lead a life of rejoicing whenever others fail? Are you telling your child that it’s perfectly alright to advance their own goals at the expense of others? That’s terribly wrong.






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