As Country Championships are upon us, we’d love to take some time to address the heroes of the Gymnastics world –parents. You drive them to training and competitions, support them daily, defend them and console them when things don’t go quite to plan. If you’re new to the game, you might be a little unsure of where this journey is going to take you and how you should be acting along the way. We’ve got it covered. Who better to give advice on this issue than some gym mums who know the ins and outs of the lifestyle –from training to competition day.
After chatting with some parents, there’s an underlying theme that you probably don’t even need pointed out to you –your support means everything. This often hectic lifestyle can place pressure on your child to perform more than they believe themselves capable of. Your encouragement for them to believe in not only their abilities, but the abilities of their coaches and, in some cases, teammates can change a negative mindset into a hopeful attitude and do a world of good on competition day,
“A parent’s positive support is paramount”, says Cinnamon, mother to Level 7/8 Gymnast Indiana-Rose. “Gymnastics can be a brutal sport, it’s tough on their minds and bodies…they do need to take training seriously but they should also be able to have fun.”.
Be sure to spend a moment after training to make sure your child is enjoying their time in the gym and not feeling the pressure of performing perfectly every time.
Another key point is trusting your child’s coach. Be sure to have faith in their teaching abilities and remember: your key job is to support your gymnast and the coaches key job is to give them the confidence to perform well with this support. Natalie, mother to gymnast Annabella-Angel, says her key piece of advice is to let your child take the lead! It’s important to never push them to train too hard and let them decide how much they want to commit themselves to their sport.
On competition day, your energy will reflect in your gymnast –so keep it positive! Reaffirm how proud of them you are for just competing and try not mention winning, you don’t want to get the idea in their head that winning is the most important part of competing –you want them to learn from all their gymnastics experiences and grow with the sport. Remember to not seem outwardly competitive toward your gymnast’s peers! It’s natural to want the best for your child but remember every other parent there is feeling the same way! Focus this energy on encouragement of both your child and their peers.
Another way you can keep the energy calm and positive on competition day is making sure you’ve got a bag full of “just in case” essentials. Apart from snacks and fluids, make sure you bring along these items that will aid in keeping you calm knowing you can help out if there is a slight mishap on comp day! Remember you need to keep yourself positive as well as your gymnast!
- Tape –an essential “just in case” item. If a minor injury occurs, you want to protect your child from further pain if the day isn’t over!
- Chalk –Yes, there is such thing as having too much chalk and coaches will almost always provide more than enough, but everyone loves having their own private supply and the parent that pulls through with it is always the hero.
- Ice! –an item so nice, you should pack it twice…but seriously, this is another thing you’ll be thankful for bringing along even if it isn’t used! Throw a couple of icepacks in your child’s lunch box and if they don’t end up being used on a sprained ankle or burnt palm at least you’ll have fresh snacks!
- Hairspray –another hero item to keep in your bag just in case.
What are your competition day essentials you always bring along just in case?