Having grown up knowing the benefits of physical activity, specifically gymnastics, for a child’s physical, mental and social growth, I was thrilled when my daughter, Indiana-Rose, took a liking to the sport at the age of 2.
Indi was born with Cardio Pulmonary Stenosis and ended up having catheter heart surgery at almost 3 years of age. I remember Indi taking about 2-3 weeks off gymnastics to rest and heal and then she was back! Indi has absolutely no issues with her heart now, her surgeon at the Royal children’s hospital feels that her gymnastics has played a huge part in her healing process as her heart is perfect!
Now a competitive Level 7/8 Gymnast, Indi is a Gymnastics Direct Ambassador and loves using her Instagram to showcase her gymnastics skills as well as her support for Australian gymnastics brands. I am thrilled to take some time to give a little insight into the gymnastics lifestyle from a parental perspective and how gymnastics effects other elements of mine and Indi’s life.
Indi and I are already very close as it’s just Indi and I at home. However, gymnastics has definitely brought us closer and it is just so incredible to have a common interest and bond.
It has been so great that I have been able to enjoy all of it along the way as well as have a thorough understanding of the sport. A lot of parents find gymnastics incredibly hard to grasp. For me, it’s natural. This helps a lot with Indi coping with the hours, the intensity and the competitive side. Indi can chat to me without having to explain much at all, and with my understanding of the technical side to competitions I am able to go through that all with her as well.
Gymnastics is a major part of both our lives at the moment, in a very positive way. I would never push Indi in a direction she doesn’t want to go. Indi is the driver and I am her cheer squad.
I really believe that my understanding, support and love of gymnastics is a big factor on Indi’s continuing passion. At this age a lot of gymnasts tend to find other sports, or quit Gymnastics entirely. Indi knows I have her back for everything, especially for this sport, and that has made a big difference for her. Apparently I am also her idol… along with Georgia-Rose Brown.
Along the way, there have been many sacrifices. The usual being Indi missing birthday parties, catch ups and other events due to gym commitments. Her love for Gymnastics is so great this really hasn’t bothered her much, though.
The big sacrifices are the lack of finances to go on holidays and have other experiences. As a single mum, gymnastics is a very expensive sport and it leaves little money to do anything else. Indi is an amazing girl though. She has never complained once about this –I am incredibly lucky.
For us, all this energy we put into the sport shows it’s benefits on competition days where Indi and I have, over the years, developed a pretty solid routine that eliminates stress on comp days. Competitions fall on different days and at different times, but generally a typical comp day would go as follows:
- Early to bed the night before and a decent sleep in if possible.
- A nutritious meal beforehand –For snacks, fruit and veg are easy and transportable to bring along.
- Indi gets dressed, her hair is done and her knee is strapped.
- Indi visualises her routines over and over in her head perfectly in the nights leading up to the competition and on the way to the comp in the car. This is incredibly important.
- We make sure we arrive about 30 mins earlier than the coach says, just so Indi isn’t worried about being late.
- Indi has breathing techniques that she uses when nervous.
- When we arrive at the competition Indi finds her squad mates and coach and then she is off.
- I video all her routines so she can analyse them after. I am one of the loudest in the crowd cheering but never cheer after she presents as I feel this puts the gymnasts off.
- Regardless of the outcome I am always so happy and congratulatory to not only Indi but also her other squad friends, their parents and the coach!
- Then we go home and relax.
Comp days are so much fun and so exciting but boy are they stressful!
Mine and Indi’s mother-daughter relationship has flourished through our love of gymnastics and Indi’s rapid recovery after her heart surgery demonstrates the endless benefits of this sport. You can stay up to date with our family’s gymnastics journey through Instagram.