5 Big Mistakes Gymnastics Parents Make on Competition Day…and what you can do instead!
Dr. Joe “Doc” Massimo & Dr. Sue Massimo
As a parent, you play an extremely crucial role in supporting your child on the day of competition. Meet preparation, of course, is paramount to a successful competitive season and your child’s coach is handling that part of their training. But did you realize that part of the mental/emotional preparation for the gymnast is to have an understanding and supportive parent in their life? We’re sure you all want your child athlete to be successful at their next meet, right?
So, here are the five biggest mistakes Gymnastic Parents make in supporting their child mentally and emotionally on the day of competition and what to do instead.
Mistake #1– Failure to Help your Child with “At Home” Preparation before a Meet
Does your child wake up tired, rushed, too busy to eat and stressed out over everything the morning of their meet? Does this result in arguing or yelling among the family? We’ve seen many gymnasts arrive at their venue already stressed out, perhaps late and unprepared for their day of competition. Don’t let this happen to your child because their chances of having a fun and productive day are limited.
What to do Instead
Hopefully you, as the parent, have been preparing balanced, nutritious meals, so your child has the energy and stamina they need for a day of competition. Also, make sure the child gets a good amount of sleep every night and not just the night before the meet. In terms of preparation, help them pack their gym bag with all the necessary gear the night before so everything is ready in the morning. Ensure their physical appearance is appropriate for competition and help the young girls with their hair. Finally, they must arrive on-time at the gym or arena for check-in or possibly forfeit entry.
Mistake #2 – Failure to Educate and Familiarize yourself with Competitive Gymnastics
Most new gymnastics parents don’t have a clue as to the intricacies involved in competitive gymnastics, and that’s okay. However, if you fail to learn about the sport and what your child will be going through on competition days, you are doing a disservice to your child.
What to do Instead
Learn about the process your child will be going through on the day of the actual competition. Discuss everything from their preparation at home, arrival at the arena, warm-ups, competition all the way through to the awards ceremony. The first place to start should be your team’s handbook for parents of competitors. It should explain the various sports, apparatus, stages of
Learn about the process your child will be going through on the day of the actual competition. Discuss everything from their preparation at home, arrival at the arena, warm-ups, competition all the way through to the awards ceremony. The first place to start should be your team’s handbook for parents of competitors. It should explain the various sports, apparatus, stages of competition, meet schedules, rules, etc. You don’t need to learn about it all, but become familiar with the various aspects of what your child will be experiencing that day.
Mistake #3 –Failure to Monitor your Involvement in your Child’s Gymnastics Life
Do you regularly inquire into how your child’s skills are progressing or continually pressure them to move up through the levels? Have you overreacted to scores received in a meet, made derogatory remarks about the performances of other gymnasts or overt statements questioning the coach’s ability? These are typical signs of parents who have become over-involved in the athletic lives of their children.
What to do Instead
Take a good look at yourself and the behaviors you are exhibiting. Do you think about your child’s best interest or are you taking your child’s successes and failures as though they are personal reflections of your past performance record? These questions or comments place a great deal of pressure on your gymnast at several levels and is usually destructive in the long run, often resulting in an uptight and unhappy youngster. Remember, this is your child’s activity and their life. They deserve unconditional love and encouragement from you.
Mistake #4 – Failure to Respect the Rules of Gymnastics Competition
Have you ever been upset over a score your child received and wanted to confront the judge? Or have you wanted to go down on the floor and talk to the coach about your child’s poor performance? You must stay off the competitive areas and away from the judges and other coaches and gymnasts. Infractions of the rules may result in your child being eliminated from the competition and sometimes the entire team may be suspended due to the actions of one parent.
What to do Instead
Proper meet etiquette dictates that all spectators, including parents of competing gymnasts, must stay off the competitive floor. Also, no one is allowed to talk to the coaches, judges, or officials. At competitions, if your child is having a “bad” meet let the coach handle it. In fact, who are you to think or to say it is “bad?” Valuable lessons are often learned in situations that you, as the parent, may not fully understand. Let the child learn from their mistakes and learn to cope with adversities.
Mistake #5 – Failure to Support your Child if their Meet Didn’t Go Well
The last thing a child needs is a “cold shoulder” from their parent on the ride home from a meet. On the other hand, obsessing over your child’s performance or the outcome of the meet can be detrimental to your child’s emotional state as well.
What to do Instead
Be a grown up and behave as supportive as possible, low-keyed, and cool. We’re not recommending that you restrain all emotions- that would be unnatural, but try to keep it in perspective. Share the pride of effort and accomplishment, but try to avoid slipping into a depressed state when things don’t go right. Try to remember you have a very crucial impact on your child’s attitude at these times.
You want to help your child, whether they are a beginning competitor or a seasoned performer, both mentally and emotionally to ensure their success during their gymnastics career. Right?
As a parent, you play a crucial role in the life of your child and the more knowledge you have about the issues affecting your competitive gymnast, the better you will be at handling them.
A great way to do that is to get your very own Autographed Copy of our resource book entitled
“Gymnastics Psychology: The Ultimate Guide for Coaches, Gymnasts and Parents”
Become a Knowledgeable & Supportive Gymnastics Parent while Improving the Relationship with your Child Athlete!
Check out what the book can offer you, as a supportive parent, plus all the information geared to helping your child athlete succeed! We’re offering our Autographed copy at a very special discount for our gymnastics friends with bonuses even for parents. Help your child succeed by visiting http://GymnasticsPsychology.com/book
Brought to you by Dr. Joe “Doc” Massimo and Dr. Sue Massimo, dedicated to helping coaches and gymnasts, along with their supportive parents, reach their peak potential in gymnastics and life.
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