Here are some tips for success at gymnastics competitions:

  • Eat a balanced meal at least three hours beforehand with healthy carbohydrates and protein for staying power
  • Stay hydrated—bring a water bottle
  • Put aside any other things you might be thinking about: tell yourself that you can worry about your schoolwork, a best friend’s birthday party, or upcoming social event later
  • Breathe deeply from your stomach and slowly blow out the breath through your mouth
  • Bring a healthy snack to eat between events, if necessary
  • Consider not watching other gymnasts’ performances if you think it might make you a little nervous.

Preparing Physically

1. Practice the routines you will perform in your competitions. Instead of learning new skills and trying to advance your gymnastics level, practice your competition routines.

2. Focus on details such as dismounts, dance and landings. Sometimes competitions are won by 0.1 point, which is a step on a landing, not smiling or a sloppy hand

3. Plan your warm-up time. At practice, you can warm up for as long as you need to. In competitions, you will have only a few minutes to practice before the main event, and then you will need to wait your turn so think about what will work best for you in that time.

4. Modify your conditioning. Most of your practice time before a meet should be spent on routines. For example, instead of conditioning for 30 minutes at the end of practice, cut it down to 10 minutes.

5. Eat well and stay hydrated. Fill up on complex carbohydrates that will give you energy for your competition, avoid fatty foods that will slow you down and keep healthy snacks like cheese sticks, energy bars and dried fruit with you. Have a bottle of water handy.

Preparing Mentally

1. Visualise the gymnast you want to be at your competition. Close your eyes and do your routines in your head so you can see how they will look when executed perfectly.

2. Try mental choreography. Say things to yourself that will help you remember what to do, such as “stick the landing” and “point your toes” as well as motivational statements like “I can do this” and “remember to breathe.” This will increase confidence and help you focus.

Preparing Logistically

1. Pack your gym bag the day or night before the meet. Make sure you have everything you will need, including competition leotard and warm-up suit, water and snacks.

2. Arrive at the venue early. You want to leave yourself enough time to locate the lockers and the bathroom, survey the competition area and warm-up. Travel to the meet with your coaches and teammates if possible.

3. Check out the equipment. Figure out the direction you will go on your floor exercise and get a feel for the vault.

4. Ignore any distractions. You cannot prepare for a competition if you are worried about math homework. Focus on the competition.

Alice with after a successful competition