Gymnastics is a sport that builds both character and humility. Whether a gymnast is experiencing success in the gym or dealing with failure, they are learning how to cope with these feelings and emotions.

Recreational parents:

Children self-rank. They recognise if they are the best in their class or if they are falling behind. Encourage and comfort your child, because they will all struggle at some point. For children in recreational classes it’s important to teach them how to be encouraging towards each other and how to congratulate their classmates. Gymnastics is a sport at which children excel at different paces. The important thing to remember is that every child will reach their goals with continued hard work and effort.

Comp squad parents:

There is always a winner at every competition. Gymnasts work so hard for that one moment at a competition. They do their best and get judged on their performance. At the end of the competition they either win or they line up behind the winner. This is a character building experience, because it gives children the opportunity to learn good sportsmanship and how to accept constructive criticism.

If a gymnast is in a situation where they get beat by one of their teammates they need to learn how to be happy for them and not upset they didn’t win, because they are a part of a team. As a gymnast I set myself as the competition and provided I improved with each competition it was much easier for me to be happy with my success. It’s important to teach your children to be happy with themselves and how they felt about their performance. There are always things to fix and improve on, but the most important thing is to focus on the present.

Help your child find positives in their time at the gym or at a competition. Learning how to deal with these feelings in certain situations improves their ability to cope win or lose. Thru goal setting, gymnasts can learn how to have better performances. Maybe they fell three times off the beam and their goal at the next competition is to only fall once. Gymnasts could set a mental goal to congratulate their competitors at their next meet whether they are in first place or last place. This will help children learn how to be humble in their success or failure.

Alice xx