What information do parents need/want to know before the first competition?

Discussion in 'Question & Answer' started by Pineapple_Lump, Jun 1, 2011.

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  1. Pineapple_Lump

    Pineapple_Lump Coach Coach Proud Relative Judge

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    Communication at my gym is not great, but I am trying to be better than the average. I am planning a notice to the families to cover some useful information for those who have never done gymnastics competitions before.

    Any suggestions on what to include would be helpful. What you were told, what you wish you were told, what your club tells parents etc...

    What information do parents and gymnasts want/need to know?
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2011

  2. mumoftwogymnasts

    mumoftwogymnasts New Member Proud Parent

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    Hmmmm, the first comp feels like a long time ago now ;) I know that I had absolutely NO idea what to expect, so an indication of how the comp would run would have been helpful. Something along the lines of, arrive 15 mins beforehand, gymnasts will warm up for 15 mins, then rotate through the apparatus, they won't be allowed to leave the floor etc.

    So info that I find helpful....
    Address and a map if needed.
    Arrival time.
    Competition uniform requirements, leo, matching or no underwear, warmups, socks (if needed) grips etc
    Hair style requirements
    Things you want your gymnasts to have in their bag eg drink bottle, snack etc
    Warm up time and start time for the competition can be helpful if other family members/friends want to come and watch

    Helpful hints that I have picked up over time...
    Comp hair always takes longer than you think it will
    Always take spare hair bands and clips, hairpray, glitter spray
    Allow extra time for traffic and parking at the venue
    Not all venues sell food and/or drinks - so it helps to have some snacks
    Pack some food for your gymnast for after the comp - they are often tired and starving
    Take the camera and make sure the battery is charged
     
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  3. Bobby

    Bobby Guest

    DD's first comp is fairly fresh in my mind. A couple of these I could have figured for myself but some things are more confusing to people who have never seen a gym comp before:
    • how hair should be done;
    • whether hair sparkles/etc are allowed;
    • when and where do they hand the girls over to the coach;
    • which coach will be there on the day;
    • how do the girls get a drink of water;
    • what are they allowed to carry with them (lucky toy in bag? etc);
    • what the loo rules are (if the girls need to go mid way);
    • whether girls and parents are allowed to talk to each other during comp (eg: should parents avoid waving etc);
    • when applauding is allowed (eg: some parents thought they might not be allowed to clap their DD's vault in case it disturbed the girl doing her beam);
    • what photography is allowed (flash etc);
    • when/where will they get the girls back from coach;
    • when do awards happen and does everyone stay for them;
    • how parents will find out full results (eg: score sheet with placings available later displayed at gym?);
    • what scores are required for a 'pass' (and what events are scored out of);
    • how many different levels and age groupings will be on the floor simultaneously (so they don't fret their 5 y/o novice L1 is being whipped by the 10 y/o who's actually L3 open);
    • what drinks/snacks will/not be available;
    • how long they will need to keep their 2 y/o amused on their lap and whether a stroller with a seat belt will fit into the venue;
    • whether there's any point to being early to stake out good spectator seats;
    • whether granny, aunt, and cousin Sue will all have to pay entry fees;
    • what the format will be (general warm up, rotation of apparatus warm ups as you go);
    • whether their will be any organised photo opportunities (girls as group, with you, etc).
    Sorry I'm pretty sure I'll think of more lol.
     
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  4. Bella's Mom

    Bella's Mom Guest

    Our "new team parent" packet contains an extensive statement about appropriate parent behavior during meets, general sportsmanship, and expected gymnast attitude regarding bad meets, unfair scoring, etc.
     
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  5. justanothergymmom

    justanothergymmom New Member

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    I like everyone else's suggestions but I might add...and I wonder if there is a tactful way to put this as to not offend the parents...

    Maybe a note about scores and routines: The judges are looking at things that we as parents wouldn't necessarily know to look for, or would overlook (or can't see from the angle where we are seated.) Basically the judge's job is to look for everything they do wrong and take deductions, while we as parents tend to focus on everything they do well (and would like them to get bonus points for;)). Also, it is possible for a gymnast who doesn't fall to score lower than one who does, if the one who fell has an overall cleaner routine.
     
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  6. cher062

    cher062 Guest

    Everything everyone else said and
    Relax don't worry about the scores and placement and MOST of all have fun
    Bring camera, video camera, but no flash

    And there was mention of the Loo rules incase anyone didn't know that is the bathroom. LOL
     
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  7. MaryA

    MaryA Proud Parent/Moderator Staff Member CBBC Board Member CB Booster Club Proud Parent

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    I think it's also important to talk about parents interaction with "officials" at the meet. At one meet, a parent had a question about scoring (there was a team from another state there and their beginning prep op requirements were different from our beginning prep op requirements so she was wondering how the scores would be compared... apples with oranges, etc.) There was a woman standing at the edge of the competition space wearing a meet t-shirt so this parent asked who she should ask if she had a question (she assumed this person was another parent). This person said that she would try to answer the question, so the parent asked. It turned out that this person was some sort of head meet official and ended up wanting to dock points from our Prep Op team because a parent was complaining to the official about the scoring (which wasn't really her intention). So maybe a statement saying something like "If you have any questions about the meet or about scoring, please save them until after the meet and ask your child's coach."

    Maybe even some information about positive things to say before and after a meet... trying to keep the focus on doing their best, having fun, being a good sport, etc.

    I wish I had had some sort of parent handbook with the kind of information everyone is listing here when my DD started. I was so clueless about all of this!
     
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  8. shelovestoflip

    shelovestoflip New Member Proud Parent

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    I second all the above ideas.
    I always plan on arriving 15 minutes before the coach tells us to arrive, just in case.
    I make sure my daughter uses the bathroom when we get there.
    Pack a water bottle in your daughter's bag.
    Pack a bag of small crackers like goldfish. Sometimes at a meet there is a long wait between events and the coach lets the girls sit quietly on the side and have a little snack. I put a the whole bag in because sometimes other girls don't have anything.
    Pack tissues in their bag and wet ones....and if they have a little cold, give the coach a pack, too. Tell the coach your daughter has a little cold and remind her she might need a tissue. I know this sounds silly but when my daughter was younger she might not have remembered! (for reasons I don't understand, the coach told the girls to use wipes and not Purell...soemthing about rips)
    Bring CASH!!! For admission fees and in our case the 'Dippin Dots' that the girls get after the meet. (not sure if these are a regional thing....little ice cream pellets!) I once got to a meet and realized I forgot to bring cash. Happily, every other parent has been in my situation at least once so someone lent me $$.
    Make sure you fill your gas tank and get your cash the day before the meet. My daughter doesn't want to stop for gas or the bank machine the day of the meet...she just wants to get there!
    So these are just my off the top of my head ideas.
     
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  9. 10.0

    10.0 Guest

    You said these parents are new to competition and I am not sure if you already covered this with them but make sure they know of all the fees involved and which meets their kid has to attend. I have always noticed a huge break down in that area. Parents are all excited that Suzie got asked to be on team and sign up for the extra hours but are never told they will need to buy a $150 leo, $100 warmup's, each meet has a $75 entry fee, parents and sibling usually have to pay to watch, most are away meets requiring travel and sometimes motel. I have noticed at less informative gyms people sign up then find all that out only to have to break Suzie's heart when they realize they can't afford to do it. If you already covered all that they I would say the same things everyone has said. I would add make sure the parent gets printed directions, a schedule and the host motel if needed especially if they are offering a discount.
     
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  10. All Chalked Up

    All Chalked Up Coach Coach Gymnast

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    - What to bring
    - Any spefications about hair, leo, etc.
    - How to get there
    - If the gym is staying at a certain hotel during the competition
    - What everyone else said

    Also, parents should be given a booklet stating the appopriate attitudes (for both the gymnast and parent!) , how judging works, "meet no-no's", etc. I'd find that helpful, and the attitude part would definitely benefit certain people!
     
  11. Gymnasticgrandkids

    Gymnasticgrandkids New Member

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    My daughter has always put together an "emergency bag" (and everyone seems to know to come to her with their "needs" he he)...in this bag are items like: nail polish remover, extra scrunchies, hair ties, etc., bobbie pins/clips, tape, that cushion wrap, band aids, safety pins, needle and thread, ibuprofen, tampons, oh, I don't know...all those things that are easily forgotten.
     
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  12. Bobby

    Bobby Guest

    • snacks and toys for sibs in the audience;
    • snacks and drinks for mum and dad (you know it's always yourself you forget!!);
    • a soft cushion to make those dreadful chairs bearable;
    • check DD takes her guards (and loops if req) - especially if she's using a special bag different to usual;
    • six hundred extra copies of your DD's music if she has her own.
    Whilst I wouldn't recommend this one for a list you're handing out to parents, I personally always take a thank you present for the coach (choclates, or photo of DD with coach).

    It seems common place for coaches (in Australia at any rate) not to be paid for their time at meets. Shocks me to bits!!
     
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  13. 3stars

    3stars New Member

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    I always throw an old towel in my daughter's comp bag. We have used it to cover face and shoulders while applying hair glitter and for the girls to wipe their hands and faces off in between events. It also came in handy when a younger sibling of a teammate spilled a drink everywhere in the stands.
     
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  14. maddiemei

    maddiemei New Member Proud Parent

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    I agree with everything everyone else said, but want to add to make sure you have contact numbers. I was the team mom and responsible for making sure all of the girls were there. Everyone had my cellphone number programed into their phones and I had theirs. It was in case someone got lost or something happened and I could let the coach know.
     
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  15. eme777

    eme777 Guest

    Explain about how the meet schedule is determined & why it can take so long before you know the specific session times. Also, explain that, even once you get the session times, they may still change last minute, so you have be ready for anything, schedule-wise.

    Also, it would be nice to have the coach's cell phone number, not so that parents can call anytime they have a question or complaint; so that if a gymnast is sick or something the morning of a meet, the parent can let the coach know what is going on.
     
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  16. NGL780309

    NGL780309 Guest

    Lots of great suggestions, but I'd go with explaining a little of the scoring to parents. I'm soooooo sick of ignorant parents who run their mouths. It's irritating and disrespectful. Judges aren't perfect, but they try to do a good job. Just this week I sat at the gym and listened to this dad tell a new team member that basically the judges just randomly hand out scores to cute kids. This is the husband of the mom who pouts and criticizes every score and says my DD only gets higher scores because she's cute and hasn't lost her baby teeth. I usually keep my mouth shut, but this time I spoke up. I told him he was wrong and that as parents they just don't understand the scoring. Doing the routine without falling is not enough to get a good score. Every single thing the girl does is judged. I told him every knee that bends is deducted, etc. He just rolled his eyes like I had no idea what I was talking about. I told my other gym mom friend that I'm done being nice. If we go to another meet and these people make comments I'm going to speak up and give them a piece of my mind.
     
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  17. MaryA

    MaryA Proud Parent/Moderator Staff Member CBBC Board Member CB Booster Club Proud Parent

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    Wow. If these parents think this is just a beauty contest, why do they even bother with it? Imagine being a new parent and hearing that! :mad: Hooray to you for speaking up! If you have a chance, I would try to get those parents alone at some point and give them a little "heads-up" about the situation.

    Aside: Last week in the gym, the HC pulled me aside and said, "See that woman over there? She's a perspective new parent and (insert parent name) is over there running her mouth. Will you go over and talk to her and make her feel welcome and make sure (parent) is not freaking her out?" :rolleyes: This had nothing to do with scoring, but I think just an overwhelming personality in general.

    Maybe another thing for the parents handbook should be "Before you say anything negative about any gymnast on the floor, first assume that the proud parents of that gymnast are sitting immediately in front/behind/beside you!"

    Maybe also something also about this being a team sport, and while sometimes your child may be competing "against" others on his/her own team, it is important that the team parents show support for the entire team and not just their child.
     
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  18. NGL780309

    NGL780309 Guest

    I just think it would be helpful to some jerk parents to have a side by side comparison of two routines and point out the finer details that make up a high score. The parents I'm speaking of have a DD who will mostly do all the skills, but she's very sloppy and her hit routines score mid 8's. Nothing to be ashamed about. My DD will fall and get a higher score and they really don't understand it. Somebody needs to tell them and if I have to do it, it's not going to be pretty.

    I happen to be fairly knowledgable about the routines. They know absolutely nothing. I don't fault them for that, but CLOSE your mouth. Think before you speak and keep your ugly thoughts to yourself. Or have enough sense to phrase it as a question. I don't understand that score. It looked good to me. vs. OMG are these judges crazy, how did your DD get a 9.5 and my DD only got an 8.6 for identical routines. I hate this sport, it's not fair blah, blah, blah.

    Can you tell I'm looking forward to meet season?
     
  19. MaryA

    MaryA Proud Parent/Moderator Staff Member CBBC Board Member CB Booster Club Proud Parent

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    Sit far, far away.
     
  20. justanothergymmom

    justanothergymmom New Member

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    LOL! I was going to suggest earbuds AND a long book...this way you can still appear to be a part of the group (and hear what they are saying about your kid), but appear not to be paying attention...teehee
     
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