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Coming Back After Illness

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agympro

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Feb 20, 2013
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Tried to post in the parent forum but was not able to, I apologize... My DD is an 8 year old level 4. Struggled somewhat to learn the bar skills but has been doing a decent bar routine for a couple of months now. A couple of weeks ago she got some sort of stomach virus and ended up losing 10 pounds after being sick for a week. My guess is a lot of water loss but she looks so thin now I can only imagine she lost some muscle too. She is back at practice but after not doing a bar routine for a couple of weeks can only manage a kip every one out of ten times or so, let along the whole routine. Can't tumble well anymore either. I'm hoping she is going to get her skills back after she regains a little strength. Just not sure how long that will take. Has anyone had experience with kids losing skills after being out sick? And what is the best way to handle it? Her coaches are great, working her back in slowly and not pushing her too hard. I'm just being a worried mom since she is supposed to compete very soon.
 

NH~GymMom

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Sep 2, 2014
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My DD recently missed several weeks of practice due to a multitude of illnesses. I'm not sure how long it will take to get her skills back, but unfortunately there is really nothing you can do but wait it out. just be reassuring to your. Dd if she mentions to you any fears but don't bring it up otherwise.

I know it sucks knowing they are supposed to compete, but in the grand schemes of life these meets and scores don't matter. I scratched my DD from one competition because I knew if she went out and had a bad meet it would devastate her. Better to scratch, even though it meant I lost money. Her next meet she will probably still scratch bars and possibly floor. Again, better scratch than have a devastating routine for my DD, though other kids might rather compete regardless of how they do.

I would recommend talking to the coaches just to understand how she is doing from their point of view and what they are thinking for the next competition. I'm not sure how far away it is. Based on how she is doing they might think she will be back in time! Either way you can then prep your DD for whatever the likely outcome is. When we scratched DD I was very sure to let her know it wasn't because she couldn't do the skills, it was because her body just needs a bit more time to fully recover from her illness(es)..
 

mumoftwogymnasts

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May 30, 2010
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At work of course...
DD and DS coach always says for every week off practice, it takes three weeks to get back to the same point they were before the missed week. They do eventually catch back up, gymnastics is a long journey. As a parent really all you can do is make sure she is getting enough rest and healthy food, leave the rest to the coaches and time.
 
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profmom

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Nov 18, 2011
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The best thing you can do for her is remind her that she's still getting her strength back and reassure her that she'll get back to where she was relatively quickly. Dial the stakes down for the upcoming meet. One meet really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. If she's fully recovered, it should only take her a week or two to get back to where she was (my rule of thumb is double the time out for recovery and return to where they were, but it can vary a lot). If the meet results are disappointing to her, help her to see the great things she will inevitably accomplish despite the time off.

I feel your pain, as we just got back from a week+ vacation, and DS, who has a meet coming up this weekend, was in my bedroom last night groaning and complaining and moaning about the upgrade he wanted in his pbars routine that will not happen this time because of the vacation. He will survive the disappointment to show off his awesomeness on another day, and he'll hopefully learn a little bit of perspective and patience. Maybe.

Oh, one more important thing. I would not scratch my child because I feared that s/he would have a bad meet. Only if s/he were in a condition that would make competition unsafe. Everyone is going to have a bad meet once in a while. It's sure not fun, but it is a valuable learning experience and shouldn't be devastating to them. It's not a terrible thing if they have this happen early in their careers so that they can learn how to pick themselves up and move on when the stakes are low or non-existent. And having been through many "bad" meets with my offspring, I can say that they tend to get over the sting pretty quickly if you encourage them not to make a big deal out of it, and you can almost always help them find some successes in their performances. You want to have the kid who can fall off beam three times in one routine and then pick herself up and go rock floor, but you're not going to get that if the child never experiences failure.
 
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auswi

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Sep 27, 2014
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Profmom you said it exactly as I see it.

I would encourage OPs gymmy to set achievable goals for the meet (assuming competing is a safe option) and help her to focus on those goals for the meet. This is a great skill to learn early on as if a gymnasts bench mark for success is to win, then they will be disappointed often!
 

gymdilettante

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Nov 23, 2014
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How soon is the next meet? If she lost ten pounds and she used to kip consistently and now can only kip 10% of the time, I'd consider scratching her if the meet is, say, next weekend. ..not because of the possibility of performing poorly but because of the pressure to get the skills back by then. In a few weeks I bet everything will be back to normal.
 

Azgymmiemom

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Mar 12, 2010
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Try not to feed her frustration...give it time. There will be plenty of other meets. My ds was diagnosed with a chronic illness this past summer. He was VERY ill and lost a lot of weight and muscle mass. He was completely out of gym for a month, but healing is still on going. The coming back has been very slow, but it's also taken away a lot of the pressure to be perfect that he used to place on himself. He had an absolutely great season last year (if you count winning all 1st AA's even at state and regionals as great) and this year his first meet is next weekend and he will be lucky to be able to do floor and pommel. I keep telling him being healthy is more important than competing in a meet, and there will be more meets.

Key...don't push. Make sure the coaches are not pushing (it will hinder her comeback if they expect too much too soon, and she will put more pressure on herself) And be happy about small progressions. Don't think long term just yet. I hope she feels better soon! Seeing your kid sick is no fun at all!
 

NH~GymMom

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Sep 2, 2014
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Oh, one more important thing. I would not scratch my child because I feared that s/he would have a bad meet. Only if s/he were in a condition that would make competition unsafe. Everyone is going to have a bad meet once in a while. It's sure not fun, but it is a valuable learning experience and shouldn't be devastating to them. It's not a terrible thing if they have this happen early in their careers so that they can learn how to pick themselves up and move on when the stakes are low or non-existent. And having been through many "bad" meets with my offspring, I can say that they tend to get over the sting pretty quickly if you encourage them not to make a big deal out of it, and you can almost always help them find some successes in their performances. You want to have the kid who can fall off beam three times in one routine and then pick herself up and go rock floor, but you're not going to get that if the child never experiences failure.
I didn't scratch her purely because it would have been devastating, though I can see why you would read it that way. She did not attend any practices the week before her meet. Her coach would have let her try to warm up and maybe compete beam, but the likelihood was she would scratch at the meet anyway. She was going on almost a month without a full workout (though she had done routines the week prior she left practice 1/2 way through all days due to doctors request.)

That said, I think mental preparedness is just as important as physical. I'd she had a crappy meet when she had been practicing normally it would likely be just as devastating but she would be in a better place to deal with it if she were not also mentally drained from illness and frustration that comes with illness. My kid is 8, and I see no issue pulling her from a meet when she is coming back from illness and I, as her mother, feel she is more fragile than normal. She will have plenty of bad meets in the future, I am sure. And plenty of opportunities to learn those lessons.

And it isn't about perfection. She is bottom of the pack already, so it's not podiums I or my gymmie worry about.
 

agympro

New Member
Feb 20, 2013
30
Thank you all for the advice and words of encouragement. Much appreciated. I'm just being an overly anxious mom so its great to hear some words to put it all in perspective. Her coaches are working with her very well and not pushing her so that takes away any worry I may have about that, thank goodness. Her first meet is this weekend and its out of town. We are going to see how practice goes this week and if she can't do much she will likely scratch. Not because she might get a low score, but because she may be physically unable to actually perform a full routine on both bars and floor (hasn't actually attempted a vault yet so not sure there). Thank you again for all of your responses!
 
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