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For Parents Focus Issues??

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TnTTaxi

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Jan 18, 2009
141
My older dd is 6 and is in a developmental class (to feed into team). She is in the last one before they move to L4. They do the L4 routines and actually compete them in-house against each other. Her coach believes she has a lot of talent, but is nervous about her focus. DD doesn't really try hard unless it is something exciting (right now that would be fly aways on bars and round off back tucks) but the stuff she needs to compete L4 she does not put her focus into. Sha has been working on those things for a while. (maybe boredom?)
I am very scared that they move her friends and hold her back due to lack of focus, or sha hurt herself due to lack of focus. I have tried to reward her for focusing, but the minute the reward goes away, she quits trying. She loves gym and DOES NOT want to quit, any advice would be helpful.

Oh, her coach does really good with her and says she is still young, and she should get it. Just a mommies fear of feelings getting hurt if she gets left behind.
 

ellabella

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May 26, 2008
176
I know it's easier said than done, but I wouldn't worry about it. If your DD is having fun then let her do that and don't worry about whether she moves up or doesn't. She will get to an age where she understands that she has to focus in order to achieve a desired result.

My DD is very, very unfocused. She is like night and day in the gym. One day she's doing something great and the next it's like it's her first day. My DD is only 4 though and has no concept of moving up comparing herself to others. I don't worry about it anymore because she's too young to compete level 4 until Fall of 2011.
 

mariposa

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Sep 25, 2007
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Do we have the same daughter????? My daughter is also 6 1/2 and she sounds so much like your DD. I know she is talented, but she definitely has issues focusing. Her best gym buddy who is 7 has the same problem. They are both more focused when working on more challenging things and have a hard time working hard on the L4 skills/routines. I think they find them boring. It is hard to watch them both not do things to their potential sometimes. I think with both of them, it will get better as they get a little older. Mine works so much harder when they are working on upper level skills, and she gets tired of doing the same thing over and over. Her best buddy actually says she wants to quit if she has to do L4 again and my DD tonight was complaining that she doesn't want to do level 4 again. Don't think she would quit, but who knows.

I personally think that repeating level 4 for her would be a good confidence booster, but I also know that she loves a challenge and does better when she is at the bottom of a group. She is also highly motivated by her best bud. If she gets a skill, my DD busts her butt to get it, too. I am not sure she will have that same drive if they aren't together.

As for safety, my DD is pretty cautious and seems to focus when doing skills, it is when she is bored that she loses focus. She does best with a coach that is strict, but also keeps them busy with stations, conditioning, etc, between waiting. Sometimes I don't think it is her fault she loses focus. When you have to wait in line after 10+ girls, it is hard to keep your mind focused, especially when there are fun optional girls to watch, etc.

I have no advice really. Just wanted you to know you aren't the only one. I wish I could figure out the solution!
 

Blackie6

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Mar 1, 2007
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My DD sounds a lot like your DD as well. She just finished her 2nd yr as a L4 and now a newbie L5 who just turned 8. She is always (and still is!) looking ahead to see what skill she can try next. Although she did compete as a 6yr old, knew the routines and also became bored at times she never really could get some of the corrections on form. This year she did much better score-wise & really came a long way on polishing up the routines, but towards the end of the season the desire wasn't as great to do well because she was just tried of L4 stuff. She often was a real surprise at meets because both me and the coach probably didn't think she was all that "focused" yet she would just "turn it on" when she competeted. Because of CCD class she looses one practice w/ the L4 new L5 team and instead goes to practice with the L5/6 team. She LOVES IT because she is working the higher level skills that she can't do with the rest of her team. So, she was the first one in her group to get many skills. It's trying to find that perfect balance between keeping her interested enough in perfecting form still yet keep gymnastics exciting by learning new things! She will have her hands full learning the L5 stuff, but if we repeat L5 like L4 again I can see that boredom set in once again because that is how she is!

Back to YOUR dd though, you may not think she is 100% focused right now, but you would be very surprised when the time comes to actually compete how they much they really do focus! And, once meet season starts for her as a L4 it might keep the gymnastics interesting enough to keep her from being bored. I think in house meets are nice, but going to a real meet will really help them make that connection to what they've been doing in the gym for so long and why! Seeing other teams, competeting against teamates even will be a huge motivator! We've never done the reward thing with our DD because we've always wanted this to be about her (self-motivation) and the relationship between her and her coach (whom we love and trust), and the coach is used to working with the young and sometimes not focused girls & she knows how to handle them pretty well, LOL

She may feel like she is getting left behind right now, but I assure you it won't be for long, and then you will see how quickly the skills, levels and progression comes...like a train ride! I can't believe this is my DD's 3rd year of team it goes so fast! Good Luck!
 

MdGymMom01

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Mar 5, 2008
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Believe me, you are not alone in this!! My dd is 10 and she STILL has trouble focusing on things that totally bore her. So at age 6, I am thinking that this lack of focus is totally normal. It takes time to develop the mind especially to train it to focus on boring skills at such a young age. What I started doing with my dd to help her with her focus is to have her write "Focus" on the back of her hand. This way when they are working skills such as handstands or individual elements of the routine that require focus, it is a "reminder" to her. She said that it helps her because sometimes she gets distracted especially at the end of the 3-4 hr practices.

Give it time. Mental focus takes time to develop. Don't worry about her being left behind. I know it is hard when friends move up and you are left behind, but it will only get harder for her to focus at the higher level (with the added pressure of harder skills) if she doesn't learn to focus on the lower levels. Sometimes it is also helpful to give her goals to achieve at the practices. Like tell her that "today you should try and focus on pointing your toes" or "try to focus on keeping your legs straight". If you give her something to think about each practice, it will train her mind to focus better. You'll have to gear it to a 6 year old's mentality, so simple is better at first.

Good luck and try not to worry so much--she'll get there.
 

TnTTaxi

Member
Jan 18, 2009
141
All the things you guys are saying are exactly the things my DD does. The coming on at meets is completely right on. At our last in house meet, on bars(her fave) the coach wanted to know when she got her mill circle?? She ended up with a pretty high score(dont remember first place though) and the coach afterwards said she had no idea she could do that well. HAHA. All the girls in her class are VERY focused, and her gymmie sister(4) is very focused. So she sometimes seems extra unfocused.


Do you guys help them with stuff at home? That was where my dd got her mill circle, and she seems to really try harder for me. She says I get way more excited than her coach does, of course I tell her I'm your Mom thats my job.

Anyways, thank you for the advice, I am going to try some of your tips. And relax, I now realize she will get it when she is ready.
 

gym law mom

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Dec 23, 2006
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At 6yo they live in the moment. They don't understand the big picture of why practicing what they think is boring is important. They just want to go, go go. Heck they want to go, go, go even when older, its just they "get" why they have to do 15 leaps on beam or whatever. Eventually the only turn it on during a meet will go away and you'll see her work with more focus during practice.

One reason the coach may be a little reluctant to move her to the competitive L4 team is she knows that at real meets(vs. in house) it can get rather busy and nuts out on the floor. The girls have to listen to the coach for last minute changes, take corrections while warming up, they have the hustle/bustle of other teams and all 4 events going on. It takes alot for anyone to block all that out and focus on your routine and listening to your coach. I've worked on the floor during L4 sessions and I feel for those coaches. Many are 1/2 coach, 1/2 substitute mom. They are trying to get girls ready to compete when being asked about needing to go potty, where is my mom sitting, my hair is falling down, someone stole my snack and on and on.

Certainly you don't want to see your dd left behind this year, but you may find it beneficial in the long run to let her grow into the sport. Heck, my gymmie didn't even start in pre-team until she was 7 and now at 12, she's wrapping up a year as a L8.
 
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