Harder to RE-learn routines than learn them?

Status
Not open for further replies.

mariposa

Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Sep 25, 2007
3,529
Country
USA
My almost 7 DD moved to another gym a few months ago and is repeating level 4 there. She learned the floor (and beam, but so far that hasn't been an issue) routine at her old gym and they had no consistency with teaching it, we had girls doing it different ways and even our best girls didn't get 9s on floor. New gym is very particular with teaching the routines, the coach that teaches it was a professional dancer and she expects a lot, the owner has been a judge and expects a lot as well.

Today my daughter came home very sad because they had split up the girls and those struggling with floor routine stayed with the floor routine coach and the others went to beam. She feels like she already knows the routines and is having a hard time regressing to old habits and re-learning the routine, especially when it comes to arm and hand positions and feet positions sometimes.

Is this normal? I tried to tell her that it is okay that she was with the other group, but she puts extra pressure on herself, trying to be like the other 2 that are repeating level 4 as well (they have competed 3 seasons and mine competed 1 1/2 seasons- we have fall and spring seasons here, so 2 seasons is done in a year). She doesn't realize that they have been taught the way the gym wants things done since the beginning. She is very hard on herself when she doesn't do things as well as they do.

So, is it harder to re-learn routines or the same as learning them from scratch?

Thanks everyone!
 
Did ChalkBucket help you?... help us too.

If you can't help financially... tell a friend about us!

bogwoppit

Former Admin
Gold Membership
Former Gymnast
Feb 26, 2007
16,715
Country
Canada
Breaking habits takes time and patience. She will get it, Abby is very smart, she just has to understand that the new gym has new ways.Just remind here that the new gym wants her to be the best she can be at her first meet and that is why they want her to practice more. Now she has the skills it is all about glueing it together with the dance.
 

gymdog

Well-Known Member
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Relative
Jul 5, 2007
5,121
I agree, old habits die hard. Once she's spent a year+ doing it one way, it is going to take some time to do it another way. I would just remind her that in the end refining the details will improve her performance in competition. There are many small errors (the finishing positions on the lunge for instance, the front foot should be turned out. If I recall a year or so ago something was actually sent out in my state about how many people were not observing that and deductions were being taken). These can add up to a lot over the whole routine. If she gets all the "extras" and dance stuff down like second nature, she will be much more confident in competition and can focus on showing off her gymnastics skills to the best of her ability, instead of just moving through them thinking about the rest of the routine.
 
N

NOG

Guest
Very much so! My dd went through this a year ago. She wasn't even repeating a level when we switched, but the compulsory routine choreography is so similar through all the levels, that it was still difficult. She had a lot of bad habits, or as the coaches would say "sloppy form, not 'fininshing' skills" to fix. It took a good 6 months of being constantly corrected on form to really say that she got it. Thoughout that 6months, I would think repeatedly "okay she's got it now, no more doing it the wrong way", then she would slip. It has been over year since our move, and I very rarely see her slipping into old habits anymore.

It is a lot harder to "fix" things than to learn them correctly from the beginning! Tell Abby to hang in there. Eventually she'll have forgotten those old ways and won't even remember that she did do them differently, lol. Tell her lots of girls go through this, that my dd did and she too will eventually "get it" without even having to think about it.

Keep up the good work Abby!
 
C

CoachGoofy

Guest
Absolutely.

Muscle memory is coming into play here. She learned it one way, and not only is her brain remembering to do it the old way (even if actively thinking the new way), but her muscles are trying to do it the old 'safe' way. Changing muscle memory is way harder, too.

She'll get there. It's a process, and why bad habits are so hard to break. Muscles have LONG stubborn memories.
 

eeyoretumbles

Member
Jul 13, 2008
234
rainy washington
Re-learning is much much harder. I can see how it can be frustrating, she probably isn't doing her routine and old habits wrong, it's just that each gym has different techniques. It just takes practice practice practice, and I wish her luck. Just try not to get to frustrated, and breath before she goes. Focus on what the coach is telling her to do, if she relaxes a bit in doing it (which I doubt she is) it's easy to fall back into old habbits. She'll get it and keep up the good work!
 

Chalky

Coach
Coach
Proud Relative
Gymnast
Judge
Aug 14, 2008
97
USA
Country
USA
Re-learning is MUCH harder than learning correctly the first time. She has to re-wire brain connections and then re-learn movement patterns to the muscles. I'm sure she will be fine though. Just reassure her that she will progress and all her hard work will pay off with better scores.

I have watched a lot of compulsory routines, especially Level 4. Some of the slight differences you will see between teams are subtle changes in the interpretation of the USAG text. However, I have seen otherwise good routines with many text errors. The judges can deduct up to 0.40 per routine for these mistakes. Plus I believe the lack of turn-out, fluidity and presentation (lack of artistry) is another >0.30 deduction (don't have rules in front of me). So, these things are important and do add up.

However, I think some teams go over the top with the "embellishments" of the compulsory routines. Some of the extra flourishes they add in are not in the text, and I personally find them a bit ridiculous to watch, but that's my opinion!
 

mariposa

Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Sep 25, 2007
3,529
Country
USA
Thanks everyone. I had no idea that muscles remembered things. Interesting. I read the important stuff to her and she said that sometimes she will be trying to do what her coach says and will be doing it the old way, now at least it makes sense. She knows she will get it. She still has at least 2 months until the first meet. I think she will be less hard on herself now as she sees it is just as hard to re-learn the routines than when she learned them the first time. I appreciate everyones posts. Helped me a lot to understand and now I will really watch to see how she is on the floor routine days and try to keep her positive. :)
 

gym law mom

Active Member
Proud Parent
Dec 23, 2006
2,527
Country
USA
Tell Abby to hang in there. They want her to have great not just passable floor routine for the next season, so listen to the coach and work hard on making the changes. She may find its almost like learning the routine all over again and you may see her slow down and look like she's thinking through the corrections. It will all come together---as others have said it takes time to retrain the brain and muscles.

Tell her when my gymmie changed gyms, the one skill they did not like was her back tuck. Here was a kid that was training L7/8 and being told she had a messy back tuck. Old gym accepted a more open position on the tuck while current gym wanted her tighter. Yes, she was very frustrated and to this day sometimes has to think "tight" on her back tucks. But the correction must have worked because now she is throwing double backs off bars and standing them up on mat in the pit.
 

mariposa

Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Sep 25, 2007
3,529
Country
USA
Re-learning is MUCH harder than learning correctly the first time. She has to re-wire brain connections and then re-learn movement patterns to the muscles. I'm sure she will be fine though. Just reassure her that she will progress and all her hard work will pay off with better scores.

I have watched a lot of compulsory routines, especially Level 4. Some of the slight differences you will see between teams are subtle changes in the interpretation of the USAG text. However, I have seen otherwise good routines with many text errors. The judges can deduct up to 0.40 per routine for these mistakes. Plus I believe the lack of turn-out, fluidity and presentation (lack of artistry) is another >0.30 deduction (don't have rules in front of me). So, these things are important and do add up.

However, I think some teams go over the top with the "embellishments" of the compulsory routines. Some of the extra flourishes they add in are not in the text, and I personally find them a bit ridiculous to watch, but that's my opinion!
I don't think they are teaching anything extra, just making sure feet, hands, arms, etc are in the correct place and that was never stressed at her old gym (well they were when she first started, but the HC that knew all the routines left and then they were always being taught different things by different coaches). We (parents at the old gym) could always tell that our girls were missing a lot on the little things.

I did tell her that these things are important to re-learn as she will be doing a lot of it over and over again in levels 5 and 6, so it is good to relearn them now. I hope she can just relax a little and realize that she WILL get it and it will be worth it. :)
 

coachmolly

Active Member
Coach
Former Gymnast
Jan 18, 2009
2,990
VA
Country
USA
Relearning skills is rough, especially some of those little nit-picky things like dance in the compulsory routines. But it is SO much better that she is making those changes now as a level 4 and before the season begins rather than waiting. I have known so many girls who have switched gyms with so many bad habits that they are pushed back a level or two and basically have to relearn everything. And I personally think it becomes even harder to change bad habits the older and more advanced your skills are.
Those compulsory routines are hard! Much more intricate dance than in my day. I'm a coach and I even have trouble remembering them and getting all the positions exactly right! Another coach who is a dancer does all of the routine work because I am totally clueless. I have no idea how these 6/7 year old kids do it because I don't think I could have at that age.
Just let Abby know that it's something I think nearly every kid who switches gyms goes through, no matter what level. And she might be put in the group that needs some extra help now, but I'm sure it will all pay off when she starts competing and her scores are greatly improved!
 

mariposa

Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Sep 25, 2007
3,529
Country
USA
Thanks GLM. I can't imagine having to re-learn a skill I had been doing for years, I can see how that would be difficult. I had figured it would be harder to re-learn the routines, but didn't think it was something that actually had to do with muscle memory, etc. I learned something new.

I am not worried about it, except for that it is causing her to be sad. Regardless of how she does this season, I know she is in the best gym for her and with the right coaches for her. She is happier than she has ever been at the gym, getting strong and progressing and that makes it all worth it. :D

My hubby is expecting a lot though, and I am hoping that he will chill. Sadly (though might be a good thing for my sanity) he will probably still be working out of state when meet season rolls around so he won't be at the meets. He has been gone for 9 weeks and there is no end in sight for the out of state work right now. :( Better to have work though than none.
 

gymjoy

Member
Jan 31, 2009
410
I'm just reiterating what others have said - fixing mistakes is much, much harder than learning things correctly the first time.
It is also very hard and frustrating for little gymnast to understand. She's got to be wondering how she spent so much time learning things one way only to be told now that they are wrong. I'd be frustrated.

Keep encouraging her. I think you have made some really tough, but good decisions in switching gyms and repeating level 4. I wish sometimes I could go back in time and do that for my dd. She was rushed through levels 4-5-6 with bad form and presentation. When we moved her new gym made her repeat L6 - two more times! She worked so very hard in fixing all her skills and cleaning up her presentation. The first repeat season was good - the second was WOW!
Now she has a chance to shoot for the moon.

Let her know she is not the only one who has struggled with this problem, and that she will be a better gymnast and person for it.

(and just for mom - when my dd started at her new gym one of the moms told me to give it a year before judging the changes. I was like - a year!! It was a tough year, but a year that made such a difference that I could see, but dd couldn't always see. The lesson - Be patient...)
 

mariposa

Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Sep 25, 2007
3,529
Country
USA
Keep encouraging her. I think you have made some really tough, but good decisions in switching gyms and repeating level 4. I wish sometimes I could go back in time and do that for my dd. She was rushed through levels 4-5-6 with bad form and presentation. When we moved her new gym made her repeat L6 - two more times! She worked so very hard in fixing all her skills and cleaning up her presentation. The first repeat season was good - the second was WOW! Now she has a chance to shoot for the moon.

Let her know she is not the only one who has struggled with this problem, and that she will be a better gymnast and person for it.

(and just for mom - when my dd started at her new gym one of the moms told me to give it a year before judging the changes. I was like - a year!! It was a tough year, but a year that made such a difference that I could see, but dd couldn't always see. The lesson - Be patient...)
Thanks gymjoy, it was definitely a hard decision to switch gyms and I still miss her old gym sometimes, though she rarely talks about it. I miss the people and I know the coaches and owners are really great people, it just wasn't the right situation for Abby. I don't regret it for one minute though. She is definitely in the right place and that is all that matters.

She finished up spring season with low 8s on everything and a 33AA. If she gets some mid to high 8s on everything this fall I will be very happy. She is hoping for 9s and I try not to shoot down her goals, but try to keep her realistic. I told her she might be getting a few 9s by the end of spring season, but not to worry about that.

Hubby though, thinks she should be getting 9s this fall, but I told him to just be happy that she is happy and getting so strong and improving her skills and form. :) I need my hubby to learn the patience lesson. To realize that his little girl might never be the girl getting the 9s or the girl up on that podium all the time and that that is okay. As long as she is doing her best and is happy, we should be as well. I know I will be, but he is very competitive and has a hard time accepting that.
 
C

cathiann

Guest
add me to the group that thinks breaking bad habits is really hard to do! And if her old gym never scored well on floor, maybe relearning the routines the way this gym does things is better anyway.
 

gymjourneymom

Active Member
Proud Parent
Mar 9, 2008
1,331
Country
USA
I totally agree with gymjoy & everyone else. She may not realize the difference in form/technique that the new gym is trying to teach her yet. But as she keeps doing it over & over, it will become 2nd nature. I would really praise her when she tells you the coach said she made a correction well. I love to celebrate small victories to keep them motivated:D. Also, give her some more time to make the corrections & then video a practice. Once she sees a before & after vid, she'll really be able to see the changes in action. You might even tell her that you'd like to film a before & after vid...it may motivate her. I think this new gym sounds great! They are laying the ground work for her future skills & technique & work ethic. Her old gym was apparently happy with just teaching the skills & moving them through the levels. Sounds like this one is better at teaching good form, technique & skills come from hard work. That is a lesson that will totally benefit her in this sport. I think you made the right choice switching gyms & having her repeat L4. Tell her to keep up the good work! I can't wait to see her "after" vids:D!
 
G

gymgramma

Guest
LOL - sign hubby up for gymnastics lessons....might teach him a little more patience for it's difficulty
 

mariposa

Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Sep 25, 2007
3,529
Country
USA
LOL - sign hubby up for gymnastics lessons....might teach him a little more patience for it's difficulty
That is what I told him!! Or to get his own sport. I told him he needs to do something else so he will be able to get that competitiveness out somehow, just not with our kid. LOL. I have tried to get up on her beam and there is no way I could do that level 4 beam routine, much less in a leo in front of judges and a crowd. He just doesn't get it sometimes. He loves his girl and is very proud of her and all her hardwork and dedication, but there are times I want to strangle him. ;)
 
T

toriluvsgym0618

Guest
Tell her it is ok. Even though old habits are hard to break perfect practice makes perfect. If she's starting to practice it the right way it will eventually get perfect. Just Tell her that re-learning the routine will help her and just to take what the coach is saying in a postive not a negitve thing.

Hope I helped :)
 

NotAMom

Active Member
May 27, 2009
894
Region 6 (Northeast)
I agree with everyone here. Muscle memory, patience, etc.

The re-learning can happen even if there was no move from gym to gym. My now 10yo had to go through that when our gym needed additional tempory help for coaching. That was right after she started training for L4 2+ years ago. Coaches who have worked together usually can agree on certain method of teaching for any particular skill. It is not so much when a new established coach is brought into the picture (not necessarily to anyone's fault). It's worse when the new coach departs after a short period. My daughter ended up having to take a year to relearn her RO BHS twice. It was really frustrating indeed for all parties, including the gymnast, the parents and the permanent coaches (more so at times for the coaches).

I believe when faced with these situations the re-learning is more necessary for children at a younger age. At that age, repetition is the key. That translates into muscle memory. Older kids are more able to adapt to the situation and the environment, including switching from one sport to the next. Believe me, no matter how talented, if two activities call for two different (and worse yet opposite) proper body positions, the young athlete's body (and mind) will get confused.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Thank you for supporting our sponsors Energym Music & Norberts!