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For Parents I'm at a loss - quit or push harder?

onefineday

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Oct 13, 2020
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DD is a 9yo Level 6 and while talented has always been inconsistent. Amazing potential, not great focus and mixed results. She came out of quarantine on fire and got all her L6 skills in the summer. Then she started school again (with night practice) and lost many of them. She seems tired, cries a lot, has new fears and is avoiding practicing the skills she lost (even just trying them.) I feel like we might be done, but I don' know how to guide her in this decision. She won't consider Xcel or repeating L5 right now. Her gym is intense - tough coaches, crowded, rigorous, very late practices - but we don't have many alternatives that are feasible and switching gyms doesn't seem like it will solve our problem. I feel like she doesn't know how to exit gracefully and feels like she'd be giving up on herself and her years of hard work...and she SAYS she loves it and wants to be there. Watching her practice I'd think otherwise. Her coaches haven't said much. What would you do?
 

MuggleMom

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Dec 22, 2016
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DD was like this last year, and very nearly quit. She missed almost a month after being sick off and on a bunch and when she started back she was so sore from going from nothing to all 20 hours a week, and she lost a bunch of skills and just felt defeated. I talked with the coaches who were (luckily for us) very understanding and they had her practice less for a while and let her ease back into things at her own pace. She started with 2 hour practices (leaving early) then 3 then back to 4 hour but she had to pick when she upped the hours and they said be certain because once she went up an hour she couldn't go back. This helped establish some predictability for her and her coaches and it became less of an argument to go to practice everyday because she didnt feel tired and overwhelmed. Now it sucked for me a bit cause I still paid full price even when she was going half the hours, but for her mental health and easing into things it was great. She started asking to go again and since then it has been a huge boost for her. She knows she is allowed to ask me for a mental health day to skip gym so making it her choice to go all the time gave her some agency.

The adjustment to school and late nights could be the issue here. I would talk to the coaches and say she is having trouble adjusting (understandably the late practices SUCK!) and see if you can implement some sort of plan to ease her into all this. Giving her time and agency in everything may take some of the pressure off her and help her see what she wants, and that maybe to stop or it maybe to up the hours and recommit.
 

Aussie_coach

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It does not sound like she is done, or ready to be done. If she returned from the shut down on fire and was learning lots of new skills. That was only a few months ago.

From what you describe it’s tiredness and frustration at losing those skills, not a loss of love for the sport.

Changing gyms may help a lot of it’s a possibility. One with practises that are not so late, and one that is not so tough.

Also cutting pressure from school. I don’t know if it’s an option in the US. But for us if Yiu have a child intensely into sport, it can help to have a chat to the teacher. Most are then happy to adjust homework, give less, give more time to hand it is, or not require homework altogether. As participants on in sports like gymnastics has been found to have a greater positive effect on learning (due to the constant pathways it develops in the brain) than homework.
 

Madden3

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Aug 24, 2013
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Sorry if this is too 'woo woo,' but it has helped me tremendously with my kids- you might want to google "the 9 year change" for an interesting take on this developmental age and why it can be unusually challenging for kids and parents alike. Usually only those who are attached to Waldorf educational philosophy tend to talk about this stage specifically in any depth, so there will be lots of "Waldorfy" language and perspective in what you will find. You can just take what works for you and leave the rest. This age range has long been widely recognized as a time of marked developmental transition.

I also agree with others, find every and any way to maximize her sleep hours, including picking her up early from practice some nights if that is possible. 9-12 hours every night is what is recommended at this age, and that means all kids need at least 9 but most need more than that. With a late practice schedule these sleep hours may be impossible, of course, and in fact probably most kids these days need more sleep than they are getting. But the adverse effects of too little sleep are just way more obvious/debilitating for some kids than others. Getting enough rest might also help her have more perspective overall and thus more ability to let go if she IS done.

If switching gyms would mean she could get more sleep, it might be worth it? Not all gyms practice super late.
 

onefineday

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Oct 13, 2020
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Your thoughts are so helpful and appreciated. She got a skill back last night and was over the moon and in the best mood meaning that Aussie_Coach is probably right that it's more about frustration/tired than being ready to quit. Unfortunately the switching gyms would mean earlier nights but not as good coaches and I think ultimately she'd be more frustrated...but I'll keep it in mind! We have a few options nearby and maybe if she switches to Xcel that would be an ideal transition time. And definitely going to google the 9 year old change! Such a tough sport and so many days I feel really challenged in navigating it with her.