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Level 5 Bar

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I think as a parent I need to blow off some steam, maybe get some helpful advice. My 11 yr. old daughter is a first-year level 5. She has struggled mightily with the bars, primarily because she has convinced herself she cannot get from the squat on to the high bar. She has had a lot of one-on-one time with her coach; he has allowed her to do some of the decision making in these sessions by starting her at setting 2 and move further out as she becomes comfortable, and she finally did it on Thursday quite a number of times and was very upbeat, but Friday she was right back at ground zero. And again today. At setting 2 the bars are so close for her that she cannot possibly do her swings because her calves will hit the low bar.

To make matters worse, she cries. And cries. And cries. No, not only crying but sobbing and blubbering to the point where she's barely rational. And she whines about how if her coach would just do this, do that, do something else, then it will happen. Her coach and I have tried to reason with her that some of the responsibility does lie on her shoulders, unless we tie a leash around her and hang her from the high bar, you know? And that class time is for class and he cannot cater to her endlessly.

It has reached the point where she is annoying her teammates, who have been extremely supportive of her, her coaches, and ME, who has been driving her to these extra sessions. I told her today that she needs to scratch the bars tomorrow at her meet, and try again at practice on Monday. If she can't get herself motivated then she'll compete in her last two meets while scratching on bars and then it is time to quit. It's expensive, it's time consuming, and everyone has had enough. If she decides to get her tail in gear then discussion starts again, but this is the end of the road.

What makes it very sad is that she really has enjoyed gymnastics, has great friends through it, and is still eager to get to the gym. She has been a team scoring leader most of the time in the other events this season. I am hoping that some 'tough love' will get her going because the tea and sympathy route seems to simply reinforce her negative thinking.

What say you? Thanks for letting me vent.



Jul 13, 2008
rainy washington
I think what you did was fine and understandable. I think with that attitude, she needs some time off to figure things out. She obviously loves the sport, and with some time to think I think she can get it sorted out.

gym law mom

Active Member
Proud Parent
Dec 23, 2006
I think you are on the right road with her because at age 11 she needs to take some responsibility for her gymnastics. I'm sure her frustration level is beyond belief and she is also in that age group where any little thing can set them off(the sobbing/crying). I don't know that I would tell her if she doesn't get past this by the end of the season she has to quit. You might want to tell her you would like to see a more mature attitude from her regarding the jump to high bar----standing and crying will not get the skill. Have you ever gotten out of her why she has this fear---what really bothers her about the jump? Mayber have her try writing some of her thoughts down and then you and she can calmly discuss and it may help her coach also.

Yes, I think a good idea is to take some pressure off and scratch her from bars for at least 1 meet. Sometimes thats all it takes to get a gymnast motivated to go for a skill. Also she won't be stressing about doing bars at the next meet. You might also look at a few weeks off after the season to sit down and evaluate where she is and if continuing is a good idea. Bottom line if she says she wants to keep going and move up, she has to be able to jump to the high bar.

GL and let us know how she does!
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