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Level 5 gymnast holding back

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momto3kids

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Dec 4, 2012
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My dd is an 8 year old Level 5 gymnast. Lately she has been holding back on a lot of skills due to what I believe to be fear issues. She is no longer going to vertical in her cross handstand on beam, she slows down before hitting the springboard in vault, and her front tumbling is slow. Her coach told me that she is being timid and holding herself back. Over the summer she was doing much better, had all of her skills, which is probably why they agreed to move her up. Now, I wonder if she should have been held back to compete Level 4 again.
Is there anything I can do as a parent to encourage her to go for things, or is it something that we will just have to wait out? I'm concerned because her first meet is in a few weeks, and while I don't expect her to rock meets, at this point I'm afraid she is going to really have a horrible meet experience. Btw, she is not concerned about her lack of skills. Perhaps I should take a cue from her?
 

munchkin3

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Don't make it a big deal. If you do, you will increase the stress for her and can make it worse. I am sure the coach is saying what needs to be said.

In my experience, I have watched my two kids go through skill acquisition and have noticed a pattern. There is the intital period where the kids get super excited about learning the new skill. Then I notice there is a bit of a RUN to who can do it first and the best.....this is the part that runs primarily off adrenaline IMO. I have seen my DD do a 1/2 twist on floor, BLO on floor, and cast handstands on bars, and BHS on beam... She was finishing L3 and it was summer 'uptraining' time and this ALL came super fast.....then, when it was time to repeat the skills over and over, and take correction....things get more complicated. Fear creeps in, and now she can't 'throw' the skill. Her muscle memory is not there yet, and she must really THINK to do skill......She gets stressed out, because she did it many times before and does not understand why she cant now........the skill must brew a bit in her brain. Let the coaches mold it into the 'FINAL' product.

Leave it alone ESPECIALLY if she is fine with it, and tell your DD how proud you are that she can do all the the things she can do!!! She is amazing to be at L5 at 8!
 

MeetDirector

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Oct 13, 2008
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Mom -

Say absolutely nothing to her about this or any other gymnastics-related difficulty. As I have said countless times on here, a parent's job in this sport is to be the cheerleader and support system at home; not to be an additional coach. I say this as a personal lesson after almost 14 years involved in this sport. The training of gymnastics skills should be left to the gymnast and her coach; any "help" from the parent side of the equation will only hurt.

This sport is full of skills that come and go; intensity that comes and goes; it happens and parents need to roll with it. The way you handle these things at the compulsory levels will absolutely set the tone for what happens at the higher optional levels; the higher optional levels are crazy hard and the athlete has to develop her own coping skills. I will hazard a guess here that you are watching practice since you are able to notice slower running on vault and changes in her handstand on beam. As a parent, you have got to develop the trust in her coaches such that you are able to NOT sit at practice. Trust me, your dd does not need another "coach" in the car or at home.

Good Luck.
 

momto3kids

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Dec 4, 2012
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Thank you all for your responses. I do believe she is going through a growth spurt, as many people have mentioned how much she has grown. Honestly, I try not to watch, but I work at the gym, so I do tend to see more than most parents see. However, I do not want to be the parent that zaps the fun out of gymnastics for my little one. She is a free spirit, and I know if she goes at her own pace, things will come. It is always nice to be reassured by other parents!
 

Mrs. Puma

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I agree! I'm fairly new to competative gymnastics, but my older daughter does competative dance and can have anxiety issues once in awhile. The less I say the better. I focus on praising what she is doing well at and suceeding with. And I agree with Munchkin-awsome to be Level 5 at 8! Mine is 7 and a solid 4 except for that darn kip!!!! Arrrrr lol
 
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coachp

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Sounds like system overload to me. Just ignore it and get out of the gym if you are viewing. Do not intervene...
 
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Natasha

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Did they move her up in the fall? And did this move-up come with an increase of hours? She could simply be more tired and not trusting herself due to just being tired…balancing school and all the hours at the gym can be mentally exhausting.
I agree with all of the above, leave the in-gym stuff to the coaches, but you may want to assess if she is getting enough rest, nutrition, etc.
 

happychaos

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Jul 29, 2011
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I guess I have a different opinion than most. It IS possible to discuss the struggles our gymmies have without adding pressure. I believe that acknowledging a problem and talking it out can really be helpful for some kids. I want to be a "safe place to land" for my kids. If my DD is feeling intimidated by something, whether it be math class, friend issues, or gymnastics, I want her to WANT to discuss it with me. I'm not a gymnastics coach, but I can certainly offer much needed encouragement and perspective.

And often, perspective is what my DD needs most from me. When DD is frustrated in the gym, I like to remind her how of far she has come already, or remind her of the last skill she struggled with that is now "so easy". While my DD doesn't need me to be another gymnastics coach, she does need me to be her LIFE coach, lol. While she is mature and independent for her age, she is not quite ready to climb every mountain all by herself yet.

That said, if your DD is happy with what she is doing in the gym, then I wouldn't worry about it.
 

SignHere

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Happy chaos has some good advice.

I think parents and coaches on CB are super quick to say " trust the coaches" and condemn parents for wanting to have a general educated view of things.

However, that's fine if your DDs coaches are good coaches, but let's face it, there is NO oversight of gyms or gymnastics coaches.

Would you let your DD or DS go for years at a private school, where you were never welcome to observe in the classroom, you never saw any class work, but just saw 6-10 test grades per year? And where you were told you should never have any input in your child's work?

Exactly. You wouldn't. Because that is insane. Yet some folks here on CB think that is the appropriate relationship for a parent to their child's gymnastics "career".

I feel my job as a parent is to make sure my daughter is happy, confident, and safe. To that end, I ask my DD questions about how she is feeling about her training, I ask her coaches about how she is doing in her training, and I made sure that her gym has a reasonable viewing policy. I also asked about spotting equipment for new skills when we moved her and the HC and I discussed how they train new skills. I also want to make sure that any male coaches are never going to be placed in a comprising situation.

And my job, definitely, is part psychologist. So I can and I should reassure her, that any training glitches are normal, she will get over them.
 

curlymop

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I agree that some people here are too quick to jump to the "Stay out of it" advice, but in this case it sounds like the child is not worried about the lack of progress. It's the parent who has noticed her holding back on certain skills and wants to solve whatever issue is causing it.

It sounds like the coach has noticed it, so I'd suggest letting the coach handle it. I think that too much questioning from the parent about the lost skills will only make the gymnast more anxious. I know because I have accidentally done that. I mean well and just want to help my son succeed, but it really doesn't help for me to get too involved in his skill progress. The last thing I want is to signal to him that I care more about his progress than he does.

That said, when he gets a skill that he's been working hard on, I have to switch gears and suddenly become very involved. He definitely wants me to celebrate his success.
 

munchkin3

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If the child is fine, and it is a relatively new thing, leave it alone.
If it is causing issues and becoming a problem to DD then talk to the coaches.
Moderation- it's not that you should NOT mentioned it.....and it's not that you should freak out in concern.

Ask coach, if he feels it is normal then that's good. If he is worried, then perhaps a deeper look is needed.

Every single one of us parents here on chalkbucket talk to our kids about gymnastics. I think OP was just blowing off steam here rather than to her DD. I always thank CB for allowing me to process some emotions before I act on some gymnastics related topic.
 

gymnastca25

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My 8 year old level 5 is right there too!!! She progressed a ton of the summer. She only did 3 level 4 meets due to an injury and then worked super hard over summer to make level 5. She is now starting to stall out. Her problem seems to be the back walkover on the beam. She was doing them last summer and can't land them now. She has no fear issues but can't seem to straighten her hips or something. It is really frustrating her. I have not said a word except just keep up the hard work. Hard to watch her be so frustrated with them.
 

momto3kids

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Dec 4, 2012
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Thank you everyone for your responses. As munchkin said, I was just letting off some steam and expressing my frustration. As a parent, we want our kids to succeed, and it is hard to stand by and watch your child struggle. I think it is a natural instinct to want to help them through the tough times! I don't make gymnastics a big deal, nor do I put pressure on her. Her coach has mentioned to me that they need to find a way to work through her fear on these issues. Her coach is really supportive and understanding and assures me she is not worried. Honestly, I just wanted to know if anyone had any success stories or had gone through this with their young gymnasts.
 
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