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For Parents Meets that require long drives

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Kira

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My now 14-years L8 daughter always perform worse when the drive to get the place is over 2 hours. If she can stay the night before her session, she usually does fine. My husband and I thought she may have a sort of balance or sensory issues that might need time to adjust. So we usually arrive at least 1.5-2 hours before the open stretch begins. Still she consistently performs worse.

Now she is L8, the slight difference in performance has a big consequence. When she was younger, she still scored mid 8’s while when she stayed a night or goes to a closer meet, she got low 9’s, in general. Now when she can’t complete the routine, she loses big. At the last state meet, she couldn’t complete her bars (couldn’t do pirouette and cast to handstand) and didn’t qualify for regionals. This was very traumatic.

Now the new season has begun, the first meet (about 1:40) Drive, she did well. But at the last meet she botched her beam and vault and then during bars warmup, she couldn’t control herself. Somehow she regained the composure and ended up doing the routine, getting the second place on bars, but she cried even more after the meet, being scared of repeating the state performance. This must be very hard for her coaches and other gymnasts who rotated with her, as well. They were really nice and supportive, though.

So, my question is probably two-fold. Is there a way for her to cope with the past loss so she can focus on things right in front of her? She is usually very gritty for everything she does and rarely cries. Also, is there any tips to reduce the balance (or so I believe) issues after the long drive? I try to stay the night before but that’s not always possible, like in the case of Friday evening sessions.

Thank you for your help.
 
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cadybearsmommy

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Gymnasts are notoriously hard on themselves but with your dd’s age and the length of time she’s been competing, I would be a little concerned about her reactions to botching an event at a meet. Being disappointed about not making regionals is one thing but being it shouldn’t be a traumatizing for them. It’s pretty common for them to cry, botch other events, in their first year or two of competing (my dd did this as around ages 7-9 but as she got older we had a talk and I told her she really needs to have a good attitude at meets and good sportsmanship. If she’s disappointed, she can vent in the car on the way home. And to not let one event ruin the meet for her, bc she can still do well on other events. It took time and she still has a little meet anxiety, but most of the time she can laugh it off if an event goes bad. I startes giving her a relax a Saurus (kids chewable version of L theanine supplement)before meets and that seems to help with the nerves. Your dd could probably just take the adult capsules at her age. You might find that it helps her.

The most important thing you can do is to try to relax yourself. I’ve learned the hard way, that if you are stressed, your kid will be stressed. For travel meets make sure she gets a lot of good quality sleep the week of the meet and fill her up with a nice healthy meal an hour or two before the meet and send snacks in for an energy boost if needed.

Best of luck to her! The skills just get harder as they move up the levels and it’s common for consistency to be an issue. This too shall pass!
 

Kira

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Gymnasts are notoriously hard on themselves but with your dd’s age and the length of time she’s been competing, I would be a little concerned about her reactions to botching an event at a meet. Being disappointed about not making regionals is one thing but being it shouldn’t be a traumatizing for them. It’s pretty common for them to cry, botch other events, in their first year or two of competing (my dd did this as around ages 7-9 but as she got older we had a talk and I told her she really needs to have a good attitude at meets and good sportsmanship. If she’s disappointed, she can vent in the car on the way home. And to not let one event ruin the meet for her, bc she can still do well on other events. It took time and she still has a little meet anxiety, but most of the time she can laugh it off if an event goes bad. I startes giving her a relax a Saurus (kids chewable version of L theanine supplement)before meets and that seems to help with the nerves. Your dd could probably just take the adult capsules at her age. You might find that it helps her.

The most important thing you can do is to try to relax yourself. I’ve learned the hard way, that if you are stressed, your kid will be stressed. For travel meets make sure she gets a lot of good quality sleep the week of the meet and fill her up with a nice healthy meal an hour or two before the meet and send snacks in for an energy boost if needed.

Best of luck to her! The skills just get harder as they move up the levels and it’s common for consistency to be an issue. This too shall pass!

Thank you so much! She never cried at meet until last state meet for her 6 years competitive gymnastics career. Some things are different: she’s now the only L8 in the gym so most of the time she competes alone with her coach. That may make her break down easier, I guess. I don’t think she would cry in front of her team mates. Then she lacks sleep. She’s on highest level classes (honors or AP) in high school and she works very hard to keep up. Recently she often stays up until 1 am, and I’m trying to lighten the academic load off of her shoulders so she gets to sleep at least before midnight. With 4 hours of practice 4 days a week all during weekdays, she can start studying only after 9:30 or 10 pm... but she will never say she’ll quit (study/gymnastics or whatever she does). She just can’t say that. It’s just her personality. Perfectionist and overachiever.

“This too shall pass” is the lesson she needs to learn, I think. She probably can learn from other high level gymnasts, if she has a chance to chat.
 

cadybearsmommy

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Thank you so much! She never cried at meet until last state meet for her 6 years competitive gymnastics career. Some things are different: she’s now the only L8 in the gym so most of the time she competes alone with her coach. That may make her break down easier, I guess. I don’t think she would cry in front of her team mates. Then she lacks sleep. She’s on highest level classes (honors or AP) in high school and she works very hard to keep up. Recently she often stays up until 1 am, and I’m trying to lighten the academic load off of her shoulders so she gets to sleep at least before midnight. With 4 hours of practice 4 days a week all during weekdays, she can start studying only after 9:30 or 10 pm... but she will never say she’ll quit (study/gymnastics or whatever she does). She just can’t say that. It’s just her personality. Perfectionist and overachiever.

“This too shall pass” is the lesson she needs to learn, I think. She probably can learn from other high level gymnasts, if she has a chance to chat.


Ahhhh competing alone is the worst! My dd has had to do that at state and regionals and it stresses her out. Luckily she's had some luck talking with/making friends with girls from other gyms that are on her flight.
 

duyetanh

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.....really are hard on everyone! I feel your pain....we have a meet like that this season, where she competes thursday night at 6. We are saying to heck with it, and driving wed night.
 

Kira

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.....really are hard on everyone! I feel your pain....we have a meet like that this season, where she competes thursday night at 6. We are saying to heck with it, and driving wed night.
That IS hard! Fortunately there’s no Thursday meet for us, but staying Thursday means leaving her practice early and skipping school (of course the absence is NOT excused). It’s hard but I might just have to do it
 

ldw4mlo

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Yep its hard. And I get sometimes you just can't stay overnight. So you all need to chat and accept, that might impact results. And move on.

Clearly if its States, you stay overnight. But other meets (if qualifying is not an issue), deal or not go.

Is there anything that would help. Let her brain storm. Sleeping in the car. Music. A brisk walk when you get there. A snack.....

And again, she needs to get to the point where perhaps on a meet weekend she cant do it all. What is important and a priority. What needs to be pushed off.... A good nights sleep the night before. Homework on the way home.
 

SurpriseGymMom

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Well, as ALL our meets are a minimum 2 1/2hr drive and more often 3 1/2-4... we try to stay overnight where it makes the most sense. If the session is at noon, we will stay before. If the session is at 3, we will drive up early enough to get loosened up and stay after (because I hate traversing snowy mountain passes in the dark...).
I think you're absolutely in the right being concerned about her reactions to this. Some of it will come with maturity. I don't know how old she is but part of being an athlete is figuring out both how to prepare for competition (stretching and looseing up after car rides etc) and how to handle disappointments both in oneself and circumstances. I would try to have at least a couple of hours between "drive ETA" and session start, to grab a bite to eat, walk around, stretch out etc. So much of this sport is psychological, so if she is telling herself her meet is going to be horrible because she is stressed or stiff or whatever, then guess what will happen....
I do know that, if at all possible, DDs (also L8) coaches do highly recommend trying NOT to do a 3-4hr drive immediately before a meet and one of her L9 teammates gets so car sick they HAVE to always travel the day before. For our flyaway meets I try to have at least 18hrs between landing and competing.
 

profmom

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What does she do during the car ride? Can she make a playlist of optimistic, upbeat music to listen to on the way? I can't think of why a car ride would cause balance issues unless you're changing altitude a lot. Does she have a history of car sickness? If so, you might try Sea Bands. (I'm a bit skeptical that it's the car ride itself throwing her off physically because I assume that a kid who reaches L8 has a solid vestibular system that isn't thrown off much by motion, but maybe I'm wrong about that. Every gymnast I've ever known has loved things like rollercoasters.)
 

Pirouette

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Long term lack of adequate sleep will cause the problems to get worse as time goes by.

My dancer dd (HS sophomore who has been competing for 10 years) is also in all honors/AP and carries a 4.0. She spends about 18 hours over 4 days at the studio. This year, she has become more and more anxious, moody, and prone to outbursts. We have a meeting with her counselor on Monday to figure out a solution to get her through this year, such as a study hall in place of a class she can put off until next year. She doesn't want to cut back on academics or on dance (routines are set for the season), so we have to get creative. We have noticed that the less sleep she gets over the course of the week, the worse her anxiety.

These perfectionist kids . . .

Hope you find a solution that fits your dd's needs! It's so hard watching them struggle.
 

Kira

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Yep its hard. And I get sometimes you just can't stay overnight. So you all need to chat and accept, that might impact results. And move on.

Clearly if its States, you stay overnight. But other meets (if qualifying is not an issue), deal or not go.

Is there anything that would help. Let her brain storm. Sleeping in the car. Music. A brisk walk when you get there. A snack.....

And again, she needs to get to the point where perhaps on a meet weekend she cant do it all. What is important and a priority. What needs to be pushed off.... A good nights sleep the night before. Homework on the way home.

"she can't do it all" she knows but can't let go. But I will talk over about good night's sleep. Staying at the hotel, though it means skipping a school a day may force her to rest....I will brainstorm with her for sure. For snacks, she refuses to eat/snack after about 2 hours before the open stretch. So I will try to give her a relatively big meal about 2-3 hours before, because she won't be able to eat for the next 6-7 hours.

Thanks!
Well, as ALL our meets are a minimum 2 1/2hr drive and more often 3 1/2-4... we try to stay overnight where it makes the most sense. If the session is at noon, we will stay before. If the session is at 3, we will drive up early enough to get loosened up and stay after (because I hate traversing snowy mountain passes in the dark...).
I think you're absolutely in the right being concerned about her reactions to this. Some of it will come with maturity. I don't know how old she is but part of being an athlete is figuring out both how to prepare for competition (stretching and looseing up after car rides etc) and how to handle disappointments both in oneself and circumstances. I would try to have at least a couple of hours between "drive ETA" and session start, to grab a bite to eat, walk around, stretch out etc. So much of this sport is psychological, so if she is telling herself her meet is going to be horrible because she is stressed or stiff or whatever, then guess what will happen....
I do know that, if at all possible, DDs (also L8) coaches do highly recommend trying NOT to do a 3-4hr drive immediately before a meet and one of her L9 teammates gets so car sick they HAVE to always travel the day before. For our flyaway meets I try to have at least 18hrs between landing and competing.

I hate driving in the icy road at night, so I usually stay after evening sessions. About a half of all meets are 3+ hours drive, including state, and the rest are less than 2 hours. Fortunately, there's no flyaway meet for us! That will be so hard. She definitely needs to learn how to cope with disappointment. I am reading "mind gym" now, and hoping I can speak with her about this issue with the coach and her during the winter break.
 

Kira

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What does she do during the car ride? Can she make a playlist of optimistic, upbeat music to listen to on the way? I can't think of why a car ride would cause balance issues unless you're changing altitude a lot. Does she have a history of car sickness? If so, you might try Sea Bands. (I'm a bit skeptical that it's the car ride itself throwing her off physically because I assume that a kid who reaches L8 has a solid vestibular system that isn't thrown off much by motion, but maybe I'm wrong about that. Every gymnast I've ever known has loved things like rollercoasters.)
She usually listens to own music using earbuds. And reads something. Most of the time it's her favorite books but this time she read and wrote American History essays with her laptop. She doesn't get car sick. But I am guessing that she has some sort of sensory issues because 1) her big brother is severely autistic and has tons of sensory issues 2) she is ambidextrous, which often is associated with dyslexia or other sensory issues. Oh she's okay with roller coasters, but doesn't like as much as I (I can still keep riding 10 times nonstop but she's okay with just one ride) ^^;
 

Kira

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Dec 12, 2017
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What does she do during the car ride? Can she make a playlist of optimistic, upbeat music to listen to on the way? I can't think of why a car ride would cause balance issues unless you're changing altitude a lot. Does she have a history of car sickness? If so, you might try Sea Bands. (I'm a bit skeptical that it's the car ride itself throwing her off physically because I assume that a kid who reaches L8 has a solid vestibular system that isn't thrown off much by motion, but maybe I'm wrong about that. Every gymnast I've ever known has loved things like rollercoasters.)
I will try sea bands, even if it may not help her vestibular system, it might serve as a psychological help.
 

Kira

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Dec 12, 2017
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53
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Long term lack of adequate sleep will cause the problems to get worse as time goes by.

My dancer dd (HS sophomore who has been competing for 10 years) is also in all honors/AP and carries a 4.0. She spends about 18 hours over 4 days at the studio. This year, she has become more and more anxious, moody, and prone to outbursts. We have a meeting with her counselor on Monday to figure out a solution to get her through this year, such as a study hall in place of a class she can put off until next year. She doesn't want to cut back on academics or on dance (routines are set for the season), so we have to get creative. We have noticed that the less sleep she gets over the course of the week, the worse her anxiety.

These perfectionist kids . . .

Hope you find a solution that fits your dd's needs! It's so hard watching them struggle.

Thank you! Perfectionist kids are so hard! She's willing to deprive herself of sleep. That's a big factor I think. She had attitude problem during fall tennis season (she does tennis on top of gymnastics!). I'm encouraging her to take a local university classes during summer so at least one subject (I plan precalculus and calculus - because math is math regardless of the place and I know she is academically ready at college level) is off her table during the school year. Since she says math is the least stressful in high school, she might need to do one more classes, though definitely not in this coming summer. I used to think it's nonsense for high school students to take university courses because I didn't want her to mingle with sexually active young adults so early. But university courses are definitely less stressful than AP classes..no wonder nearly 50 students from her high school opt for college courses...
 
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LGnyc

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I started giving her a relax a Saurus (kids chewable version of L theanine supplement)before meets and that seems to help with the nerves. Your dd could probably just take the adult capsules at her age. You might find that it helps her.

Can you tell me a bit more about these? I've never heard about them and my dd just generally has significant meet nerves. I know that just the placebo effect of "taking something" has a positive impact on her - she feels she is doing something to combat the nerves. She also does breathing exercises and positive self talk, but it doesn't always help.
 

cadybearsmommy

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Can you tell me a bit more about these? I've never heard about them and my dd just generally has significant meet nerves. I know that just the placebo effect of "taking something" has a positive impact on her - she feels she is doing something to combat the nerves. She also does breathing exercises and positive self talk, but it doesn't always help.

You have a PM!!
 
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