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For Parents Mental recovery from bad meets

cogymmom2dd

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Proud Parent
Feb 9, 2020
57
Country
USA
We had our first meet of the season this weekend and my DD1, L7 didn’t do well... at all. She has always been a podium finisher in all events over the past 6 seasons and today she placed in vault, but totally bombed her beam and bars routine.
She had a complete mental block on beam and did not complete her flight series and fell 3 times. On bars, she fell twice trying to get her squat-on to the high bar and wasn’t able to pick up enough momentum to do her giant. She had the lowest score on those 2 events. She also asked for a sting mat to be placed out for her first tumbling pass on floor routine and she has never needed one. She competed the exact same routine Last year without.
She is really down on herself right now. She asked not not go to practice tomorrow, mainly because I think she is embarrassed.
I am not sure how to help her. I don’t think that skipping practice is the solution. If anything, she needs extra practice. Maybe a 1:1 private with a coach to help boost her confidence? We did that after a crappy meet (and by crappy, she scored a 7.2 on bars and was devastated. She would have killed for a 7.2 score today).
She has another meet at the end of this month barring no cancellations because of the increase in COVID casesand said something like well if I don’t do good then, you can just make me a non-compete for the rest of the year. I am so used to praising her for all of her accomplishments and having the bar set high for her as a result that I don’t know how to deal with the opposite of that. I joked with her that it’s 2020, so things just don’t get to go the way you think they might. Plus, she missed out on 3 months worth of training, has reduced practice hours to keep groups smaller, and didn’t have a Intensive team camp this summer like usual so it is what it is.
I had some concerns about her moving to L7, she was a brand new L6 last year and only competed in 2 meets on that level due to her having the flu and then our state closing down. Coaches assured me that she has the necessary skills for 7 and it was appropriate. Well, those skills are the ones that she totally missed today.
I know that she should be thankful that she has the opportunity to compete a few times this season, but I’m afraid that if the continues to do poorly, it will effect her more negatively than skipping out on a whole season and it may be the tipping point for her to throw in the towel on gymnastics as a whole.
How do you comfort them after a crappy meet? I did take her to get some ice cream and she met up with a friend (non-gymnast) at the park today to hang out, essentially treating it like I did with friends after a bad breakup in college. Is there anything else I can do?
 

ldw4mlo

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Feb 13, 2015
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Gymnastics and life really is not about medals and podiums....

Optionals is hard.

She needs to focus on what went well. And what she can work on. So that’s where you need to direct her thoughts. Have the conversation with her that she should be having in her head.

And you can’t fix it. You can just help her “deal”. These are life lessons. As parents we can’t kiss it and make it all better, once they get past 4 or 5.

Not going to practice should not even be an option. Practice is where gymnastics happen, not at meets.

Gymnastics is hard. If she is not willing to deal with that then yes, perhaps gymnastics is not her path. That’s not a tragedy.

She is doing things most kids won’t or don’t. That’s where she needs to focus
 

cogymmom2dd

Member
Proud Parent
Feb 9, 2020
57
Country
USA
Gymnastics and life really is not about medals and podiums....

Optionals is hard.

She needs to focus on what went well. And what she can work on. So that’s where you need to direct her thoughts. Have the conversation with her that she should be having in her head.

And you can’t fix it. You can just help her “deal”. These are life lessons. As parents we can’t kiss it and make it all better, once they get past 4 or 5.

Not going to practice should not even be an option. Practice is where gymnastics happen, not at meets.

Gymnastics is hard. If she is not willing to deal with that then yes, perhaps gymnastics is not her path. That’s not a tragedy.

She is doing things most kids won’t or don’t. That’s where she needs to focus
Thank you.
We did have a conversation last year when she moved to L6 that she shouldn’t expect higher scores because it’s different and harder. We went in with that mindset and she proved us wrong in the 2 meets that she competed in by placing in all events.
She DID do well on floor and vault today but she could not get over her beam score. She placed on vault and did her BHS entry for that, which is a new skill for her. She also did well on floor.
I usually leave it up to the coaches to be the ones to comfort them in the moment, give them a hug, hold their hands and give them a pep talk before the next event. However, times are weird and there’s no hugging or touching (aside from spotting) or getting too close so I think that also has a profound impact.
I do think that gymnastics is her path for now. She will tell you it’s her life. It’s her breath. She just had a bad day and I think had a knee jerk reaction like most 11 year olds have to things.
And, if it’s not her path, it is our family’s path because I have another DD on team and another on pre-team. So, if she quits it still doesn’t change the fact that she will still have to travel to meets with us.
It also doesn’t help that her younger sister did amazing today- she is a different level so we had one very happy kid and one very said kid.
 

ldw4mlo

Well-Known Member
Proud Parent
Feb 13, 2015
5,799
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She DID do well on floor and vault today but she could not get over her beam score. She placed on vault and did her BHS entry for that, which is a new skill for her. She also did well on floor.

It also doesn’t help that her younger sister did amazing today- she is a different level so we had one very happy kid and one very said kid.
So she had good things happen..... focus her there...... she is missing the green lights in her life because she is focused only on the red.

Having a sibling in the same sport is hard. Being a parent of those 2 siblings even harder And their paths are different. They each have their own lane. Keep the focus on her lane and on what went well.
 

GreggP

New Member
Coach
Proud Relative
Jan 11, 2020
9
Ohio
Country
USA
As some general advice, it might be helpful for your daughter to read about other athletes that have had adversity, and how it actually pushed them into even greater achievements. Michael Jordan was cut from his team at one point. Tim Tebow lost a huge game in a college season, but then came back to lead them to national champions. There are many stories in the world of gymnastics (Mary Lou Retton is old school, but still one of my favorites). That might help give her some perspective and approach these setbacks in a positive way. Everyone makes mistakes. The difference in them holding us back or pushing us forward is in the story we tell ourselves.

As far as parent approach, it sounds like you are doing a great job. Keep up the environment for honest dialogue. Two rules I try to always keep in mind 1) Be careful about showing disappointment. Kids need to feel loved/accepted after a setback, and they need that most from parents. Communicating unconditional love, even non-verbally, can go a long way. (I had a bad habit of shaking my head and reacting disappointed when my son would not do well - kids notice things like that) 2) Always find something beyond the score or the outcome to brag about. Express how proud you are of the courage, determination, staying positive, etc. Hope it all works out!!
 
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NutterButter

Active Member
Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Jan 24, 2013
705
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USA
Oh geez, this sounds like my daughter! Mostly my daughter was a top 5 finisher during all her years in JO but she also bombed in spectacular fashion more than once (I'm talking getting-the-lowest-score-in-multiple-events-at-a-single-meet more than once kind of bad). It's hard to see this happen to your kid but you are already doing a great job supporting her.

What helps:
  • ice cream or dinner out after the bad meet
  • hanging out with friends
  • getting right back to practice after the bad meet
  • telling her that you believe in her
  • telling her a poor meet is not an indicator that she's a bad gymnast or that she should quit the sport
  • briefly acknowledge the meet didn't go as well as she wanted (nothing more than acknowledgement though; you are not her coach),
  • acknowledge what did go well at the meet (there's a lot of joy in celebrating a teammate if they hit a new skill or scored a 9 for the first time or qualified for state or whatever)
  • discourage your DD from getting stuck in the rut of re-living/re-hashing what went wrong with her routines

What won't help:
  • re-hashing what specifically went wrong in the routine (you are not the coach)
  • comparing current performance to previous year
  • private lessons
  • blaming it on stuff like reduced hours or being moved up too quickly

Caveats:
  • sometimes a sudden change in performance is an indicator of an injury; if your daughter has been complaining of pain recently (even if it's minor pain) I would dig into this a little more. Sometimes they are hurt more than they realize and sometimes they don't want to admit how much pain they are in
  • True mental blocks can be tricky to fix. You didn't mention if she has always struggled with mental blocks and/or low self-esteem. Bad meets happen from time to time and you move on but sometimes the athlete can't move on and work needs to be done to address the mental aspect
 

momofsushi

New Member
Proud Parent
Oct 3, 2018
30
46
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Canada
I could have written your message last year .... My dd went from having a spectacular L5 season to being last on her first L7 meet..... with multiple falls on beam. The pain lasted for a good 48 hours and thenn she went over it. But I too had to get over it, and that wasn’t that easy.... it was the opportunity to adress beam fear wixh was there for a long tine but was dealt with ( by my daughter). Coach didn’t made a big deal with the bad meet and that help to.