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practice is fun...no, really!

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dazed

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okay, so I mentioned earlier that my 7 yo has moved up a level. Her coach told me today though that she still needs to work on her pull-ups and getting her hips to stay straight when she's doing the splits. I mentioned this to my daughter and she looked less than overjoyed. How can I get the out-of-class practice in that she needs and have it be fun, not work? Any suggestions? She still says she likes gymnastics and wants to succeed, but I'm afraid of pushing her to the point of dropping.
 

ZJsMom

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Did the coach tell her to work on these things at home?

If so, I'd use some kind of checklist she can do to track her progress. Maybe she could give herself a star when she completes the assigned workout.

If the coaches havn't told her she needs to do extra conditioning at home, then I'd just leave for them to deal with in the gym.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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I've always been a big proponent of the theory that the parent and the coach are two separate roles and should not be mixed. Unless the coach has specifically said she should work on it at home, leave it for the coach to handle at practice.
 
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dazed

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The coach did ask if we could work on these skills at home. There were a few other skills she needs practice on but she said those were best left at the gym. She suggested the monkey bars at the playground for the pullups, but I have no idea what I'm looking at for the splits. I'll ask her about that, but I just wanted to know how to make it fun. Otherwise, yes, I'd love to leave it all up to her coach! :)
 
Feb 15, 2007
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dazed my dd does the same w/her bad split - cuz it HURTS lol:p .... she leans to get comfortable. For the pull up I think monkey bars would be fun... let her start with doing only one/trying 2 competely on her own... and maybe add per week. That would take only a small amount of time and after she can do a few I bet she will be more excited to beat her score... good luck:D
 

gym law mom

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Dazed--you can also put a chin up bar in the house if it won't destroy a wall. That way she has somewhere to work on the pull ups when the weather is bad or you just can't get to the playground. If you do that make sure an adult is watching her and tell her this bar is not for swinging!

I would ask the coach to show you exactly what she needs to be doing in the splits and how you can help her hands on. That way you're not guessing and the help you give her at home is the same way its done in the gym.

As far as making it fun, well there have been some good suggestions about a chart. Maybe she could keep a little book with each day's practice in it and how many she did. That way she could take it in to show her coach how well she's doing at home. Also sit down with her and let her pick time of day and days she would like to do the practice---ie none on days she has practice. What about putting some favorite music on or while practicing splits let her watch a video she enjoys?

Some kids really like the strength work and others just don't. It may help if her coach explains WHY she needs to work on the upper body and get the splits nicer.
 
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Steve Long

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sorry if this is preaching

How can I get the out-of-class practice in that she needs and have it be fun, not work? Any suggestions? She still says she likes gymnastics and wants to succeed, but I'm afraid of pushing her to the point of dropping.
Don't want her to drop? I agree with leave it for the coach phylosophy -especially with strength and flexibility which are hard work no matter what. She has time to develop -don't worry. If she wants to work outside of the gym, fine -but let this be her decision. When she brings it home on her own she'll be having "fun" -even if it's a hard workout. I would not even support the coach with home workouts unless she showed the interest herself.

Gymnastics can be pretty tough on a little person's psyche. For someone entering the competitive side of the sport I'd recommend considering a boundary. As a child's self worth begins to intertwine with their success at gymnastics how they "perceive" an important person's feelings about what they're doing has a huge impact. These perceptions can be way out of line with a parents and coach's true feelings. The "perceived" perfection they may think they need to attain is impossible to reach. It's much better for these perceptions to be projected on the coach. In fact -this is part of a coach's role.

Help to balance the other side of the self worth equation. Leave gymnastics (coaching, analysis, critique, workouts, discussion, reward) in the gym. Only talk gymnastics when she brings it up -and only in positive ways. Embrace the parent's role -at home, in the car, outside of the gym the fun job (not the easy one) is only to love, encourage, and often with gymnastics to understand and comfort.
 
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dazed

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Thanks for the responses everyone. I really appreciate all the advice. I think I will leave the coaching to the coach. I'm glad I don't have to feel guilty that maybe I'm not doing enough for my dd if I don't push at-home practice.
 

i<3thesmellofchalk

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Jul 12, 2010
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for the splits i think that you should not try to make her do them. my coaches tell a bunch of girls to do their splits at home. most of them dont but that is their problem. if they dont do it at home the coaches will just push them harder at practice until they want to do it at home because they dont want to be pushed extra hard at practice. for the chin ups... if u guys ever go to a play ground or something just be like hey.. go show me 10 chin ups.. or however many you want. she wont think u are trying to make her work becuase you are at a playground. if there are bars at her school then somehow convince her to show everyone that she is strong and she can do more chin ups than everyone
 
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NGL780309

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DD's coach has also told her to work her splits at home while watching TV. To be honest I can't get her to do it. I suggest it and she fights me so I just forget about it. I don't have the time or energy to deal with it. We have enough battles like cleaning her room and brushing her teeth to deal with.:mad:

We were also given a list of conditioning for when we went on vacation. That so didn't happen :D! I figured with all the swimming and playing with cousins she got enough exercise. It was interesting that she came back from that week of vacation and looked better than ever. I was a bit worried because we never got around to doing any conditioning, but she did so well that week back. She got 3 new skills. I asked my exhusband who is a gym coach why she got so much better with a week off. He explained that kids need that mental break. She was excited to be back and refreshed so she tried harder than ever.

It's hard as a gym parent because you sit at the gym and listen to the other parents talk about how their kids practice everyday, they have such and such equipment at home, they condition and stretch everyday, they have a tumbling coach at their cheer gym, they are signed up for 2 hour privates every week etc. I've heard it all. One dad told me how he makes his DD condition everyday. I asked how the heck he gets her to do it when my child fights me to brush her teeth. His reponse was, "Well she cries and I have to spank her, but she gets it done.":eek: At first I thought gosh I'm not doing enough to help her succeed. Then I looked around ( and this sounds like bragging and I don't mean it that way) and DD is better at 5 than his 7 year old whose been doing this for 5 years compared to her year and half. This child also cries during practice and has attitude with the coaches. I mean who can blame her, she never gets a break. She does competitive cheer, practices with the level 4 team, has tumbling privates and gymnastics privates, plus practices at home.
 
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justlikenast97

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tell her she seems like she doesn't want to get better, because she is not working hard enough and needs her splits or she will never be good!
 

mumoftwogymnasts

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May 30, 2010
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At work of course...
My son's coach has suggested in the past that it would be good if he could practice the splits every day at home. He explained to both of us that it would be helpful in getting him flat quicker.

I never enforced this at home, but I did suggest. What I found was that my son would get so caught up in other stuff, homework, dinner, playing, watching tv etc that suddenly it would be bedtime and there was no time left for stretching. So it just became part of our evening routine, I would say something like "if you want to do the splits tonight you should probably start now". Most of the time he would hop up and do them, if he didn't want to I never pursued it any further.
Interestingly he practised most nights, got flat and then stopped. After a few months he realised his flexibility had decreased. Now he is back to stretching most nights without me even mentioning it. I think that the realisation that results come from hard work and effort has to come from the gymnast, really that is half the battle.

We occasionally get conditioning stuff to do for a week or so at home, one of the best ways to make it fun is to challenge mum or dad to try it as well. Of course mum and dad fail, mostly in a spectacular fashion which provides a great impetus for ds and dd to show how well they can do stuff!
 

gymdog

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Let her know what the coach said and tell her you will be there to help her if she wants it, just ask. And then I would just leave it up to her. I think parents should be supportive, but I think in general the more you push school age kids, the more they can resist, and that can spill over into other areas of your relationship. Even if as a younger kid they demanded you help them play gymnastics or were receptive to such efforts, I have never known older kids who really appreciated this (although 7 might be on the edge where she'll accept it). Just my experience growing up in gymnastics - I've seen parents who don't realize how their child has come to perceive their involvement in their gymnastics, but maybe that's even sadder. I think that as they get older they can start to resent it when they feel their parents are interfering or "don't really know" but are trying to help. They view gymnastics as their thing.

My parents were very laid back and would have never tried to have me practice at home, but even the odd comment could really upset me. I've seen things on here that people have described that would have made me so angry (I've seen things that make me angry to read...) and I can't imagine what that's like for the kid. Sorry, but true. It's irrational in some ways and very hard to describe. There is no way to perfectly balance it - even the most well meaning parent will probably occasionally say or do something that upsets the serious competitive gymnast at the older ages and higher levels. But it's something to be aware of.

But I think you can provide help when asked at this age and can relay what the coach said in a neutral manner. But as she gets older and into the tweens I would back off even more, and probably assume that anything training suggestion related can mostly go between the coach and her, as long as it isn't something where you would need to be involved like injury rehab or doctor's appointments, etc.
 
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