Welcome to our Gymnastics Community
Wanting to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.
Sign up

Practices great, doesn't compete well

PeanutsMom

New Member
Proud Parent
Jun 14, 2019
10
Country
USA
My daughter is a level 6 and turned 11 this week. She practices great and is in fact doing upgrades for level 7 and 8. Her coaches show no concerns about her talent or ability. However, she does not compete well and it has turned into a great anxiety for competition season. Her dad and I have had many conversations with her about how the scores don't matter and that we are proud of her for just trying at each meet. We're the parents, so what do we know right? We have worked with her coaches and they have told her that they see great potential in her and it may take falling in every meet for her to finally have 1 good one and know she can do it. I just need to know what to do as a parent when she leaves every meet feeling defeated (even though I have seen so much progress already this year). The lack of confidence is really holding her back and it is killing me as a parent to see such a talented young athlete who doesn't see it herself.
 

CuriousCate

Member
Proud Parent
Jul 12, 2016
453
Country
USA
I think that you just keep doing what you're doing. Keep being positive, loving and encouraging. Keep letting her know that you are proud of her work and her progress. It will click for her!
 

Aussie_coach

Moderator/Coach
Staff member
Verified Coach
Coach
Proud Relative
Proud Parent
Gymnast
Former Gymnast
Judge
Club Owner
Fan
Jan 4, 2008
3,235
Country
Australia
Performing well is an art form, and it can be worked on just like any art form and improved. Many kids are the opposite, they are mediocre in practice then shine at comps. Knowingly or not they have mastered the art of ‘using’ the audience or ‘using’ the pressure to improve their performance.

It is likely that your daughter has chalked up her experience and that she firmly believes that she doesn’t perform well at comps. She will attend the comps feeling like she isn’t going to do well, and it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

It’s harder to break this negative thinking when it has been going on for a while. But it can be done.

The way I train kids to perform better, is that we have the kids get up and perform their routines for the group on a regular. The group have to burst into applause and cheer whenever someone performs for them, and we only ever give positive feedback. Sometimes I have the kids watch and they have to think of one good thing the gymnast did, and each tell them that thing. I will give them feedback too but it will only ever be positive (I don’t tell them I do this). If they only get positive feedback when they perform they tend to associate performing with positivity, and start to feel like they do well when they perform (even if they don’t initially, we make sure they think they do). They enjoy performing because it makes them feel good.

The same applies for competition, we only give positive feedback to the gymnasts after a competition.

Of course we give corrections to our kids, lots of corrections but we give those corrections in training, never at a comp, or in the drills, never when they are performing in front of the group. If the kids stand up in front of the class and get negative feedback, they feel like everyone is looking for their faults. If they do a comp and get corrections at the comp, they feel like everyone saw them make mistakes. Instead we tell them the things they did well, and they feel like everyone saw them perform well.

Over time the kids start to really love to perform and feel like they are really good at it. Once they reach the higher levels, we will start to critique comp performance, by this time they have already mentally established themselves as good competitors.
 

Tmacs

Member
Proud Parent
Feb 19, 2019
59
Country
USA
I’m sorry! You sound very encouraging! We have a level 8 at our gym who fell on beam at every meet during her level 4 or 5 season. But she pushed through and does great!
 

LJL07

Active Member
Proud Parent
Jan 27, 2014
1,420
Country
USA
I’m sorry! You sound very encouraging! We have a level 8 at our gym who fell on beam at every meet during her level 4 or 5 season. But she pushed through and does great!
Yep! My daughter fell off the beam at every single level 3 meet. Last year was her first year as an optional, and she ended up winning the state beam title. She will get it!!!
 

mls529

Member
Proud Parent
Feb 12, 2016
223
42
Country
USA
Another story of my DD who fell off the beam at 9 of her 10 meets in level 4 "because she was nervous". She actually won 1st place on beam at regionals 2 years ago. And this year, she really learned how to "work" the floor, putting personality and sass into the routine. It can take time, but if the coaches really believe in her, she will eventually get there! As others have said, stay positive!
 

InbarSquirrel

Member
Proud Parent
Jan 28, 2013
192
Country
USA
Maybe it would be better to step back from upgrades at the moment and focus on the performing aspect of L6 like others have mention above. No reason to rush L7/8.
My DD who is a second year L9 is struggling with confidence on beam that reared its ugly head last season from too much up training during season without a positive training environment. Before L9/Hopes she rarely ever fell on beam at a meet (out of 28 meets from L4-8 only fell 4 times); currently in practice she is a top beam worker - always on cue for whatever skill is asked. She switched gyms 9 months ago and started the season last week already falling twice on beam; new gym reassured her at the meet that they believe in her and its going to take time to build confidence. Having DD no longer up training like she did at the previous gym has helped tremendously with the rest of the events and even home life. Everything takes time.
 

PeanutsMom

New Member
Proud Parent
Jun 14, 2019
10
Country
USA
Maybe it would be better to step back from upgrades at the moment and focus on the performing aspect of L6 like others have mention above. No reason to rush L7/8.
My DD who is a second year L9 is struggling with confidence on beam that reared its ugly head last season from too much up training during season without a positive training environment. Before L9/Hopes she rarely ever fell on beam at a meet (out of 28 meets from L4-8 only fell 4 times); currently in practice she is a top beam worker - always on cue for whatever skill is asked. She switched gyms 9 months ago and started the season last week already falling twice on beam; new gym reassured her at the meet that they believe in her and its going to take time to build confidence. Having DD no longer up training like she did at the previous gym has helped tremendously with the rest of the events and even home life. Everything takes time.
I would love to say that ending up-training would help, but the only event she isn't up-training is beam. She is capable of a back handspring on beam, but is only doing a back walkover back walkover series. She is a beautiful beam worker in that her lines are great, her extension/flexibility is beautiful, and her dance even shows on beam (all this from her coach), and it shows in practice, but then she gets to the meets and just can't get out of her own way. For instance, her first meet they were the last session of the day, start time of 6;30 pm, which in actuality was 7:15, and by 11 that morning she was already asking me, "Do you think I will do okay at the meet today?" She is defeating herself before she even gets there. I always just reassure her that she will do great even it it means a fall, since she is getting out there and trying, she has already won. We have used her brother as an example of someone who is often afraid to try something new because he is afraid of not being able to do it. Sometimes it is better to try and see what happens rather than avoid something because of "what if". I just want to end the cycle of disappointment and defeat that comes after every meet. Maybe I can't fix it, but my Momma heart sure would like to make it better.
 

ldw4mlo

Well-Known Member
Proud Parent
Feb 13, 2015
5,452
59
Country
USA
She is defeating herself before she even gets there. I always just reassure her that she will do great even it it means a fall, since she is getting out there and trying, she has already won.
You don’t actually say ”even if you fall ....“ Out loud, to her, do you?

If you do please read Aussie Coaches post a few more times.

And don’t mention falling to her. The last thing she needs after asking if you think she will do OK is for you to actually bring up falling to her, and plant that visual in her head. Really what she is hearing is that she’ll fall.... Any support you provide is canceled with her now visualizing falling. Focus on the positive.

Only the positive. You have been working so hard of course you’ll do OK. That xyz you are doing is getting so much better. Remember take deep breaths and do your best. Smile and have fun. We love watching you do gymnastic.

Do not say anything about falling. Not.One.Word.
 

InbarSquirrel

Member
Proud Parent
Jan 28, 2013
192
Country
USA
I would love to say that ending up-training would help, but the only event she isn't up-training is beam. She is capable of a back handspring on beam, but is only doing a back walkover back walkover series. She is a beautiful beam worker in that her lines are great, her extension/flexibility is beautiful, and her dance even shows on beam (all this from her coach), and it shows in practice, but then she gets to the meets and just can't get out of her own way. For instance, her first meet they were the last session of the day, start time of 6;30 pm, which in actuality was 7:15, and by 11 that morning she was already asking me, "Do you think I will do okay at the meet today?" She is defeating herself before she even gets there. I always just reassure her that she will do great even it it means a fall, since she is getting out there and trying, she has already won. We have used her brother as an example of someone who is often afraid to try something new because he is afraid of not being able to do it. Sometimes it is better to try and see what happens rather than avoid something because of "what if". I just want to end the cycle of disappointment and defeat that comes after every meet. Maybe I can't fix it, but my Momma heart sure would like to make it better.
Sometimes even talented kids need to take a step back before moving forward with their training. Nothing wrong with a BWO BWO series in L6 it will lay the foundation for a great connected beam series later on!
Some of my daughter's events this year are below SV because its more important to build her up than overwhelm her with skills that she doesn't need for this season.
 

PeanutsMom

New Member
Proud Parent
Jun 14, 2019
10
Country
USA
You don’t actually say ”even if you fall ....“ Out loud, to her, do you?

If you do please read Aussie Coaches post a few more times.

And don’t mention falling to her. The last thing she needs after asking if you think she will do OK is for you to actually bring up falling to her, and plant that visual in her head. Really what she is hearing is that she’ll fall.... Any support you provide is canceled with her now visualizing falling. Focus on the positive.

Only the positive. You have been working so hard of course you’ll do OK. That xyz you are doing is getting so much better. Remember take deep breaths and do your best. Smile and have fun. We love watching you do gymnastic.

Do not say anything about falling. Not.One.Word.
No, we don't actually talk about falling, we just talk about all the things that can go right. Or rather, we have gotten to just saying "You will do great!" and trying to avoid talking about the meet at all.
 

LJL07

Active Member
Proud Parent
Jan 27, 2014
1,420
Country
USA
I would love to say that ending up-training would help, but the only event she isn't up-training is beam. She is capable of a back handspring on beam, but is only doing a back walkover back walkover series. She is a beautiful beam worker in that her lines are great, her extension/flexibility is beautiful, and her dance even shows on beam (all this from her coach), and it shows in practice, but then she gets to the meets and just can't get out of her own way. For instance, her first meet they were the last session of the day, start time of 6;30 pm, which in actuality was 7:15, and by 11 that morning she was already asking me, "Do you think I will do okay at the meet today?" She is defeating herself before she even gets there. I always just reassure her that she will do great even it it means a fall, since she is getting out there and trying, she has already won. We have used her brother as an example of someone who is often afraid to try something new because he is afraid of not being able to do it. Sometimes it is better to try and see what happens rather than avoid something because of "what if". I just want to end the cycle of disappointment and defeat that comes after every meet. Maybe I can't fix it, but my Momma heart sure would like to make it better.
I feel your pain. The falling off the beam at every meet in level 3 was something that got into my daughter's head. It definitely wasn't a reflection of ability. I think it took a couple of meets that were successful to really boost her confidence but even now she still worries about beam a lot. Who doesn't though?! There was nothing we could say really. I tried saying things like "the world will not end if you fall off the beam. You will just try again next time," and that sort of thing. We finally stopped saying anything about it and just gave lots of praise for the events that she did well on. I think she just had to work it out herself. But I totally understand the maternal need to make it all better.
 
  • Like
Reactions: InbarSquirrel

Similar threads