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

Talking to young kids about meet placement

Scream4IceCream

New Member
Proud Parent
Apr 19, 2018
6
Country
USA
So this is my daughter’s first year competing (5yo, Level 2). Her coaches entered her group in three low key competitions that place out 60% and include a “6 and under” age group for Level 2. She placed 1st AA at the first one (event placements 1st, 1st, 3rd, 5th) and was super excited. She uncharacteristicly bombed one event at the next meet placing last on that event, but placing 1st, 3rd, and 5th on the other events for a 4th finish AA. She was a little disappointed, but was still excited about her medals and being called up to the podium. Except for the event she bombed, she actually improved her scores on the other events and AA, so she was proud of that as well. The third meet she was supposed to compete in was cancelled, so the coaches entered them in a different meet that (compared to what she’s used to) will be huge and super competitive. She’s excited to compete in a real arena “like Simone Biles” and is calling it her “championship meet,” but I’m worried about her competing in a broader age category with gyms that take Level 2 much more seriously than we do. Based on the scores I saw online from this meet in previous years, I doubt she’ll place. She’s running around this morning saying she’s going to “do great and win 1st place” and it’s kind of breaking my heart. I don’t want to say anything to her before the meet, but what do I say to her afterwards if she doesn’t place and is disappointed? I know there are life lessons here and all, but she’s only 5 and I just want this to be fun for her at this point. We’ve always just said do your best, have fun, we love you the same no matter what happens, but she’s picked up on the placement thing from watching competitions on TV and from girls in the higher levels. Any advice from this awesome forum is greatly appreciated!
 
  • Like
Reactions: PinPin

momnipotent

Member
Proud Parent
Judge
Apr 5, 2012
301
Country
USA
Have her set some goals before the meet that are not placement or score related. Things that she can do but maybe has struggled with-turns on beam, keeping her feet together on pullover on bars, pointing her toes in her vault, things like that. That way, when she does compete, even if she doesn’t place, you can focus on how she did achieve the goals she set for herself. If she improves her scores, I would point that out too-talking about how even though medals and first places are fun, the real goal of the sport is to keep improving yourself and her scores show that she is doing that, so she should be really proud of herself for that.
 

Flippin'A

Member
Proud Parent
Former Gymnast
Dec 4, 2017
203
31
Country
USA
My DD's also very young and in addition to setting gymnastics goals that are within her control like momnipotent said, I try to put a lot of emphasis on being a good teammate. We talk about how what's really important is watching her teammates and cheering them on, listening to her coaches, being happy for everyone who got a chance to win that day (whether it includes her or not) and supporting anyone who feels like they didn't do their best. I try to consciously notice her doing these things a few specific times at each meet and comment on that more than her actual gymnastics. I think it helps her take her mind off being nervous for herself and gives her something totally within her control to feel like she's succeeding at even if she's having a rough day gymnastics-wise.
 

Eagleperson

Member
Proud Parent
Former Gymnast
Fan
Sep 30, 2013
55
46
NM
Country
USA
I agree with what has already been stated. My daughter is 14 and this is her 6th year competing. When we do talk about placements and meets (which is not all that often) I tend to focus on smaller improvements or details (that clear hip circle looked great! What a strong vault!) or on sportsmanship and her team (Wow! I am so happy for your team-mate and her first place win! Your gym did so great---I am proud of all of you!). And, even at 14 she appreciates a post-meet treat whether she medals or not, to celebrate hard work.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MILgymFAM

Dad1234

New Member
Proud Parent
May 12, 2018
14
40
Country
USA
My daughter is a very young five year old level 2 and has only placed at one meet so far. After her first meet where she saw what it was all about, I have been honest and told her that she might get medals at some meets and not others. I tell her to go out there and do her best and works towards a medal if she wants one and that if she gets a medal that is great and if she doesn’t that is ok too. I tell her that what I care about is that she goes out there and does her best and has fun. I tell her that regardless of if she gets a medal or not that I will be super proud of her. I always make a big deal about how she did awesome after the meet. I think she got as much praise the day she won medals as the days she didn’t win medals. We only talk about the positive things that happened like “wow, your round off looked great today or you didn’t fall off the beam at all”. We always set small goals for her to achieve for skills that she has gained or improved upon from the last meet. They are things are that attainable for her so she always achieves those small goals. I get her a small reward for achieving those goals. That way she always feels successful regardless of getting a medal or not. We also make a big deal out of her ribbons even though she knows medals are better. I had similar concerns before my daughter started competing wondering if she would be upset when she didn’t win as she is a very young five year old who likes to win. I thought she would cry and be upset and surprisingly she wasn’t. She wanted a medal, but I think she also just enjoyed getting out there and showing off her stuff. I think positive words from her family made it ok that she didn’t place. It’s a tough lesson to learn at five that you aren’t always going to medal, but a good one too. You might be surprised and find out that your daughter wins at the next competition and if she doesn’t you might be surprised at how well she handles it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: PinPin

ldw4mlo

Well-Known Member
Proud Parent
Feb 13, 2015
5,163
59
Country
USA
She’s running around this morning saying she’s going to “do great and win 1st place” and it’s kind of breaking my heart. I don’t want to say anything to her before the meet, but what do I say to her afterwards if she doesn’t place and is disappointed? I know there are life lessons here and all, but she’s only 5 and I just want this to be fun for her at this point. We’ve always just said do your best, have fun, we love you the same no matter what happens, but she’s picked up on the placement thing from watching competitions on TV and from girls in the higher levels. Any advice from this awesome forum is greatly appreciated!
Yes all of this. Unavoidable life lessons. Have fun, do your best we love you.

Its like any sport, an any given Sunday thing. And at 5 she is likely not to quite grasp that yet. But she will.

In other words. Time. Time and maturity will take care of these things.

If she is sad you give her a hug. Point out what she did well. Take her out for a treat for her hard work (not for her placements) and keep the focus on the skills.

Scores are squirrely. Best examples, age groups and scores. My kid has had the best scores of her team and not gotten any placements simply because she had the most competitive age group. A girl who consistently scores lower then most of the kids on team, also usually gets on the podium for most events. because she is in a different age group. While the rest of the girls sometimes get on the podium, sometimes just place and sometimes not. Yes its hard even at 10-13 to score better then your team mates and not place.

My girl has had a rough scoring season as she was out most of the fall with an injury. We still manage to find things she is doing really well and has improved on..............
 

sce

Well-Known Member
Proud Parent
Former Gymnast
Mar 11, 2014
6,094
Country
USA
Just tell her beforehand you are proud of how hard she works, and love watching her compete.. That it's most important to do her best and be kind to her team and the other teams. No matter how many medals she gets.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Really and ldw4mlo

Similar threads