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Vent, Advice, Frequent Loss of Skills

Peanut

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Proud Parent
Dec 16, 2015
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USA
Hello CB friends. It’s been some time since I last posted but today I’m feeling a need to vent and maybe get some advice. DD is a 10 yo Level 6 that this season has scored in the 37/38 range. She’s very close to moving to 7 but coach wants her to contoue to polish before moving up. She’s at a highly competitive gym where kids nearly always grab top spots in most levels.

Up until recently, it’s always been a love fest with the sport. Despite the high scores through L6, this year has been frustrating for her. She has always struggled with fear but has battled and conquered it to gain each needed skill. It’s crazy, this year, after each meet, she seems to lose her skills. Layout discount or flyaway, tick toc bhs, tumbling passes, you name it. She then has to build them back up or make changes to her routines for each meet. At the meet they look great, then, here we go again. Lose skills she can do in her sleep, then have to fight to get them back or make changes. She’s very competitive and wants to win so she’s been winning the fight to get the lost skills back. Still, this process has be frustrating. She’s very petite and has steady but small growth so it’s not a growth spirt out of nowhere.

So...her frustration is starting to show and last night mentioned quitting after the season and trying other sports where it wouldn’t matter if skills were lost. But then, after we get home, taking a bath, she asks for a private. Go figure. Recently she’s also been talking about wanting to go to a gymnastics camp with teammates this summer, getting new skills, and getting to Level 10. She’s all over the map :)

I’m not inclined to buy a bunch of CD’s or have her Skype with a sports psychologist. I just hate to see such a talented kid get frustrated with herself and be so hard on herself. She can’t understand why she loses skills so easily.

Thanks for reading my vent :)
 

ldw4mlo

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Feb 13, 2015
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First of all she is 10 and heading into puberty this is what they do. Yep all over the map.

And part of the process is to deal with the frustration. And learn patience. Huge life lessons here.

Next she is likely growing makes a huge difference regarding skills.

Finally reframe it. She is not losing skills, she is readjusting. Both mentally and physically.
 

Muddlethru

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Mar 16, 2011
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Level 6 is the first year in optionals and often times it takes a while to really get a skill. Being able to do a skill sporadically (perhaps even well at meets) does not necessarily mean you have the skill consistently. So I don't think she is really losing a skill and then getting it back and then losing it again. A better description would be she just does not have the skill consistently yet. If she is more off than on, she likely is just getting lucky in executing the skill.

I know your daughter is getting frustrated. Just assure her that it will be like that in the beginning when training a new skill. Tell her to just keep doing what her coaches tell her to do and she'll eventually get it more consistently. If I recall correctly, you've indicated your daughter is slower at getting skills but usually peaks at state or towards the end of the season. So I think she'll get to where she needs to be eventually and should not sweat it too much.
 
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Peanut

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Proud Parent
Dec 16, 2015
39
Country
USA
First of all she is 10 and heading into puberty this is what they do. Yep all over the map.

And part of the process is to deal with the frustration. And learn patience. Huge life lessons here.

Next she is likely growing makes a huge difference regarding skills.

Finally reframe it. She is not losing skills, she is readjusting. Both mentally and physically.
Thank you. This is great advice. We're not big on discussing the stuggles...as I've learned to just say it will all be okay or you're probably growing. Last night was the first time she mentioned quitting so it kind of threw me off.
 

Peanut

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Dec 16, 2015
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Level 6 is the first year in optionals and often times it takes a while to really get a skill. Being able to do a skill sporadically (perhaps even well at meets) does not necessarily mean you have the skill consistently. So I don't think she is really losing a skill and then getting it back and then losing it again. A better description would be she just does not have the skill consistently yet. If she is more off than on, she likely is just getting lucky in executing the skill.

I know your daughter is getting frustrated. Just assure her that it will be like that in the beginning when training a new skill. Tell her to just keep doing what her coaches tell her to do and she'll eventually get it more consistently. If I recall correctly, you've indicated your daughter is slower at getting skills but usually peaks at state or towards the end of the season. So I think she'll get to where she needs to be eventually and should not sweat it too much.
Thank you. Also excellent advice. It seems like she does great building up to the meet and executes, but right after the meet, she has to start over again.
 

John

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May 5, 2017
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I think as a dad that the first step to anything difficult is to discuss it. To not discuss the struggle is to pretend it does not exist. I think this increases internal pressures on your daughter. Speak to her starting slowly and progress. I think the goal should be to help her understand what gymnastics takes and in the process gain the knowledge of her true desire for the sport. After you are openly communicating you as her parent can help her make the best decisions that are best for her in the long run.
 
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Peanut

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Dec 16, 2015
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I think as a dad that the first step to anything difficult is to discuss it. To not discuss the struggle is to pretend it does not exist. I think this increases internal pressures on your daughter. Speak to her starting slowly and progress. I think the goal should be to help her understand what gymnastics takes and in the process gain the knowledge of her true desire for the sport. After you are openly communicating you as her parent can help her make the best decisions that are best for her in the long run.
Thank you. I didn't mean to imply we don't talk about struggles (although I guess I did say that). We have very open conversations. What I meant to say was that I don't over focus on a gymnastics-related challenge as I don't want to add additional pressure that she already feels in a highly competitive environment plus what she puts on herself. In other words I've tried to "trust the process" and understand that it is a process.
 
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NutterButter

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Jan 24, 2013
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This sounds a lot like my DD who also has always struggled with fear! She would pull off the skill in the meet but then struggle and refuse to do the skill during practice. There were a few times where she literally didn't do a skill all week during practice but then pulled it off at the meet. Fear of skill was a big part of it but also fear of failure and disappointing the coach. The pattern would be this: she would have a 'bad' day on an event and not go for a skill. Coach got frustrated. Next day before practice DD is worked up over not disappointing coach again. She would then have another 'bad' day on the event. This pattern would repeat itself all week along until the next meet and then she would throw the skill. This was a pattern for my DD through L7. Even in L8 she was able to skate by with this pattern though her beam scores didn't ever improve because she wasn't consistently working the skills. By L9 the skills are just too difficult and unsafe to do w/o consistent practice. So, now a 'bad' week in practice usually means she will not be allowed to compete the event at the next meet. In my experience, kids who struggle with fear at a young age (before puberty) will always be fearful. They can still enjoy success in the sport but it requires coaches who understand that mindset.

I'm going to throw this out there...does your DD feel stressed over having to perform at a certain level? She's at a highly competitive gym and she's clearly rocking it at L6 if she's able to score a 38. How do her coaches react to the loss of skills? A highly competitive environment like you describe would not be the best fit for my DD's temperament. This probably would not be acceptable to my DD even if the coaches were awesome. Fear of skills plus fear of disappointing others is a tricky combination and any gym that either has strict move-up requirements or harsh coaching would not work for my DD.
 
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Peanut

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Proud Parent
Dec 16, 2015
39
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USA
This sounds a lot like my DD who also has always struggled with fear! She would pull off the skill in the meet but then struggle and refuse to do the skill during practice. There were a few times where she literally didn't do a skill all week during practice but then pulled it off at the meet. Fear of skill was a big part of it but also fear of failure and disappointing the coach. The pattern would be this: she would have a 'bad' day on an event and not go for a skill. Coach got frustrated. Next day before practice DD is worked up over not disappointing coach again. She would then have another 'bad' day on the event. This pattern would repeat itself all week along until the next meet and then she would throw the skill. This was a pattern for my DD through L7. Even in L8 she was able to skate by with this pattern though her beam scores didn't ever improve because she wasn't consistently working the skills. By L9 the skills are just too difficult and unsafe to do w/o consistent practice. So, now a 'bad' week in practice usually means she will not be allowed to compete the event at the next meet. In my experience, kids who struggle with fear at a young age (before puberty) will always be fearful. They can still enjoy success in the sport but it requires coaches who understand that mindset.

I'm going to throw this out there...does your DD feel stressed over having to perform at a certain level? She's at a highly competitive gym and she's clearly rocking it at L6 if she's able to score a 38. How do her coaches react to the loss of skills? A highly competitive environment like you describe would not be the best fit for my DD's temperament. This probably would not be acceptable to my DD even if the coaches were awesome. Fear of skills plus fear of disappointing others is a tricky combination and any gym that either has strict move-up requirements or harsh coaching would not work for my DD.
Thank you for sharing. This is really interesting. The coaches do seem to understand (at least the younger one does) that DD can be up and down. I feel like they realize she has potential so they are willing to work with her and find temporary solutions like last night changing a tumbling pass. I don't feel she gets stressed to perform in practice, it just seems that lately she hasn't been having as much fun because she gets frustrated with herself and doesn't understand why she comes to practice and suddenly cannot do a skill that she's been doing since level 4 or 5.
 
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