Young gymnasts perform some amazing feats every time they step into a gym. However, as back to school time rolls around again and a new school year begins young gymnasts begin trying to master a balancing act that has very little to do with a four inch beam; balancing their school work with their athletic commitments.
Not that participating in gymnastics should be considered an obstacle to academic achievement. In fact, study after study has shown that children who participate in formal sports tend to do better in school than many of their peers who do not. What is called for however, in order for students to reach their maximum potential in both sports and schoolwork is some planning, time management and support from the adults in their life.
With this in mind, here are a few tips for achieving this delicate, but potentially very beneficial balance.
Talk to All the Stakeholders
Right at the beginning of the school year a young gymnast and her parents need to take the time to speak to both teachers and coaches, to teachers about their gymnastics commitments and to coaches about their academic ones. This way everyone understands what the student is dealing with and can be supportive if a little stress starts to set in as the year goes on.
Have a Plan – and a Planner
The key to good time management is proper planning. And a planner is a great tool not only for making plans but for sticking to them as well. When a child will be juggling schoolwork, gymnastics and trying to also have the social life any kid needs having a proper schedule is often the only way to make it all work.
You can make use of something as simple as an old-fashioned notebook or go a little more high tech and opt for a software based planner like Trello. Whatever you do just ensure that both child and parent have access to the planner at all times.
Make Clever Use of Time
Gymnasts can use their planner to ‘find’ extra little chunks of time to get things done. For example, often a lot of homework assignments can be done in a few 10-15 minute chunks. The commute from home to gym, or from gym to meet can offer that time and, as a bonus, if a gymnast is a little nervous about facing a big competition distracting themselves in this way can help keep pre-performance jitters away as well.
Encourage Kids to Get Help If They Need It
Even with all the planning in the world, and all of the best intentions, the balance between achieving great classroom marks and great marks on the gym floor can sometimes get to be a little much for young gymnasts of all ages. Parents should be aware of this fact and make it clear to their child that it’s OK to ask for help if they need it; from coaches, from teachers and from them.
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