Gymnastics in and of itself is beneficial for gymnasts at all levels of participation. Sometimes, however, when gymnasts progress well and the sport becomes a bigger – and more serious – part of their lives – things change a little.
Competitive gymnastics can be a challenge and a joy, but sometimes well-meaning parents and guardians of young gymnasts develop habits, and do things, that take away some of the great enjoyment of the sport for their kids.
With this is mind, here are some of the things parents of gymnasts should avoid doing so they don’t interfere with the positive benefits of gymnastics for kids:
• Don’t compare your gymnast’s progress with that of other gymnasts.
• Don’t become overly preoccupied with your gymnast’s success or lack of it.
• Don’t take judge’s scores too seriously, especially at the lower levels.
• Don’t forget the need for fun in gymnastics.
• Don’t stand for unacceptable behavior from your gymnast during practice or competitions.
• Don’t gossip about anyone in your gymnastics community. Word always travels fast!
• Don’t interfere unnecessarily with coaches and their coaching duties during practice or competitions.
• Don’t pressure your gymnast regarding their skill levels or competition performances.
• Don’t set unrealistic goals for your gymnast.
• Don’t predicate your love or attention on your gymnast’s competitive success.
• Don’t base your self-esteem on the success of your gymnast’s progress or competitive success.
• Don’t lose your long-term perspective about the importance of your gymnast’s participation in the sport.
• Don’t let yourself care too deeply about your gymnast’s competition results.
• Don’t undercut your gymnast’s confidence in their coaches or coaching.
• Don’t show any negative emotions while watching your gymnast practice or compete.
• Don’t try to make your gymnast talk about the event immediately after a gymnastics meet, especially if they performed less well than they had hoped.
• Don’t do or say anything to make your child feel guilty for the time and money you are spending on their gymnastics or any sacrifices you feel are making for them to participate in the sport.
• Don’t base your support for your gymnast’s participation in the sport on any expectation of a monetary return like receiving a college scholarship or winning ‘big money’ competitions.
• Don’t try to live out your own sports dreams through your gymnast.
• Don’t expect anything more from your gymnast except their best effort.
• Don’t ever do or say anything that will cause your gymnast to think less of you (like argue with other gymnasts, parents or coaches in public)
• Don’t use sarcasm, threaten or use fear to try to motivate your gymnast. Love is the best motivator.
• Don’t expect anything more from gymnastics than physical fitness, life skills and fun for your gymnast.