Were you the best possible gymnastic parent in 2018? We hope so, but there’s always room for improvement. Sometimes it’s far too easy to get lost in hustle and bustle of your child’s schedule and class and contest commitments that the real joy of being a sports parent gets a bit lost.
With the New Year here everyone is making resolutions, so we thought we’d chime in, with three important New Year’s resolutions for all sports parents gearing up for the 2019 season:
I Will Cheer from the Sidelines, Not Try to Coach
As a parent, your job is to make sure your child gets to their practices and meets on time, that they have everything they need to practice and/or compete successfully (including the right nutrition and hydration) and then just support them like crazy! The problem is that sometimes we forget that. In the excitement of a meet – or even in practice – it is tempting to do a little sideline coaching. After all, you’re there every week, you do know what you’re talking about now.
However, if you are constantly coaching your child from your seat you are putting them in a really awkward spot; do they listen to you or their coach? It’s distracting and distressing for the gymnast, even if your advice is very well-intended. So this year let the coaches do their job so you can concentrate on yours, the most important part of which is being that reliable cheerleader every young gymnast needs.
I Will Support the Whole Team
If you couldn’t make it to a meet (because life happens) wouldn’t you want someone to cheer on your child when they put in a great performance? In 2019, don’t just resolve to support your own gymnast, resolve the support the whole team.
Cheer, applaud, give out some high-fives; you don’t need to artificially inflate anyone’s egos but give credit where credit is due! And please, don’t throw your child’s teammates under the bus when they make a mistake. It can create an uncomfortable team dynamic between the athletes that can be hard to fix.
I’ll Let the Meet Be Over When It’s Over
Sometimes things don’t go so well, and that is when being a sports parent gets super tough. After a bad practice, or a bad meet, it’s normal for even the best and brightest gymnasts to feel a little down and defeated.
Obviously you’ll want to help. But talking about what happened immediately afterwards is not the right thing to do, unless they want to. Try to start the after event conversation with something positive but then let them lead the conversation (or not, they may not want to talk at all right then.
Nit picking every single thing that went wrong isn’t going to change the outcome, and chances are it won’t make them perform better next time. Give your gymnast some time to process what happened and address it when they are ready. And the chances are they will, because they know that, no matter what, you’re on their side.
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