For Parents advice for the first meet

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So we are finally ready to compete. Her routines are okay and we know that she will have to be spotted on bars. We are so excited. We are competing in Davie FL on the 2nd and 3rd of February.

I would love some advice from all you experience moms. My dd wants me to make a huge sign for her..GO AMBER GO lol.
Feb 26, 2007
Try to make sure she is well slept and well nourished in the week leading up to the meet. Try to avoid talking about the actual routines themselves, the coaches will be doing enough of that. It can be stressful if you talk a lot about the actual meet, as she may feel that you need her to do well.

I think your DD is only very little, so if she talks about the meet, put it in terms of how much fun she'll have with her team mates, and how it's great to be part of a team working together. Don't talk about scores or qualifying for anything, she really doesn't need to focus on those things.

Maybe try out her hair before the day, I learned that the hard way!!!

On the day, pack a lot of good healthy snacks and water, she may feel too excited to eat at home, but the munchies usually strike. Try to find something distracting for her to do, a movie, a good book etc, that'll take her mind off the meet too.

Good luck to her. My littlest has her first "real" meet on the 26th and she is already anticipating it. It is a very big deal to them!!!:)

My oldest DD has sometimes made a sign for their team, with the gym name and everyone's name on it. The little sibs love to hold it up and cheer for the team.


Proud Parent
May 11, 2007
Pacific NW
Here's some advice from the kid perspective:

My 7 year old ds just had his first meet, so I asked dd who's been on team three years now what advice she would give him. Her response was to drink plenty of water so you don't get dehydrated and tired and make sure you use the bathroom when you can between events. ;)


Moderator/Proud Parent
Aug 25, 2007
North Carolina
My dd had her first meet in November. We had to stay in a hotel - so that was exciting and she had some teammates at breakfast.

My advise would be to tell her that it is about having fun and showing what you have learned, most importantly have fun. I told her it was ok to be nervous but that her coach and teammates would be with her. Her first even was floor, she did not do real well and to be honest looked like she might be sick before she ever got off the floor !! But she went to vault next and told her coach she was fine. She did well on the rest.

tonight she told me that she is nervous at meets (she has only done two). I told her it was ok to be nervous, everyone else was too. But that she should just try to have as much fun as possible. She is just L3, moving to L4 in the summer, most likely. If she decides she does not want to compete we will just have her continue and not compete.

Lots of support and encouragement I would say. Don't critisize no matter what (mine is hard enough on herself !!). The coaches job is to correct, Parents job is to love, support and cheer. Falls, bent legs, tears and all.


Proud Parent
Mar 1, 2007
Good luck to your daughter. I think I was more nervous than my daughter for her first meet a couple month ago. Funny now it seems so long ago as we are almost done with our season. I think everyone gave you some great advice. I think the sleep is important and making sure you have water and a healthy snack. I give my dd some grapes in a baggie and some small pretzels. Don't think she ever ate during the meet, but it was good to have something to pop in her mouth as soon as it was over and they were waitting for awards which can take a long time. I would agree with the other moms, be supportive, tell her she did a good job, give plenty of hugs. My DD didn't really understand scores in the begining. Boy did SHE learn fast though. But it wasn't something we discussed until she was trying to qualify for sectionals and then states and then she would ask if she got a good score.

My daughter is not a good eater pre-meet. We try to get some cereal in her for early morning meets or a late breakfast for early afternoon meets. Just be prepared to hit the first McD's or other food place as soon as you leave the meet cause she will be hungrey! If you are bringing other kids, make sure you have a gameboy, book, snacks, drinks or something else for them to do...meets can get long for siblings & expensive for parents! Plus you will soon get tired of "meet" food, hot dogs, bagels, muffins, meatballs.

Bring yourself a pen to keep score, it's fun to keep track of everyones score and makes the time go by quickly as you wait for your dd to compete. Make sure camera/video is charged and remember no flash allowed. Take some nice pictures before the meet starts because afterwards you will not be able to nail them down for a decent picture & the hair-do will look nothing like it did 3 hours before. And hair...find out what hair your coach wants the girsl to have and start practicing. We started out with a bun that I found nice and easy and then ended up with a french braid. Not easy for a mom who had 2 boys first and is hairdo challenged. Make sure you have hair gel, hair spray, bobby pins, and GLITTER! I buy a couple cans after Halloween when it is always on sale. One more thing, pack a needle, thread and safety pins in your purse, leotards have been known to come undone at seems, it happened to us. And if your gymie has a bag throw in some bandaides, tissue and a roll of tape, someone always needs tape or a tissue.

Think that covers it. HAVE FUN!

gymgirl0805's Mom

Everybody mentioned everything I was gonna.. except I am one that does NOT like to write down everybody elses score. It makes me much more nervous to know how she's doing compared to everybody else. I'd rather just wait til awards to see how she did!! lol

Good luck to her and have fun!! You guys will have a blast!


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Jan 4, 2008
Forget the placings, this is easy to do if she doesn't place. But, often not easy to do if she does. At the first meet their placings will have no bearing on their future in gymnastics. Some of the worlds best gymnasts would have done terribly at their first meet. Doing well is also not a sign of future success. If a kid places at their first meet it can often set them up to think they are going to place at every meet and face a lot more dissapointment if they don't. If your daughter does place don't make that the emphasis of your celebrations. Do the same thing if she comes first or last. Make participation the thing to reward.

Forget the scores, even forget about the old "I'll be proud if you just do your best". In the first meet you may see a new brilliant side of your daughter you have never seen before, some kids just shine once the pressure is on and the judges are watching. Other kids will not be able to perform to their best, they will suffer nerves and be in a new environment. Time will improve this situation. But no matter what happens reward her for getting out there and having a go.
Jul 29, 2007
Make sure your flash is off on your camera at the meet (USAG rule). You can turn the flash on during awards. With all of the excitement, you may not hear them announce that you can't have a flash during competition.

Also, we put a bottle of water, a banana (doesn't make a mess in someone's gym), a hairbursh, extra ponytails and hairbows, and hairspray in their bags. Our coach doesn't like our girls to take crackers, etc. for the girls to eat as snacks during the meet b/c of the mess. After the girls competed last meet, they had a few minutes before awards. Everyone of them had their bananas out eating them. They looked like monkeys out there. SO CUTE!!

Get there in plenty of time to get a good seat where you can see all of the events in order to video and take pictures.

Don't talk while videoing, unless it's good. She will watch the video back and hear every word you say. Good advice from our coach.

Be supportive of all of her teammates. They gymnasts and parents will appreciate that.

If there is a problem, go directly to your dd's coach. Not the coach from the host gym or the judges. Your coach will deal with the problem accordingly. Good advice from our coach.

Have fun and enjoy watching your dd do something she loves! Good Luck!!!!:):):)


Proud Parent
Feb 10, 2007
I have no advice since my girls have not Competed yet (and it prob will not be till next year) but I want to wish her luck and a ton of fun!!! I cant wait to hear how much fun she had!!!
Jul 12, 2007
So much great advice... our experienced gym moms should do a meet check list to help out all of us newbie moms!! :D My dd has yet to compete, so I can't add anything new, but I want to send a

"GO AMBER GO" out to your little gymmie!!! I am sure she will be fantastic!

I agree with your little one - I think signs are soooooo cute!


My advice....
Don't make a big deal out of placements, scores or any of the technical stuff.
As a coach, I try to instill that each meet should be about fun and trying to do your best... not the best.
Advice for parents... don't second guess it and don't worry... smile, clap, cheer her on and think just how far she has come!
Good Luck!
Nov 9, 2007
What great advice from all the previous posters......I'll just add try to get there early. No matter how good your directions are it always seems like the first time I go somewhere for a meet I make a small mistake. My dd laughs that I always get lost at least once, but always make it to the meets early. But thats just me! LOL

I find if you get there early the girls have a chance to hang out and get their bearings, find out where the bathrooms are and just relax before the coaches get them started.As for getting a good seat, I try to move around a little during the meets, I try to video all my dd's events so that family can see her later.

My dd loves to compete, she gets very nervous the day before, but on meet day it's all fun. We have an out of town meet on friday and we will be leaving for our 4 hour drive about 1 on thursday. That way we get to the hotel in time to get settled, and then have a relaxing dinner. At our out-of-town meets the girls get together and decorate doors at our host hotel for all their teammates, they have fun and it helps them relax. I always bring along ribbons, construction paper and glitter pens. And of course we do hair the night before.

After your first meet you will find what works best for your dd, and just go with it. The girls work so hard to get to these competitions, it is easy to celebrate the experience, don't worry about the scores.

Have fun and let us know how she does> Good Luck!
Jan 5, 2008
In addition to all the great advice, I recommend bringing Tylenol (chewables and regular) in your purse. Between you, your daughter, her teammates, their families, one of her coaches... someone is bound to come down with a headache. Trust me, there's nothing worse than sitting through a long meet with a splitting headache....listening to the compulsory music over and over and over again. I also keep a roll of multi-symptom Rolaids in my purse as well. Hope Amber has lots of fun at her first meet!

gym law mom

Proud Parent
Dec 23, 2006
I think you've gotten great advice and I've picked up a few tips myself. Do remember to put your cell phone on vibrate or turn it off. Nothing more distracting than someone's cell going off just as a girl is mounting on beam:) One thing my gymie loved was getting some of the team together to go out for lunch or dinner after the meet. It was always an optional thing as some folks had to get home or whatever. If you've already checked out the area where the meet will be, see if there are some family style restaurants nearby. I think the girls liked the eating out more than the meet at times!

Hope you have a blast at the 1st meet and all that follow!

gym law mom

Proud Parent
Dec 23, 2006
Sorry for a 2nd post---mind just wasn't totally in gear earlier. Do invest in a stadium seat or some type of seat cushion. Most gyms bring in bleachers for meet seating and believe me your low back will thank you if you have something like that.
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