Absolutely do not let gymnastics become anything other than the GYMNAST'S "thing." The best thing my parents ever did for me regarding gymnastics was allowing it to be completely my own thing. I quit (both times for a year) twice and each time was the right decision for the moment. I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for those off times. Ultimately, gymnastics is supposed to be fun. When it's no longer fun, it's time to quit.
I've watched many parents become so completely involved in their child's gymnastics that the kid is afraid to quit. It causes resentment, and the decision is hard enough without parental guilt playing into it. While my mom was always there with an ear and advice when I asked (that's key!), she didn't attempt to make judgements or even seem to care whether I did well or not.
I completely owned my gymnastics (and obviously still do as an adult) and THAT is what made me love the sport. In fact, the people I know who love the sport the most are the ones whose parents didn't know the rules, didn't interfere and just showed up to cheer at the meets.
Finally, the best support you can give is taking your child to meets and practice, listening when they approach you (but not approaching them), and allowing them to be the gymnast they want to be, not who you want them to be.
Sorry I wrote so much. I feel very passionate about this because I love the sport so much. I want every child to have the opportunities I do because it can be so fulfilling. Since I'm not a parent, I can't say for sure, but I assume it's very difficult to let a child's decisions be their own, even when it seems like you might know better. However, I think this is one of the most important lessons I've learned from gymnastics....it taught me to grow up and be who I am, and no one else.
Would you mind sharing how old you were, how long had you been training, what made you want to quit, and what made you want to come back?
I know someone who is that exact parent you are speaking about and Every time I talk to her I tell her she needs to let her daughter step back and take a break.. She is so caught up in it, though, she doesn't see the big picture. I feel bad for her daughter b.c I know she is going to end up hating cheerleading and tumbling because of it. That's why I pulled my dd from cheer. She wasn't tumbling and it became the only thing we focused on and it wasn't healthy. I decided to let her take a break but took her to gymnastics to see if she would like it. I wanted her to keep her strength while letting go of the backhand spring she focused on for so long.
She came out of the evaluation (about 20 mins) saying how much she LOVED it. So she is now on team and is still struggling mentally with her flip flop, but doing great on everything else. I am very proud of her and I want her to have a healthy outlook on every experience.
I am very lucky she is so naturally talented, as is her 4 year old sister.
Sure, I don't mind.
I'm 21. I'm a gymnast at the University of Iowa. I quit once when I was finishing up 8th grade/my 14th birthday. I had fear issues as well as some lingering injury type things (really, just crutches for my fears). Other factors that played into my decision included lack of progess, due to both coaching issues and fear as well as many of my teammates quitting. It was an incredibly difficult decision to make. I cried a lot and really felt as though I was losing a part of myself. Being a gymnast was my identity. Fortunately, I began coaching for about the same amount of hours as I had been working out. I found that I enjoyed coaching very much and I still had lots of time to play around in the gym.
About a year after I quit I went to watch several of my teammates at their state meet. As a spectator, I realized that the pressure I felt to do well was coming only from me, and that the majority of the people attending the meets didn't care if I was good or bad. In fact, most of them didn't even know me! It's such a different feeling, being on the outside, looking in. So I decided to start working out again. I didn't have many goals at first b/c I was still battling fear issues (mainly back tumbling on floor, but a little with giants too). I had quit as a bad L8, but within months, I was gaining skills faster than I could imagine and ended up doing pretty well as a 15 year old L8.
One thing that helped immensely was the fact that my club finally had a consistent head coach. Until I came back, I had had a different HC every year I competed. I don't know how to even describe how difficult it can be to progress in an environment where you may or may not trust the coach, you constantly feel as though you could be walked out on, etc.
So I competed L9 as a junior and senior in high school. For a brief time (shortly after I finished a pretty successful first year at L9 as a junior, I was still interested in doing gymnastics in college. I slowly came to realize that this was not a realistic goal, and that's when I decided to just stick to L9, and be done after I graduated. I looked forward to life as a non-gymnast.
Throughout my freshman year, I was coaching, and working out....VERY rarely. Most of my "working out" consisted of me flipping around on tumble trak and occasionally doing a few things on beam or floor. I got tired of not having any direction to my gymnastics and I found a few guys who were getting private lessons from a former Iowa men's gymnast. This was about April of my freshman year. I made a lot of progress with this new coach, and he encouraged me to get in contact with the women's coach. I was extremely hesitant at first, but eventually I decided I had nothing to lose.
I went home and began training with my old coach, who I've since learned doesn't really know what he's talking about a lot of the time. But anyway, I had e-mailed the HC at Iowa, and was waiting to hear back from her. I seriously doubted I'd get a bite, but I had to try. Eventually, we did get some communication going, and with my private lesson coach's good word, I got the okay to walk on the team here at Iowa.
Honestly, I don't even know why I was accepted. I was not good. I had a lot of technique issues, and I was now trying to do gymnastics after a year off...at the college level. The only things I had going for me is that I naturally have good form and I'm very small. I do have to say though, I often get told I have a lot of untapped talent...so I'm sure that played into my HC's decision as well.
So my first year was torturous, I often wanted to quit, and almost did. I actually almost got kicked off too. College level gymnastics is not a joke, and space wasters are not allowed. I got relegated to practicing beam only and I was incredibly inconsistent. I came having just learned a legitimate series about a month before school started. At one point, the only coach who even wanted me to remain on the team told the HC that she was done with me and I could be kicked off any time. Fortunately, I perservered and by the end of that year I had exhibitioned beam several times. Last year, my second year on the team, I competed beam at every meet. This summer I'm adding two events to my practice schedule and hoping to break into the line-up on at least one of them (I'm counting on floor!).
So as you can see, it's been a tumultuous journey!
And I've just realized that I've taken this thread totally off track! I am so sorry about that. Maybe my story can be an inspiration though? While I hit luck at every turn (first making the team, and then being able to stay and progress), I think anyone with a desire to do college gymnastics should pursue it on some level. Whether it's NAIGC, DI, II or III or continuing to compete club while in college...I think it can be a wonderful experience.
Also, if you have any more questions, feel free to ask, whether they're about me personally or college gymnastics in general, I'd be glad to answer.