For Parents calming first meet nerves

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Jul 26, 2008

DD is stressing herself way way way out over her first meet. it's this Friday. She's L3. She picked up gymnastics earlier this year as something to do in soccer's offseason, decided to try out for the team, made it, and started team practice in June. The other girls in her group have at least a year of competing already, so they don't seem to be as stressed as her.

Her coach is aware of this and is really positive with her, telling her she'll do fine and not to worry. DD practiced with the other L3 group at our gym last week and I thought that might boost her confidence, but she's still spazzed out.

I've told her she absolutely does not have to compete if she doesn't want to, but she says she does.

Any suggestions on getting her to calm down and RELAX? The meet is low-key, a good "get your feet wet" kinda thing. We've talked about it being FUN, about how competing at this level is really more to get used to the whole format, get comfortable, etc, in order to move up like the big girls.

When I ask what's stressing her, she tells me she's afraid of falling, of people laughing at her, and of not getting a blue ribbon. We've addressed that EVERYONE falls sometimes, nobody will laugh, and it's not about a blue ribbon - it's about having fun, but she's still stressing and I don't know what to do about it.

Any suggestions?? I think once she gets this meet under her belt and realizes that yes, she CAN do her routines and she can do them well she will be okay, but in the meantime, Friday is still three days away.....

Thanks in advance!
All normal.

Once she gets though one or two rotations, she'll be all smiles. You're doing the right thing. Be supportive and be visable at the meet. Remember, it's all about her seeing you...seeing her. She'll probably walk away with a ribbon or partisipation medal at the very least. These are coveted just as much as the accomplishment medals, and rightly so. If she does get an 'x-place' medal (which is always possible)'s icing on the cake!

Remember, L3's are cut up into 4 catagories. 7 and under, Age 8, Age 9, and 10 and older. Your DD is ONLY competing with her age group.

gym law mom

Proud Parent
Dec 23, 2006
At least she's talking about her feelings. Mine kept all the nerves bottled up before her 1st ever meet and they all showed up when she had to start on beam. Lets say it wasn't pretty:)

What she is saying is totally normal. She doesn't know what to expect, wants to make you and the coach happy, probably has a little stage fright. Tell her what she's feeling is normal and that most of the other girls feel this way too for their 1st meet--even those that have competed. One coach told my gymmie that being nervous showed she cares about doing her routines. Tell her she doesn't HAVE to get blue ribbons for you to be proud of her and the more she competes, the easier it will be to handle the nerves(excitement is another good word).

Try to stay calm yourself(hard to do I know!!) and give her a big hug before and after the meet. Tim_Dad is probably right in that by the 2nd or 3rd rotation you'll see her all involved in the meet and not looking too stressed at all.


Proud Parent
May 11, 2007
Pacific NW
I agree that you're doing the right thing and giving her all the right reassurances. I always told my dd that meets are just practice, i.e., they're practicing competing. She may just have to do it to get over it. Part of it may be the fear of the unknown--going to a strange gym, unknown judges, etc. It might be helpful to arrive early on meet day so she can get used to the surroundings.


Meets can be scary for them. My dd always seemed fine before meets - didn't say much. But afterwards she would be exhausted - more mentally than physically. Unfortunately other than reassuring that no one is going to laugh at her even if falls, messes up, etc., there isn't too much you can do. Some kids just need to experience things to see for themselves (my dd is one of them) Good luck to her on her first meet. Tell her all her friends at CB are cheering for her:D
Jul 12, 2007
I think those anxieties are so normal - especially when the gymmie is not sure what to expect. I know this is late, but hope your dd has a really great meet today... I am sure she will have a blast!
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