Parents Coming back to Gymnastics

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Proud Parent
Jun 6, 2008
So my DEAR son has been making some comments about perhaps returning to the gym.
A bit of history- he was doing gymnastics since he was 6, made it to L8 until puberty, weight, injuries, rebellion, and some old coach baggage.........He decided to leave the sport last year.

He never wanted to pick up ANY other organized sport after gymnastics- he was willing to do crossfit only......So he did.

Lately, he has been showing off his ring routines and all his old conditioning skills at crossfit, which naturally causes some ooos and ahhhs.....he told me on several occasions how nice it is to show off again. He has not gone as far as to say he 'misses it' , but he has been talking about how much fun floor was towards the end....

Through of this, i have tried to act as nonplussed as possible. I dont want him to tap into MY desires of him returning. (I caused a lot of his rebelling in gymnastics since I fought hard to keep him in!) All I asked him is for was NOT to do real routines at a crossfit facility with no mats, or safety equipment......I am concerned he could hurt himself.

Any advice to get him back in? He knows that this could help with college applications, even if he only focused on 2 or 3 events......I feel he is on the fence.....He is very much in the teenage mindset....what Mom and Dad wants, he doesn't!
That is cool. Do you think you could put him in some more situations where he might show off? An open gym? Or have him pick up little sis so he is back seeing the gym?
Coming from a teenager, if your son is anything like me, he has probably talked to some friends about it. Is he still friends with his old teammates? Would maybe going to an open gym (like said above) with an old teammate make him more excited about gym again?
His buddies are still all in the gym, but the boys are kinda too big for open gym. Our open gym is for younger kids and you can't do anything. He also does not want to go in to the gym. My guess is he is embarrassed about leaving so........they do stuff out of the gym like go to movies and stuff.

All I can think of is to get him to talk about the college application process now (he's in 10th) and for the college counselor to explain how important things service hrs.....etc are and that his 9 years of gymnastics is very valuable. (Should he take it to the senior year)

I can't push him in myself because it's turns into a whole teenage thing.....and a battle of wills. It's almost better if I ignore all mention of any gymnastics....for him.......little sis is at the same gym so it's hard to be gymnastics free.

The idea is marinating though.

Does anyone know about how hard it is to return physically? I mean, he can still do a lot of stuff......he probably would be way better at some things, and really terrible at others......he was pre-pubescent when he left the sport.
I imagine he could come back fairly easily on certain events. He has maintained his strength well. Specializing is what happens when they get to college. Nothing wrong with specializing early...

As for the teen thing - can you just tell him that you are willing to let him do gym again if that is what he wants so to let you know if and when he wants it and you will make it happen. Then he knows you are on board but it is still his decision.
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If he has been doing cross fit, I would think its a rather smooth transition back. We have a number of older gymmies who do cross fit on their off gym days. And a former gymmie who now does cross fit full time.

Now for getting him back. Being a step mom to a now 22 yr old former "can't tell me nothing teen boy". Really while they are still technically children, its nearly impossible to make them do something they just decide they don't want to. And it doesn't matter how it impacts them down the road. If they don't want to they won't.

The best thing you can do is make a sincere offer to do what you can to help return if he wants to, give him the pros and tell him you won't "nag" him about it because he has to decide.. You will do whatever for him but he has to ask. Tell him you will touch base with him from time to time, about it and then do that. Very casually and no drama or long conversations. Just checking in, yes, no. Ok good...........................

The other option that sometimes works well is writing to them, no room to argue. Just a sincere looks like you might be missing gym, if you are I will help note, short and sweet.

But in the end only he can decide.

Good Luck.
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Maybe going to a college meet or watching the Olympics this summer will fuel the fire even more? If/when the topic gets brought up, keep it light on your end - its always an option to go back but no pressure, just support. In the meantime, his gymnastics skills and strength will help him keep making progress with crossfit!
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Thanks guys! Some very good advice!

I dont even know why I want him to go back so much....maybe its the years invested on his part, of just hanging on to how good he WAS........after all my husband hates gym!LOL
Regardless, I want HIM to decide and to be happy.
Given my DD has been similar attitude-wise since conception (things have to be her idea), could you maybe get away with some light anti-gym commentary, then double check his lack of interest? Like comment about how much extra time you have since he quit, then gauge his reaction, and possible say hey, if you really wanted to go back, I'd support it?

Could backfire, so you'd have to word it just right, but worked for me in getting DD to sign up for track "gosh we're so busy anyway," "FRIEND A didn't sign up this year anyway, did she?". DD did ask to sign up.

When my DD almost quit I had to just back off and wait and let her decide - she'd asked to switch gyms.... Which was sort of hilarious in a way, as I'd been sort of researching switching gyms, but not discussing it, as I knew it would make her stressed. I DID casually let it drop at one point when she'd been emotional that I could always call a place or two, should she want me to, OR she could always try another sport. She actually thought about it on her own and came to the same conclusions as me (not quite ready to quit, but maybe going back to her first gym would be a good choice).

You need to plant the seed that you'd support him going back, I think, but naturally and without pressure. He could feel embarrassed about quitting and having made "the wrong choice". Maybe let it slip how many kids take "breaks", and how good for kids they can be? Can you somehow get coach involved even if by email to "just checking in" - perhaps your son talking to a "mentor" rather than a parent would help, too.

He could also be in that phase where he wants to be like dad... And if dad hates gym, it's a tough place to be. Could dad get on board to make a positive comment - even if like "it was impressive what you did in hat gym"? I have a little guy who plays baseball because dad played baseball (even though he prefers picking dandelions and building sandcastles at age 8, sigh).

This is potentially exciting, but so tough - good luck!
DD still likes to show off. That's why she did competitive middle school cheer this year after training L8. And she still misses bars. Has brought herself to open gym a couple times. She did go back after her first "quit" and retrain, got back her old skills plus some, but then broke down in misery it wasn't about not being able to get things back. I think she needed to really know whether she still wanted to be a gymnast bad enough to deal with her own fears and the social and coaching mis-fit she was of necessity in (no other gyms). In any case, since then I've let it go...and it was very hard!

They put so much of themselves into it I can't imagine a parent not wanting them to go back if they are even thinking about it, in some ways at least. And I have joked with DD that when she was in 7th grade she had an awesome college app prepped and now she's picking daisys and playing tag with her horses! I joke because she's got 4 years to change that - but I wish she could have stuck with some things a few more years...but honestly she is happier...

I think your DS would have no trouble getting skills back - so much is muscle memory and strength and he built that memory up over many years -my older DS misses several weeks each summer for music festival camps and is back to full skills in a week - BOYS, so different for the girls. DS does spend time in the weight room and treadmills between performances at camp - but your kiddo did crossfit so as long as he's willing to give it a few months I'm sure he'd be fine - and stronger with puberty.

The real question is whether he's mentally at a better place with gym. DD was not. I'm certain that if she moved to a new town and found a gym that was just excited to have an upper level kid train she would have quickly overcome her issues (now that she's out of puberty and doesn't cry over everything, nor care so much about what others think, and less dizzy/vestibular - she was twisting in cheer, something she'd stopped at gym...). In any case, I do feel that going back and training up to her previous level (mostly - few new skills, few still avoided) gave her clarity - I had hoped it would give her her passion back, but for her that wasn't the road.

The only way he'll ever know is if he gives it a try - like so many things in life!
Thanks! Gracy, I like your approach. He still falls for the whole reverse psychology thing........funny enough, at his little sisters state meet last week, he was talking about how much fun he used to have, and how good he was......WITH GRANDMA!
Boy did grandma complement him to death! How amazing his form was, I mean, IS....etc......

He was missing it that day.....but I won't read into it much. I'll just let the stones fall where they may.
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