For Parents crying at practice

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Proud Parent
Oct 26, 2007
My dd started team practices in Oct and I have noticed something that is bothering me alot. I hear from her coaches and by looking at her face after practice that she has been crying. She cries almost everyday while steching her over splits in straddle. She has never had to do them until joing team and I am not sure what the problem is. She has never expressed pain when doing any other streching and loves streching the r and l splits. Her coach also talked to me once before class and asked if dd had mentioned to me about being upset about practice. I said no that she actually told me that she had a great practice and it had been fun. Coach told me that she started crying when the coach had her practice some pose on the beam over and over because dd was stuggling to get it right. I commented that dd only told me about crying on her splits. Coach told me that dd cries because she is pushing herself so hard in the splits and does it correctly while most of the girls back off a little when it starts to hurt and start doing it incorrectly so that it doesn't hurt so much. I watched for the first time last week and she was crying because she was struggling with her beam rountine. I am not sure if this should be a concern for me or not. DD is not usually a crier. I fact the only time she ever cries is if she is tired. Iam wondering if she crying because she is physically exhausted at practice or if she is crying becuase she is frustrated or too hard on herself. She is just 7 so she isn't always able to tell me why something is bothering her. From the one episode I saw the coach handled it great.. She gave her a hug and put her right back on the beam. Should I talk to dd about the crying and try to get her not to cry? I know that tears happen in gymnastics but am unsure of how to handle it or even to worry about it.


Gold Membership
Feb 26, 2007
How many hours does she train?

How many hours at a time does she train?

What level is she training for?

Are there other girls her age in her group?

It would help to know those things, because the answer may lie in your answers. I would not be happy if my DD was crying at gym on a regular basis, once in a while is fine, things happen and emotions are a part of life, on the whole I expect to pick up a happy child from gym who isn't really ready to leave.

7 is very young, and gym can be very overwhelming at times.


Has she even been to a local meet? I took my DD before she started, because I wanted her to know that so much is going on, that every person in the place would not be staring at just her. It also helped to see that when girls fell off the beam, they just hopped up and kept going. She saw it was Ok to make mistakes. It helps when the girls are at practice and encourage eachother, when they are doing good and when the just need some encouragement. Hopefully she is not putting too much pressure on herself to be perfect. Tell her no one ever gets a 40.0!
Aug 27, 2006
I think Bog is right, she sounds overwhelmed. I know it's hard to watch, my dd went through that last fall and it was something she had to work through but I did give her more breaks and talked to her alot about her own expectations of herself and ours as she thought they were. :hug:


I would be concerned as well if she was crying a lot in practice. Like you said it is signaling that something is bothering her that she isn't sure how to express verbally. It could be she is overwhelmed, tired, frustrated or any other number of things. I am glad to hear that the coach is handling it and is being patient with her. I am guessing she is probably just going through a rough adjustment period since she only started team practices recently. I am sure in time her body will adjust and she will handle it better mentally since she will know what to expect. Right now it is probably harder for you to see the tears - hang in there. Hugs to both of you.


Proud Parent
Oct 26, 2007
Bog she is one of the youngest and she trains 3 hrs a day 3 days a week.
she always tells me she has fun and is ready to go back the next time but it does bother me.


Coach/Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Jun 11, 2008
Sounds to me like a combination of things.. 7 is young especially , if shes a self pusher and not normally a crier. I am always concerned when one of my gymnasts cry on a regular basis. I try to get to the bottom of it and include the parents in on any conversations. Sometimes these little ones love the sport and may be ready physically to do some skills/ routines etc but, not ready emotionally. They often cant explain the overwhelming feeling of it all. Id talk with her. She probably just needs some time and patience.:eek: Good Luck!


Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Sep 25, 2007
It would bother me as well. I can't offer any ideas or solutions, but I think it should definitely be explored. My DD is pretty tough on herself and a crier at home, but she doesn't cry at the gym. If she was crying even just once a week, I would be concerned. I want the gym to be a happy place for her.

She may just not be ready for all of this right now and could use a decrease in time, decrease in stress at the gym or even a decrease in perceived stress.

I would try to have a long talk with her about gymnastics, how she sees herself at the gym, what she thinks being on team means, what she thinks people expect of her, etc. Maybe she has overly high expectations of what she thinks the coaches want, you want, etc. Of course, some kids just naturally are overachievers and I think the gym can be really hard for some of those kids until they learn to relax a little and not be so hard on themselves.

I know my DD had some issues when she was first on team, she didn't like being stretched either. She has gotten over that and loves gymnastics again. Here is that thread, I got some good responses. My DD wasn't crying at gym though, it was at home that she didn't want to go.
Jan 9, 2008
Alot of the young girls on my daughters team last year cried. They were 6 and 7. Alot of them did leave the gym, my daughter was 7 she cried after the meets if she did not score well and sometimes when she was fustrated at practice. She briefly left the gym for a week and tried a recreational class at another gym but then she missed it and went back. Since then she is a year older 8 and she is like a different child but I think she is more mature and understands better if she wants to compete it is hard work and sometimes the coaches yell at you because they want you to do better. I understand how you are feeling because I was very fustrated and upset, I kind of felt like my daughter was pushed into the team before she was ready, but it all worked out in the end. I would be supportive of her and encourage her to give it a chance at least until she gets to compete.


Staff member
Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Club Owner / Manager
Jan 4, 2008
I wouldn't worry if shje is coming home happy and saying that she did enjoy training. It sounds like she loves her gymnastics incredibly, kids who are very, very passionate about gymnastics sometimes cry when training. If the coaches are dealing with it the way you say then they arent the ones putting the pressure on, she is putting it on herself. Kids who put everything into what they do will cry sommetimes as a release it isnt because they are very upset.

The questions to ask are.

1. Is she going to training willingly and happily.
2. Is she coming home from training happily
3. Are her coaches treating her appropriately

If the answers are all yes then there is no need to worry.


Moderator/Proud Parent
Aug 25, 2007
North Carolina
from my DD, 8, Level 3:

she might be tired. Or she might be frustrated because she maybe sees girls who can do things she can't do yet and she has only been at L4 for a little bit. So, she is nervous.

From me:

What was her practice schedule before going to L4 ? She may just be overwhelmed with the add'l time and getting tired. The team girls condition a lot more than the rec girls. That, I think, is one of the biggest adjustments

My Nastia did the same occasionally between 5-7- years old.

Something got into her head that she was expected to be perfect, or at the very least equal to all others. And when she failed this, she would be very dissappointed with herself to the point of tears. She honestly felt mom, dad, and coach would be upset, or disappointed with her performance - and that's what made her cry.

LOML and I literally spent the last two YEARS teaching her that doing HER personal best is more then plenty, And that perfection isn't a realistic goal. But it was a stuggle to say the least. Not just with Gymnastics, but with school work too.

She's doing much better now. In fact, at her last competition, she missed taking 1st in the AA because she fell off the beam. A real bummer since she score all 9.x's in the other events. This time, she took it like a real sport. Wife and I couldn't have been more proud of that 2nd place medal. It was more then a gymnastics accomplishment - but a real psychological milestone.

So I'm wondering if your young flipper also has a false sense of what is expected of her??

Just a thought.


Proud Parent
Oct 26, 2007
After reading everyones post and trying to get more out of dd I am wondering if its that there are higher expectations put on her now then before. She is a people pleaser and always wants to make everybody around her happy. I think sometimes she senses her coaches frustation or perceived frustration and takes it personally.

gym law mom

Proud Parent
Dec 23, 2006
If the coach said she was crying occasionally then I wouldn't be all that concerned. The fact that she is crying every practice, but telling you practice is fun is a little troubling. She may be trying to do too much(expects too much too soon), is more tired than willing to admit, scared thinking about meets---there are a whole host of things that could be going through that little 7yo head.

Might be good to set up a time when you, dd and the coach can sit down together and talk about what may upset her in practice. Better to try and get a handle on it now, than the situation getting out of control. She may just need to know that its ok to back off on those oversplits if they hurt too much right now and nobody does perfect beam routines everytime. Sometimes they just won't belive poor old mom/dad and have to hear these things from the coach.

Tim_dad---boy do our girls sound alot alike!! Mine tried for the "perfect" routines on everything in her L5 season(she didn't compete til then). Of course she had a coach that would yell about doing perfect routines which sure didn't help. She's never been one to get emotional(outwardly)----just won't talk to us for a day or so if she felt she had done poor routines at a meet.


Oh my, I had an experience VERY similar to Tim's. My daughter spent the better part of a week or two seemingly upset and in tears and we couldn't figure it out, until finally during a crying episode (by the way, she was 7 at the time) she managed to sputter out that she thought we'd be mad with her if she fell! The poor thing, I had to convince her that we would never ever be mad at her for falling!

It took a long chat, but since then we've never had any crying for any reason at gymnastics - even when she landed on her face doing an ill-advised flip off the mat onto the hard floor!


Last year when I had the just turning 6yo start doing split training ( as he had just started finishing practice the full 2.5hrs instead of going home an hour early ) there was a lot of tears during front split training. It wasn't the middle splits that caused the tears to well, but the front splits. This also happened with the superstar who was 1 year older, not quite 7 but turned 7 during the competition season.

My take on it was that it was just part of the training that they need to go through. I don't train oversplits until an athlete has perfect splits anyways.

These were boys as well, so quite often not as mentally tough as a 6 or 7yo compulsory girl who has been training since a younger age and for more hours.
Sep 8, 2007
Poor little one has her crying slowed down any over the months time ? Sounds like it might be combination of tiredness and putting to much pressure on herself. My dd never cried @ the gym until recently she has a couple of times due to frustration .I would have a hard time with my dd crying @ every practice.Maybe explaing to her that she does not have to do her skills and routines perfectly to make you and her coaches happy ,to just do the best that she can do and that her parents are always very proud of her no matter what.
Sep 9, 2008
My DD went through a stage last year where she would cry before practice. A lot of the girls on her team seemed to have been taking turns going through this. My husband and I both talked with her. She was 6 at the time and level 4. She told us that she loved gymnastics, her coaches and her teammates.... The coach was great and he made a special point to tease her, make silly faces, and just get her mind off things. After dealing with this for a couple weeks we finally told her that this was for her. Gymnastics was something we were doing because she loved it. However, if she no longer wanted to come and devote that much time, it was ok with with mommy and daddy. We told her that no one would be mad. We firmly believe that if she is ever not loving it, we will never push her to be there. She insisted that she loved gymnastics and did not want to quit. We gave her the option of doing rec team, which is less hours. She didn't want to. So, to make a longggg story the end we figured out she was just missing mommy. The coaches and my husband and I decided that I would stay extra time for a few weeks to get her through this and now she is perfectly fine. She is now 7, so she is older and more comfortable with my being gone. So, I am not sure that this is just a "stage" they go through naturally or what. At least for the younger ones, it is not much different then what I used to see when I was teaching. They just miss their mom's sometimes and they feel bad because they do not want to be thought of as babies.


DD is not usually a crier. I fact the only time she ever cries is if she is tired. I am wondering if she crying because she is physically exhausted at practice or if she is crying because she is frustrated or too hard on herself.

this might sound odd, but has anything changed in her diet? Are there vending machines at the gym with candy in them?

I only ask because our DD gets very emotional when she eats certain things. One thing we have identified as a problem are food dyes, such as red dye found in alot of candy. Also there are also preservatives and chemicals in snacks found in vending machines that she might be sensitive to.
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