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Mish

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@CLgym thank you for this post. As I mentioned, I could have written it and the details are eerily similar. I am benefiting from everyone's responses to you, so you are indirectly helping us as well. I hope that our girls find their path and their passion, and that we continue to support them in a healthy way. But, boy is it hard.
 

lostinfog

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I appreciate posts like this, and while my daughter is not at your girls’ level I can be prepared. We recently had a meet where mine was very focused on the scoreboard, and I feel it impacted her anxiety and there was a fall, making things worse.

It is tough for me to watch and I wonder all the time if she is “cut out” for this sport. But, what is the definition of being cut out for gymnastics? My DD is moving up the levels, keeping up with skills, never the first to get them though, and she is not the most detail oriented. As a parent, I worry the lack of attention detail shows her lack of passion. She says she is very upset at the results and will be angry after a meet that doesn’t go well, but goes back into practice and I see same little mistakes and habits holding her back.

It takes so much self control to stay quiet, and not mention these things except for here
 

CLgym

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Ok, ok, I definitely deserved some tough love! Thanks for keeping it real.

In case I wasn't clear: I do see all of my DD's accomplishments, big and small. I am proud of her and tell her that, all the time. And I really try to give her space to do her sport. I mostly don't watch practice (although we have a livestream). I certainly don't ask or talk about gymnastics on a daily basis beyond "have fun." I even stopped visiting CB for about a year to avoid the constant gym chatter, and focused my attention elsewhere.

But DD's gym difficulties have persisted for more than 18 months now, with little to no improvement and often further regression. This is not a bad meet, or an issue of poor meet performance. I honestly could care less about a single meet or season. But DD has gone from a 10 yr old state TOPs tester hitting solid (sometimes high) 9's at L7, to a 12 yr old who struggles with basic skills like casting or a standing back tuck. She is also a kid on meds for anxiety. No matter how much she insists that she doesn't care, I worry.

I don't know how to help. I have no idea whether these struggles are physical, mental or both. I have no communication from the coaches about what's going on. I have no communication from DD about what's going on. There appears to be no plan. And I'm concerned that we are nearing the point where the decision to stay in JO will be made by the gym, not DD.

I know that I sound like a CGM - I guess maybe I am - but that's why I've found my way back to CB. I can post the ugly parts here - and hopefully get some perspective and support! Thanks, all
 

Tigtimes

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But, boy is it hard.
@Mish it is beyond hard. Looking back it is way easier to see all the things I did not so great in my attempt to be helpful. Ugh I could hit myself for every time I said you don’t have to continue, are you sure you still like it and so on cause well that wasn’t helpful at all. I thought I was helping, giving her a way out but realIy I was just giving negative reinforcement. In fact it was me who was not happy, angry of the never ending drives to the gym for what I couldn’t see as the point to it all, angry for all the things I perceived she was missing out on in life, the time and money. It was not my place to find the definition of what was considered success and joy for her. It is so hard to find peace with it all but hang in there she will find a path.
 

GYM0M

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@Mish it is beyond hard. Looking back it is way easier to see all the things I did not so great in my attempt to be helpful. Ugh I could hit myself for every time I said you don’t have to continue, are you sure you still like it and so on cause well that wasn’t helpful at all. I thought I was helping, giving her a way out but realIy I was just giving negative reinforcement. In fact it was me who was not happy, angry of the never ending drives to the gym for what I couldn’t see as the point to it all, angry for all the things I perceived she was missing out on in life, the time and money. It was not my place to find the definition of what was considered success and joy for her. It is so hard to find peace with it all but hang in there she will find a path.
Oof.......well, this is what I need to work on.....#goals
 
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ReluctantGymMom

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Repeating level 8 at 12 seems to be pretty common (maybe the shift through the start of puberty) and the struggles with skills and meets seem to be common. Our entire level 8 team except for 2 kids (it’s a large team) couldn’t flip their vault at a meet this season, even though they can do it at practice. The scores where, in your words, catastrophic. I looked at scores for level 8 and high 8s are good scores, 6s are not uncommon at all.

I think the goal might be to make it through this rough patch. Remember being 12? It sucked. I didn’t do gymnastics and it still sucked. I had all the time in the world to be moody and sulky, no one expected me to show up and work for 4 hours a day in a leotard. I would have revolted most of our gym repeats level 8 or 9, and it’s normally at around age 12/13.
 
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John

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@CLgym I understand your feelings and as a loving parent like yourself I am on the same page as you. Sometimes even when someone loves something it has to be let go. I can not tell you what decision to make for your daughter or your family. I can only tell you my thoughts and how my brain works and what I do for me and mine in hopes to give you another perspective. It's hard for me to think about removing Dani from gymnastics and currently that is not the plan. If she should lose her desire to continue or the desire to progress I am just saying that as her dad I would sit with her and tell her it was time to leave gymnastics behind her. Life is short and most of the time unfair she needs to know how to make the best of bad situations. I want her to be happy, do gymnastics for herself, and recognize the opportunity she has had. In hopes she can continue to chase her dreams even when those dreams can change. For me the hardest part is to read her mind and know when to say go for it and when to say stop. Please keep us up to date on how things go.
 

Madden3

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Here are my thoughts as a parent with a child (now a teen) with a diagnosed anxiety disorder.

Anxiety is our natural fight or flight instinct. We need this to survive. The way I understand it, an anxiety disorder is when a person is irrationally anxious and this is causing disruption in their lives. So, the problem is not the things that cause the person to be anxious (which could be anything) so the treatment is not to remove those anxiety-inducing things from a person’s life. The problem is the person’s anxiety is so overwhelming that it is causing them to adopt unhealthy coping mechanisms. Avoidance is a very common unhealthy coping mechanism. So I wonder, if your dd wants to keep doing gymnastics, and is figuring out how to approach gymnastics in a way that works for her despite her anxiety, it may actually be the healthier choice?

A diagnosed anxiety disorder has become so prevalent in our society that I think we forget it is a “real” mental illness. It is not a state of normalcy. It is serious. It is debilitating. And it can lead to much worse issues down the line if under-treated or untreated. This is the benefit of early diagnosis. I do not know what else you are trying aside medication, but we have had varying degrees of success (along with medication) with cognitive behavioral therapy, talk therapy, and hypnotherapy- with hypnotherapy seeming to be the most effective for relief of acute anxiety in the shortest amount of time. Obviously for any of these, you need the right professional helping your child. I have also learned there is no magic treatment that fixes everything. Treatment has been a very long road with ups and downs.

Both of my sons, now in their mid teens, left gymnastics after competing for many (6-7) years. They both do other sports now. There were really hard years in there with little progress, lower scores, injuries, etc. They always knew they could leave the sport when they were ready, or stay as long as they wished. I worried a lot about them staying "too long" but we knew we could not take them out when they wanted to stay. They were clear that they did not want to quit- until they did. And after all that worry, I was super sad when they did quit! But so far, it has all worked out ok.
 

Gymx2

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Here are my thoughts as a parent with a child (now a teen) with a diagnosed anxiety disorder.

Anxiety is our natural fight or flight instinct. We need this to survive. The way I understand it, an anxiety disorder is when a person is irrationally anxious and this is causing disruption in their lives. So, the problem is not the things that cause the person to be anxious (which could be anything) so the treatment is not to remove those anxiety-inducing things from a person’s life. The problem is the person’s anxiety is so overwhelming that it is causing them to adopt unhealthy coping mechanisms. Avoidance is a very common unhealthy coping mechanism. So I wonder, if your dd wants to keep doing gymnastics, and is figuring out how to approach gymnastics in a way that works for her despite her anxiety, it may actually be the healthier choice?

A diagnosed anxiety disorder has become so prevalent in our society that I think we forget it is a “real” mental illness. It is not a state of normalcy. It is serious. It is debilitating. And it can lead to much worse issues down the line if under-treated or untreated. This is the benefit of early diagnosis. I do not know what else you are trying aside medication, but we have had varying degrees of success (along with medication) with cognitive behavioral therapy, talk therapy, and hypnotherapy- with hypnotherapy seeming to be the most effective for relief of acute anxiety in the shortest amount of time. Obviously for any of these, you need the right professional helping your child. I have also learned there is no magic treatment that fixes everything. Treatment has been a very long road with ups and downs.

Both of my sons, now in their mid teens, left gymnastics after competing for many (6-7) years. They both do other sports now. There were really hard years in there with little progress, lower scores, injuries, etc. They always knew they could leave the sport when they were ready, or stay as long as they wished. I worried a lot about them staying "too long" but we knew we could not take them out when they wanted to stay. They were clear that they did not want to quit- until they did. And after all that worry, I was super sad when they did quit! But so far, it has all worked out ok.
Thanks for sharing this. My gymnast son has been diagnosed with OCD, and anxiety disorders are related to this. It will be an ongoing process with therapy, and I expect ups and downs, and we've been lucky that his gym has been pretty responsive to his issues (which he tries to minimize during practice). Sometimes social media makes me feel like every little gymmie is totally happy and mentally healthy, so it's nice to read about experiences more similar to what we're going through.
 

cmg

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Thank you to all the parents sharing their experiences. We have gone through some tough times with anxiety, sadness, and heartache over gymnastics too. Not so much about scores, but about dealing with the fear aspects that come with the sport. My daughter still has fear about tumbling backwards and continues to deal with that fear daily. I have often thought what if she just quit and did track or some other sport she would not have that burden around her neck that still keeps her back. There were times when she was younger when she would say stuff like "can't they just take that part of my brain out?", or "my brain is so bad, I wish I could get a new one." It would break my heart as a mom to hear her say these things and yet she has kept with it and figured out ways to make it work. I did let her know that if she wanted to keep going I would support her 150% and help her with anything, but if she wanted to quit it would be her decision and I would also support that. However, she is still wants to compete in college. One of the happy things that we are now doing is watching a lot of college meets from the schools she has picked out. She looks for schools that compete her skills, and believe it or not there are several gymnasts out there that compete 3 forward tumbling passes with just a standing back tuck or standing back layout step at the college level. One silver lining in this whole forward tumbling thing is that a lot of the skills she is working on are E skills and if she can get them all she actually would make a good college recruit. At this point we are really just hoping for a walk on spot for a lower level D1 school or D2 since she is a little late in getting to L10 because of the above issues. After watching all these meets (I think we have watched about 20 gymnastics meets in this process, but since our team is not competing this year I figure I would have spent the same amount of time at my daughter's meets!) I am hoping that it has given my daughter motivation and hope that she can reach her dreams and she is not a terrible person for not wanting to tumble backwards. Only time will tell. I just hope this summer we can visit some schools and go to gymnastics camps.
 

CLgym

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This whole thread has been so helpful, supportive and informative! Thank you all. I will keep you posted as the season unfolds. For now, I will re-read your words of wisdom whenever I feel as though I might fall down the rabbit hole!


@Madden3 - Thank you for your anxiety insights. We are actively working with professionals, although DD took a break from therapy (with the therapist's blessing) because it actually creating more anxiety. I had even worked hard to find a therapist who had been a collegiate gymnast, thinking that connection would help. In any event, we collectively decided DD wasn't ready. Instead, I began doing a research-based parent therapy program for children with anxiety called SPACE. One of my older kiddos has a diagnosed anxiety disorder too, so I have some experience. Of course, each child is so different! But your post gave me some new ideas and perspectives - which I greatly appreciate. @Gymx2 - My DD has some OCD tendencies, so I understand the overlap. Good luck.
 

ReluctantGymMom

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This whole thread has been so helpful, supportive and informative! Thank you all. I will keep you posted as the season unfolds. For now, I will re-read your words of wisdom whenever I feel as though I might fall down the rabbit hole!


@Madden3 - Thank you for your anxiety insights. We are actively working with professionals, although DD took a break from therapy (with the therapist's blessing) because it actually creating more anxiety. I had even worked hard to find a therapist who had been a collegiate gymnast, thinking that connection would help. In any event, we collectively decided DD wasn't ready. Instead, I began doing a research-based parent therapy program for children with anxiety called SPACE. One of my older kiddos has a diagnosed anxiety disorder too, so I have some experience. Of course, each child is so different! But your post gave me some new ideas and perspectives - which I greatly appreciate. @Gymx2 - My DD has some OCD tendencies, so I understand the overlap. Good luck.
Hey! I’m interested in SPACE - I’d love to hear more about it. My daughter just turned 9 and has anxiety, and I have an anxiety disorder - it makes me sad knowing how she feels and seeing that she doesn’t have the tools yet to express herself (we’re still at the stage of working out if stomach ache is anxiety or sick). My husband is very reluctant to even discuss the idea of therapy for her, he doesn’t want her to think there’s something wrong with her.

I’m not looking forward to the puberty years.
 

novagymmom

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One of the happy things that we are now doing is watching a lot of college meets from the schools she has picked out. She looks for schools that compete her skills, and believe it or not there are several gymnasts out there that compete 3 forward tumbling passes with just a standing back tuck or standing back layout step at the college level. One silver lining in this whole forward tumbling thing is that a lot of the skills she is working on are E skills and if she can get them all she actually would make a good college recruit.
Interestingly enough, my daughter was just talking about a young woman that competes for George Washington Univ. She competes 3 forward tumbling passes and a front handspring (onto the springboard) entry vault. Really unique and fun to watch! Good for your daughter to persevere and focus on her strengths.
 
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cmg

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Interestingly enough, my daughter was just talking about a young woman that competes for George Washington Univ. She competes 3 forward tumbling passes and a front handspring (onto the springboard) entry vault. Really unique and fun to watch! Good for your daughter to persevere and focus on her strengths.
We have watched GW and they are on our list!! My daughter is working towards that vault and is working on more consistency with her 3 passes. I believe she said that specific gymnast basically did her floor routine so that was very hopeful for her. Thanks for the encouragement! We will see what happens.
 

CLgym

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@ReluctantGymMom - You should be able to find some good online info about the SPACE program (initially tested at the Yale Child Study Center). I know that our therapist was specifically trained in the program. It was pretty helpful for us, particularly at systematically addressing my DD’s highest anxiety times (e.g., bedtime). Good luck
 

CLgym

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Quick update: Second meet was somewhat better. DD improved her AA by 1.8 pts total despite 2 falls. She hit 8’s on vault, beam, floor, and very low 9 on bars for a medal just barely (still not casting to handstand though!). At practice she is very hit or miss. One day she's flipping her yurchenko, and the next day her timers are rough. She's made a few baby steps forward on beam, which is nice to see. Unfortunately, still seeing lots of avoidance behaviors overall. And now a new struggle with one of her floor passes.

Because she is so hot and cold in the gym, her coaches continue to change things up. On vault alone she bounces between tsuk and yurchenko almost weekly. She competed a tsuk half-twist at the first meet, and a yurchenko timer at the second. Both scored low 8's... Yesterday she told me that she's back to the tsuk half-twist at her meet this weekend. Anyone else experience this kind of back and forth? I'm all for coaching flexibility, but kinda wonder if would make more sense to stick with one and work through the issues, rather than changing every time she has a bad week.

Oh, and in other news: DD recently had to measure her height for a math problem, and it appears she has grown 2 inches in the last 6 months. Her foot is almost my size now! So I suspect there is some truth to comments about growth impacting progress at this age.

Finally, I am feeling better about all of it. My post here was like a release valve, and I'm doing a much better job seeing the positives and enjoying the moment. So thank you, everyone, for that. Glad I found my way back to CB.
 

Mish

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Anyone else experience this kind of back and forth? I'm all for coaching flexibility, but kinda wonder if would make more sense to stick with one and work through the issues, rather than changing every time she has a bad week.
Yep, like I said in the beginning, I could have written your whole narrative. My dd had same issues with back and forth with the skills she was doing depending upon the week. Particularly with tusk vs. yurchenko timers and flipping. She is currently back to yurchenko timer only (lv 8) so obviously starts low and big deductions on top of that. I am certain it was because of her inconsistency, hesitancy, and similar 'one step forward two steps back" progression as of late. Baby steps happening here also.
 
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