Anon Help me encourage my daughter

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Feb 16, 2022
747
My daughter has been at her gym for a few years, she started as the lowest scoring gymnast on her team, but worked really hard to improve her first season. Most of the season she scored middle of the pack, with some stellar competitions and some rough ones. She’s beginning her second season and is frustrated that she will be doing the same tumbling as last season since she hasn’t been able to consistently master robhs.

Overall, she adores her coach and her tough love approach. Lately though, her coach says things about my daughter being “behind” compared to her team, taking longer to learn skills and more cautious in her approach to tumbling. I know from what I’ve read on these boards (thanks Chalkbucket!) that every gymnast has their own journey, and I tell her that she’ll get it when she’s ready. I try to remind her that she is competing against herself only, and if she is having fun, working hard and improving she is doing great.

My daughter is a perfectionist, competitive, and very hard on herself. She says that I only say she’s doing great because I’m her mom, and I know deep down she thinks she is disappointing her coach, and that she is disappointed in herself for not keeping the pace with her team. She has beautiful bars and beam, but really seems to overthink the tumbling and has started to lose consistency on beam.

Any suggestions on how I can help bring up her confidence? Any success stories to share of gymnasts who got things a little later or had things come together after struggling initially? I love watching her and she is a beautiful gymnast, but her coach tells me sees an untapped potential and my daughter feels frustrated and disappointed.
 
Feb 16, 2022
747
This describes my DD to a 'T' the entire time she was in the sport. I'll be honest - it was hard and I often wished my DD would just quit. It's a tough journey for kiddos like ours but I think the same would be said for any activity they decide to passionately pursue -- it's just who they are if you know what I mean. I see it manifest now in her life in other ways.

The one thing that I'd be monitoring very closely is the language the coach is using with your DD. I had many, many meetings over the years with coaches to explain how my DD interpreted comments. For example one coach used the word 'timid' to describe my DD's cautious vaults. It caught on and soon another coach was using this word with my DD on floor. My DD was cautious for sure but timid, has such a negative association and it really hurt my DDs feelings. My DD took it as a vote of no confidence and then really started struggling whenever she had to work with this coach. Fortunately this coach was receptive to feedback (and was a great coach too in other ways!) so it worked out just fine and my DD still loves this coach today. But it wasn't always that easy.

In retrospect, I wish I had made two changes. One, enlist the help of a sports psychologist sooner. My DD was a senior when she started seeing one, I wish she had started with the sports psych a couple years earlier. My DD saw a counselor in elementary school for general anxiety and the strategies she learned then helped for several years. If you think your DD has anxiety, then I would suggest working with a therapist now (not a sports psych). The other change I wish I had made was to force a gym change when it was apparent that nothing was working with another coach relationship. The relationship between my DD and the HC devolved to a point where my DD gave up the event that the HC coached for her Sr year. I never should have accepted that as a 'solution' for my DD. There were pros and cons with her staying vs leaving but in the end, I regret that she stayed.

BTW - I think you are saying all the right things to your DD!!
 
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Feb 16, 2022
747
My daughter struggled with back tumbling when she first started learning it. Some of this was poor coaching. Some of it was her having tight shoulders. Some of it was her being afraid of falling on her head (related to the coaching).

She was going to be held back in Level 2 because she needed a slight spot for her ROBHS so we pulled her out of her team at the last minute and she moved to a much higher performing team. She was very behind the other girls -- all but 2 could do very nice ROBHS and a large portion of the team were repeat L3s.

She worked hard for a year of comps. Often not placing. She's now one of the best L4 tumblers on the team.
 
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Feb 16, 2022
747
My d was always a cautious gymnast and it took her a long time to get tumbling skills. It was frustrating the first few years as she knew she was behind her teammates. I kept reminding her that she has her own timeline and that the coaches were not concerned, that she would get it when she was ready. Eventually she began listening and let the stress go. And she started figuring out her body/air awareness which helped tremendously. Around level 5, skills started coming more easily for her. However, beam and bar skills have always come more easily to her and as she went up the levels, there was a sizable skill gap in those events compared to fx and vt.
 

Srose

Coach
Gymnast
Fan
Nov 4, 2020
34
27
My daughter has been at her gym for a few years, she started as the lowest scoring gymnast on her team, but worked really hard to improve her first season. Most of the season she scored middle of the pack, with some stellar competitions and some rough ones. She’s beginning her second season and is frustrated that she will be doing the same tumbling as last season since she hasn’t been able to consistently master robhs.

Overall, she adores her coach and her tough love approach. Lately though, her coach says things about my daughter being “behind” compared to her team, taking longer to learn skills and more cautious in her approach to tumbling. I know from what I’ve read on these boards (thanks Chalkbucket!) that every gymnast has their own journey, and I tell her that she’ll get it when she’s ready. I try to remind her that she is competing against herself only, and if she is having fun, working hard and improving she is doing great.

My daughter is a perfectionist, competitive, and very hard on herself. She says that I only say she’s doing great because I’m her mom, and I know deep down she thinks she is disappointing her coach, and that she is disappointed in herself for not keeping the pace with her team. She has beautiful bars and beam, but really seems to overthink the tumbling and has started to lose consistency on beam.

Any suggestions on how I can help bring up her confidence? Any success stories to share of gymnasts who got things a little later or had things come together after struggling initially? I love watching her and she is a beautiful gymnast, but her coach tells me sees an untapped potential and my daughter feels frustrated and disappointed.
So, I’ll share two success stories.

When I was born, the umbilical cord was wrapped twice around my neck, suffocating me. I had to do years of occupational therapy as a toddler to recover. My mother put me in gymnastics at around age 4 and I loved it. I worked my butt off, falling behind on bars, being abused by my coach, etc. but I made it to level 10. A child born disabled and mute made it that high through grit. Champions are made on the hardest days in the gym. Keep coming back after you’ve had a sucky day? You’re already winning. So many quit where you persevered. Learn to measure winning or success by multiple measures. Did you take your coach’s corrections and apply them? That’s a win. Did you face a fear? That’s a win. Winning medals did nothing to make me the person I am today. Persevering did.

I coached a student who had a crippling CRIPPLING back handspring mental block at my last gym. A three years going mental block. It took a year of consistent work. But we got her a roundoff back handspring on the floor by herself even though her starting point was being too scared to even do a standing one on the tumble track with a coach spotting her. She’d sob every day. But, she perserved. I wrote (with her permission) my university essay about her journey and got accepted!

Trust and know that your daughter is not alone, but she is the one who has to help herself. Help her find a role model who faced similar problems. For example I have a very tall student whose mother didn’t believe in her. I let the student see Nina Derwael, Sophie Schader, Svetlana Khorkina, and a few others. Now she feels like someone’s been in her shoes.

With the coach situation, that’s tough. Sometimes as coaches we have to be honest about the progress and lack thereof. However, there should always be kind and empathetic language. I encourage your daughter to talk to the coach herself about the language used (this encourages agency in herself) and if she won’t, you can talk to the coach. Emphasize that feedback is wanted and cherished, but the framing of it is important.

Best of luck!
 

Flippinmom

Proud Parent
Mar 11, 2022
35
Wow!! Thank you all so much for the incredible stories and words of wisdom. I’m so grateful for this community and have loved reading all of your insightful responses. Thanks everyone!
 
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