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DUPLICATE POST FROM THE COACH'S FORUM (I thought other parent input might be nice too.)

For my daughter's sake (MoJo) I was so happy to see her place well, but to be quite honest she's a second year L4 and many of my L4 squad competed 1/2 a season last year (large mid season move up is unusual) so we didn't have many true first timer 4's this year. We have a winter state meet for compulsories and then compete invitationals through the spring so we can fairly easily manage a mid season move. We usually only do it for a handful amongst all levels, but our last year 3's had such the learning curve last year we had to let the momentum carry. So far it is working in our favor as we have a fairly confident L4 team and both my two truly newbies placed in the top four on at least two events each. Both myself and my co-head coach are very pleased with the start of the year.

I still have huge concerns for my own MoJo. I just don't see drive, motivation and a sense of caring about how she does. She obviously is fairly talented amongst her peers. Focus has always been a HUGE issue. She can go through the motions cleanly, but that's it, she just goes through the motions, especially on beam. Once again she wins, but if you could picture an athlete looking off in the distance glancing here and there, NOT FOCUSING ON THE BEAM, that's my Mo (Moira is her real name if you were wondering).

She is often just going through the motions in practice, just enough to finish assignments with no real care to finesse, hardly ever making the corrections we repeatedly say over and over again, barely finishing to extension, the same amount of effort each turn, next to no change. It's become a frustration for girls who work so hard and struggle with improvement. I had Mo in a group that ended up working independently on RO BHS on Trak, when my co-coach had to step away for a family emergency at the end of practice and I was working with the Optional girls. In order for those girls to be dismissed they had to show me their work with perfect form. I made the first two repeat their turn because I knew they could do better, Mo went and it was great and I dismissed her, a few others I dismissed too. One of the girls struggling with her form approached me and said she felt it wasn't fair Mo got excused because she hardly took any turns and was sitting down while the girls were working independently. At the time I didn't know this as my back was to that group most of the time, while I was spotting BHS on beam. I didn't exactly know what to tell her. I reprimanded Mo afterwards for not working, but she did jump through the immediate hoop of showing my perfect form for that one turn. Then BLAH! on tumbling form this meet... just going through the motions.

We've had a lot of talks about "wanting" to improve and not just "being". I've asked if she really "LOVES" gymnastics, that she shouldn't just do it because I want to. I believe her answers to be genuine when she says this is what she loves to do. I can see the panic in her eyes and hear it in her voice when I have her think of life without and what she would do. I did put her in ballet for this winter session and she really loves that (surprisingly) and she loves to sing, but is shy about her voice. Her father and I have been encouraging her efforts in those departments as well, putting our parental feelers out to make sure she is in her own niche, however I still have the gym issue.

She was quite content, hardly disappointed, when we put our foot down and said no kips... no L5. That attitude disappointed me that she didn't seem to care. She IS having a lot of fun, very true, and that is why she "LOVES" gymnastics. She's part of my performance squad which gives her a total out of the box gymnastics experience too. We have a lot of fun with girls who don't have as much to carry them through competitive gymnastics but love it none-the-less. A lot of trampoline, mini tramp, and basic acro.

Hey this is starting to read like a book and has some aspects of parent input too, so I think I'll post this in the Parent Formum as well.

Any insight would be great!


Moderator/Proud Parent
Aug 25, 2007
North Carolina
That sounds EXACTLY like my DD !!

I keep thinking she just isn't into it anymore, but ask her about it and she says 'gymnastics is life' and you can hardly pull her out after practice. Then there are issues you mentioned. Sloppy form, goofing off, not doing her best, being passed (skills and form) by all her teammates.

It frustrated the daylights out of me. But, it's her sport, not mine. Either she will realize she needs to kick it up a notch or be left behind, or she won't and her friends will move on and she will not.

She had her first L4 meet last weekend. Was 2nd on bars, 3rd on beam and 6th of 9 AA with a 34.275. Not bad for her first L4 meet but two of her teammates scored 36.00 and a 37.075.

I am trying so hard not to say anything to her except to be supportive. Although I do help out some with the team girls, I try not to coach her. I just want to be her loving & supportive cheerleader, no matter how it goes. Iknow that is harder for you as her actual coach.

I don't think I gave you any actual advice, but I am sitting in the boat with you !
Feb 26, 2007
Kids are who they are, if they say they love gym and are happy doing it then you cannot really ask for more. You can want more from her, but it may have the opposite effect if you push to hard (in her perception).

If she is content with her level and what you think is her slow progress then it is not really a problem.

It is hard for parents to let go, even harder when you are the coach, but she has to own her gym experience. Your only other choice is to throw her off team as she isn't up tpo team standards, but that is probably not the case.

I feel for you, raising kids is the hardest job ever and then teaching kids is close behind it.

In the ideal world you wouldn't be coaching you DD< but that is not always possible. My DD's are in a training group with our HC's kids and sometimes that can be hard for them.
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Mar 5, 2008
North America
Emacmommy and gymmomntc2e6--my dd is the same way also!! So I totally hear you and can totally relate! When I do watch dd at practice, her form is all over the place here and there, and she is chit chatting with her teammates or just doing random handstands and front walkovers--like a kid on a playground. It can be very frustrating. Once in a while when her coach is on her she will do a beautifull set, but it is very inconsistent.

Thank god for this MDL that we are in because it's purpose is for kids that don't have that serious mindset for USAG. I really don't know if dd would survive in a USAG setting because of her lack of focus, and fear issues at times. It's all good though--her happy go lucky attitude and silliness is part of her personality which does bring a lot of the fun back into her gymnastics.

What I did last year was to write the word "focus" on the back of her hand to remind her to focus each skill. That seemed to help so I think I will be doing that again. Ultimately, the motivation and drive have to come from the child. Focusing and good work ethic can be learned, but I think a lot of it is natural within the child to begin with.

Good luck emacmommy!! I am sure that MoJo will be fine and learn to grow into her gymnastics--both body and mind!
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Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Sep 25, 2007
That is a tough one. Sadly, only they can truly motivate themselves to do better. Not all kids are born competitors. Sounds like she has a lot of natural talent, but doesn't maybe have to drive to perfect, etc. Probably hard as a coach for sure.

If she is happy, then it is what it is. She will either change when things get too tough for just her natural talent to shine through or she will lose interest. Could she be bored? Abby's friend gets bored really quick and just isn't about the small details. She would rather be doing the big tricks. She loses interest really fast when they are doing small corrections, things she thinks she already "knows" (she is 7) and then perks right up when they work on harder things.

Good luck. Hard having to wear 2 hats.
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