For Parents Problems with tumbling

mom2newgymnast

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Hi all. I'm not sure if I'm looking for advice or reassurance or what, but I need someone to "talk" to and none of irl friends would understand or probably care. DD is a first year level 9. A month ago she was looking so ready for the season. She had a great mock meet and was leaving practice happy and excited. Then came Christmas break and several weeks with a few missed practices due to various reasons. She really didn't say anything was wrong though and I thought she was still doing fine. But she had her first 2 meets these last 2 weekends and she is having serious trouble with floor. Like she fell (rather dramatically) on 2 of her 3 passes in her first meet and scored in the upper 6s. Her coach said the floor was very tight and that she knew it would be kind of hard for her, esp because of missed practices and all, but that she was confident she would be fine. She only had 3 practices between meets. The second meet was even worse. Like she didn't land a single pass during warmups. I know they talked about what to do after warmup and my daughter chose to compete water downed passes rather than scratch (totally her choice). She still fell on her first pass and apparently kneed herself in the face. The other passes weren't good either and with a lower start value, she scored even lower. Her other events are good and she is doing a great job at not letting it ruin the rest of the meet, but still this is keeping her out of the AA and is pretty upsetting to her. I am not putting pressure on her or getting upset, I promise. I also will leave it between her and the coach. But I am just looking to see if anyone has any insight on what could be happening or similar experiences. She said she is not scared and it's not like she isn't going for the skills. She just said that what she was doing isn't working anymore and she doesn't know why or how to fix it. And she said she just isn't good at tumbling :( She has always been a bars and beam gymnast, but she has never been bad on floor. It just has never been her absolute best event. Anyway, I feel so sad for her as I know she is frustrated.

Also, as a little background, she just turned 13 and has grown a lot in general, but not particularly in the last couple of months (no dramatic growth spurt I mean). She started her cycle back in March of last year and I know her body shape and size is changing and she has gained some weight. But again, nothing dramatic in the last couple of months.. Any ideas or thoughts? Thanks!
 
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Tmacs

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I think that’s your answer... the growth and getting used to her new height, weight etc. has got to lend to some issues... her whole center of gravity has shifted. Even with tiny growth/ hormone shortfall. She probably needs to go back and rework just the ROBH for a few weeks and then start adding more difficulty.
 

GYM0M

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Even if her growth over the last couple of months has been minimal, it could cause issues. Josc has issues with tumbling when her feet grow. It’s so crazy how the slightest thing can throw off their muscle memory. Most of the time, it’ll come back fairly easily, but sometimes it doesn’t.....
 
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mom2newgymnast

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Thanks for responding. I'm sure you are right that it is just adjusting to her new body. It just surprised me how is seemed to come out of nowhere. And she's never had the overnight type growth you read about.. just steady growing over time. So she doesn't "look" any different than 6 weeks ago when she wasn't having these troubles. But I guess some changes might not be as visually obvious..
 

cmg

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It could also just be the "I have all my skills during the summer and into fall, and once meet season starts I don't have them anymore" syndrome. Perhaps she is trying to be especially "perfect" on floor since it is not her strength and she wants to do really well? I think when gymnasts try deep down to be perfect, they can have issues with skills. Hopefully this will pass and she can relax a little and maybe this will help. I also agree with going back to ROBH or what ever basic skill she needs to work on to sort of start over and make sure she is not doing something different into her difficult skills that would throw her off. I hope this passes soon for your daughter's sake. It is really hard to watch your kid struggle with something you know they can do. It sounds like at least so far she is keeping a good attitude. Let her coach and your daughter figure it out, even though you really want to try to help "fix" things for your daughter's sake. Good luck!
 
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GreggP

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I would not completely dismiss the mental/emotional side of things. If an athlete can bring it in practice but struggles performing the same in competition, that can be an indicator that pressures, nerves, and negative thinking are getting the best of them. Her comment about just being bad a tumbling tells you a little about where her inner-dialogue is at. It can be really easy for a gymnast to get caught up in negative thoughts and mistakes. A few bad events and suddenly it goes from confident and happy, to feeling like a failure. It is great that you are not adding to any pressures or expectations. May be worth asking the coach to recommend some techniques or something to read related to developing the mental side of things. Growth spurts could absolutely be the cause of it all. But, even if the physical changes are the main culprit right now, if she puts some effort into her mental game she will be even more prepared to consistently perform her best down the road.
 

mom2newgymnast

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It could also just be the "I have all my skills during the summer and into fall, and once meet season starts I don't have them anymore" syndrome. Perhaps she is trying to be especially "perfect" on floor since it is not her strength and she wants to do really well? I think when gymnasts try deep down to be perfect, they can have issues with skills. Hopefully this will pass and she can relax a little and maybe this will help. I also agree with going back to ROBH or what ever basic skill she needs to work on to sort of start over and make sure she is not doing something different into her difficult skills that would throw her off. I hope this passes soon for your daughter's sake. It is really hard to watch your kid struggle with something you know they can do. It sounds like at least so far she is keeping a good attitude. Let her coach and your daughter figure it out, even though you really want to try to help "fix" things for your daughter's sake. Good luck!
Thanks. You could be right. I am not bringing it up to her or the coaches and am hoping that things get better. I really have been pleased so far with how her coach is handling it as she hasn't always been known to be the most understanding in these kind of circumstances. But my daughter is known as being a hard worker and I am sure they know that she is doing everything she can.
I would not completely dismiss the mental/emotional side of things. If an athlete can bring it in practice but struggles performing the same in competition, that can be an indicator that pressures, nerves, and negative thinking are getting the best of them. Her comment about just being bad a tumbling tells you a little about where her inner-dialogue is at. It can be really easy for a gymnast to get caught up in negative thoughts and mistakes. A few bad events and suddenly it goes from confident and happy, to feeling like a failure. It is great that you are not adding to any pressures or expectations. May be worth asking the coach to recommend some techniques or something to read related to developing the mental side of things. Growth spurts could absolutely be the cause of it all. But, even if the physical changes are the main culprit right now, if she puts some effort into her mental game she will be even more prepared to consistently perform her best down the road.
Yes, I think that at the last meet she was definitely letting it get in her head. From what I've learned, she has been having a bit of a hard time at practice too. I don't watch practice so I wasn't really aware. She's said this week that she thinks she is doing better. She volunteered (I didn't ask) that she landed 5 of her first passes today and they felt good. Her coach took her front full out and replaced it with another RO 1.5 and her front layout front pike she said she think she was having problems with because of the front full and now that she isn't working on that, she feels better about the front layout (something about confusing the layout and the full entry??). She doesn't have a meet this weekend, so we'll see where she is after another week of practice. But I do agree that I don't want her to get caught up in negative thoughts and it certainly wouldn't hurt to look into the mental side of things like you said.
 
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ldw4mlo

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Her body shape is changing..... She is correct. What used to work doesn't anymore.

It doesn't mean it never will again. She just needs to get used to her new body and center of gravity.
And she will.


Tell her this. She needs to know this is expected.
 
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cmg

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Thanks. You could be right. I am not bringing it up to her or the coaches and am hoping that things get better. I really have been pleased so far with how her coach is handling it as she hasn't always been known to be the most understanding in these kind of circumstances. But my daughter is known as being a hard worker and I am sure they know that she is doing everything she can.

Yes, I think that at the last meet she was definitely letting it get in her head. From what I've learned, she has been having a bit of a hard time at practice too. I don't watch practice so I wasn't really aware. She's said this week that she thinks she is doing better. She volunteered (I didn't ask) that she landed 5 of her first passes today and they felt good. Her coach took her front full out and replaced it with another RO 1.5 and her front layout front pike she said she think she was having problems with because of the front full and now that she isn't working on that, she feels better about the front layout (something about confusing the layout and the full entry??). She doesn't have a meet this weekend, so we'll see where she is after another week of practice. But I do agree that I don't want her to get caught up in negative thoughts and it certainly wouldn't hurt to look into the mental side of things like you said.
The fact that the coach is making adjustments to her routine to get her through this phase is a very good sign. Some gyms I know would not do that and either make them scratch the event or have them continue to struggle making things worse. Good luck at her next meet. Even in college the first couple of meets gymnasts are frequently not performing their hardest skills.
 

mom2newgymnast

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Quick update.. she had her third meet this weekend and she was able to finish her floor routine without falling. I wouldn’t say her tumbling was perfect, but the judges were generous. She got a 9.225 which she was so thrilled with. She hasn’t stopped watching the video of it. :) unfortunately vault and beam weren’t so lucky. Level 9 is proving challenging for her to say the least!
 

cmg

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Quick update.. she had her third meet this weekend and she was able to finish her floor routine without falling. I wouldn’t say her tumbling was perfect, but the judges were generous. She got a 9.225 which she was so thrilled with. She hasn’t stopped watching the video of it. :) unfortunately vault and beam weren’t so lucky. Level 9 is proving challenging for her to say the least!
That is great!! And yes Level 9 is really hard and many gymnasts repeat this level! My daughter had her first in house practice meet yesterday and she came home happy. That is all I wanted. It was not a perfect day in any way, shape, or form, but she landed her vault for real for the first time in a year and she was so happy about that. Other events were decent enough for the first time putting a routine together. I assume now they will start really drilling routines more. They are hoping to have a judge come in next month. No plans for meets this year, I am just happy that they are working on full routines and that hopefully the judge can make it to the gym.

Congratulations for your daughter making a significant improvement on floor. It is a great start for future successes.
 

bagira

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I am very late to reply, and I loved to see good update, but wanted to say that my daughter had the same issue in level 8. All of a sudden one meet she couldn't land any tumbling. She had a very emotional practice before that meet saying "nothing works", and I thought she was being too dramatic, but I saw in the meet that indeed nothing worked. It affected her other events too and the meet was just rough. Few weeks later she ended up being fine. She was 14, so probably growth issue/ body changing.
 

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