WAG Question about “up and downs” and how to say the right things to my DD

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GeorgianaSue12

Proud Parent
May 28, 2019
10
42
Hi all, my DD has an amazing 1st year on JO team as a level 4. Our gym skips level 5 but some gymnasts do L4 for 2 years. The gym uses L5 as kind of a training benchmark during summer months with a mobility meet to L6 in fall). Anyway, my DD finished 1st AA at states and had a great season leading up to that last great accomplishment. Her teammates all did great, but where my DD excelled was with her confidence and composure during meets. It was as if nothing phased her and there appeared to be zero jitters! I’d ask her, if she was at all nervous, and she’d say “Heck yeah I was nervous, but I just take a deep breath, close my eyes, and pretend I’m at a mock meet or practice! Plus if I screw up, I’ll just do the best I can.” It sounded so simple and I could have NEVER been a gymnast, let alone that mature at her age.

Anyway, there is one girl in particular on her team that has followed her very closely (same with the girls mother). They are within a few months of one another, skill-wise, pretty similar with the exception of my daughter being a better competitor and a bit more confident. The mom is always up in my biz, telling me how identical our girls are and how her dd just admires and talks about my dd and how she wants to be like her. My dd gets a little annoyed sometimes when she feels other teammate is copying ALL she does. I told my DD that it’s the best form of flattery and to chill out because she looks up to her. I reiterate to my daughter to surround herself with people better than she is, and that’s probably what teammates mom is telling her to do.

Well now that season is over, my dd is a hot mess because teammate is accomplishing all of these “upgrades” and my dd seems to have hit a bit of a mental block. She’s so focused on this (she’s a bit jealous I can tell) it’s affecting her ability to focus on herself! I’ve had many talks with her and have told her peaks and valleys are normal, she won’t always be in the spotlight every day, and stronger teammates make a stronger team. She’s also po’d Because when she asks TM what she’s doing to do all this stuff, TM is like “I dunno it just comes naturally, I guess!”. TM would always ask DD throughout season how she does xyz and my dd would give tips. The coach even made a comment to me that dd is very supportive and helpful and doesn’t keep training tidbits a secret.

I just don’t know how to handle her lack of confidence right now. It’s a normal part of competitive sports but how can I best help her stay focused on her own race?
 

NutterButter

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Jan 24, 2013
881
I reiterate to my daughter to surround herself with people better than she is, and that’s probably what teammates mom is telling her to do.

I have to say I've never once told my kids to surround themselves with people that are better than they are. Whether they are the best, the worst or in the middle, I'm most concerned with how they treat their fellow teammates. Being supportive and encouraging and to model how they want to be treated in return is #1 for me. The message she receives when you tell her to surround herself with people 'better' than her opens herself up to all sorts of budding issues. Plus, what if her kindred spirit on the team is the 'worst' kid -- how will she ever allow herself to get to know a potentially great friend? You've asked how to keep her focused on her own journey but you are giving conflicting messages when you tell her to surround herself with better people. She can't be focused on herself if she's worried about being with whoever is better.

The thing with gymnastics - especially in compulsory - is that the 'best' can and often changes from year to year. Some kids can blink and they get new skills while others are more slow and deliberate. Some kids who get skills immediately need months to work out kinks while often the last kid in the group to get a skill can compete the skill the next day. When kids hit puberty or deal with a chronic growth-related injury their progression can slow. Their progression can stop if they have a serious injury. Fears happen. It's tough to say who the 'best' is or will be.
 

GeorgianaSue12

Proud Parent
May 28, 2019
10
42
Thank you for your reply. After re-reading my post, I do see how it sounds like I'm giving conflicting messages, so I appreciate you calling me out on that. What I was really trying to say regarding "surround yourself with people who are better than you", is to surround yourself with people who inspire you to be better. My dd has always been slightly wise beyond her years, very goal oriented, and knows what she wants. IMHO, she can't go it alone, she has to have positive role models and putting ones self out there to learn from peers who are succeeding, is a tough thing to do sometimes. She has several girls who are L6's through L10's who she admires and tries to partner up with during mixed level strength training days, and a few have taken her under their wing. It has helped with her confidence. That's more or less what I meant by my statement but it didn't come across that way, I know.

Your last paragraph is 100% spot on - I couldn't agree with you more! I guess my DD's struggle is understanding that it's not always going to be an easy road, and it's not about getting the most medals or being viewed as "the best Level (insert number)". Despite her being an old soul, she thoroughly enjoyed the success she had this past year (maybe it went to her head???). How have any of you gym parents dealt with this type of scenario? If so, what words of wisdom have resonated with your kid and has helped them stay positive and focused?
 

mommyof1

Proud Parent
Jan 31, 2012
2,541
The car
She’s also po’d Because when she asks TM what she’s doing to do all this stuff, TM is like “I dunno it just comes naturally, I guess!”. TM would always ask DD throughout season how she does xyz and my dd would give tips. The coach even made a comment to me that dd is very supportive and helpful and doesn’t keep training tidbits a secret.

This part is a red flag to me. I can't remember my child ever talking about sharing "training tidbits" with teammates, just general support and encouragement. The coaches should be doing the coaching; the kids shouldn't need to be sharing "secrets" about how to get skills. Suzy is not exactly going to be able to sabotage Sally's training by refusing to explain the physics of the kip. Also, many kids really can't articulate the mechanics behind gymnastics skills, especially at the younger ages and lower levels.
 
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Jard.the.gymnast

Coach
Gymnast
Apr 12, 2017
1,319
20
This part is a red flag to me. I can't remember my child ever talking about sharing "training tidbits" with teammates, just general support and encouragement. The coaches should be doing the coaching; the kids shouldn't need to be sharing "secrets" about how to get skills. Suzy is not exactly going to be able to sabotage Sally's training by refusing to explain the physics of the kip. Also, many kids really can't articulate the mechanics behind gymnastics skills, especially at the younger ages and lower levels.
I disagree. Sometimes as coaches we can explain skills and feelings in a lot of ways, but it will not click.

The experience of doing a skill can really help with things that feel the same. As coaches we have not done the skills in a long time. Sometimes even one teammates or coaches explanation will not click and another will click.

Example: kid had trouble with her front handspring (mostly fear). I had told her everything I could possibly think of, and was now heavily spotting to get as many successful repetitions in as possible. One turn she comes up to me and says she wants to try and she did it. A teammate had explained her that you should pretend something really scary is there. The only way to get over is to block really hard. If you balk, you die. I would have never thought of that, because I had never had the same struggle as a gymnast nor had I ever come across a gymnast with such fear issues. But that experience tip from her teammate helped her
 

GymDadWA

Proud Parent
Dec 30, 2017
301
43
Each gymnast especially as they progress into optionals will have their own unique strengths and weaknesses.

It sounds like your DD and her teammate just have different personalities and different strengths. Your DD did really well in compulsories which demands perfect text book execution and a lot of attention to detail. Her teammate while she admired your DD sounds like more of a risk taker that is willing to throw new skills whether she is perfect at them or not.

They are just two different people and don't compare them to each other or even let your DD compare. Assuming they both make optionals they will have their own routines that cater to their own strengths and will do great because they are each doing what they do best not what someone else is doing.
 

ldw4mlo

Proud Parent
Feb 13, 2015
6,441
62
This is a life lesson thing. She needs to stay in her own lane. She can get tips, training. Work with many people.

And her journey is going to be her journey. Some things will come quicker, some will take longer. It is however important to focus on that getting something quick doesn't mean you will do it well. Nor does it mean it won't become a problem in the future.

My daughter is always last to get a skill. Some of it due to her being a cautious gymmie. Some of it her wanting to do it "right". When she finally gets whatever skill she is usually doing it better then most kids who had it long before her. If she measured her worth as a gymnast by the speed of which she gets a skill, she would of given up long ago.

Your conversations with your daughter should be about keeping her eye and mind on her gymnastics. The only person she should be trying to be better then is the person she was last practice. Focus her on what she can do to get better, more conditioning, more visualization, making her corrections etc.... After that its don't worry, you'll get it.

And also maybe her team mate simply can't verbalize what exactly it is she doing. Doing something and being able to explain are not the same thing.
 

OrchidZ

Proud Parent
May 4, 2018
92
TM may also be doing privates. You guys wouldn't necessarily know if she was.

Your DD needs to learn that this just doesn't matter. She can let this bother her and affect her training or not. One of those decisions helps her make progress toward her goals and the other does not. She could be happy for her teammate and use this as fuel for motivation. "She can do this, I can too." She can let the situation affect who she is (and stop being a supportive teammate) or not. But either way, the only one who really suffers or benefits in the longterm is your DD. I'd encourage her to remain true to herself and "just keep swimming." Focus on her progress every day (big or small) and have faith in herself.

I encouraged my gymmie to keep a journal of successes - just a quick note every day on what she felt went well or small steps of progress.. positive comments from coaches too. Every day, she was able to find something, even if it was small. When you look back over it, it's great to see those small steps add up into big results. Perhaps this could help your DD stay focused on her own progress and successes.
 

sce

Proud Parent
Mar 11, 2014
6,149
Encourage her to focus on ehr journey. She cna eba supportive teamamte and cheer on her teammetes as they get skills. But don't compare paths. Everyone has ups and downs, strengths and weaknesses. If she needs tips on gettinga skill, encourage her to ask har coach.
 
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GeorgianaSue12

Proud Parent
May 28, 2019
10
42
TM may also be doing privates. You guys wouldn't necessarily know if she was.

Your DD needs to learn that this just doesn't matter. She can let this bother her and affect her training or not. One of those decisions helps her make progress toward her goals and the other does not. She could be happy for her teammate and use this as fuel for motivation. "She can do this, I can too." She can let the situation affect who she is (and stop being a supportive teammate) or not. But either way, the only one who really suffers or benefits in the longterm is your DD. I'd encourage her to remain true to herself and "just keep swimming." Focus on her progress every day (big or small) and have faith in herself.

I encouraged my gymmie to keep a journal of successes - just a quick note every day on what she felt went well or small steps of progress.. positive comments from coaches too. Every day, she was able to find something, even if it was small. When you look back over it, it's great to see those small steps add up into big results. Perhaps this could help your DD stay focused on her own progress and successes.

This is a great idea, and something she’s love to do. She loves to “journal” (or just likes to collect journals because she likes he say they look;-))

I agree with what you said. I’ve said those things to her but she needs to run her own race or keep on swimming like you said. Funny thing is, she pulled out the Gabby Douglas movie yesterday after school (she hasn’t watched it in 3 years!) and I happened to walk in the living room during a particular scene where she was kind of down on her luck, potty party stuff, and her mother said something like “as long as tomorrow is a little better than today, that’s progress!” I jumped all over that - it was almost ironic. We’ll see. I definitely do think TM is getting private’s - good for her if she is - but I know my daughter can do it. She’s right there at the brink (working on her BWO/BHS series on high beam)! If she winds up needing PL’s, so be it, but I think she can do without for now ;-)
 
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