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FifiMum

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Mar 14, 2022
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Hi my son is having to take about 6 weeks off gymnastics for surgery recovery. He is currently refusing to have the surgery if it means missing any gymnastics....obviously, he will have it done but does anyone have advice about how to reduce his fear he'll forget his skills and just generally how to cope with the lack of gym fix? Even during the pandemic, he had online sessions so this will be hard for him.I guess its similar when there's been an injury so hoping for some advice from experienced gymnast parents or coaches!
 

gymgal

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Aug 22, 2008
4,655
how old? what level? What generally is the surgery (limb/core body, neuro, organ, etc). Does he have to be fully out of the gym for 6 wks? He may feel better about it if he can still go to the gym for social purposes and/or for conditioning after a couple of weeks. Depending on the answers above, his fears may be realistic and need to be affirmed but also addressed positively by thinking of the long term such as without the surgery, he won't be able to continue gymnastics and may affect longer term life as well. Good luck to him on the surgery and recovery
 

NutterButter

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Jan 24, 2013
879
How old is he? Remind him that 'muscle memory' is real and that he won't forget his skills. He may have to work back up to strength and stamina but his body already knows how to do certain things and that won't go away. Also remind him that in the grand scheme of things 6 weeks off is small amount of time. Many gymnasts are out of the gym for much longer for injuries. Maybe you can point to his favorite athletes (even if they are non-gymnasts) who have needed a lengthy recovery or an older teammate who came back from injury?
 
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Sylvia

Coach
Gymnast
Oct 23, 2021
25
Muscle memory is such a powerful thing! I had a 9 month recovery after a knee surgery and didn’t lose a single skill. It was really helpful for me to at least still be in the gym conditioning, so I knew that I would still be strong enough once I was cleared to return. Visualization is also a helpful tool so that he can train the skills in his mind, even if he can’t train them in real life.
 

FifiMum

New Member
Mar 14, 2022
22
45
How old is he? Remind him that 'muscle memory' is real and that he won't forget his skills. He may have to work back up to strength and stamina but his body already knows how to do certain things and that won't go away. Also remind him that in the grand scheme of things 6 weeks off is small amount of time. Many gymnasts are out of the gym for much longer for injuries. Maybe you can point to his favorite athletes (even if they are non-gymnasts) who have needed a lengthy recovery or an older teammate who came back from injury?
Thanks. I've bought a book by a well known British footballer who had shoulder surgery and talks about how he handled being out. Also, follow Max Whitlock who is back in the gym after a year off and is now preparing for Paris. My son has excellent muscle memory so I'm confident he won't forget. He can get back to swimming before the 6 weeks I think so that should help on stamina and strength building. Good advice.
 
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FifiMum

New Member
Mar 14, 2022
22
45
Muscle memory is such a powerful thing! I had a 9 month recovery after a knee surgery and didn’t lose a single skill. It was really helpful for me to at least still be in the gym conditioning, so I knew that I would still be strong enough once I was cleared to return. Visualization is also a helpful tool so that he can train the skills in his mind, even if he can’t train them in real life.
We've got tickets to see the World Championships during his recovery so I'm hoping that will help him to feel part of it and his club has asked if he can take a picture of him there. You've given me the idea I might ask him to do a little 'write up' for them so he can still feel connected and think about the skills he sees there. Thank you!
 
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FifiMum

New Member
Mar 14, 2022
22
45
how old? what level? What generally is the surgery (limb/core body, neuro, organ, etc). Does he have to be fully out of the gym for 6 wks? He may feel better about it if he can still go to the gym for social purposes and/or for conditioning after a couple of weeks. Depending on the answers above, his fears may be realistic and need to be affirmed but also addressed positively by thinking of the long term such as without the surgery, he won't be able to continue gymnastics and may affect longer term life as well. Good luck to him on the surgery and recovery
Hes 7 , intermediate. He's having abdominal surgery and yes fully out of gym for 6 weeks though may be able to swim and play other sports after 4 weeks.
how old? what level? What generally is the surgery (limb/core body, neuro, organ, etc). Does he have to be fully out of the gym for 6 wks? He may feel better about it if he can still go to the gym for social purposes and/or for conditioning after a couple of weeks. Depending on the answers above, his fears may be realistic and need to be affirmed but also addressed positively by thinking of the long term such as without the surgery, he won't be able to continue gymnastics and may affect longer term life as well. Good luck to him on the surgery and recovery

how old? what level? What generally is the surgery (limb/core body, neuro, organ, etc). Does he have to be fully out of the gym for 6 wks? He may feel better about it if he can still go to the gym for social purposes and/or for conditioning after a couple of weeks. Depending on the answers above, his fears may be realistic and need to be affirmed but also addressed positively by thinking of the long term such as without the surgery, he won't be able to continue gymnastics and may affect longer term life as well. Good luck to him on the surgery and recovery
 

gymgal

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Proud Parent
Aug 22, 2008
4,655
OK, I thought we were talking teen years. He's 7 and in a rec program? He just needs reassurance that the skills will come back. I like the idea of explaining muscle memory to him in his age-terms - skills that he has learned but may not do for weeks and still remembers and can do them - riding a bike, rollerblading, swimming strokes, handwriting, etc.

I would also talk with the surgeon and coaches about whether he can be in the gym without participating in practice so that he can still be around his buddies. There is always a fear that the coach or child may push for skills before they are cleared but I am figuring his practices are not long and you can watch them to be sure he is following the rule.
 
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