Today I'm talking about the there 3 things a "good" gymnastics mom does not do!
Hey gymnastics mom! I see you. And I know that one of the most important things to you is seeing your gymnast succeed and be happy.
As a gymnastics mom, I know you live for moments when your gymnast comes out on top. I know you love to see her smile with joy after a great competition or after learning a new skill.
And you probably get all the feels when you see your gymnast holding her head up high with confidence and tackling challenges head on.
But when your gymnast is struggling with mental blocks or a lack of confidence or has tremendous potential yet can't seem to put it all together in meets, your first instinct undoubtedly is to help her. And rightly so!
As mama bears we not only want to protect our gymnasts, but also see them reach their fullest potential. And when either of these things go awry we naturally step in to help.
Unfortunately sometimes our desire to help our gymnasts can actually hurt them and most of the time we don't even realize this is the case.
We might assume that what we are doing is benefiting our gymnast. And we might also assume that our gymnast cannot overcome what she is going through without our intervention.
And yet, more often than not, our well-intended attempts are making things more challenging for our gymnasts.
Below I've given you 3 things that most moms who consider themselves "good gymnastics moms" do that may be causing more harm than good to your gymnast.
Check to see if you can relate to any of these things and then ask yourself if what you are doing is actually helping your gymnast or causing her more harm.
3 Things A "Good" Gymnastics Mom Does NOT Do
Here they are in no particular order:
Number 1: Good Gym Moms Do Not Reward Their Gymnasts For Achieving A Certain Score At Meets or For Leveling Up
As a good gym mom I know you want to be involved in your daughter's gymnastics life. After all, that's part of what makes you a "good" gym mom.
But in many cases being overly involved is causing undue stress on your gymnast. I know you want your gymnast to do well at her meets and are well-intentioned in thinking that giving her some incentive will help her work hard and achieve her goal.
However, by rewarding the result, you are actually missing the most important part - the process! The process is what you should always reward and it doesn't have to be with a gift.
It can be with acknowledgement such as through statements like:
"I see you working hard every day."
"I admire how dedicated you are to learning this new skill."
"You show up every practice willing to give it your all. How amazing!"
"You stayed focused throughout your entire meet. Way to go!"
"You had some tough breaks out there but you picked yourself up and kept going. That was awesome."
Simply letting your gymnast know that you see and appreciate her efforts is enough motivation to help her continue to set and reach goals.
It also keeps her focus internal so that your gymnast learns to be motivated by intrinsic rewards (a desire to be better) rather than extrinsic rewards (receiving a medal).
Finally it keeps the focus less on rewarding her for being good at some thing and more on being a good person based on her character traits.
Now, this is not to say you can't give her something for working hard and pushing through. And you CAN certainly give her a physical gift or reward her with something special if she levels up to the next level or gets a certain score at a meet.
HOWEVER, if you do decide to give her a gift, make sure you emphasize that it is because she is working hard and not solely because of the result.
Number 2: Good Gym Moms Do Not Constantly Ask Their Gymnast How Practice Went or How It's Going On a New Skill They're Learning
This one might go against your natural instinct but it's an important one to take note of.
I'm not saying you can't ask your gymnast how practice went when you pick her up from gym. But badgering her to tell you what she did in practice or how she felt at practice can be counter-productive.
Most gymnasts need time to decompress after practice. They just had 2-3+ hours of intense physical and mental activity and are feeling the effects of it, even if they can't verbalize that to you.
Most likely the only thing she wants to do right after practice is NOT think about gymnastics.
Some gymnasts like to chat and that is their way of decompressing. If that is the case for your gymnast then you can certainly engage in conversation but it's better to listen than to speak.
Let her get those things off her mind and say what's in her head as opposed to answering questions you might have.
If there's something you REALLY want to know (like did she try her giants by herself) then wait until some time has passed, whether that's right before bed or the next morning.
Again, letting your gymnast have time to process the events that happened that night at practice is very important for her and can even give her brain time to make new neural connections.
Number 3: Good Gym Moms Do Not Give Their Gymnasts Tips To Improve or "Coach" Them At Home
Say what?! Isn't a "good" gym mom's job to help her gymnast improve by giving her tips along the way?
Nope. That job is actually her coach's job and should stay that way.
The distinction between gym and home should be clear so that your gymnast doesn't feel the pressure of gym at home.
In the gym, her coach coaches her. At home, her gym mom supports her and loves her.
One of the biggest factors that sets gymnast's mental blocks into motion is pressure from others.
When you as a gym mom are constantly coaching her or giving her tips for what she could have done better, she may feel like she either failed or did not live up to your expectations. This is enormous pressure for her to shoulder and you might not even realize you are putting it on her.
I know you want to see her live up to her potential and when you think she is underperforming or could do better, it is only natural to want to help her do better.
But again, by doing so you are subtly sending the message that she is not "good enough" or should be better.
Leave the coaching up to her coach and focus on being the best support system you can be for your gymnast at home.
So now that you've read these 3 things, how many of them do you find yourself doing? If you are doing these things, have you noticed how your gymnast responds to them?
Let me know in the comments below.
If you or your gymnast needs support, in addition to the resources below I also offer one-on-one coaching sessions via Zoom.
- Resources: Get gymnastics downloads to help your gymnast work on her mental skills in gymnastics
- Mental Health Training for Gymnasts: Help your gymnast learn about her brain and the fight-flight-or-freeze response.
- Free Facebook Group for Moms of Gymnasts: Join this group to chat with other gymnastics moms and get tips for how to help your gymnast navigate through the mental ups and downs of gymnastics