Here are 5 quick tips for how to do better at your next gymnastics meet.
With gymnastics meet season in session across some of the United States right now, many of you are wondering how to do better at each meet.
While it might feel like you haven't practiced as much as you'd like or that you're extra nervous this season because things feel so out of control, there are still some things you can do to perform better at your next gymnastics meet.
Here they are...
Tip #1: Repeat the words "After I salute, I am in control."
This is a phrase Simone Biles uses before she gets up to do her competition routines. She reminds herself that after she salutes, she is in control of what happens.
This is something you can do too.
While your routine might not always go the way you hope, you are in control of your routine in regards to how much effort you put forth, your attitude, the thoughts you're thinking, and how hard you're trying. Always remember that!
You are in control.
So while you might feel like things are out of control around you, you can still focus on the things you have control over. And in fact, that IS what you should be focusing on at each meet.
This also goes for when you fall in competition. You make a choice as to how you finish your routine. Are you so upset that you give up? Or do you act confident like you never fell? Again, those are things you can control.
While rare, there have been instances where judges have been known to miss falls. So always act like nothing happened and continue on as if you are in control! You just never know ;)
Tips #2: Fix your posture
Confident posture makes all the difference in the world when it comes to competition and feeling good about yourself.
Confident gymnasts walk with their chest lifted, shoulders back, and their head held high.
They walk into a meet like they own the gym.
They get their body language into place so their mindset can follow. This is something called body to mind connection. If you can do things that get your body in a posture of confidence, your mind will start to believe it.
However, if you go to a meet and are nervous and hope that your mindset will feel confident, it will never happen because your nerves will take over. And then those nerves will translate into body language that lacks confidence. So the cycle will continue in a negative way.
Instead, use your posture to help you feel more confident. And then if you can do it, SMILE. Just smiling alone can make you feel more confident and at the very least, help you feel happy!
Tip #3: Take It One Event At a Time
A common fault that many gymnasts have is that they let their mind wander and get distracted during their meets.
If you do this too, it is a sure-fire way to set yourself up to compete unfocused. And unfocused often translates into poor routines.
Often gymnasts will start to think about another event while they're competing on the first one.
This is especially true if there is an event you are nervous about.
For example, you might be on their first rotation of bars and be thinking about your last rotation, beam, because there is a skill you're nervous to do on that beam and can't stop thinking about.
I'm here to say "Stop it!"
Instead keep your focus on the present event you are competing on or are about to compete on.
You can think about the other events as you get to them, but NOT a minute sooner!
One. Event. At. A. Time.
Tip #4: Give Yourself 30 Seconds to Feel Disappointed and Then Move On
You might feel disappointed during a meet. That's a normal part of the competition process and it's ok.
Maybe you fall at a meet or miss a connection or take a lot of steps on a landing. Your first response might be to feel disappointed, angry, or want to cry.
All of these responses are normal responses and you should allow yourself to have them. Feelings are real and you should always acknowledge them.
However, there is one caveat...
You can only allow yourself to have those feelings for 30 seconds.
After 30 seconds is up, you must not think about your disappointment until after the meet is over.
When you focus on your disappointment the entire meet you end up competing with less confidence and your routines will not be as good as they could have been if your attitude was more positive.
So allow yourself to get upset if you need to.
But limit it to 30 seconds and then don't think about it until after your meet is over.
Tip #5: Evaluate Your Meet
How did you do? What things were working for you? What things were not working for you?
All great gymnasts look back at their meet and evaluate it to see what they can improve on for next time. They also see what things worked for them that they can bring with them to their next meet.
If you go to meets but then don't take the time to evaluate them, you lose valuable information that can help you as a gymnast!
In every meet you can figure out things like:
-What was my ideal emotional state? Excited, Happy, Mellow, Calm, Energized?
-What words helped me feel more confident? Tight, strong, relax, you got this, give it all you got?
-Was I able to focus or do I need to do something different next time to help me focus more?
-How was my energy level? Was I hungry and thirsty? Do I need to bring better snacks next time? Do I need to drink more water?
-Was there an event I was more nervous for than the others? Why was that? What can I do to change that?
When you take the time to go back and check on different aspects of your meet, you are able to use that information to help you the next time around so that you can perform even better.
Those were 5 quick tips for how to do better at your next meet. While it might seem like there are many things outside of your control, in actuality you have control over the most important things - your mindset and your effort. When you focus on those things you will feel more confident.
Remember to fix your posture since body language is important. You also want to focus on only one event at time. If you get disappointed or something happens that upsets you, remember to allow yourself to feel all the feels for 30 seconds only. Then you put those feelings away until after the meet. Finally, take time to evaluate your meet so you know what you can do better next time, as well as what you can repeat for the next meet.
Good luck! Let me know if these tips helped 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