Do you want to raise your score at your next gymnastics meet?
I know, I know.
I always talk about how scores don't matter in gymnastics meets but now here I am giving you advice on how to raise your scores at meets!
So what's the deal?
Well, these tips that I'm about to give you will not only help you raise your score at meets, they will also help you become a more confident gymnast.
So in my book, I'm really teaching you some tips that will help you feel better about yourself and as a result, improve your score!
It feels like a win-win to me. So here goes...
Here are my tips for how to raise your score at a gymnastics meet:
Tip #1: First Impressions Count
When you are waiting to salute the judges before your routine, there is a split second when they look up before they raise their hand to indicate that it's time for you to salute. And during that split second, they get a first impression of you as a gymnast.
While gymnasts are supposed to be neutral parties who judge exactly what they see in front of them, they are also HUMAN and humans are very much influenced by first impressions.
If the judges look up and see a gymnast who has her head down, is fidgeting with her hands or leotard, has her shoulders crouched forward, and just looks...well, not confident...then how did you think they are going to perceive her?
As a non-confident gymnast, of course!
So focus on that time before you salute and find your best way to look confident. That might mean holding your hands if you fidget. It might mean rolling your shoulders back and lifting up your chin a little. It might even mean faking a smile.
Then when it's time to go, salute the biggest salute you have ever saluted in your life. You want to give off the impression that you are this amazing gymnast (which I know you are). You might not believe this but doing that can subconsciously influence the judges into taking less deductions.
And not to mention, in the process you are tricking your own brain into believing you are confident. When you use confident body language, your mind will follow. So give this a try!
Tip #2: Focus on Your Flair
Flair is what I refer to as artistry and expression in gymnastics. Both your floor and beam routines have deductions for artistry and expression and these deductions are typically taken by judges on most routines.
Because most gymnasts don't show off their flair. Instead, most gymnasts simply go through the motions of their routines without adding emphasis on different dance parts.
Even if dance isn't your thing or you feel like you're not a graceful gymnast, you can STILL find ways to enhance your flair.
One way to do this is to practice your flair at home. You can practice in front of a mirror and watch yourself as you do different parts of your routine.
Where can you add a chin lift, crack a smile, or make a move extra dramatic in your routine? Find those spots in your routine that seem like "dead space" and jazz them up a bit. Even if you are compulsory gymnast, you can add extra flair to your routine.
Practice doing this as much as you can at home so that when you get to a meet you don't feel so silly or shy about it.
The more you do it, the easier and more natural it will feel.
Think of yourself as an actress who is playing a gymnast in a new made-for-tv movie. What would an actress do to make her character stand out?
Remember, when you are at a meet and you are performing your beam and floor routines, you are basically putting on a "show" for the judges. So get to work practicing your flair and then show it off at your next meet!
Tip #3: End Your Routine On a High Note
I mentioned that first impressions make all the difference at a meet. Well, the way judges see you leave your routine is equally important.
In my opinion, your routine is not over until you have exited the mat, whether it's floor or any other event.
Many gymnasts will finish a routine, salute, and then walk off like they're disappointed. Even if they had a good routine, they usually walk off the mat with very little confidence.
Treat that time at the end as part of your routine. If you are on floor, salute really big once your routine is over and then walk off confidently. If you are on bars, beam, or floor think of your routine as extending until you come off the mat. So salute and then, just like floor, make sure you walk off the mat with confidence.
There is nothing worse than seeing a gymnast do a beautiful routine and then walk off the floor looking disappointed. Sure, there might be parts of the routine you were unhappy with, but that doesn't give you the right to end on such a negative note.
So those were three tips to raise your score at your gymnastics meet. While some of them might seem simple, trust me when I say they can make a difference in your overall score.
Being a good gymnast means exuding confidence and putting on a "show" for the judges. Judges take note of how you salute, how expressive you are doing your routine, and how you exit the mat when your routine is over. Do NOT give them any reason to want to take off points from your routine, whether they are doing it consciously or subconsciously.
Good luck at your next meet. And remember to have fun!
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 Challenge 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