National Gymnastics day is officially on September 16th, 2023 this year!
I absolutely love that we have a day to celebrate the sport we all love so much. Actually, for some of us it is a love-hate relationship but that's the beauty of gymnastics. It's such a challenging sport with some of the biggest rewards ever.
Getting to that place of feeling rewarded can be tough, as many gymnasts know. There's a lot that can happen along the way. Injuries, mental blocks, switching gyms to find the right fit, mean coaches, teammate drama...while it might seem like the challenges in gymnastics are never ending, let me remind you of some of the amazing benefits of the sport of gymnastics.
1. Gymnastics builds life skills.
The skills your gymnast learns in gymnastics can serve her well in life. I don't mean her back handspring on beam or her tkatchev on bars. Rather the mental skills of overcoming obstacles, persevering, overcoming embarrassment and fear, or learning how to communicate effectively are all skills she is learning first hand through this sport.
No doubt in life she will have to overcome obstacles or learn how to navigate through fear. So every hardship your gymnast encounters in her gymnastics journey will set her up with effective skills for life.
2. Gymnastics teaches trust.
Whether learning how to trust herself when trying a challenging skill or learning how to trust her coach to keep her safe, there are many opportunities for your gymnast to learn how to trust herself and others.
More importantly, trusting herself teaches her how to listen to her brain. It forces her to go inward and pull out courage deep within her soul that she might never have had to access otherwise. She develops a relationship with her brain that, good or bad, is a skill she must learn to navigate through life.
3. Gymnastics teaches your gymnast to focus on what she has control over.
This might be a lesson your gymnast is still learning, as most gymnasts are. But gymnastics is a great example of learning how to focus on the right thing. If she's on beam and focuses on the ground, she's likely falling off beam. So she learns to keep her eye on the end of the beam. If she's at a meet and the equipment feels off, if she focuses on how strange the equipment feels she will likely have a bad routine.
If your gymnast focuses on wanting to win she'll likely feel extra nervous and end up tanking her routines.
The point is, when she focuses on the wrong things, the things she doesn't want to happen will happen.
So gymnastics is a great place for your gymnast to learn how important it is to focus on what she can control.
If a skill isn't going the way she wants it to, she can focus on how upset she is or she can focus on making corrections or doing what she CAN do in that moment. If a teammate is moving up to the next level and your gymnast isn't, your gymnast can focus on how terrible that feels or she can focus on having an amazing repeat season.
The choice is always hers but through trial and error your gymnast will learn that focusing on what she has no control over will inevitably lead to poor results.
Can other sports build these same life skills? Probably. But no sport does it in quite the same way as gymnastics. There is something that no one can understand that comes with pushing your body to defy gravity and move through fear. And that is why gymnastics is such an important sport.
To celebrate this sport and all it has given us, I've compiled a few of my mental training worksheets into one PDF (P.S. Members of my Stick It Girl Academy get worksheets like these every week). Download it by clicking the image below:
Also, if you're on Instagram, tag @stick.it.girl with the hashtag #SIGNGD23 with some of your completed worksheets for a chance to win a prize and/or get featured.
Check out the National Gymnastics Day official website for some ideas for how to celebrate NGD 2023.
Grab some free Design Your Own Leo worksheets from GK.
Grab some more free coloring pages from USA Gymnastics.
If you or your gymnast needs support, in addition to the resources below I also offer one-on-one coaching sessions via Zoom.
- Stick It Girl Academy: For competitive gymnasts who want to live into their potential and need that extra push in mental training
- 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