Five tips to become a Winning Gym Parent
Helping your children become successful gymnasts is so much more than driving them to and from the gym. In fact, much of their individual achievement is dependent on your involvement as a parent and your example as a role model. Whether or not you recognize it yet, you have tremendous influence in shaping a positive – or negative – gymnastics experience. Studies consistently show that an overwhelming number of kids get involved in sports for the primary reason of having fun, while according to the National Alliance for Youth Sports, around 70% of them will have dropped out by age 13. This is around the time when the focus of sports shifts to competition, with parents and coaches pressuring children to win, in turn taking joy out of the activity. So, how do you help them realize their potential and have fun in the process? Your Destira team provides the following five tips to aid you in becoming a winning gym parent:
- Help your child find balance. In trying to be an ace at the gym, in school and in their social lives, kids can become stressed out. Help them to be organized in all facets, so that they can find balance and enjoy life.
- Know the time and place for gymnastics. Don’t get caught up so much in gymnastics that you forget to ask your child about their day’s other events. Parental pressure is a big contributor to athlete burn out, and your child should know they’re more than a gymnast.
- Be constructive, not destructive. Your child is likely aware of areas for improvement, so resist the urge to point those out. If you have feedback you feel you need to share on his or her performance, attempt to deliver it in a way that's helpful and not hurtful.
- Show empathy. Understand that competitions are stressful for your children. They want to do well for everyone, including you, so allow them the freedom to lead the conversation before and after a meet. This gives them the opportunity to discuss their emotions about their performance and to see you as a good listener.
- Celebrate their individuality. There are few things parents are more passionate about than our children, and we want nothing more than for them to succeed. However, we must remember our kids are unique, developing skills at their own pace, so let’s encourage their individual accomplishments, no matter how big or small.
On a final note, realize the role your child’s coach will play in his or her success, and that’s not only relevant to competitions. How the coach interacts with your gymnast and cares for their physical and mental well-being will have an impact both in and out of the gym, so choose carefully. Being a supportive parent and aligning with a coach that shares your values can create an environment your gymnast can thrive in and a life your child will enjoy living.