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Archive for Gymnastics

This guest post by Laura Amann was originally posted a few years ago on this site, but it is worth a read again. 

disappointed gymnast

My days of gymnastics are over. So are my long hours at the gym. My nervousness and anxiety. It’s all in the past. No more ponytails woven with ribbons, no more glitter spray, no more bleacher analysis. My daughter has left the sport.

For years, Caroline competed on a gymnastics team and she adored everything about it. Four days a week, we drove the ½ hour back and forth to the gym so that she could practice 15 hours a week, year-round. I volunteered, I chatted with the parents, I watched and learned and bit my nails. The parents became my friends, the meets became a social time.

Eventually after three years of this schedule, the complaints began: the coaches were too hard, she had a headache, she was tired, she had too much homework. Her message read loud and clear: she was burnt out at the age of 11.

So much attention has been given recently on the downside of focusing on just one sport at such a young age, that we overlook some benefits. Yes, kids miss out on the opportunity to dabble in other sports or activities. Homework is often done in the car or in the bleachers. Dinner is split into two meals: before practice and after.  She frequently misses out on seeing her three siblings compete in their own activities.

Yet as we leave the world of competitive gymnastics, I’m forced to reflect on all that it has given us. We’ve heard many comments lamenting our “lost investment” or pointing out all that wasted time and money we’ve expended (and it’s been a tremendous amount, don’t get me wrong) but it’s certainly not wasted.  By focusing so singularly on a sport, she’s learned tremendous life skills. Not the least of which is valuable time management skills – homework and friends must be balanced with the team schedule. Competing individually in front of judges has taught her to handle intense competition and scrutiny in a way that class presentations never could. She’s mastered stress management and developed a self-confidence that will serve her well in any type of public arena.

Her teammates have taught her about the deep bonds you develop with others who share your passion. She’s met some close friends and seen the good and the ugly side of competition.  She’s learned about nutrition, hydration, caring for injuries, pacing yourself and pushing yourself. All before the age of 12.

It’s humbling to realize how much of my version of her is wrapped up in her being a gymnast and how much of her identity involves her being a gymnast. It’s part of what defines her. This is the fine line that we must walk as parents: when to encourage them to keep going over a bump in the road, and when to guide them to another path. There are never clear street signs.

We’ve watched in amazement. And now we will watch as she walks away from what defines her the most. She’s young; there will be other time-intensive activities I’m sure. The gymnastics world will slowly fade away from our family’s routine. Life goes on. But I will be forever grateful to the sport, to any activity, that can inspire and push children to dream and grow.

Perhaps the biggest lesson that she’s learned is the one that amazes me the most. Because of her rigorous schedule, she’s developed a kind of discipline that some people only dream of: when she’s tired, she goes to sleep; when she’s not hungry, she doesn’t eat. And that’s a life experience worth learning.

Laura Amann is a freelance writer and the mother of four children. You can learn more at www.laura-amann.com.

Image source: Stock.xchng

Comments (6)

How to choose floor music It is finally here – that day your gymnast’s coach says she is ready for her first optional floor routine and her own floor music! Chances are she already has lots of ideas as to the music she wants to use – after all, from the time they are little, every gymnast listens to music with the idea that one day she will have her own floor music and every song is a “potential” routine!

So, how do you go about getting your daughter’s floor music?

1. Talk with her coach first! Every coach has personal preferences as to what kind of music their gymnasts use – for example, some coaches want the new optional gymnasts to start with a classical piece of music. Your coach may also have a preferred source for the music as well.

2. Start with one of the sites that SPECIALIZES in gymnastics music. Sites like Floor Express Music and Energym have been around for YEARS and have a proven track record of obtaining rights legally, making the best music cuts and providing top notch customer service. Have your daughter listen to LOTS of music and write down the tunes that she likes. She can then share that list with her coach and they can choose the perfect piece together.

3. Purchase her music. This may seem obvious, but you need to PURCHASE floor music. You can not just pick something from YouTube or iTunes, make your own mix and send your daughter out to perform it.  Take a minute and read Energym’s tips on staying legal in your floor music quest – Don’t Be a Pirate – it is comprehensive and important to understand.

Once your daughter and her coach have agreed on her music, the fun part can start – getting it choreographed!  And that is another post of its own.

Categories : Gymnastics
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Aug
03

Are You RIO Ready?

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The Olympic Games are by far my favorite event every four years!! I watch more TV and sports coverage online in those two weeks than I do during the four years in between the games.

I have LOVED all of the pre-games commercials, but my favorites have to be “Salute” and “That’s My Girl” from NBC Sports!

Such powerful women and amazing role models for girls of all ages!!

USA Gymnastics is so strong it could send three full teams and sweep the medal podium – and the reason why, is the incredible semi-centralized training system that has been created over the past 16 (give or take) years.

So, are you RIO READY? I say let the games begin!!!

Gear up for the 2016 Rio Olympics with Team USA Gear from Fanatics

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