Why Repeating a Gymnastics Skill Level Could be Good Progress
I have had many parents come to me during the grading terms asking; “ Why does my child not progress to the next gymnastics skill level as fast as his/her friends?”
Now just because it seems your child isn’t going up a gymnastics skill level, this does not necessarily mean that your child is not progressing.
In fact your child might be overcoming major emotional or psychological challenges- that are hidden from the casual onlooker or the parent who only sees their child’s grading performance.
Gymnastics is a complex sport that not only involves the physical ability of a child, but also their mental readiness or ability to overcome fear.
All of these obstacles will prepare your child for challenges that they will encounter later in life.
Gymnastics Skill Level- Physical Ability
Physical ability: once they have learnt that with a bit of hard work, the seemingly impossible can be achieved this is a lesson they will remember later in life.
Gymnastics Skill Level- Fear
Fear: Overcoming your fears is gymnastics happens many times in a gymnast’s career, each of these instances being a key life lesson. They will remember that once they focused on what they needed to do, and just went for it, it wasn’t that bad.
This is something that I have relied on many times, the first time walking into an interview, major exams at university, tackling many new ventures at work. None of this would be possible without these key skills. Work hard, focus and keep trying.
In the Gym Wizards Syllabus there are a few areas where children sometimes get stuck due to various reasons.
The transition from Yellow to Blue beginner requires that a gymnast has the upper body strength to push their upper body up from the ground during a backward roll. Now some children need a longer time than others to develop this upper body strength.
Here we need to help children to see the value in not giving up- to “hang in there” and keep trying.
The trouble is that it takes a long time for some kids to develop this strength and there are no quick fixes. As a parent, you can take heart in the knowledge that although your child may not have achieved this skill yet, they are learning a life lesson of “don’t quit”.
Gymnastics Skill Level- Gym Wizards Syllabus
From Blue Beginner to Blue Advanced we now ask them to kick their feet over their heads and do a handstand against the wall.
And even though this task is physically not that difficult, this is the first skill in the Gym Wizards syllabus where they are sometimes challenged by fear. Now some children have a greater fear level than others, and here is where there might be a perception that your child hasn’t progressed. Take heart- it takes a while to build confidence.
In red level we expect Front Somersaults and Round offs, both of these skills requiring the young gymnast to think of and do multiple actions and movements in a set sequence. This requires co-ordination as well as fear management skills. Once again, there is a high variability within individuals.
When these gymnasts reach bronze level and even higher fear management and co-ordination skills are required. Sometimes repeating red just gives them the time required for their minds to adjust to the higher requirements of the bronze level.
Gymnastics Skill Level- 3 Areas at Gym Wizards
This is one reason why I love the Gym Wizards syllabus so much, is that each child can progress within 3 main areas at their own pace.
If I have a gymnast that is very good on trampoline I will allow them to progress in the trampoline skills as they master tasks regardless of what their progression level is on floor or strength and flexibility.
Something that I often say to these parents, are that at this level a gymnast’s progress greatly rests on their motivation and ability to overcome fear.
As coaches we support and encourage but in the end the decision to move forward is entirely up to the gymnast.
In my next blog I will elaborate more on exactly what your role as a parent is during these tough times.