As coaches, we want to see our athletes succeed. And we do our best to help our gymnasts learn, grow, and experience a sense of accomplishment. We teach our athletes to be strong and resilient because, at some point, they will experience a setback.
A few common setbacks that a gymnast might face include:
- Mental blocks or fears
- A disappointing performance at a meet
- Not moving up a level or qualifying for a competition
- Struggling with or losing a skill
- Getting injured
- Experiencing a plateau
These types of experiences are tough for any athlete to face. So how can we help young gymnasts bounce back from this type of a setback?
1. Focus on the Controllable
Setbacks can result from factors that are outside of an athlete’s control. Sometimes a normal, healthy thing, like growing, creates a setback. When a child experiences a growth spurt, it can call for making significant adjustments. The skills that once seemed simple and easy could now be more difficult. Fixating on “fixing” what can neither be fixed or controlled won’t help. Instead, help an athlete focus on what they can control – like their thoughts and what they can do to move forward.
2. Change “Why Me?” to “Why Not Me?”
No one is immune to setbacks. Obstacles will pop up in gymnastics, as well as in pretty much all areas of life. There is nothing you can do to prevent a setback. But you can choose how you will handle it. Instead of asking, “why me?” and focusing on the negative aspects of a setback, ask, “why not me?” instead. Use this as an opportunity to improve your resilience.
3. Focus on Taking Action
Rather than staying focused on feeling frustrated and disappointed, help your athlete focus on taking action. If they are injured, then focus on physical therapy or the skills they can still perform safely. If the setback concerns a past competition, shift the focus away from the past. Focus on what they can work on in the future. Don’t dwell on the cause of the setback. Instead, let it go and focus on moving forward.
Kids First Gymnastics in Cedar Rapids provides positive coaching, feedback, and motivation. To learn more about how to get your child started with any of our programs, contact us today.