So, this Crazy Gym Mom (CGM) is ready to share all the things I have learned through the years. I am known as a bit of a gym geek in my group of gym parents. I have an insatiable curiosity and a brain that pretty much never shuts off. I also have a daughter with a tremendous passion for her sport and very big dreams, which she is well on her way to achieving.
This sport is a journey, not only for the kids, but for the parents too. I look back to the days when my daughter was on pre-team and then the oh so scary and uncertain time of delving into competitive compulsory gymnastics. There is so much to learn, so much to process and what seems like an endless list of things to worry about. I often reflect on how the last nine years have been a constant lesson in letting go.
One of my ways of keeping sane through all the ups and downs and topsy turvys of this sport has been to educate myself. Through my daughter’s passion, my own passion for this sport has grown. As many do, I love the beauty and the strength and watching amazing talent, but I also love the technical aspects. I love the physics and the intricacies of the code of points. I love the stats and the analysis. I love the beauty of watching a gymnast figure out a correction or the timing of a new skill. I love watching coaches coach and gymnasts learn and observing the inside workings of a gym community. I love watching my daughter and her teammates grow up into the most amazing, confident, brave, resilient and motivated young women. These girls blow my mind every day.
I also love watching parents grow and mature as their kids grow and progress through the levels. The naivety of a first year parent, the over-zealousness and anxiety of compulsory parents, the joy and ahh of a parent as they realize their child has what it takes to go far in this sport and watching them take ownership of their training as they move into optionals and the wise maturity of those that have lived through the grind and the pain and the unbelievable accomplishment of upper level optionals. All of this amazes me and intrigues me and terribly distracts me.
As a result I am the holder of a lot of random information, some important and helpful and some complete nonsense. I just hope that I can share some of what I have learned along the way with the rest of the gym parent world. Something that may help you ask the right questions, or enjoy your child’s sport more, or lead you to a solution to a problem, or help you see your place and influence on your child and their sport and encourage you to be the best gym parent for your child you can be.
I would like to remind you that this is your child’s sport and implore you to use the information on this site to simply grow for yourself and better support you child. I also implore you not to use anything you learn here to put more pressure on your child or undermine their coaches in any way. You child’s gymnastics is between your child and their coach and I promise you your child is putting more pressure on themselves than you ever could. Just stand back and watch as your child gains everything amazing that gymnastics has to offer and be amazed and proud of every step she takes and every time she falls and gets back up.
There are definitely things you can do to better support you child and her sport, but coaching her is not one of them. Nothing you do or say is going to make your child capable of doing gymnastics skills or more quickly move to the next level, but you do have the power to do a lot of harm. Be cognoscente of that and learn to trust your child’s coaches. You will eventually have to drink the cool-aid and buy into the philosophy and practices of the program. If this sounds impossible then I would argue you may be at the wrong gym or your child may be doing the wrong sport. Trust is everything once you get to a certain level. Without the three-way trust between coach, gymnast and parent reaching their full potential will never be possible.
Some of you may question what makes me think that I have any authority or expertise to spout off about all of this. Your correct, I am not a coach or a gym owner or a doctor or a psychiatrist. What I am is a scientist and a parent who has ushered her child through this crazy sport to it’s highest levels. My daughter is strong and beautiful and passionate and driven only by the fire within her. Managing her “career” is a full time job for me as well. The gym parent of a high level gymnast is part sport psychologist, part physical therapist, part nutritionist, part school teacher and part taxi driver along with a hundred other things. What we aren’t is their coach and our most important role is always as their parent. Hugs and encouragement are always my most important job.
But because of all these different aspects of my daughter’s journey through this sport and mostly due to the fact that I simply can’t let a question go unanswered, I have gained a lot of knowledge about this sport and now I would liken to broaden the circle of people who get to benefit from that.
I really hope you enjoy what you find here! I encourage discussion and all opinions and thoughts and contributions, but please be kind as I won’t tolerate hate or inappropriate behavior. Really, just don’t be an ass hole. Nobody likes that.