Get to know the sport.
The rules of gymnastics are unique and can sometimes even confuse the savviest of gymnastics fans. Don’t stay in the dark - ask the coaches, gym staff, or other parents any questions you have about the upcoming competitions or practice requirements. This guide is a great place to start!
Practice, practice, practice.
General athleticism and fitness can be trained anywhere from at home to the local park. However, save practicing specific gymnastics skills and moves for when you have expert supervision. Most facilities will have open gym sessions for gymnasts to get extra practice time to perfect their skills. Many gyms also offer different classes athletes can sign up for to work with a coach on sharpening any skill – whether on the bar, beam, or floor.
Unlike many other sports, gymnastics is not seasonal. While there is an “off-season,” for competition, it is a year-round commitment.
Play other sports, too.
Encourage your child to try other sports and avoid gymnastics fatigue. Certain gymnastics skills—like body awareness, quick reactions, and conditioning—can be practiced by participating in other sports, too. Then communicate anything you feel he or she should know about your child early in the season. A good coach will be open and honest about goals, expectations, and methods. Don’t forget to ask the coach if there is anything you can help with!
Become familiar with your childs coach.
At the recreational levels, your child’s coach will likely change yearly. So, introduce yourself to the coach and get to know his or her coaching philosophies. Then communicate anything you feel he or she should know about your child early in the season. Once your child moves to the competitive track, it will be common for a gymnast to have the same coach for years. A good coach will be open and honest about goals, expectations, and methods.
Be positive and respectful.
Unless otherwise appointed, your job at the gym is to support and cheer for your kid. Focus on the positives as he or she learns the sport and avoid any coaching from chairs in the lobby.
Focus on life skills, not scholarships.
Gymnastics, like any other sport, is not a financial plan for college. Fewer than 1 percent of high school athletes receive athletic scholarships and only five make the Olympic team (every four years). Encourage your child to focus on the valuable lessons they can learn from gymnastics—like how to handle winning and losing, overcoming challenges while learning a new skill, managing relationships with coaches and teammates, and the benefits of being active. Above all, focus on having fun!
Pick the right program for your child.
There are many gymnastics disciplines and programs to choose from that vary in cost, time commitment, and competition level. Choose a program that suits your child’s interests and skill levels. [See: “Ways to Play”]