In my days as a Gymom, I found communication to be very important. Think of a 3-legged stool and each leg represents 1) the gymnast 2) the coach and 3) the parents. All three groups needs to be on the same page and have the same goals to make things go smoothly and accomplish big things. You are all on one team and (hopefully) want the same thing — to see your gymnast reach her full potential. If there is no communication, and each group has a different goal, then things may fall apart.
One way to achieve this communication with your coach is to schedule a meeting at the end of the competition season and discuss how things went … what’s next … how long will this plan take … what is involved to get there … what can we be doing to help with this plan, what can your daughter do to help with this goal, etc. Basically, you, your daughter and the coach are saying out loud, what you hope to happen in the upcoming season.
Now, of course, things could happen that may change the plan – like injuries, fear issues, illness, coach leaves, you move gyms, whatever … but at least you have a goal in mind for the future and a road map to get there.
If your coach wants your daughter to move up a level, what skills will be necessary for her to achieve in order to compete at the new level? How close is she to getting these new skills? Is there something we can do as parents to help her with this goal?
Once you have a gameplay or a roadmap, then each day move forward just a bit on your path to reach your goal. Having a team approach, where each member of the team must do his/her part, is important. The coach must provide the technical knowledge and motivation, the gymnast must give 100% and work hard in the gym and the parents need to be supportive and encouraging throughout the process. That’s what makes a great team — teamwork.
And one more important thing about communication, encourage your daughter to communicate with her coach! It’s great if you communicate with the coach but you are not there during practice, so it’s important your daughter can speak for herself. If she is sick, injured, or scared, she needs to talk to her coach. The coach can’t help your daughter if he/she doesn’t know what is wrong.
I was lucky because Sam’s coach, Peter, was very good about communication and keeping me in the loop. Although he was from China and I sometimes had difficulty understanding him, he always made sure I understood the big picture.
As an example, when Sam was doing Level 10 at age age 11, she was doing big skills she didn’t really need for Level 10 competitions, but was doing them in preparation for Elite competition. As a result she sometimes sacrificed winning Level 10 competitions in order to move to the elite level. In the end, she did achieve her bigger goals of making the National Team at age 12 and eventually making an Olympic Team.
Communication and being on the same page is one of the keys to success!