Seeking Positive Gymnastics


Recently the weight of my actions as well as others at our gym has been weighing on my mind.  Throughout Chloe’s gymnastic years I have already made my share of mistakes.  From being that parent complaining loudly enough in the lobby for other patrons to hear, as well as staff, but not being the parent to address my concerns in a positive, appropriate manner, to scolding Chloe too harshly for something I thought might be lacking with her at the gym, to seeing a serious problem with Chloe and not speaking directly to the coaches about it.  My recent blog post about the 27 Don’ts for Parents of Gymnasts has spurred a lot of self reflection in me.

The above mistakes that I spoke of were more things of last year, although as I said in my other post, I am guilty of “reminding” Chloe about how much money we are spending on her gymnastics.  This year I have spent more time outside of the gym, trying to keep my distant in order to avoid some of my past mistakes.  It is easy to sit up above and see things you may not be happy with, it is also very easy to misinterpret things that you see.  My main goal for Chloe regarding the gym is for her to be happy.  I would like to see a good work ethic in her as that is something she will take with her for years to come, as well as a supportive, positive attitude with herself and her teammates.  Number 24 in the list of Don’ts is… Don’t expect anything more from your gymnast except their best effort. Whenever I drop Chloe off at the gym, or say goodbye to her when she heads out for a competition I try to remind her of 2 things….the first is a little saying we turned into an acronym it is TPOPT (The power of positive thinking) she even made a poster for it that hangs in her room.  The second is that “Your best is ALWAYS good enough.”

As I sit here reflecting on the current situation, of which I know very little about, other than a few small comments I have heard here and there, I find my self feeling the systemic effects of whatever is going on.  My hope is that as adults, and hopefully respectful human beings, that the coaches, parents and staff will be able to find a resolution to the discord, and quickly.  If I am feeling it, I am sure all the girls are as well.

I want to thank Mark Folger from Folger’s Gymnastics for somehow finding my blog and commenting on it.  His blog is incredibly insightful and positive.  In one of his blog posts called “Finding the Good in Youth Sports”, Mark says:

While much discussion and printed material concerned with youth sports focuses on negative issues and circumstances, let us not forget what’s good in the world of youth sports. As is usually the case in life, good things evolve from the involvement of good people. Caring, enthusiastic, and energetic people are abundant on the fields, courts and in the gyms of our children. Look around and you’ll see them.

You may have to look hard at first because the negative influences tend to be more visible. But, keep looking and you’ll soon realize that the good is the majority, an overwhelming majority. Watch the coaches, parents, and officials. Do you see the smiles, the support, and the caring attitude that so many bring to the sports setting? Can you see past the frustrated and the overzealous? If you can, you’ll find the role models that make children’s sports such a fantastic learning experience.

Look at yourself. Take some time to consider your actions and the behaviors you model for the children in your life. When others look for the good in youth sports will they find you? If you’re dedicated to youth sports enough to have found this blog, I’m guessing the answer to that question is yes.

So as I go forward to finish out this season with Chloe and to enter the summer and another season, my goal is to take a good look at myself and to keep looking, in the hopes that when others look for the good in youth sports, they will see me.  I also hope that as years pass on Chloe will look back and see for herself that I struggled and hopefully mostly succeeded in: finding the positive in her gymnastics, in encouraging her to strive for her best, in helping her to have supportive interactions with her peers, in pushing her to seek out life’s lessons and see the bigger picture.