Every month I receive questions from concerned gym parents regarding everything from the safety of gymnastics to what’s best for their child in training. I am in no way an expert but I attempt to answer all their questions in some form or another.

So I thought I would introduce a new category on this blog called Dear Perfect10, where I post these questions (with permission) and my respective responses. I think these parents would appreciate additional feedback from my readers. Please leave comments and add your perspective to the conversations.

Dear Perfect10,

My daughter is 6 years old and started her gymnastics experience just 10 months ago. She seems to be a natural and had moved up class levels about every 2 months. The gym that she attends just offered her a position on team (level 4) starting next month. She is very excited. I have no experience in gymnastics so it is an all new process to me. This seems very quick and although my daughter loves it and is quick to pick up skills, I worry about the how she will handle the stress of stricter coaches and pressure of competitions. She is a perfectionist and if she gets disappointed, her way of relieving stress is by shedding a few tears and then finishing her tasks. This is the very first sport she has ever been a part of so she has no experience competing at all. In your opinion should I hold her back and have her be on preteam a while before excepting the team offer?
–A concerned Gym Parent

Dear Concerned Gym Parent,

Thanks for writing in. You are asking great questions. I do not think that it is necessary to hold you daughter back at this stage. Is she is excelling and enjoying her experience, there is no reason to curtail it at this stage.

That said, I do think it is imperative for you to continue to watch her closely. Because she is only 6, she lacks the cognitive ability to process her feelings and in turn express them to you. So you will need to watch to make sure she continues to thrive in her new situation on the team. Tears are ok from time to time. The key will be to watch how the coach handles them. A good coach will know how to respond and react with different athletes, depending on how the athlete copes with frustrations, what motivates each athlete, etc. As long as the situation continues to be one that is life giving to your daughter, she’s in the right place. Trust your instincts. If you sense that the team experience is too much for her at some point, you can help her figure out her options.

Hope that’s helpful. Please feel free to let me know if you have other questions or things you would like to discuss.

What do the rest of you think? Do you have additional thoughts for this parent?

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