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End of Season Blues

DSC_0223 Gymnastics is a year round sport. Yet there are clear periods of training throughout the year. Summer training builds new skills and strength for the upcoming season. Fall begins the routine process: skill sequences and muscular endurance. Winter is putting it all together. Meet season begins, the routine process becomes extremely important. Every detail matters. As we transition into Spring, our meet season peaks. For Levels 6 and under, state is the pinnacle of the season. All of the hard work and detailed routines are on full display at this last meet of the season. (Now for level 7-10s and Platinum athletes, state is a qualifying meet, so the next sequence of events is frequently delayed until after their regional or national meet).

After state, then what? For many, the next practice is the most exciting practice of the year. You get to come in, try new skills, no more routines, maybe a game! For others, the next week comes and it is dread instead. Athletes that have trained for an entire year are finally done with their season and… they are burnt out. Not burnt out for good, just burnt out for now. They need a break. They need to come home from school and watch TV until dinner. They need to go to their school skating party (something they have missed all year long because they had gymnastics).

DSC_0224And that is ok. Taking a break after season is healthy. It renews one’s love for gymnastics. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” becomes truth. Most of the time, a break allows our athletes to realize they love gymnastics, and being a kid, too. Many programs schedule a break for athletes. That break may or may not coincide with your child’s “burn out” phase. She may be so mad she has to take a week off on the scheduled break and then one month later, be ready for a week at home. She might need it before the scheduled break (and as long as it is after state), that is okay, too.

What is most important is that after the break, she returns. She returns to practice, not for a day, or even a week, but long enough to fall in love again. There are no quick decisions in this sport because leaving makes it so hard to come back.

Of course there will be an end to all gymnasts’ competitive careers. There is normally a “right” time, and hopefully you will figure out when that is. Gymnastics is more than a hobby. It is a community, a lifestyle, one that stays with us long after our competitive years have passed. And our former athletes will always be a part of our family.DSC_0376

April 1, 2016 | Blog | 0

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