You've had a tough, TOUGH week at gymnastics...and you've only been to 2 workouts this week. The issue is this: After being able to do a back walkover on high beam for 3 weeks, you all of the sudden decided that it's scary. In ONE day, you decided this. After last night's workout--where you had to go work out with a lower level--then stay for an hour afterwards to work on your back walkovers, you were completely crushed. Thanks for holding it in until we got into the car.
As I sat there and watched you on that beam, i know my face read frustration. I know YOU could see how upset i was with you. And you know what? I apologize. You are a tough cookie. You rarely, if ever, show frustration with yourself--and last night, i saw it in your eyes. I sat there, next to your coach, looking at you on the beam. We both have super-high expectations of you, and we both want you to succeed [probably I more than he--I, after all, I know your heart :).] I watched you try and fail at nearly 20 backwalkovers--your hands are steady, yet you land your hands and kick off to the side. I saw the hurt in your eyes. I know you hear your coaches telling you the corrections--I KNOW YOU HEAR THEM. But i also know that once you get ready to push back, fear takes over. And yes, I know that feeling is hard to break. I saw you do 5 beautifully landed walkovers on that high beam. I saw you tentatively move that block mat, and climb back on that beam--ready to do 4 without the mental safety that that block provides your brain.
Then I watched. I watched as you straightened up. I watched you pull in your belly, push your hips, and saw you silently mouth, "1-arms, 2-hips, 3-split, 4-land." And then I watched as you'd arch your back...and stop in mid arch. Too frightened to continue. I watched this over and over. I saw you become more and more deflated. We called it a night. Everyone was frustrated--me, your coaches, you... I should have been encouraging, but I wasn't. The coaches had a big discussion about moving you down a level. Because they said, "There are girls at this level that have better skills than you....you're taking up space in Lvl 5 when other girls belong to be there..." You listened intently, you nodded your head. I almost cried, because I could hear your heart breaking. I know what you heard. You heard, "You're not good enough. You don't try hard enough. Everyone is better than you." And i know this, because this is what you cried about all the way home.
Now, I'm a total hard-ass mom. I don't think ANYONE has higher expectations for you than I. You're always asking me to judge your beam routine or floor routine because you KNOW i'll judge you the hardest. You get mad when i sit there and call out, " tenth, tenth, 2-tenths..." But you know that i'm super-picky with you. So, let me tell you what I see:
In the 4 weeks that you've been at your new gym, i have seen:
- You work harder than I have EVER seen you work before.
- That when your team is conditioning, you do not cheat. EVER (this makes me very proud).
- That when you do a floor pass incorrectly, rather than just walk across and get back in line (or start from the middle of the floor), you go back and redo the entire pass--on your own accord, without your coach asking you.
- You look intently at your coach when he's speaking to you on bars, and I see you get irritated when your hands do what they're in the habit of doing, instead of what he's telling you to make them do.
- You learn how to do a backwalkover on the high beam. Something you have NEVER worked on before coming to this gym.
- You try a flick by yourself.
- Your floor tumbling improve. Again, you're relearning form--but I can see a difference! You are faster, stronger, and more beautiful.
The girls at this gym have had this kind of coaching for a long time. You're like the stepkid here--you know some of the rules, but this hasn't always been your house, so you're not sure of most of the rules. Guess what? THIS IS YOUR HOUSE NOW. But, as with any new place, it takes time to learn the rules. Your new coaches are your new gym parents. They have different rules than your last coach did--and their rules are a lot tougher. But you have to make a hardcore effort to LEARN these new rules. And I know you will. Like I said, you've only been in this new house for a month, and you've learned new-to-you skills and rules pretty darn quick.
So, what you NEED to know is:
- You ARE a great gymnast. You are, you are, you are. Those bazillion medals on your wall prove it. Your heart proves it. Your work ethic proves it. Your attitude proves it.
- Just because you cannot perfect a brand new skill in 4 weeks time does NOT mean you're a poor gymnast. You've had a total of about 16 max hours on beam since you've been at this gym. You've had 16 hours to get a back walkover on highbeam (and you're not working this skill the whole time). Most of these girls have been working on these for MUCH longer than you. You've had SIXTEEN HOURS, Munch. BE PROUD OF THIS. There are girls at that level that still can't do a backwalkover on low beam--but they're TRYING--and that's what's important. There are girls on your team that stand on that beam for 10 minutes before they attempt 1 backwalkover--then they miss their feet--that's the SAME THING you do!!
- You are a fighter. You are not a baby. You are not weak. You haven't done anything wrong--you're just relearning how to do things right. BUT...you DO need to believe in yourself. Believe that you can do it. You've done it before--so you can do it again.
I love you, i love you, i love you. I'm sorry i've been frustrated with you--i realize that you're giving so much right now. I know that you're frustrated with yourself, and what you need is support--not someone to make you think that you're not good enough. I'm sorry for that. You ARE good enough. You CAN do this. I KNOW you can do this. And i know you want this--I believe in you.