The following is an excerpt from the Gymfinity Team Family Handbook. All of our team members and their parents MUST sign off on the agreement to follow our rules and policies each year. This post is taken directly from the handbook agreement
Success can be measured in many ways. Winning in competition, bringing home a trophy, or qualifying for a championship can all be rewarding. However, they are not the most important way to measure success. Considerable time is spent preparing, the vast majority of the athlete’s participation is in practice not competition. Therefore, success could be easier found in training not in competing. Developing a positive work ethic, developing friendships with teammates, learning to set reasonable goals and appreciate their accomplishment are the most important successes. True achievement as a result of sustained effort is a reward the athlete will remember for long after their participation in sport is over.
I once had another gym’s parent accuse me of not sending their gym an invitation to our meet (which we did do) because we were afraid that their team would beat us. I smiled at her, assured her that it had been sent and said I had no worry of ever being beaten because our team never loses. My comment, which infuriated her, was based on this definition of success. It was sad to see that she, and probably her daughter, had lost even before the meet started.
How important are scores and ranking?
To answer that, let me pose this question: what is wrong with these statements?
“I only need 6.5 to qualify to State.”
“We have to score on this routine, or our season is shot!”
“That judge ripped you off, you deserve much higher.”
“Did you see that other kid, her 9.0 was a gift!”
Do we want our kids feeling that they are only as good as a number? In competition the athlete’s job is to perform, not score. The parent’s job is to support the child, regardless of the outcome. And the coach’s job is to worry about the numbers. Numbers inconsistent with performance will be addressed by the coach. Low numbers will spur us to come up with a plan to raise them, and high numbers, well, honestly, they are inconsequential.
At a gymnastics meet we discourage the athlete’s from keeping track of their scores and we even discourage them from watching them get flashed. At any competition the score, though supposedly objective, is only a subjective evaluation of one moment in time, affected by millions of variables. There are factors we cannot control; did the judges sleep well? How did prior competitors do? How many routines has the judge already watched? Is the judge affiliated? It is not fair to base our opinion of the performance on the judge’s perspective unless we know all the answers to these questions. We STRONGLY discourage that your assessment of your child be based on scores as well. Look at progress, look at happiness, and look at how well they handled the stress of competition. Please do not signal the score to them during a competition. They don’t need to know. You may wish to keep track but do not share those stats until well after the meet, if at all. And understand when you record scores and hang on every tenth, that it is for your obsession, not theirs. When the score becomes more important than the performance, then the trophy is more important than the smile. If that is acceptable for you, you are at the wrong gym.
I encourage every parent to reread this part of the handbook twice.