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Gymnastics/perfectionist gymnast


My daughter started gymnastics when she was six and was moved pretty quickly to the old level 4 team.  She won state her first year (2012) and was asked to be on the tops team.  She did ok for testing for only being in tops for 6 months.  She recently started her level 5 (now called level 4) season and came in first for bars and all around.  We congratulated her and told her we were very proud and her response was....I could do better.  Her father and I were shocked to say the least.  She told us everything she needed to do better. We as parents do not need to push or critique her in anyway because she obviously does that herself.  My question is how I can get her to not be so hard on herself, I just don't want her to hate gymnastics one day and give up what is obviously a natural born talent. Help

Dear Concerned Gym Mom,

Is she being hard on herself or is she being realistic? I get the sense of what you are saying. I believe you want her to excel at the sport but also enjoy the process.

Does she behave in this way with regard to schoolwork or other activities or is it just gymnastics?

As a coach, I would love to have a gymnast with a clear head and a strong work ethic. I also want little girls to be little girls and have fun at what they do. Levels, 4,5,6,&7 are the levels where the gymnast should gain competitive experience and enjoy the process. Levels 8, 9, & 10 are where the focus becomes more intense and the desire to compete at higher level meets becomes paramount.

What does her coach say?

I have seen all sorts of personalities in the gym from the silly to the sublime that made effective use of their talents in competition.

As a TOPS gymnast she surely has specific goals. The program really focuses the athlete.

So, do I have an answer to allay your fears? Nope. All I can say is keep an eye on here. If she enjoys what she is doing and is serious about it, then good for her. If she is serious about it but not enjoying the sport - then you might want to make a change.


Coach Rik


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Rik Feeney


I can answer questions regarding all levels of the sport of women's gymnastics, the business of gymnastics, and the marketing of gymnastics programs.


I am the author of "Gymnastics: A Guide for Parents and Athletes" currently being published by McGraw-Hill. I am also a ghostwriter and co-author of the Gymcert series of books "Levels 1-3 Gymnastics Coaches Certifications Manuals" for recreational gymnasts, and the "Levels 4 - 6 Skills and Drills" books as well as Safety Basics for Gymnastics Instructors. I have written several other books on the sport of gymnastics for Richardson Publishing, the latest of which is titled, "Back Handsprings: The Secret Techniques." Oh, and by the way, I was a competitive gymnast through high school and college (Temple University), gymnastics club owner for 10 years, and women's gymnastics coach for 30 years working with gymnasts at all competitive levels

USA Gymnastics National Writer's union Florida Writer's Association

USA Gymnastics magazine Technique magazine International Gymnast magazine several newspaper articles

Temple University - Health Physical Education, Recreation & Dance Norwich University - Bachelors of Arts in Writing & Literature

Awards and Honors
Several state and national level gymnastics champions in different systems of competition.

Past/Present clients
Gymnasts, coaches, and club owners nation-wide.

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