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Gymnastics/When to quit

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Hello Robert, I am so confused at what to do with my daughter. She was always a very good gymnast, with occasional first place all arounds at her competitions.  When she moved up to level 9, she had an unfortunate injury to her knee and it ended her season.  The following year she sustained an ankle injury that sidelined her for that year.  In the meantime, her coaches started treating her differently.  Before they had always encouraged her and motivated her.  They paid more attention to her because she was scoring well for them.  She had made it to regionals and was a sure thing on several events.  After a few repeated injuries, she felt like they were giving up on her and so did I.  We were coming up on year 3 as a level 9 and excited that she would finally be able to compete healthy. When it came time to compete, she reinjured the same part of the body that was hurt before.  I had spoken to the coaches and they acted like it was no big deal and she would come back, even though an mri and xray proved different.  She told me when she would go to practice that they would make comments about how her injury was not that serious and that it was all in her head.  She hated going to practice, which was never the case before.  When I tried talking with the head coach, she always defended her coaches.  One of her coaches announced to the other kids that my daughter should just quit and she was done with the sport.  My daughter has always attended practice even when ill, and now she just doesn't have the motivation whatsoever to continue.  She had asked to quit 1 1/2 years ago with the repeated injuries and I urged her to stick with it and she would reap the benefits. Now she is asking to quit again and that she gave it a fair shot.  I am at my wits end as I don't know how to move forward with this. She is a junior now and only has one season left.  She had been planning to do this in college for so long but with the string of injuries and the constant let downs from her coaches, I don't know if she is even able to.  She is talking about doing another sport entirely. I was even thinking to take her to another gym but don't think she wants to entertain that.

My questions are:

When is it the right time to let go of the sport?

Is it even possible to get a partial scholarship doing just one event? It seems that beam gives her the least injury (knock on wood).



Thanks

Answer
Hi Samuel,
I'm no fan of "quitting" anything strived for, but if desires change then stopping a sport or switching to another one can be very beneficial.

It sounds to me that your daughter is facing some serious headwinds both inside and outside herself, as you described.  As a father I understand that the possibility of scholarship for your daughter is very appealing, but at this rate it seems like a change of course is in order.  Based on what you've described, it sounds like the current gym environment is not a positive one, and your daughter has already voiced her desire to do something else.  

I would suggest you listen to your daughter and let her try another sport, many other sports come easy after doing gymnastics.  If she decides later she wants to do gymnastics again, it sounds like at that point it would be good to "shop around" (with your daughter) and interview other club owners nearby.

I wish you all the best.
Regards,
Robert

Gymnastics

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Robert Davis

Expertise

I can answer questions about technique, strength and endurance training, healing from injuries, and competitions. I can also answer questions from parents of gymnasts, as I have six children of my own now. I plan to write a freely downloadable ebook or guide soon, go to www.LifeTimeGymnast.com to tell me what you want help with!

Experience

I competed in gymnastics for 16 years, from age 8 to 24, the last six of those years on the Arizona State Men's Gymnastics Team (www.sundevilgymnastics.com). After almost a 10 year hiatus I've returned to competition, see www.lifetimegymnast.com.

Publications
http://www.lifetimegymnast.com
http://www.goodfeelingplace.com
http://www.wilycode.com

Education/Credentials
I have a BSE and MS in Electrical Engineering from Arizona State University. During those 6 years I was a member of the Arizona State Men's Gymnastics Team as well.

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