Athletes are often viewed as invincible beings. While they do pull off some amazing feats, the truth is, they’re just like most people. And like most people, they are bound to have bad days. Days where they feel unmotivated and unable to focus on training. Younger athletes especially need help in this area because they don’t have the mental maturity yet to deal with stressful situations. That’s why it’s important that parents offer them support and motivation.
Here are some ways to help them get back on track:
Give them space they need.The best way to start motivating your child is to give them the time they need to recuperate mentally. Giving them some time to themselves can help them get over negative feelings and see things from a different perspective. Acknowledge that telling them to “get over it” will only further demotivate them. This will be a great way for your child to practice emotional independence. Just be ready to offer support at all times.
Take them to activities outside of gymnastics.By now, you already know that gymnastics is a physically and mentally demanding sport. Your child might be feeling a little burnt out from training and competing, so treat them to some days off from the sport. Do activities they enjoy — watching a baseball game, going shopping, traveling. Show your child that it’s okay to take some time off for themselves. When they’re finally ready to hit the gym again, they’ll feel relaxed and refreshed.
Lend an ear and hear them out.Encourage your child to have an open conversation about what they’re feeling. Sometimes, young athletes are hesitant to share their feelings out of fear that they might disappoint their parents. Let them know that you are willing to listen to them. Once they learn that they can discuss their thoughts and feelings without judgment, they’re less likely to feel demotivated in the future.
Express how proud you are of them.It just takes a little nudge sometimes. Remind your child that you are proud of the effort they are putting into gymnastics and their achievements. Do emphasize that while they’re feeling down, your pride for them has not wavered.
As a parent, it’s difficult to see your child unmotivated but, with your support, they’ll come bouncing back in no time.