im 13, ive been doing gymnastics since i was 8, competing since i was nine. due to hypermobility (superflexibility) my back is really messed up. i had to quit artistic because of it but now i do tumbling and trampoline. its a lot less stress on old injuries (although its just as risky for new ones) so for anyone who feels like quitting because of injuries try trampoline. its not the same as far as events and skills but the whole teammates and coach relationships are the same
Anonymous
Hi I'm a level 3/4 gymnast and I'm having trouble with my handstand on beam, my backbend kickover and my round off. Do you have any tips?
Anonymous

Yes ma’am, I do! I’m not sure what specific parts you’re having trouble with though, so I hope I at least help you out with what I say. 

Handstand on beam: If you’re dealing with fear issues, it’s always great to do some on a line, then on a low beam with mats, then pull the mats away, then move to a higher beam.  It’s a gradual process.  If you’re having problems hitting handstand, it’s probably because subconsciously you’re nervous to do your handstand on beam, but I can assure you it’s really not a difficult skill once you understand how to land your feet back on the beam! One of the most important things in a handstand is to look at your hands, but you don’t do this by throwing your head out.  Your hears should stay hidden by your arms, and you look down at your hands with your eyes.  When you go to step down on the beam watch your feet go down. 

Backbend Kickover: The best way to work this skill is to work it in parts.  The backbend portion should be done UP a cheese mat.  Start out with your coach spotting you, then when you feel more comfortable do it yourself.  When you think you can move to the floor again ask your coach to spot you on the first few - simply do the back bend the same way you did it on the cheese! This part of the skill takes patience.  A lot of people freak out and bail before they are anywhere near the ground because they don’t think there hands will hit.  Just be patient and understand that if you keep your arms locked by your ears, you’re hands will hit the ground before anything else! To work the kickover part, do a bridge going down a cheese.  This skill honestly just takes tons and tons of practice.  Your coach can spot you at first, buy you’ll have to continuously try and try again before you figure it out.  I always told my gymnasts to push their shoulder towards the wall their armpits were facing before they tried to kick over.  You need to keep your shoulders open otherwise you’ll collapse down onto your back. This is the same kind of deal. When you can do it down the cheese, try it on the floor! If your gym doesn’t have a cheese mat, you can always use a panel mat by placing your feet up on the panel with your hands on the floor and doing a bridge. 

Round-offs: My advice for making your round-offs better is to practice them off of a panel mat.  Start standing on the panel, then step out and place your hands on the end of the panel mat.  Your feet should then land on the floor.  That will help you get used to landing with your feet together and to drive your heels better in the skill. Once you have it good on the panel mat, again move it to the floor and perform the skill the same way! 

Hope that helps. 

Exciting News!

Hey everyone, I’ve finally started on an advice page to list almost every question I’ve answered asking for advice about something in gymnastics! It’s still got a lot of work to go, but I’ll gradually get it updated, so you can have an easier time accessing the information.  

Just click on the “Advice” tab.  Like i said, it’s just getting started, but more topics will be added soon, as I get my blog more organized! 

To the anon wondering about how to do aerials: one thing that worked really well was practicing one handed cartwheels with a sponge in my hand. I wouldn't let the sponge touch the ground, and the. When I was comfortable with that I switched the sponge the hand was in until both hands were off the ground. I know it sounds silly, but it really works!
I need advice on getting my aerial! I know the technique, but I just can't stop putting my hand out. My coach will support me and I do it fine, but as soon as I have to do it on my own, the hand goes down. Any advice?

Oh boy, I’ve been there. Aerials were never my strong suit, and I definitely had this problem too. This is one of those things that you just have to do it once, and then you see that aerials are actually possible and not some crazy skill that seems to counteract the laws of physics. 

Anyway, Try doing them into a resi that is level with the floor and whatever you do, do not put your hand down. I imagine you’re afraid you aren’t going to land on your feet, which is why that hand shoots down.  Maybe if you do into a pit, you’ll see that you are perfectly capable of doing it without your coach there. Then move it to the floor with a sting mat. And eventually, count to three, clear your head and just do it on the floor.

Hope that helps! 

Hi! so i was wondering if you could give me tips on how to get on a competitive team. I’m 12 and I’m a level fout (i know, i know, I’m not that good) but i really want to start competing. Like what happens at a meet, ect. thanks!

—-

Sure! There are definitely level 4 competitions that a lot of teams go to, and you’ll be surprised because you won’t be the only 12 year old there, I bet. I don’t know how competitive teams work in your area, but I had to be invited onto my team.  I trained in little gymnastics classes for a few years, and eventually I got an invite.  You have to usually try-out or be invited to be on a competitive team because they want to ensure that you have the skill level to compete for them. 

I would call or visit the gyms in your area with a competitive team, and ask how you might go about getting on it.  I guarantee they will at least make you try-out, but it’s usually just a skill test to ensure (like I said earlier) you have the skills. 

Meets are a mixture of pure excitement, adrenaline, and nerves, but also  heartache, disappointment, and frustration.  There is nothing like the feeling of walking in with your teammates or hearing your name called for an award.  However, there is a flip side.  There’s the nerves that kick in during your warm-up and right before you salute to compete.  There’s frustration when you mess up and disappointment when you look over and see the unhappy frown on your coaches face. 

Most meets consist of a general warm-up, and then you walk-in to the arena with your team and are announced together. Then national anthem and you get taken to your respective starting events. Then you’ll get an event warm-up that’s time (this differs by meet sometimes), and after warm-up, you wait for your turn to compete. Gymnastics meets last a long long time (like 4 hours), but you’ll only compete for less than 10 minutes of that. After everyone has finished their first rotation, you line up and march to the next event. This happens for all 4 events, then you sit down and awards happens. 

I think it’s great you want to compete, and I wish you the best of luck!

SJ

RE: To the person who only uses pads. Maybe give "Always Infinity" a try, they provide a higher level of protection without being overly bulky.
Anonymous
Hi :) it's kinda personal questions, so it's perfectly okay if you don't wanna answer. :) can you maybe give me a few tips about gymnastics while period? Accept for tampons and stuff, I use only pads, lol. Xx ❤
Anonymous

No! This is perfectly ok! 

Personally, I always used tampons because I didn’t like the feeling of wearing a pad, and I always felt more comfortable doing gymnastics knowing I wouldn’t have to worry about leaking. I don’t know your background as to why you use pads versus tampons, but if you aren’t entirely against using tampons, it may be a good idea to switch? Or give it a try. 

I had a friend who used pads, but she had a very light flow (usually only lasted a day maybe two).  If you still want to use pads, I think they make ones that are more like liners - they curve in towards the middle - that would probably work with a leo better!

And if your gym allows it, it may also make you more comfortable to either wear spandex and an exercise tops while you’re on your period, or to simply wear spandex over your leo.  That would probably give you more security knowing you wouldn’t leak out of your leo and you wouldn’t have to worry about your pad showing. 

Hope this helps! 

hey i'm tori! i've done gymnastics for about 10 years. i recently had to quit because of severe tendonitis in both my wrists, chronic sprains in both ankles that weren't fully healing, dislocating shoulders and hips and some weird disease in my knees. i just miss it so much, how do you keep moving on in your life without really wanting to go back or whatever. it's hard to put it into words. but really i'd go back ANYDAY. but i know i can't.. how can i cope:( ?

Hi Tori! I’m so sorry to hear your story, and I definitely understand where you sit now.  I have been there before. I’m glad you made the healthy decision to stop gymnastics, even if you love it because you will need your body for the rest of your life!

That being said, I think it’s definitely hard to completely get over the feeling of wanting to return to gymnastics because it usually is such a huge part of someone’s life.  It’s what defines who they are. Personally, it took me a long time not to feel bitter, and I entirely removed myself from gymnastics because I couldn’t handle seeing other people enjoy the sport when I couldn’t.  That’s not the healthy way to cope, and I don’t think you should do it. 

In hindsight and based on what I’m doing now, I would try to stay as active as you can with gymnastics.  Keep up with your friends who still do it - attend their meets, make plans to hang out, drop by your gym to say hello.  If you feel like you aren’t losing that part of your life entirely it may make it easier.  

It may also help to give back by being a coach or possibly (if you’re old enough) take classes to judge. I know that when I started coaching, I felt a lot better about having to quit because I felt that I was still involved and I got to pass on my wisdom that I collected over the years to new little gymnasts.  It was definitely a great experience. 

It also helps to talk to someone.  Your parents, a friend, your teammates - just someone who you’re comfortable with because some days will be harder than others and that ache will hurt more at unexpected times, but it’s nice to have someone to fall back on.  

If you ever need someone to talk to, I’m definitely here to help out! Good luck, girl, and stay strong! <3