How to Prepare for Competition Day
We recently held a questionnaire on the tips and tricks our readers use to prepare their children for a competition – thanks to everyone who contributed! In this blog, we’ve collected together the best and most advised practices from the questionnaire, to give you a streamlined guide of how to prepare for competition day.
Plenty of veg, protein and carbohydrates: the dinner plate of any athlete. But should you change your child’s diet in the build up to the big day? Perhaps load them up with slow-burn energy in an effort to improve stamina?
Answer: No. Keep a consistently balanced diet: it’s what the body has grown accustomed to performing on. Changes just before a competition may upset the body’s natural rhythm, and, as one perceptive reader pointed out, may unnerve your gymnast if they pick up on the difference in the daily routine.
Hairstyle and Attire
There’s no denying the elegance of gymnastics, so it makes sense to add a bit of panache to your gymnast’s hair and outfit, right?
Answer: Nope. Keep things neat and tidy; the judges aren’t scoring fashion points. Girls’ hair should be out of the face and tied back, perhaps in a bun. Well-fitting leotards and unitards should be worn, representing their gymnastics club where possible.
Advice for Parents
You may not be competing, but you still have a huge part to play. Your body language and behaviour in the build-up to the event will be reflecting onto your child, so it’s important to be a constant source of support. Here are the three best things to do before a competition:
- Ensure plenty of sleep the night before. It doesn’t matter how much practice your gymnast has had, tiredness has a knack for pulling the rug out from under their feet. Being awake and alert on the day could well be more important than remembering the leotard.
- Be positive every step of the way, dispel doubts, and let them know how well they’re doing at practice. All these things will lead to your gymnast having a happy and clear mindset on the day.
- No pressure. Eliminate the chance for worry by letting your gymnast know there’s nothing wrong with failure: it’s all a learning curve. There’ll be other competitions. Be relaxed and crack jokes about it; make it fun and ordinary. If your gymnast enters the competition without feeling any pressure, they’ll be in the ideal place to do their best.
Advice for First-Time Competitors
All a competition is, is a day doing what you love to do. Enjoy it! Enjoy the atmosphere, being around other people with the same passion as you, and the chance to show off what you’ve been working on. Forget about the trophy table – go to have fun!
Thanks again to those who contributed to this questionnaire. While these are our top ways to prep for a competition, it’s by no means an exhaustive list! If you feel you have a suggestion which should have made it to the blog, be sure to drop it in the comments below. And for those who have flicked through this blog in preparation for a competition – best of luck to you and your gymnast!