Misguided Ideas of Well-Meaning Gym Parents

With tuitions that can approximate a car payment each month, missed family dinners and weekends lost to travelling to remote locations to sit inside a gym or hotel convention center eating over priced hot dogs and too many brownies, no one can doubt that gymnastics parents are among the most dedicated sports parents.

The dollars, hours and effort invested on the part of the entire family can make what began as a fun activity into a lifestyle. And while it is a lifestyle that can bring many happy memories, it is also one that can drive even the most good-hearted gym parents into the rat race that can be part of youth sports.

Here are a dozen dangerous ideas that can plague even the best-intentioned gym parents:

  1. If my child fails to make consistent progress it is her coach’s fault and we should change gyms. While occasionally this is true, usually changing programs is a cause for further lack of progress, not more. Progress is not linear. Two steps forward, one step back followed by lots of jogging in place is a normal path to progress. Time and repetitions will get the athlete moving forward again. Kids develop in fits and starts. Growth spurts both physically and psychologically can derail progress.   Some seasons are going to go better than others. Scapegoating the coach will not change the fact that developing a young athlete takes time and patience.
  2. For all the money I am paying, there better be results. Well, first, it doesn’t work that way. What you are paying for is time and opportunity for instruction. Provided the gym honors that providing the time and coach, it is up to your child to create the results. You can’t buy a back handspring on beam.   You earn it. Additionally, as the adult in the family you are making the decision on how much money is spent on a child’s activity. Please do not make it her burden to be responsible for the decision you made.
  3. The more time in the gym, the better. Not at all. The more time in the gym, the greater chance of injury and burnout. For athletes rest is a vital part of their training so their bodies can repair and recover. Psychologically, having a couple days off a week allows the athlete to yearn for training instead of feeling handcuffed by it. Yes, of course, as an athlete moves through the program, more time is needed to develop her conditioning and skills to learn the next level. But still there should be ample time away from the gym. As with most things in life, just because some is good, more is not necessarily better.
  4. To be truly great at gymnastics, my child must sacrifice a normal childhood. Childhood comes but just once in a person’s life. Don’t sacrifice it for anything. First, it is not necessary. But second, it never comes around again. Will there be moments of sacrifice? Yes, yes there will. But to sacrifice all or even a majority of childhood? No way. Remember you are raising a child who happens to be an athlete, not an athlete who happens to be a child.
  5. My child is doing gymnastics to earn a college scholarship. Hate to break it to you, but less than 2% of high school seniors earn an athletic scholarship to college. Your child should play a sport to develop fitness, make friends, have fun and learn great life skills and lessons. And if your child happens to end up in that 2%, that’s fantastic. But to expect that from her will only lead to undo pressure and almost certain disappointment.
  6. Because I watch practice so much, I can coach gymnastics. Ok, then because I watch Grey’s Anatomy, I am a doctor? I didn’t think so.   While your child’s coaches may not look like professionals in their sweat pants and T-shirt, they very much are. Years of experience with the sport, coaching clinics, safety certifications, congresses and seminars as well as reading technical journals and books, attending internal trainings, watching instructional videos and scanning YouTube for drills and ideas is what makes a coach expert.
  7. I can motivate my child to perform with bribes like money or presents. By conditioning a child to train for a treat, you are raising a circus animal not an intrinsically motivated human being. Learning a new skill should be the motivation for the athlete to train, not a new iPod. Not to mention that it is not really your job to motivate your child, that is her job and that of her coaches. You have to nag her enough about her being kind and polite and doing her homework and chores. Let the coaches nag her at the gym.
  8. It’s not like we are going to the Olympics, so there is no need to take this seriously. “We” are not doing the sport. “He” or “she” is. And remember that 2% rate for NCAA scholarships? That statistic suddenly looks like a sure thing compared to the Olympics. So, you are correct, your child is not going to the Olympics. I say this not because I don’t think your child is talented. I say this because almost nobody’s child is going to the Olympics; so, the odds are that I am correct. Your child takes a sport seriously to learn discipline, how to be part of something bigger than herself and to challenge herself physically and emotionally. The process of taking it seriously is the gift of the sport. Furthermore, a sport like gymnastics that involves physical risk needs to be approached seriously. And there is no need to crush your child’s dream and her enthusiasm for setting a lofty goal and trying to go for it. Five or six gymnasts every four years do go.
  9. As soon as she isn’t having fun, it’s okay to quit. Fun is an important, even essential, part of sports. But not every day or even week or month of participating in a sport is fun. There are times when things get hard. There are times when they are frustrating. Working though those times teaches resilience that will serve your child well long after she leaves the sport. Sure, a pattern of not having fun might signal that it is time to re-evaluate your child’s participation, but a single period of time that is “not fun” is not a good reason to quit.
  10. No quitting. Ever. On the flip side, sometimes it is time to step away and move on to another sport or activity. Children’s interest in things change. That’s normal. Passions dwindle or shift. Again watch for patterns, rather than single incidents. Encourage your child to see something through to a logical ending time (end of a month, term, season or school year). Additionally, help your child formulate a plan as to what they will be doing next so they are not without a physical outlet.
  11. Not getting a medal will crush my child’s self-esteem. No it won’t. In the short term, she might feel badly. But it won’t ruin her confidence forever. In fact, not getting a medal will actually increase her self-esteem in the long run if she is coached through the disappointment. Allowing her to process those sad feelings by thinking about what went wrong and then helping her (perhaps in concert with her coaches) to develop a plan to work toward improvement will increase her self-esteem. However, what can ruin her confidence is how you react to her not getting a medal. If you show disappointment in her, lead her to believe that no matter what she does she will not be able to improve her performance or forget to explain to her that failure to achieve a goal is normal and that each time people put forth effort they are not always rewarded, that will crush her, not the lack of a $1.49 medal.
  12. It’s okay for my daughter’s coach to scream at her or call her names. He is just trying to get the best out of her. No it is not okay for anyone to abuse your child ever. Even if that person is trying to get the “best” out of her.

It’s so easy to get swept into the tide of competitive sports parenting.   Wanting to be good parents, we try to give our kids everything we can to set them up for success and happiness. Wanting our kids to succeed, we worry that we are placing them at a competitive disadvantage if we don’t push them harder. Wanting them to be happy and have strong self-esteem, we want to protect them from disappointment.   And so goes the hamster wheel that powers the terrified segment of our parenting brain.

Take a deep breath. Pause the wheel. And regain perspective.

If we really want to understand what your gymnast wants most from you is this: for you to be less stressed and tired. Stop running yourself ragged and freaking yourself out about your child’s gymnastics. This is what your child wants most from you—that and loving her unconditionally. Neither which have a thing to do with her gymnastics.

Our Children Are Not Normal

Our children are not normal....

As my daughter sleeps in a hotel room in another country at a competition shes worked so hard to be at.....I keep thinking of people who said she should quit. People who said it isn't normal and children should have normal lives. People who said it's too expensive and questioned my decision to keep my children in, what seems to be, the most expensive individual sport. I think of doctors who said she may never bounce again, and asked if it was worth the risk. Yet, these same people compliment my children on their behavior, their intellignece, their character. The irony. How can people question what this sport, this environment, offers to our children. We ask them to train insane hours every week, having them  miss birthday parties, sleepovers, and  football games. They push through pain and fear that most adults can not comprehend. We train these children to stand infront of judges who critique and pick apart every aspect of their technique and form. They stand before these judges hands quivering, legs trembling, and carry the weight of representing their parents, their coaches, their team, and their country. They carry the responsibility of having hundreds of younger athletes look up to them and watch their every move. These children are confident, determined, goal oriented, and driven. They are are not normal; they are exceptional. For every parent who has struggled with the financial obligation or feared they were making the wrong choices, and every coach who has wondered if it is all worth it or has thought of just working a "regular job," know you are appreciated. Know that when these well rounded children bring home good grades, don't cave to peer pressure, and become well grounded adults that you have been the support column that held thier future together.

-Amber Franke

What parents should say

In my work at Growing Leaders, we enjoy the privilege of serving numerous NCAA and professional sports teams each year. After meeting with hundreds of coaches and athletes, I noticed an issue kept surfacing in our conversations. Both the student-athlete and the coach were trying to solve the same problem.  What was that problem?

The parents of the student-athletes.

You may or may not believe this, but even in Division One athletics, parents stay engaged with their child’s sport, often at the same level they did through their growing up years. Moms will call coaches and advise them on how to encourage their daughter or son. Dads will call coaches and ask why their kid isn’t getting more playing time. Parents will call strength and conditioning coaches and inquire what they’re doing about their child’s torn ligament. Each of these calls is understandable. After all, no one has more at stake than the parent of a performer. They love their child, they’ve invested in their child and they want to see a “return on their investment.” Some athletes refer to their mom as their P.A. (personal assistant) or their agent. I know a mother who watches her collegiate daughter’s gymnastics practice behind the glass, all the while, calling and leaving voicemails for the coach on what should be done for her little girl. I even know sets of parents who moved into a condo across the street from their freshman athlete’s university. They didn’t want to miss a thing, and they certainly didn’t want to neglect to provide direction. I understand this. I am a father of two kids myself.

What we parents may not recognize is the pressure and angst this kind of involvement applies. May I tell you what student-athletes are telling me?

I love my mom, but when she does this, I get the feeling she doesn’t trust me.

My parents are great, but I feel like I have multiple coaches telling me what to do and I get stressed out over it.

I’m getting blackballed by my teammates because my mother keeps texting me and my coach, to give suggestions. I wish she would chill.

I feel like I’m never quite good enough; I can never fully please my parents.

Moving From Supervisor to Consultant

According to years of research on athletes, I believe parents have a more productive impact on their kids by making a change in their style. When our kids were younger, we played the role of supervisor. We were right there on top of the issues. And we should be—they were young and needed our support. As they age, parents must move to the role of consultant. We’re still involved, still supportive, but we allow our kids to grow up and self-regulate. When we fail to do this—we can actually stunt their growth. It’s a bit like teaching our kids to ride a bike. Remember this process?  First, we gave them a tricycle. The three wheels made it almost impossible for them to fall off, and they got used to peddling a vehicle. Then, they moved to a bicycle. It was bigger and had only two wheels. A little more scary. So we initiated them on that bike with training wheels. That prevented bad accidents. Eventually, however, we took the training wheels off, and our involvement became a tender balance of two ingredients: support and letting go. Did you catch that? Support and letting go.

What We Should Say When Our Kids Perform

The most liberating words parents can speak to their student-athletes are quite simple. Based on psychological research, the three healthiest statements moms and dads can make as they perform are:

Before the Competition:                                    After the competition:

Have fun.                                                    1. Did you have fun?

Play hard.                                                    2. I’m proud of you.

I love you.                                                    3. I love you.

Six Simple Words…

For years, I wondered what the student-athlete would say about this issue. After decades of work with athletes, Bruce E. Brown and Rob Miller found out. They suggest six simple words parents can express that produce the most positive results in their performing children. After interacting with students, they report:

College athletes were asked what their parents said that made them feel great, that amplified their joy during and after a ballgame. Their overwhelming response:

“I love to watch you play.”

That’s it. Those six words. How interesting. How liberating to the parent. How empowering to the student-athlete. No pressure. No correction. No judgment. (That’s the coach’s job). Just pure love of their child using their gift in competition.

When I learned this, I reflected on the years my own kids competed in sports, recitals, theatrical plays, and practices. Far too often, I wanted to play a role that added more stress to their life. Instead, I now realize—I just need to love them. And to love watching them play.

From a parent’s view—this is the best way to cultivate an emotionally healthy kid.

- See more at:

13 steps to being a winning parent


If you want your child to come out of his youth sports experience a winner (feeling good about himself and having a healthy attitude towards sports), then he needs your help! You are a vital and important part of the coach-athlete-parent team. If you do your job correctly and play your position well, then your child will learn the sport faster, perform better, really have fun and have his self-esteem enhanced as a result. His sport experience will serve as a positive model for him to follow as he approaches other challenges and obstacles throughout life. If you "drop the ball" or run the wrong way with it, your child will stop learning, experience performance difficulties and blocks, and begin to really hate the sport. And that's the good news! Further, your relationship with him will probably suffer significantly. As a result, he will come out of this experience burdened with feelings of failure, inadequacy and low self-esteem, feelings that will generalize to other areas in his life. Your child and his coach need you on the team. They can't win without you! The following are a list of useful facts, guidelines and strategies for you to use to make you more skilled in the youth sport game. Remember, no wins unless everyone wins. We need you on the team! 


When defined the right way, competition in youth sports is both good and healthy and teaches children a variety of important life skills. The word "compete" comes from the Latin words "com" and "petere" which mean together and seeking respectively. The true definition of competition is a seeking together where your opponent is your partner, not the enemy! The better he performs, the more chance you have of having a peak performance. Sports is about learning to deal with challenges and obstacles. Without a worthy opponent, without any challenges sports is not so much fun. The more the challenge the better the opportunity you have to go beyond your limits. World records are consistently broken and set at the Olympics because the best athletes in the world are "seeking together", challenging each other to enhanced performance. Your child should never be taught to view his opponent as the "bad guy", the enemy or someone to be hated and "destroyed". Do not model this attitude! Instead, talk to/make friends with parents of your child's opponent. Root for great performances, good plays, not just for the winner!



The ultimate goal of the sport experience is to challenge oneself and continually improve. Unfortunately, judging improvement by winning and losing is both an unfair and inaccurate measure. Winning in sports is about doing the best you can do, seperate from the outcome or the play of your opponent. Children should be encouraged to compete against their own potential (i.e., Peter and Patty Potential). That is, the boys should focus on beating "Peter", competing against themselves, while the girls challenge "Patty". When your child has this focus and plays to better himself instead of beating someone else, he will be more relaxed, have more fun and therefore perform better.


A corollary to TWO, one of the main purposes of the youth sports experience is skill acquisition and mastery. When a child performs to his potential and loses it is criminal to focus on the outcome and become critical. If a child plays his very best and loses, you need to help him feel like a winner! Similarly, when a child or team performs far below their potential but wins, this is not cause to feel like a winner. Help your child make this important separation between success and failure and winning and losing. Remember, if you define success and failure in terms of winning and losing, you're playing a losing game with your child!



Your role on the parent-coach-athlete team is as a Support player with a capital S! You need to be your child's best fan. unconditionally! Leave the coaching and instruction to the coach. Provide encouragement, support, empathy, transportation, money, help with fund-raisers, etc., but... do not coach! Most parents that get into trouble with their children do so because they forget to remember the important position that they play. Coaching interferes with your role as supporter and fan. The last thing your child needs and wants to hear from you after a disappointing performance or loss is what they did technically or strategically wrong. Keep your role as a parent on the team separate from that as coach, and, if by necessity you actually get stuck in the almost no-win position of having to coach your child, try to maintain this separation of roles (i.e. on the deck, field or court say, "Now I'm talking to you as a coach", at home say, "Now I'm talking to you as a parent"). Don't parent when you coach and don't coach at home when you're supposed to be parenting.



It's a time proven principle of peak performance that the more fun an athlete is having, the more they will learn and the better they will perform. Fun must be present for peak performance to happen at every level of sports from youth to world class competitor! When a child stops having fun and begins to dread practice or competition, it's time for you as a parent to become concerned! When the sport or game becomes too serious, athletes have a tendency to burn out and become susceptible to repetitive performance problems. An easy rule of thumb: If your child is not enjoying what they are doing, nor loving the heck out of it, investigate! What is going on that's preventing them from having fun? Is it the coaching? The pressure? Is it you?! Keep in mind that being in a highly competitive program does not mean that there is no room for fun. The child that continues to play long after the fun is going will soon become a drop out statistic.



Number FIVE leads us to a very important question! Why is your child participating in the sport? Are they doing it because they want to, for THEM, or because of YOU? When they have problems in their sport, do you talk about them as "OUR" problems, i.e., "our jump isn't high enough", "we're having trouble with our flip turn" , etc. Are they playing because they don't want to disappoint you, because they know how important the sport is to YOU? Are they playing for rewards and "bonuses" that YOU give out? Are their goals and aspirations YOURS or THEIRS? How invested are YOU in their success and failure? If they are competing to please you or for your vicarious glory, then they are in it for the wrong reasons! Further, if they stay involved for you, ultimately everyone will lose. It is quite normal and healthy to want your child to excel and be as successful as possible. But, you cannot make this happen by pressuring them with your expectations or by using guilt or bribery to keep them involved. If they have their own reasons and own goals for participating, they will be far more motivated to excel and therefore far more successful.



Do not equate your child's self-worth and lovability with his performance. The most tragic and damaging mistake I see parents continually make is punishing a child for a bad performance by withdrawing emotionally from him. A child loses a race, strikes out or misses and easy shot on goal and the parent responds with disgust, anger and withdrawal of love and approval. CAUTION: Only use this strategy if you want to damage your child emotionally and ruin your relationship with him. In the 1988 Olympics, when Greg Louganis needed and got a perfect 10 on his last dive to overtake the Chinese diver for the gold medal, his last thought before he went was, "If I don't make it, my mother will still love me".



Athletes of all ages and levels perform in direct relationship to how they feel about themselves. When your child is in an athletic environment that boosts his self-esteem, he will learn faster, enjoy himself more and perform better under competitive pressure. One thing we all want as children and never stop wanting is to be loved and accepted, and to have our parents feel good about what we do. This is how self-esteem gets established. When your interactions with your child make him feel good about himself, he will, in turn, learn to treat himself this very same way. This does not mean that you have to incongruently compliment your child for a great effort after they have just performed miserably. In this situation being empathic and sensitive to his feelings is what's called for. Self esteem makes the world go round. Make your child feel good about himself and you've given him a gift that lasts a lifetime. Do not interact with your child in a way that assaults his self-esteem by degrading, embarrassing or humiliating him. If you continually put your child down or minimize his accomplishments not only will he learn to do this to himself throughout his life, but he will also repeat your mistake with his children!



If you really want your child to be as happy and as successful as possible in everything that he does, then teach him how to fail! The most successful people in and out of sports do two things differently than everyone else. First, they are more willing to take risks and therefore fail more frequently. Second, they use their failures in a positive way as a source of motivation and feedback to improve. Our society is generally negative and teaches us that failure is bad, a cause for humiliation and embarrassment, and something to be avoided at all costs. Fear of failure or humiliation causes one to be tentative and non-active. In fact, most performance blocks and poor performances are a direct result of the athlete being preoccupied with failing or messing up. You can't learn to walk without falling ENOUGH times. Each time that you fall, your body gets valuable information on how to do it better. You can't be successful or have peak performances if you are concerned with losing or failing. Teach your child how to view setbacks, mistakes and risk-taking positively and you'll have given him the key to a lifetime of success. Failure is the perfect stepping stone to success.



Many parents directly or indirectly use guilt and threats as a way to "motivate" their child to perform better. Performance studies clearly indicate that while threats may provide short term results, the long term costs in terms of psychological health and performance are devastating. Using fear as a motivator is probably one of the worst dynamics you could set up with your child. Threats take the fun out of performance and directly lead to your child performing terribly. Implicit in a threat, (do this or else!) is your own anxiety that YOU do not believe the child is capable. Communicating this lack of belief, even indirectly is further devastating to the child's performance. A challenge does not entail loss or negative consequences should the athlete fail. Further, implicit in a challenge is the empowering belief, "I think that you can do it".



When athletes choke under pressure and perform far below their potential, a very common cause of this is a focus on the outcome of the performance (i.e., win/lose, instead of the process). In any peak performance, the athlete is totally oblivious to the outcome and instead is completely absorbed in the here and now of the actual performance. An outcome focus will almost always distract and tighten up the athlete insuring a bad performance. Furthermore focusing on the outcome, which is completely out of the athlete's control will raise his anxiety to a performance inhibiting level. So if you truly want your child to win, help get his focus away from how important the contest is and have them focus on the task at hand. Supportive parents de-emphasize winning and instead stress learning the skills and playing the game.


Supportive parents do not use other athletes that their child competes against to compare and thus evaluate their child's progress. Comparisons are useless, inaccurate and destructive. Each child matures differently and the process of comparison ignores significant distorting effects of developmental differences. For example, two 12 year old boys may only have their age in common! One may physically have the build and perform like a 16 year old while the other, a late developer, may have the physical size and attribute of a 9 year old. Performance comparisons can prematurely turn off otherwise talented athletes on their sport. The only value of comparisons is in teaching. If one child demonstrates proper technique, that child can be used comparatively as a model only! For your child to do his very best he needs to learn to stay within himself. Worrying about how another athlete is doing interferes with him doing this.


The sports media in this country would like you to believe that sports and winning/losing is larger than life. The fact that it is just a game frequently gets lost in translation. This lack of perspective frequently trickles down to the youth sport level and young athletes often come away from competition with a distorted view of themselves and how they performed. Parents need to help their children develop realistic expectations about themselves, their abilities and how they played, without robbing the child of his dreams. Swimming a lifetime best time and coming in dead last is a cause for celebration, not depression. Similarly, losing the conference championships does not mean that the sun will not rise tomorrow.

Should my gymnast eat after practice even if it's late?

The short answer is….YES! ABSOLUTELY! EVERY NIGHT!

Now, let’s get into the why.

The Deficit

Any time an athlete works out, they create a deficit in their body. This deficit includes micro-injuries to bones, ligaments, muscles, and other connective tissue.

They also create an energy deficit where all of their energy stores have been used. The glycogen and glucose in their bodies has been used. This is especially true for a gymnast because they do not access stored tissue (fat) during workouts.

And, they can even create macro-injury where they’ve created real damage to structures in their body.

So this is the deficit.

In order for the body to super supercompensate it is essential for the body to first recover.

What Is This Supercompensation?

It’s the body’s ability to adapt to stimuli. Or in other words, the body will take itself to a higher level of fitness, if we first allow it to recover. There is a limited timeframe that supercompensation works, but when done right, it’s the base to all periodization (the planning cycle for year.)


We eat so that our body can recover. We recover so our bodies can supercompensate. We supercompensate so we can be champions!

It becomes essential that we eat a great meal as soon as possible (within 1 1/2 hours of practice, optimally before 1 hour after practice) after our gymnasts get done working out.

What are some of the things we should be eating?

Proteins: salmon, chicken, beans

Carbohydrates: broccoli, kale, rice, sweet potatoes

Fats: salmon, avocado, omega 3 oils (olive, sesame, etc), nuts

Bed Time

When our gymnasts go to bed, their bodies don’t stop like adults do. If we, as adults, eat late, our bodies do not have the need for the food we just ate to be utilized as energy or repair, so the body stores the food as fat.

Our gymnast’s bodies do not slow down when they go to sleep. This is the time their bodies start to dig themselves out of their deficit. The body takes all of those great nutrients you just fed your gymnast, and it starts to put them to use by repairing cells and replacing the readily available energy stores (glycogen and glucose) that were depleted during practice.

So remember, it’s essential your athlete eats dinner after practice, even if it’s late.

But only eat dinner if you want a champion!

Best way to get your calcium

At our last nutrition clinic, we were asked how do we get calcium into our young athlete’s life if milk isn’t the best option?

We’ve all been told our entire life that milk is the best source of calcium. But did you know milk isn’t the best source of calcium. The best source of calcium are found in the produce aisle.

Green leafy vegetables are the best sources of calcium that we have, and many of the sources of calcium are also superfoods. Here’s some of the best:



Bok Choy

So start getting some of these ingredients into your athletes diet. It will help them grow strong bones, the way nature intended.

Here’s a smoothie recipe to help you get started:

Combine all ingredients into a blender, blend, and pour into a cup for a delicious snack or breakfast!

1 cup Greek God’s honey yogurt

1 cup Florida’s Own orange juice

1 tablespoon flax seeds

1 tablespoon chia seeds

3 frozen broccoli tops and/or a bunch of kale

1 banana

½ cup frozen blueberries

½ cup frozen strawberries

½ Roma tomato

½ cup frozen mango

If you want more nutrition just like this for your young athlete, get started with Stay Fueled today! Enjoy the protection and performance that nutrition can give to you and your family

What should gymnasts eat?

Dietary intake is critically important for a gymnast.

During practice, gymnasts do not have the ability to access stored tissue, especially while doing gymnastics skills. In order to protect themselves, they need readily available energy that has been stored in their liver, blood, and muscles.

It Starts with Breakfast

To start the day of right it’s important for gymnasts to eat a healthy breakfast. Don’t let this one go by the wayside and miss this critical time to eat.

Check out this video to learn what to eat for breakfast:

Once breakfast is done, we have to continue eating every 2 hours to ensure our athletes continue to recover from their previous practice, and begin to create stores for the coming practice.

During the school year (and summer if they have afternoon practice) athletes should be eating at least every 2 hours. These are the meals they should eat:

1) Breakfast

2) Mid-morning snack

3) Lunch

4) Pre-workout snack

5) Mid-workout snack

6) Dinner for gymnasts

Just before practice the pre-workout snack is critical to protecting the athlete and getting those last minute carbohydrates into the body. A perfect example of what an athlete can use is a peanut banana sandwich.

If you need help planning out your gymnasts meals to get the most out of recovery and preparation, make sure you head over to and find out how you can get done for you nutrition.

The number one way to succeed with nutrition

What is the number one way to succeed through nutrition? Bet it’s easier than you think!


Planning allows us to repeat the correct actions every day and when your athlete’s health and future are on the line, planning becomes critical.

When we leave nutrition up to chance, we always gravitate towards the easiest solution, NOT always the best solution.

It’s so easy to run to fast food after practice because it’s late and everyones tired, but this does not give your young athlete the building blocks they need to recover.

When there’s not a plan for a pre-workout snack and you’re running out the door because your late, it’s easy to say, “Oh well, my athlete will be OK today.”

And, just like I did, it’s easy to wake up late and send your athlete off to school with an inadequate breakfast because you never put a plan together for breakfast.

What I challenge you to do over the next 60 days is to create a plan and put that plan into action.

Stay Fueled does this for you for only $5 a month and you can click here to get started. But, if you have the time and the desire to create your own plan of breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, pre-workout snack, mid-workout snack, and dinner, then do it yourself. Our goal is to see your athlete protected and succeeding, not only in sports, but also in life.

Make a PLAN, EAT, and see your athlete SUCCEED!

Where we can't let children fail

As a coach and teacher, I can’t guarantee the performance of a child/athlete. I can do everything right as a coach/teacher, they can do everything right in their preparation, but the outcome of a test or a competition is not guaranteed. But parents, what I CAN guarantee, if you let me, is a much more important lesson for your child than a medal or pats on the back after a game winning homerun. What I can guarantee, if you let me, is teaching that “effort” is what youth sports is all about as well as all of the other challenging situations a child is involved in. Effort.

Every child is totally in control of whether they try. They are totally in control of having a desire to move forward. These 2 concepts have nothing to do with the natural talent they were given by their parents and grandparents. The lesson is “control your effort and desire to improve.” We stress 1st place too much. We stress awards too much. 

The pats on the back should come before a competition for the strong effort and focus on PREPARING for the competition, the challenge. The pats on the back from the parents should come the morning of the test at school, before they get on the bus, for having worked so hard in preparing for the test. You ultimately make your life more successful, fun and enjoyable by giving yourself a “chance” to make things happen. Each of us can control the effort, the focus.

We can’t let children drive off to college, and their independent life, with the wrong perception of what success is. Success is not always the biggest trophy. Success isn’t always being a star. Success is improving and achieving levels that are a challenge for each and every person, not always based on a comparison with others.

Let your coaches and teachers have high standards for effort and focus in the gym and in the classroom. Let us “motivate” a little when the children need a little “re-directing” as they start to slightly veer off the road to success for them. Believe that the life of every child will be enhanced if they use preparation and focus as tools to make things happen.

I can’t guarantee a walk off home run for every child on the team but I can guarantee that each hitter will walk up to the plate “prepared” to give their best effort. Prepared to be challenged. Focused on the task at hand. Then we sit back and let “life play out.”

Trust your coaches and teachers to teach “effort and focus.” Your children will be better because of it. (If you like this message, share with your friends who are parents, teachers or coaches.) Tom Burgdorf and Gymnet Sports on Facebook

Developing the trust in an athlete

Working Together - athletes/students, teachers, parents and coaches.

To maximize our effectiveness as teachers and coaches we need to develop the trust of our students/athletes. This trust allows the young people to listen to our instruction and, with a clear mind, accept our teachings as a way to progress and learn. If there is only marginal trust in the teacher/student relationship, progress can be slowed as the student questions what our methods and instructions are.

Let’s make it clear, there is nothing wrong with an athlete or student asking a question of the teacher or coach, but “questioning” the intent or the knowledge or the purpose of the teacher/coach is vastly different. The athlete needs to believe that the coach knows what they are doing. A student should accept the teachings of the school teacher. The child should trust their parent to tell them the right thing to do. When the child starts “questioning” the knowledge, integrity and purpose of the instructions, problems can arise.

It is hard for a child to trust their teacher/coach if their parent doesn’t support those teachers and coaches. When the parent “questions” the techniques, rules or policies of a teacher/coach in front of their child, the child is learning something. If the parent shows marginal trust in the teachers/coaches, the children will learn from that. This slows their progress. The child isn’t as eager to follow the instructions of the teacher or coach. ??????????? Are in their head.

Children with negative thoughts about their teachers/coaches are hard to teach. Progress will be slowed. The trust is a must. 

Parents with questions should work with the coaches and teachers in the background. Definitely away from the children. If you want your child moving forward at the fastest rate, support the coaches and teachers. What you say about the teachers/coaches in the car is important. What you say at the dinner table is important. We are not perfect but most teachers and coaches are in the 90 - 95% “great” range with what we do. Again, if parents are concerned, work with your teachers/coaches. We must do everything in our power to develop the necessary trust between teacher/coach and athlete/student.

(If you like this message, share with your friends who are parents, teachers or coaches.) Tom Burgdorf and Gymnet Sports on Faceboo