It's gotta be the number one thing you look for as a parent of a gymnast, right? You are paying the bills and want to know your child is progressing. But what does that mean, what does it look like and how do you know?
This again is a common question we're asked as coaches and as a club - how is my child progressing? We love being asked as we like to work together but we'll be honest that it's really tricky to answer. Everyone is different - children progress at different rates in different things but also what progress means to one parent (or coach!) may be completely different to what someone else sees or expects.
So how do we see it?
We see our gymnasts week in, week out over a range of skills and activities. We see them grow as people, cope with challenges, interact with others, grow in confidence and self esteem, improve flexibility, strength, stamina etc etc. There is A LOT we see. We think ALL these areas are equally important and all add up to that thing we call 'progress.'
Each gymnast will progress in all these different areas at different rates. They are all needed and we don't place importance on any one area. For example, perhaps a gymnast hasn't achieved a particular skill this term. They found the skill difficult but have been working hard, determined to try their best and not give up. By the end of the term they have overcome huge challenges and grown in confidence, knowing their persistence will pay off. Likely they have been building up the strength or flexibility or other pre-requisites to do the skill too. Does the fact that they can't currently do this skill mean they have failed or not made progress? Not in our eyes. We see the progress in other areas and value the efforts of the child and how they have grown. This will stand them in better stead in the long run (and likely that skill will follow soon maybe next term).
It's tricky as a parent though as you don't go on this journey with your child, you likely don't see this unfolding. We appreciate that your side of it often is seeing what badge they come home with at the end of the term, what a friends child can do, or what tricks can be done round your living room (which is likely only a tiny amount of the things they can do in a fully kitted out gym).
We can't fully represent this journey and the progress of an individual through a badge scheme or even a written report. You can't fully represent a person on a piece of paper. We can try, but really, the best way to know if your child is progressing is to ask them some quality questions regularly. Why not try these as a start point and let us know how you get on:
What was challenging at gymnastics this week? How did you and the coaches cope with that?
What was the most fun? Did you have a favourite thing this week and why?
Did you work with a particular gymnast or group today? Did you work well together?
What do you think you need help with now? What would you like to learn next?
Also consider what progress looks like to you, as the fee-paying parent! What is important to you and what are you looking for as a result of classes? You know your child best so do communicate what you and your child need and as a club, we'll be over the moon to know how we can help and can keep you updated with the right sorts of information.