I am a dedicated cheer parent, most of us are. We all want to see our child progress and grow as a athlete on the floor, but what happens when they aren't progressing as fast as you, they, or the coaches want or (gasp) they regress, or lose skills. What now?
I am proud to say that "I am that parent." I am that parent (my husband is too) who pushes our daughter (and our other children in their sports) to be their best. We have used bribes, lectures, and even pointed out that other athletes are growing in skills faster then (insert your child's name).
However, it was recently pointed out to me, that I had "unrealistic expectations" when it came to my daughter nailing a skill and that I probably needed to lighten up a little.
It's just SO hard when I watch other athletes get skills faster and/or better then my daughter.
I currently have a deal with my daughter (Tessa) that if she is consistent with her full up, she gets the iphone case she wants. Maybe that's not the way you would go about it but it works for us. I know a mom who was going to give her child an iPad if she got her level 3 skills by a certain date. Another was a trip to the forbidden Ice Cream Parlor, if they hit all their stunts. Bribes seem to work for some kids. Lol
How hard is too hard when it comes to pushing our kids? We pay a lot every month to watch our kids grow and become better athletes, so why did he/she lose a skill they were just doing? It can be so frustrating! For us, them and the coach.
So here are a couple things you can think about doing:
1. Talk to your child. Do they know what they are doing wrong or what they need to be doing different?
2. Talk to the coach. When the coach has a minute, talk to them privately and see if they know what is going on and can provide some suggestions to help. For us, when Tessa wanted her tuck, one of her coaches gave her exercises to do at home and another suggested Debbie Love's website workouts that are based for specific skills. (www.fortheloveoftumbling.com)
3. Repetition is so important. The more time they can spend working on that skill, the better they are going to be. Add in an extra tumbling/stretching class (if you can afford it) just to help get them over the hump. Schedule a private with a coach who knows your child so they can work with them in a way that will benefit your child.
4. Don't have unrealistic expectations. I have so been guilty of this and didn't even realize. We know kids, we know how hard we can push, we think we know what our kids are capable of and what to expect of them but when it comes to cheer, let the coach decide the expectation level. They are the ones with them on the floor for every practice, every class, every private and a good coach knows what your child needs to get that skill or get a skill back. I said a "good coach" because there can be a not so good or bad coach who might be pushing your child too hard for their own gains. They might not be putting your bilds mental and physical wellbeing first. Sometimes it's really hard to see the difference and to know when to intervene, all I can say is trust your gut feeling as a parent and in the end no one canault you for that.
For now I have given up on pushing for that standing tuck (don't get me wrong, I am still pushing and always will for her to be her best). Tessa is still growing and is doing her layout and focussing on her stunts and getting stronger. I have to take a step back sometimes and remind myself that she was a level 1 only for the 2010-2011 season and went to level 4 for 2011-2012 and grew so much and has gained so many skills under our amazing coaches. That is huge in itself!
If your child is regressing or not progressing fast enough for you, them, or their coach, take a step back, make sure expectations are realistic and figure out how you can help without hindering.