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to stop my child potentially coming last

(40 Posts)
spiderpig8 Sun 19-Jun-11 23:56:04

She wants to enter a county wide schools gymnastics competition.
It is aimed at kids who train for more than 2 hours aweek.DD doesn't, and bless her heart, she is never going to be any good gymnastics.
I am fearful that she is going to be hopelessly outclassed by the other kids, come last by a long way and be upset and stop doing gymnastics, which is the only sport she likes.
She is 9, Y5 and has picked the easiest moves to include in her routine and even some of them are a little 'inconsistent'.For example often her handstand is rather fleeting.To make it worse her gymanstics classes have been temporarily suspended , so she has mostly had to prepare herself!
Would you let her go in for it? (the school say it's up to her?)

Bohica Mon 20-Jun-11 00:00:58

The school is right & it is up to your DD.

I always tell my girls you can't be the best at everything but as long as you know you have tried your best & had fun then you have had a good day.

royaljelly Mon 20-Jun-11 00:01:12

Let her go for it if she wants to but you should tell her that (old cliche) 'it's the taking part that matters, not who wins'.

She may meet other kids of the same level who belong to a club.

vess Mon 20-Jun-11 00:03:42

Yes, if she wants to. For the experience. There probably will be others like her, too.

BagofHolly Mon 20-Jun-11 00:03:57

I think I'd let her do it. It's the natural reaction to try to protect those we love from failure, but really, failure is a part of life and if she can get her head round that it's actually great that she gave it a good go, that's really valuable, and helps her to push her boundaries, not necessarily give up on gymnastics.

MrsTerryPratchett Mon 20-Jun-11 00:04:58

Someone has to come last and if she learns to like things on their own merit, that's no bad thing. Good luck to her!

fairydoll Mon 20-Jun-11 00:16:34

It takes a lot of confidence to get up there and perform on your own and be judged minutely.A valuable experience for a child
I would imagine a schools competition for primary children wil be looking to encourage and support 'grass roots' participation and will make sure everyone feels proud of themselves.

Clary Mon 20-Jun-11 00:23:19

Yes I agree, let her go.

Make sure perhaps that she knows she won't might not win. Does she think she might, or is she realistic?

How wonderful that she is prepping her routine by herself etc. Can't imagine 8yo DS2 who also does gymnastics sorting out his own routine.

DogsBestFriend Mon 20-Jun-11 00:25:11

I'd agree with the other posters but I'd advise that you keep an eye out for the pushy parents and are prepared to deal with them robustly and to support your daughter (as I'm sure you will smile ) 110%.

I'm basing this on my experience as the aunt of a champion gymnast - the other kids aren't the ones to concern yourself with, it's the other parents! Some of them can be vile very competitive and I'd hate to think that you got caught up in all that.

That gymnast neice was the youngest in her comp when she went for the national champion title and everyone, her mum included, believed that she would only be there for experience and wouldn't win the title.

She did... so don't lose hope of YOUR little girl doing the same yet.

Wishing your DD all the very best of luck and feeling very envious. I used to compete at schoolgirl level myself... now I just creak when I stand up! grin

pingu2209 Mon 20-Jun-11 07:35:45

This could well be 'character building' for her. My neice went into an ungraded piano competition. She plays grade 7 flute but grade 4 piano (she is 13). All the other children at the concert were at least grade 6 piano and about 10 years old. My sister said she wanted the ground to swallow her up as she was so embarrased just watching! My niece still says she was glad she entered as it showed her how much she needed to improve. Even now, 5 months later, my sister and niece laugh about the evening.

My view is that it is things like that in life that teach us lessons and help us to grow. If you dd wants to do it let her but warn her in advance that the standard is likely to be high so the most important thing is for her to do her best and not compare herself too much to other children there.

LeoTheLateBloomer Mon 20-Jun-11 07:38:35

I agree. It's really important that she does it for the experience, as long as she doesn't go into it convinced that she's the best and should win.

She's old enough to learn from it.

Ephiny Mon 20-Jun-11 07:52:09

I remember coming last in a piano competition when I was about 12. It didn't bother me in itself - I had fun competing (got all dressed up and felt like a superstar having my name announced and going up on stage!) and I thought fair enough the other kids have obviously practiced longer and harder than me, and the boy who won was ridiculously young and obviously very very talented. The thing that bothered me was my parents negative reaction, that I shouldn't have entered, that I'd embarrassed them, made a fool of myself, I felt it just reinforced their view of me that I was crap at everything.

Not saying you're like that OP, just that all the negative feelings about it came from them, not me. And you saying 'she's never going to be any good' reminds me a LOT of how my parents were. I mean, I was never going to be a concert pianist either, but why go on about it, can't children just enjoy their hobbies?

pigletmania Mon 20-Jun-11 07:59:20

Let her, it will be a good experience for her. You cannot shield her forever, she has to also make her own decisions.

MitchiestInge Mon 20-Jun-11 08:02:42

I think you're lucky your daughter wants to do it, my daughter will only compete in events that she knows she has a good chance of being placed in top 3. The concept of doing things just for fun and experience is utterly opaque to her, so when she qualified for a regional athletics thing this year she refused to take part because the competition would be too fierce. I understand the drive to achieve but think it can be horribly restricting if every pursuit is tainted by it.

It is lovely to win things but only one person ever wins any given class or event, most competitors don't.

MumblingRagDoll Mon 20-Jun-11 08:07:37

I clearly rememer the joy of competing at that age and I never won...I knew in my heart I would not...but I liked being part of it. Encourage her and when shes finished compliment her performance. (and get her a better Gym club!)

swash Mon 20-Jun-11 08:11:11

What lovely advice. I needed to read this as I'm having the same anxieties about dd and ballet.

hocuspontas Mon 20-Jun-11 08:14:21

Agree with the other posters and I would also say, if it's anything like trampolining comps then it doesn't matter how 'easy' the moves it's the execution that counts. I hope she enjoys herself, that's all that matters.

Omigawd Mon 20-Jun-11 08:57:46

If she has an interest, let her follow it - at the very worst it is a bit of character building.

lljkk Mon 20-Jun-11 10:27:28

I think it's a personal character thing. I would try to do a lot of preparation, talking about doing your best it's not just about winning, are you sure you want to go because you haven't had a chance to prepare as well as many other entrants (ie, not her fault), ask how will you feel if you come last? Because only one person gets to win and what's more, somebody has to come last and I don't want you to be upset if that somebody happens to be you, etc.

If she has a positive attitude about not comparing so well with others, if she thinks she can cope with being last on the day, then probably okay. If she (unrealistically) rejects the possibility of being last, then maybe not!

Keep in mind that anyone can have an attack of nerves on the day,if she can keep her nerves that alone can keep her from last place.

Every competition my kids do my final advice is usually "Just try your best and to not come last"

munstersmum Mon 20-Jun-11 10:42:45

Let her go for it if she's wanting to. It's great she has the confidence to perform in front of others. Advice we were given re sporting efforts was to say "that looked fun, did you enjoy it?' and 'I can see you tried very hard'. An ice-cream for trying hard never goes amiss!

Can you then try to find her other gym classes? So she knows she can still improve.

ExitPursuedByAKitten Mon 20-Jun-11 10:47:01

Let her go for it but just manage her expectations. My DD does lots of things that she is not very good at it - I worry that it has a negative effect on her, never winning or being chosen for things, but I think they find their own level in the end.

ribena71 Mon 20-Jun-11 10:49:01

Can I just ask lljkk what you would say to your kids if they did come last? I think my advice would have stopped after "Just try your best"! I'm not picking, just wondering! smile

IndigoBell Mon 20-Jun-11 11:14:25

The important thing is what you say to her now or when she doesn't win.

Are you going to say she didn't win because she doesn't train hard enough?

If you're prepared to be upfront and tell her that girls who train for hours every week will be better than you, and if you want to be better you have to train much harder, then it's OK to enter.

If however you're going to sugar coat it, not much point......

redwineformethanks Mon 20-Jun-11 11:24:10

I took part in a gymnastic competition aged about 11. I came last in one routine and second last in the other. I think my parents explained to me that someone had to come last in the competition but I was still more talented than the other kids who weren't good enough to enter at all. I still remember the excitement of travelling in a coach to get there and the buzz at the event itself. I don't think it dented my confidence.

dementedma Mon 20-Jun-11 11:27:24

Ds hates any sports with a vengeance - he is chubby and self-conscious and just not sporty. He tried everything to wriggle out of the races at Sports day because he would come last and everyone would laugh at him. Sadly, when I pointed out that he could respond that he might have come last in running but was top in English and maths, he replied "Yeah but those don't count. They're not cool!"
Anyway, I refused to write him a get out note, notified the school that he was very stressed and upset and they compromised by making him do one race, but helping with other jobs for the other ones.
By the way, he came 4th last - woo hooo, way to go!

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