Mum…gymnastics is my life! discipline, failure, focus and dedication

physiotherapy st albans
Sep 2019

Mum…gymnastics is my life!

I’ve been a physio now for 13 years and over the past 18 months or so I have been treating more and more gymnasts. A massive part of that has been driven by Nicky O’Sullivan, a co – founder and gymnastics coach at Watford Gymnastics Club. Initially she asked me to ‘pop down’ to the gym every so often, for the wellbeing of her gymnasts and the benefit of her coaches. Nicky and I trained together as young gymnasts and we were fortunate enough to have outstanding coaches throughout our career that nurtured our psychological, physical and personal development. It’s so deep that I still know most of those coaches and I have even treated one or two of them. Today we can have dinner in each other’s home! How lucky am I?

You see, this is the beauty of gymnastics. Long lasting friendships with your team mates and your coaches. At the same time, you gain some key tools for grounded success in life; discipline, failure, focus and dedication and the best part about it is that you have someone to share it all with, every inch of it. Physically, you develop strength that is far beyond your class mates and your fitness levels are second to none. What you don’t realise, as a gymnast is the resilience you are also building. The art of patience, the art of working really hard to achieve a goal.

Today, many of the gymnasts that I treat are training anywhere from 1 hour a week up to 20 hours a week. Each child always attends physiotherapy with their concerned parent or parents who have a list of very reasonable questions or concerns about their child, who, let’s face it, is pretty amazing! The assessment process is a bit different with children though, I want them to feel as relaxed as possible and I want to understand the way they perceive their pain, their problem. Sometimes the parents will say things like “I didn’t know it hurt then!’’ or “when did that start happening?”. The beauty of children is that they tell it like it is. It’s refreshing for us as physiotherapists, you can almost work out what is happening from their clear, coherent description of the problem and if there is a communication issue I start talking in their language – gymnast language! They soon come out of their shell when they know that I can talk their language. Most parents find that so comforting. Additionally, the relationships that I have with your child’s gym coach means that I can translate all that I find, to their coaches. Of course, I am keen that your child does well in their gymnastics career and development however I am also keen to protect their developing whilst they do this extreme sport which can be tough on the body and tough on the mind!

Every child in each group is different and when your child is injured or in pain they might fall behind for a period of time. I promise you now, if your child has to take some time out to condition more, work on a skill for a bit longer before they progress or even slow down just to re – kindled their passion for gymnastics, it isn’t the end of the world. Remember these hurdles are all part of life and we all need guidance at some point in our lives. What is more important is your child’s ability to recognize and feel comfortable to tell you that they are in pain or discomfort. It’s important that they get what they need, when they need it and that includes physiotherapy!

If you are concerned about your child or one of your gymnasts why not give me a call for a FREE telephone consultation or a discounted initial assessment when you quote this post ‘WATFORDGYM’

T: 07914268508

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