The next time you watch gymnastics, try to notice the little things that gymnasts do. For example, when a gymnast lands from a jump and lands on her feet, it requires a significant level of concentration and focus.
They must remember where their arms need to be to correctly absorb the impact of their landing, or else they risk injury. The more graceful the gymnasts become at making these moves, the easier it becomes for them to land without injuring themselves.
What does this have to do with gratitude? Gymnasts must learn how to be grateful about everything – both big and small. Even correctly landing a move is something to feel thankful about.
If you want your young athlete to realize how important gratitude is in sports and other areas of their life, such as school or family, here are three ways you can start teaching them about this valuable trait.
1. Teach Them to Write in a Gratitude Journal
This can be a dedicated space, like a notebook or an app, where they write down what they are grateful for every day. It will help them remember wonderful things that have happened. It will also allow them to focus on these positive aspects rather than the negative.
The next time you watch gymnastics practice, pay attention to how often your budding athletes thank their coaches or teammates when receiving praise. If you notice that your child doesn’t do this frequently at practices, act immediately.
There are always people who get angry quickly because of a lack of control over their emotions. But most young adults can be taught how to manage their emotions. One way to help reinforce gratitude is to write in a gratitude journal. This will help them recognize things that make them feel good about themselves, such as receiving compliments on their hard work and performance.
2. Create a Gratitude Text Chain with Teammates
This will help build teamwork and camaraderie because it’s a team effort. Every day, each person must think of something that they are grateful for. Then, they will text this to their teammates who have also been assigned to do the same thing later in the day. This act will help them nurture gratitude, including being thankful for their teammates.
3. Teach Your Team to Send Thank You Letters to Their Coaches
Sending thank-you letters to coaches will help gymnasts appreciate their coaches’ time, effort, and patience to help them become successful athletes.
Writing thank-you notes also demonstrates how grateful they are for their instructors. The fact that most people do not take the time to write these types of letters anymore makes this task special.
If you want a way to help children remember this valuable lesson, here’s a tip. Explain to them that when they grow up into professional athletes or even Olympians, their success will be partly because of their coaches and instructors. They’ll be able to pay it forward and, in the future, maybe young gymnasts will be writing thank you letters to them too.
Teaching your young gymnast how to practice gratitude will serve them well, even after leaving the sport. It will make them mindful of themselves and others and help them build a strong character.
At OMEGA, we do more than teach kids gymnastics techniques and progressions. We help shape their character so that they will emerge as champions, not just in the gym but in real life. Check out our recreational program.