Ever wish you could go back in time and do something over again, much better than you know you could’ve? Sometimes finding a rewind button for life seems veeeery tempting. In reality though, it’s just not possible. All we can really do is reflect on our experiences and learn from them.
There are quite a few things I know I regret when looking back on what happened to me as a young gymnast. Here are a few things I’d remind my younger self to do if I could do it all over again. And advice young gymnasts nowadays can utilize too!
1. Have confidence in yourself.
I spent a LOT of time being afraid of things. So much so that I know I didn’t live up to my full potential. It can be truly frustration to think back and say I COULD have been so much better. So, I aimed to make sure the kids that I coached understood the power of living up to one’s own potential, encouraging them to recognize how awesome they truly can be when they put their mind (and their heart) to it.
In order to do that, you MUST believe in yourself. We all have the ability to go beyond what we think is possible for ourselves, but if we lack confidence, if we fear all of the bad things that could happen rather than focusing on the amazing things we can accomplish, so much more of our potential turns into REALITY. Let’s face it, the road to get there is not always easy. But everything gets easier when you realize fear and doubt only hold you back from your accomplishments. They never make things better.
2. Your thoughts are more powerful than you realize.
When I was young, I had no idea how powerful my thoughts actually were. I often have to remind myself now! Your thoughts and your beliefs are SO important because they set the stage for making your dreams and goals HAPPEN. If you’re thinking negative things about yourself, your ability to accomplish what you set out to do diminishes. Remind yourself with positive affirmations. I AM strong. I practice my skills with ease. I focus on the changes I need to make to become great…Why is this SO easy? But don’t just say it. BELIEVE it.
I used to tell my kids “can’t isn’t a word in gymnastics.” Really, it IS a word in gymnastics if you don’t want to get any better. Most likely though, you do want to improve. So stop holding yourself back by thinking you can’t, and know that you can do anything you put your mind to. (Repeat this over and over if you have to!)
3. Listen to your coaches.
It sounds easy enough. And it’s not that I didn’t listen to my coaches, but I think so much of the time I listened more to the negative voices in my head and the excuses I gave myself as to why I couldn’t do something more so than my coach’s advice. If you listen to your coach’s corrections the best that you can, and attempt with all that you have to apply them, your progress will increase tenfold. So, as easy as it is to succumb to your negative inner voice, resist it. Remember how powerful you are when it comes to taking the advice your coach gives you and applying it to your gymnastics. As a team, you are limitless.
4. Don’t neglect the details.
It’s easy to want to get ahead of yourself. To move full swing into learning the fun and exciting stuff. Just don’t forget that basics, drills, and good technique are SO important when it comes to mastering the bigger skills you so greatly want to achieve. I think in my mind, I LOVED to jump ahead and do skills as a whole, rather than breaking things down. It can seem boring sometimes, but I know I wasted a lot of time having to go back and fix things. It slows down your progress. So focus on the details and have faith that all of the little things will come together to make BIG things happen… a lot easier.
5. Don’t compare yourself to others.
You’re on your own journey. It’s easy to compare yourself to other people, especially when you see other people learning skills faster than you. I think I did this a lot as a young kid, and pretty much internalized my own negative self perception. I saw other kids who were better than me, and so I eventually really and truly came believe I was no good. I also dealt with a lot of bullying, and people who made me feel bad about myself. I was extremely sensitive and cried a lot which made it a heck of a lot worse. If I could go back in time, I’d remind myself how important it is not care so much about what other people think. I wish my younger self knew how far I’d come in such short a time after finally realizing I was the one holding myself back. Remember, it’s not aways about being the best…it’s about being the best you know you can be, and giving yourself credit for your efforts.
6. Have patience.
Sometimes, it takes a little while for your brain to click with your body. You’re always learning. If you’re frustrated, remind yourself about the power of patience. Have faith in the idea that before you know it, with all the practice that you’re doing, it will all finally click and everything will come together.
7. Enjoy the time while you have it.
Time really does fly. And while I do believe you can do gymnastics into old age, it’s not really the same as the fun you have in competitive gymnastics when you’re young. I wish I knew how much time I was wasting. If I could, I’d for sure go back and put my time to much better use. But, you can’t ever get the time back, so you might as well make the most of it RIGHT NOW. Now go out, believe in yourself, and do not worry. Spend every day believing your dreams are right around the corner. You’ll only be disappointed looking back if you don’t try. Feel in your heart that what you’re doing will lead you to success.
Be grateful for the path you’ve taken and recognize that it’s never too late to make a difference in your life – and in the lives of others.
It’s so easy to regret. While I can look back and wish things could’ve been different, I know it’s not possible. With that said, I know it’s important to be grateful for all that I’ve learned, and to share it with others, so they too can learn from it. If you see yourself wasting your time and effort, don’t be afraid to make a change. You can’t make things in your past better, but you sure can enjoy what you’re going through now to pave the way for all of the great things to come in the future. Remind yourself of your greatness, time and time again.