Of all the things I could get angry about, Amelie’s beam cartwheel is the thing that I still can’t really let go of. I am still so cross that temporarily losing a gym move, when she was only just 8, led to a bout of what I still think was just bullying and meant she developed a massive block in her head about it. I made such a mistake putting her into A squad just then; too many things clouded my judgement, pride not least and grief and all sorts of other things. I should never have put her into the hands of someone who didn’t know her or care enough about what she had just been through at that moment in her life. It was a big mistake, not that it excuses making an 8 year old do a move 100 times in a row without any break or encouragement.
The result of that was she lost that move for 2 years and because her previous coaches work on a ‘nail it before you move on’ premise (fair enough) she didn’t get to do anything new and really lost heart. I blame her loss of interest in gym and her drive to achieve on that whole episode and I take plenty of responsibility for it because I should have dealt with the whole thing differently. Somehow, though I tried, I failed to be her advocate adequately.
We moved to a new gymnastics club in Peterborough and the new coach thinks it’s okay to move on if a move is causing head space issues. This is much closer to our educational philosophy; we never labour the point here. If something is difficult, the worst thing I think you can do is battle through it, causing mental blocks and angst. We just leave it and move on. So far, in 10 years of home educating 4 girls, it has never failed me. It’s a real relief to be at a gym where the same strategy is used. I know it wouldn’t work for every kid, but it works for Amelie. In the space of 2 months she has been able to move on to new beam moves without worrying about that cartwheel, learn new tumble preps ever though she is still anxious about shoulder strength and has cracked vaulting which had been a huge stumbling block for so long. I daresay these things will still come and go, but no matter; she’s not even noticed all the stealth work they’ve been doing on her shoulder and elbow strength and she hasn’t done any beam cartwheels at all because she has been working on beam walkovers.
So you can imagine her surprise last night when she suddenly got asked to do a beam cartwheel and this happened.
And it didn’t just happen once, it happened repeatedly. When I turned up an hour later, she did 3 in a row for me and stuck all of them.
I call that a result.