Is My Child Too Sick to Attend Practice

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A child who has a cold or flu can be challenging.  Parents may ask themselves, “how sick is too sick to attend practice?” Usually making this decision is a no-brainer, but parents may experience times when they question if they should or should not send their child to sports practice during an illness.  In some sports, it is crucial that your child attend practice as often as possible to support the team, maintain their endurance and to remain knowledgeable about changes to plays and routines.  

Here is some information that may help you make the right decision:

First and foremost…if your child was too sick to go to school then they are too sick to go to practice. Please keep them home.

FEVER

GO TO PRACTICE:

Your child is good to go if their temperature is below 100.4°F, is doing well with drinking fluids and doesn’t seem to have change in personality.

NO PRACTICE:

Your child should stay home if their temps rise above 100.4°F. A feverish child is not only considered contagious, but  is also probably not feeling well enough to learn or participate. Keep child home until he/she has been fever-free for 24 hours and is feeling like their usual self.

 

HEADACHE

GO TO PRACTICE:

A child with a minor headache doesn’t usually need to be kept out of practice.

NO PRACTICE:

If the headache is more severe or is accompanied by other symptoms, such as raised temperature or drowsiness, then keep child out of practice and consult your pediatrician or general practitioner.

 

COUGH AND COLD

GO TO PRACTICE:

A child with a minor cough or cold may attend practice.

NO PRACTICE:

If the cold is accompanied by a raised temperature, shivers or drowsiness, the child should stay home.  Visit the GP and return to practice 24 hours after they start feeling better. If your child has a more severe and long-lasting cough, consult your GP. They can give guidance on whether your child should attend practice

 

VOMITTING

GO TO PRACTICE:

If your child has only dry heaved once within the last 24 hours and he/she is not at risk of dehydration, they may attend practice.  

NO PRACTICE:

If your child has thrown up more than two times within the last 24 hours, it is best to skip practice. Also keep an eye on dehydration. He/she may be fighting an infection and should stay away until antibiotics are taken and wait for at least 24 hours.

 

RED EYES

GO TO PRACTICE:

When your child’s eye is a little pink, he/she may only have an irritation to a small object in the eye or has common allergies in which he/she can attend practice.

NO PRACTICE:

If you see a bright red area in the whites of your child’s eyes with yellow or green discharge, keep them home.  Your child may be fighting conjunctivitis and should not return  until your child has been on antibiotics for 24 hours.

 

DIARRHEA

GO TO PRACTICE:

If your child’s stool is slightly loose and doesn’t use the restroom frequently then your child is good to go. Your child may have consumed too much fruit juice and the stomach is releasing some of that content.

NO PRACTICE:

If your child is going more than three times within a few hours, he/she may be fighting an infection. Just like vomiting, keep an eye on dehydration. Also if there is blood or mucus in the stool, please stay home and consult your GP.

 

SORE THROAT

GO TO PRACTICE:

Many children experience a sore throat and runny nose. As long as they do not have a fever, swollen or red areas in the back of the throat, send them off.

NO PRACTICE:

If the sore throat is accompanied by fever, redness, swollen glands, headache or stomachache, keep your child home. It may be a good idea to go get strep tested by your doctor. It is recommended to take antibiotics and wait 24 hours to join practice or class.

 

STOMACH ACHE

GO TO PRACTICE:

If this is the only symptom your child is feeling, they may attend practice.

NO PRACTICE:

Stomach aches that are accompanied by fever, vomiting and diarrhea should make a trip to the doctor. A sharp pain coming from the stomach may be severe constipation, appendicitis, or bowel obstruction.  Consult your GP.

 

RASH

GO TO PRACTICE:

A conservative way to approach rashes is to consider all of them contagious until proven otherwise. Once you have proven them to be NOT contagious then they may attend practice.

NO PRACTICE:

If the rash covers a large portion of the body, the rash is on the face and the eyes become swollen, the child is extremely uncomfortable or unable to sleep, or signs of infection occur, such as pus or soft yellow scabs.

 

BOTTOM LINE…

Use common sense when deciding whether or not your child is too ill to attend practice.
Ask yourself the following questions.

  1. Is my child well enough to do the activities in practice? If not, keep them home.
  2. Is my child contagious? If so, keep them home.
  3. Would I take a day off work if I had this illness? If so, keep them home.

 

Disclaimer: This is not intended to take the place of your physicians advice. Please do not use this as your only guide in making your decision regarding your child but as a helpful guide from GRG.

 

***Some of the Information gathered above is from “Is my child too sick for school” by Suzanne Schlosberg which is pediatrician approved by Tanya Remer Altmann, M.D.

 

“yet”

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“I’m not good at this…”

“I’m not good at this…yet.”

It’s amazing how that small three-letter word—yet—changes the entire meaning and direction of the sentence.

When we say we are not good at something, ending the comment there, we commit to a limiting belief and a fixed mindset telling ourselves that the trait is beyond our control and unlikely to change.

But when we add “yet” we open up the possibility of change. We move to a growth mindset, one where we see that with effort, planning, persistence and better strategies we can place ourselves on the path to success.

Lots of new kids are coming into gymnastics inspired by the Final Five and still others are returning to our clubs from summer breaks a bit rusty in their skills.  Gymnastics is a difficult sport and it is easy to get discouraged quickly.  So when our gymnasts tell us they aren’t good at something or cannot do a certain skill, remind them of the power of yet!

“Wait? What happened to the perfect 10?”

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This question will be on the lips of many a casual gymnastics fan, confused by the scoring system at the Olympics this week.

“What the heck does a 15.877 even mean?”

Well, aside from meaning that’s a really great score, the 15.877 (and all the other odd to three decimal places scores we have and will continue to see) are part of the evolution of the sport of gymnastics.

Once upon a time, there was the perfect 10. Gymnasts constructed routines to meet certain requirements and would have to put in a certain amount of difficulty to gain some “bonus” tenths that made their routine have a 10.0 start value. From there the judges would take away tenths for errors in execution.

But there was no incentive to go beyond making a routine have a value beyond 10.0 because there was no reward for doing so.

This “closed” system of scoring meant that innovation was not rewarded. Pushing yourself to try new and harder skills and combinations was only relevant when the governing body of the sport changed rules or requirements every four years.

The new system is complicated. (For a complete explanation of the new system, clickhere). In sum, there are three panels of judges.   One panel of six judges arrives at the Difficulty score (or “D” score).   The second panel of two judges arrives at the Execution score (or the “E” score), and there is a third panel called the reference panel who correct the E score should there be a mistake. The “D” and the “E” scores are added together and averaged and then any neutral deductions (going out of bounds or overtime on floor or balance beam) are subtracted from that total to arrive at the final score.

The new system demands innovation. In fact, it is probably no accident that in the women’s program 11 new skills were introduced and asked for inclusion into the Code of Points (the international rule book for the sport of gymnastics) this Olympics.

The new system still demands a superb level of execution.  In fact, falls which were a .8 deduction in the past now command a full point off!

So while the new system challenges us to understand the math and deal with decimals to the third place, it also challenges the athletes to challenge themselves.

And isn’t that what sports is supposed to do?

The Importance of the “Soft” Stuff

 

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The 2016 JO Nationals lit up Facebook with Jaymes Marshall’s Vault. Then a recent article came out that interviewed her in Inside Gymnastics.

In the interview, this very talented and highly accomplished 12 year old gymnast was asked, “What’s some of your favorite gymnastics memories?”

Now keep in mind, this is a child who has won JOs, qualified to the Secret U.S. Championship and is being compared to Simone Biles.

Her response, “When I went to dinner and mini golf with my entire team.”

Love this response for a whole host of reasons, but mostly because it points to one of the most valuable parts of what it means to be part of team: the happy childhood memories that come along with.

The slumber parties. The beach days. The pizza parties. The amusement park trips. The sleepovers. The out of town trips. The swim parties. And yes, the miniature golf games.

Gym parents, if you want to be involved, organize these things. Coaches, please help facilitate too. These things. These are the things that make kids happy, help them feel connected and are fun.

Thank you anne josephson for the great reminder of the importance of the “soft” stuff.

The Pre-Workout: 10 Tips to Making Practice Great Before You Even Get to the Gym

Gymnasts: want to have a great workout?

Here are some things you can do before you even get to the gym:

  1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep.  Getting sufficient sleep is difficult with school and gymnastics demands.  But it is essential to performing at a high level.  Lack of sleep impairs your reactions and can make it more difficult to tolerate frustration.According to the National Sleep Foundation, adolescents (ages ten to seventeen) need between 8.5-9.25 hours of sleep per night. Yet, the average adolescent gets only 7-7.25 hours of sleep per night.
  2. Have a Snack and Hydrate.  While a large meal before practice is likely to make your feel too full and cause digestive issues, working out on an empty stomach is also not a good idea.  Aim to eat 1 to 3 hours before workout.  Here are some ideas of good snacks.   We often think of water intake during workout, but did you know that it is important to arrive at the gym well hydrated?  Drink approximately 16 to 24 ounces of fluid two hours before practice
  3. Check Your Mood.  Several studies have found that listening to music can help lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and improve your mood. Laugh.  Or take a few minutes to meditate.
  4. Check How Your Body Feels.   Check in with yourself.  Notice any areas of your body that might need some extra stretching or rolling out with a foam roller.
  5. Pack Your Gym Bag. Make sure you have what you need.  That will help you feel prepared for practice.
  6. Make a List.  Make a list of any non-gym related things you need to do after practice.  Don’t hold in your head any of the “to dos” you have to do after practice, instead write them down.  By writing them down you free your mind to focus on practice.
  7. Get Dressed for Practice and Do Your Hair. Showing up to practice in ripped sweat pants doesn’t create the right intention for the day.
  8. Set An Intention.  Speaking of intentions, set one for the day.  This practice, which I stole from my yoga class, helps to get you into the mindset for a good workout.
  9. Get There Early.  It at all possible, arrive at practice 10-15 minutes early.  Rushing in at the start time of practice exactly, rushes feeling prepared.  Give yourself enough time to put your things away, greet your friends and use the restroom before your coach calls line up.
  10. Smile and Greet Everyone Cheerfully.  Act like you are happy to be at practice and the feeling will follow.  Bring in energy to spare for your coaches and teammates.

27 Things Parents of Gymnasts Should Avoid

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Here are 27 things parents of gymnasts should avoid doing so they don’t interfere with the positive benefits:

  1. Don’t compare your gymnast’s progress with that of other gymnasts.
  2. Don’t become overly ego-involved with your gymnast’s success or lack of it.
  3. Don’t take judge’s scores too seriously, especially at the lower levels.
  4. Don’t forget the need for fun in gymnastics.
  5. Don’t stand for unacceptable behavior from your gymnast during practice or competitions.
  6. Don’t participate in gossip about anyone in the gymnastics community.
  7. Don’t interfere with coaches and their coaching duties during practice or competitions.
  8. Don’t pressure your gymnast regarding skills or competition.
  9. Don’t set unrealistic goals for your gymnast.
  10. Don’t predicate your love or attention on your gymnast’s competitive success.
  11. Don’t base your own ego or self-esteem on the success of your gymnast’s progress or competitive success.
  12. Don’t lose your long-term perspective about the importance of your gymnast’s participation in the sport.
  13. Don’t let yourself care too deeply about your gymnast’s competition results.
  14. Don’t undercut your gymnast’s confidence in their coaches or coaching.
  15. Don’t show any negative emotions while watching your gymnast practice or compete.
  16. Don’t try to make your gymnast talk with you immediately after a gymnastics meet, especially if they performed poorly.
  17. Don’t do or say anything to make your child feel guilty for the time and money you are spending on their gymnastics or any sacrifices you feel are making for them to participate in the sport.
  18. Don’t badmouth your gymnast’s coaches, your gym or other gymnasts in front of your gymnast.
  19. Don’t attempt to coach your gymnast yourself.
  20. Don’t alienate your gymnast’s coaches.
  21. Don’t predicate your support for your gymnast’s participation in the sport on any expectation of a monetary return like receiving a college scholarship.
  22. Don’t try to recreate your own career or live out your own sports dreams through your gymnast.
  23. Don’t do anything to make enemies with other gymnast’s parents.
  24. Don’t expect anything more from your gymnast except their best effort.
  25. Don’t ever do or say anything that will cause your gymnast to think less of you.
  26. Don’t use sarcasm, threaten or use fear to try to motivate your gymnast.
  27. Don’t expect anything more from gymnastics than physical fitness, life skills and fun for your gymnast.

Remember this:  the evident look of pride, contentment and joy that gymnasts have every time they win even the slightest little thing.  It will always be amazing to see how happy they can be, even over 11th place!  The competitiveness in parents is one thing we need to always stifle.  Because in the end your gymnast will be a happier, more well rounded person if they are more of a team player and less of a competitor.

What is Your Biggest Regret?

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In the middle of New York City, a black board was hung with the simple directive:

WRITE YOUR BIGGEST REGRET

People approached somewhat apprehensive but then began to pick up the chalk and jot down their thoughts.  Initially, the thoughts were as varied as those who were writing them.  Then, as the chalkboard became crowded with the things for which people were sorry, a pattern emerged.

The pattern: NOT.

The things listed were almost all exclusively something someone had NOT done, said, tried or pursued.

While some of the regrets could no longer be righted, some could.

And, even for those of us who might pencil in something that cannot be revisited, each and every day brings new opportunities.

Think about what you might regret NOT doing and get busy doing it!

12 WAYS TO BE A HAPPIER GYMNAST

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  1. Stop comparing yourself to others. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses and we all walk our own unique path. Comparing ourselves to others just robs us of our happiness.
  2. Eat more fruits and veggies. As an athlete, your body needs nutrient rich foods but the bonus is that 7 servings of fruits and vegetables a day may increase your happiness as well.
  3. Play great music during workout. It’s backed by science that listening to upbeat music makes us feel happier.
  4. Tell your inner critical voice to shut up. Do you have that voice in your head that tells you that you are not good enough? Most of us do, and it robs us of our happiness. One way to stifle that nasty voice is to ask yourself if you would say to your best friend what you say to yourself. If the answer is no, then tell your inner voice to take a hike.
  5. Say thank you more often. Practice gratitude enhances your personal happiness. And it can spread happiness to others as well when you say thank you to your coach for a great workout or to your parents for driving you to and from practice.
  6. List three good things that happened at each and every workout. They don’t have to be huge things, like learning a new skill or overcoming a fear. Just take the time to jot down three good things that happened at gym that day.  Yes, even on bad days find three good things; you can do it!
  7. Set ambitious but realistic goals. If you are a level 8 gymnast, it might be too lofty to expect you are going to be an elite in a year, but shooting for being a level 10 might just be a good idea for your happiness. People with ambitious goals are happier than those who set conservative to no goals. So while you don’t want to set goals that are almost 100% likely to fail, don’t sell yourself short either.
  8. Keep your goals in mind. Exercising self-control with respect to your goals increase your happiness. Reminding yourself why you are working hard toward your goal helps you feel better about your efforts even when they are challenging.
  9. Let go of limiting beliefs. Let go of beliefs about what you can or cannot do or about what is possible or impossible. This year you are not going to allow these limiting beliefs to keep you stuck in the wrong place. Every time you think you can’t, remind yourself that maybe you can!
  10. Be present in practice. Focusing on what your are doing at the moment make you happier. So leave your cell phone, your homework worries and everything else outside the gym and concentrate on your workout.
  11. Assess your teammates. This is similar to the advice I also shared with parents. Stress is contagious. So decline getting involved in gym drama and stay away from those teammates who do not want to work hard and who distract you from your workout. Remember the proverb: Not my circus, not my monkey. But just as stress is contagious, so is happiness. So hang out with those athletes who want to be supportive, work hard and help spread that positive vibe through the gym.  And make sure your attitude and actions put you in the category of positive teammate.
  12. Embrace your failures and lean into your struggles. Welcoming failure can actually make you more successful and happier in the long run. When you lean into your failure and resolve to get better you create grit and resilience, which leads to ultimate mastery. The result: happiness.

Keep working hard and remember… have fun!

10 Choices You Make As a Gymnast That Will Serve You Well For the Rest of Your Life

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You might think that some of the choices you make as a gymnast are pretty big ones. Choosing a gym club, which summer gym camp or even their optional floor music can feel like a monumental deal with everlasting consequences. And, these choices are significant.

But there are other decisions that gymnasts learn to make that will serve you well after you no longer go to any gym or camp or have any need for floor music.

These are the choices that will serve you well for the rest of your life.

Here are some favorites:

DECISION TO FAIL. Doing gymnastics is a decision to fail because no gymnast gets through a career (or even a workout!) without failing. Making the decision to fail will serve you when it is time to take risks academically or professionally because you will understand that failure is nothing more than feedback whereas many of your non-gymnastics peers will think of failure as the end of the world.

DECISION TO TRY AGAIN. Every time a gymnast falls, the decision is made to get up and try again. Resilience is one of the hallmarks of successful and happy people.

DECISION TO DO SOMETHING HARD. Gymnastics is hard.   So are many other worthy things in life. People who are scared of doing hard things limit themselves. You are not afraid to do hard things.

DECISION TO KEEP GOING EVEN WITH IT HURTS. Pain is inevitable and gymnasts know how to work through it. Gymnasts learn to recognize pain that is the discomfort of growth from pain that is a signal of damage.

DECISION TO LISTEN TO FEEDBACK OF AN EXPERT. Coaches are experts. Seeking experts opinions and incorporating their feedback is a often overlooked life skill.

DECISION TO TUNE OUT THE FEEDBACK OF A NON-EXPERT. And there are plenty of non-experts who will give their opinion. Knowing who to listen to and to ignore is an important decision.

DECISION TO WHOLLY COMMIT TO SOMETHING IMPORTANT TO YOU. To learn to make choices that others might view as sacrifices because you want to achieve mastery of something is a decision that great leaders make every day. You learned this as a young gymnast.

DECISION TO CONTINUALLY IMPROVE. There are no miracle solutions or overnight remedies in gymnastics. Just continual improvement day in and day out from putting in the work.

DECISION TO OVERCOME YOUR DOUBTS AND FEARS. There were times you didn’t think you could do it. There were times you were scared to try. But you did anyway. Those decisions taught you to choose the best version of yourself instead of the frightened version.

DECISION TO ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE JUDGED. To stand up and have a number assigned to your effort is not an easy thing to do. Yet, when you make the decisions to become comfortable with others judging your work you free yourself from the fear of their criticism and are able to see it as feedback and suggestions for improvement.

Mary Lou Retton said, “Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”  The choices you make in gymnastics will pave the road to achievement!

Why Should a Coach Make Sports Fun?

Aren’t coaches supposed to teach sports skills, develop competent athletes and develop a winning mentality?

Aren’t sports about learning life lessons like coping with failure, good sportsmanship, discipline and goal setting?

Well yes, of course, but sports are also about fun.

However it’s important to remember that “fun” is not just light-hearted amusement, but can mean finding an activity meaningful, pleasing or interesting.   So when we talk about having “fun” at sports it isn’t just the sugar and spice model of fun, but also the deep purpose and passion model that we need to keep in mind.

How can we actually make sports more fun? Here are a dozen suggestions:

  1. Asking the kids if they are having fun. Checking in with your athletes by simply asking them, “Are you having fun?” or “What was fun about practice today/this week?” serves two purposes.   The first is obvious: it gives you feedback about what they found fun (if anything). The second is that it reminds them (and you) that fun is an essential part of their training!
  2. Finding out why the kids are participating and what they want out of the experience. Too often, sports leagues are designed around the wants, needs or expectations of the adults. In a 2014 George Washington University study, 9 of 10 kids said “fun” is the main reason they participate. When asked to define fun, they offered up 81 reasons— and ranked “winning” at No. 48, with young girls (our primary customer in gymnastics, ranking winning dead last).
  3. Acting happy to see the kids and encouraging teammates to bond with each other.Belonging is a critical component to our ability to enjoy ourselves.   And when we see ourselves as a part of something larger, we are more connected to your experience.
  4. Developing kids’ self-efficacy. Self-efficacy, the belief that we are able to perform well or learn the necessary skills to eventually perform well, is key in enjoying what we do. If we feel hopeless at a game, sport or task, we are not likely to consider it to be fun. Coaches can help athletes develop their self-efficacy by ensuring quick success at the beginning of learning and making sure that even as the athlete advances that there is always some success in practice.
  5. Coaching in a positive manner. A coach that is supportive and encouraging in giving feedback is terrific in helps athletes have more fun and quit at a much lower rate. Encouraging and acknowledging kids effort over their out come is key as is treating all the athletes with respect.
  6. Making the mundane interesting by using games. Conditioning can be boring and tedious, but when it is gamified it can be a lot of fun. Relay races and contests can create excitement and energy in the gym.
  7. Using external rewards on occasion. Again, best used for things that are tedious like conditioning or numbers driven like stuck routines.   Rewards can be silly, like stickers or a juice box, or the selection of a privilege, like earning an extra trampoline rotation.
  8. Scaling the difficulty of practice to reach the “Goldilock’s moment.” For something to be enjoyable it cannot be too easy or too hard, but like Goldilock’s bed, it needs to be just right. This means paying attention to each athlete and adjusting the challenge of the workout accordingly.
  9. Varying workouts. Variety is the spice of life and the antidote to boredom (which is not fun!). Mix your workouts up. Keep it interesting. Nobody wants to do the same exact thing day in and day out.
  10. Giving kids some choices in what they do. Enjoyment and engagement increases when we have some control over our work. So let your athletes choose the order of their assignments, give them the option between two different conditioning exercises or let them choose the music playing in the gym.
  11. Playing music. Speaking of music: play it. Music makes people happy. It’s backed by science.
  12. When our athletes are learning and seeing their progress they are much more likely to be enjoying themselves. Sometimes they need help in seeing how much they are learning.

BONUS: Just be silly sometimes.  The young athletes you are coaching are kids.  Play is the work of kids so don’t forget to include some playtime in your training.

What are your suggestions to make sports fun for your athletes?