Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What makes a good goal?

First, I think we need to comment on this AWESOME meet gift that was given out at Games in Ames last weekend. How COOL are these whiteboards?!

Second, as an educator, as a mom, and as an athlete (however FORMER that may be), I love, love, love the emphasis our gym puts on setting goals and working to always #betteryourbest.

Finally, when I saw R's board while putting her to bed the other night, I had to take a picture. As a mom, it make me so happy to see my daughter setting goals (pretty high goals, but I like it) for herself without prompting.

When she filled out her goal sheet at the beginning of the season it was a bit of a battle. She didn't know what to write, she wasn't super specific, and it took a lot of support and prompting. Now she's writing her own individual meet goals, and meeting them (which means we get to celebrate. Penguins of Madagascar movie, here we come!).

Goal setting is such an amazing skill (and yes, I say skill, because I do think it's something to be practiced and worked on/toward). I found this great post on goal setting and how to go about it online, but essentially it's what we all know - there are big picture goals, and short term goals. There are attainable goals and goals we will always be working toward. Typically, we have been reviewing her videos after each meet, and she critiques her routines. It's nice to see her looking forward and planning ahead, versus looking back.

Yesterday, R told me that she had a new goal. She wants to get first place on bars. I told her that it's an awesome goal, and natural to want to get first place. But it also opened a great opportunity to have a discussion about what good goals are. I explained that she could have an amazing day and get a 9.7 on bars, and most days that would be first place. But what if someone else has an amazing day as well, and gets a 9.8? That doesn't make R's day any less amazing. Getting 2nd place with a 9.7 would still be something to be incredibly proud of. We talked about how the only person you can control is yourself, and if she's working hard and "better-ing her best" then that's something to be proud of.

Chalk this up to another life skill that being in the gym has helped support! Hold on - get it? Gymnastics? Chalk? Yeah. Just smile and nod.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Holiday Workouts

As Thanksgiving approaches, one of the things we've been discussing is training schedules. R's normal schedule is 3 days/week, 10 hours total. Occasionally we will throw in a Friday "Team Boost" or there are several competitions during the fall, obviously. Over Thanksgiving week, her schedule bumped to 5 days/week, 17 hours total.

Several people have asked why it's so much more, or when we will do our family events? My thoughts on those questions are this:
  1. It takes two weeks to get "in shape" and just 3 DAYS to get out - the girls cannot afford to lose everything they've been working so hard for by taking a week off during competition season. Sure, you can have the best of intentions to work out at home, but it's not the same, and how many people really do that the way they should? And all that extra eating? We should probably all be putting these hours into the gym. 
  2. Our gym would never ask us to skip a family holiday for practice. It just so happens that our family dinners fall on a) Thanksgiving, when there is no practice, or b) after practice (Saturday). If we happened to have family Thanksgiving on Sunday, we would probably do both. But since it works out nicely in our schedule, there's no reason to have to miss practice!
  3. Thanksgiving week falls so late this year, just 2 weeks before the state competition, that it's great the girls can get some extra time in when they don't have to compete with school and other activities. 
  4. The coaches know the girls' limits. I imagine there will be some fun games or activities or getting to work new skills sprinkled in throughout their workouts. I trust them completely to do what is right for my child in order to help her be her best and have fun doing it. 
We're thankful for the opportunity to do some extra work while spending time with great friends. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The DJ RyRy Playlist

At camp last summer R got the nickname "DJ RyRy" - she loves picking out music and playing it for me when we drive, and her teammates liked the name. She compiled a list for our pre-meet drives this year, so I thought I'd share it. They don't all make sense to me, and some are just because she likes them, but it's her choice!

Rylee's pre-meet playlist:
1. Boom Clap, Charli XCX - This one is to set the tone and get excited
2. A Sky Full of Stars, Coldplay - Honestly? I think this one is because she likes astronomy...
3. All About That Bass, Meghan Trainor - This one holds a special memory. She fell at practice and hit her head, and after I said she needed more padding in her booty to break the fall, one of the people in the office started singing this song. Rylee smiles and remembers that moment every time we hear it!
4. Shake It Off, Taylor Swift - What happened on the last event or in the last practice doesn't matter, shake it off and do your best this time!
5. People Back Home, Florida Georgia Line - A reminder of all the people who love and support the journey
6. Timber, Pitbull - Hmm.... Just one she likes
7. Roar, Katy Perry - GIRL POWER!
8. Shower, Becky G - This one is just FUN
9. She Looks So Perfect, 5 Seconds of Summer - We want routines to look perfect
10. We Own It, 2 Chainz & Wiz Khalifa - OWN IT! Enough said.
11. Fancy, Iggy Azalea - Confidence booster
12. Get Your Shine On, Florida Georgia Line - This one is not about shining, but that's how we use it.
13. We R Who We R, Kesha - Confidence boost again
14. Bartender, Lady Antebellum - Again, I think she just likes this one...
15. People Back Home, Florida Georgia Line - Yep, we repeat this. It's an anthem.
16. Cruise, Florida Georgia Line w Nelly - For our drives
17. I Won't Give Up, Jason Mraz - Title gives the reason, lyrics, not so much
18. Cups, Anna Kendrick - What little girl (or older girl) isn't a fan of Pitch Perfect?
19. Happy, Pharrell Williams - SMILE!
20. Stronger, Kelly Clarkson - Keep pushing, keep going, #betteryourbest

Monday, November 17, 2014

Wrestling: A whole new world...

California oranges
Arizona cactus
We think your team
Could use a little practice...

I did a one-year stint as a wrestling cheerleader, and coached wrestling cheerleading for one year. That is the extent of my wrestling knowledge.

So tomorrow night my husband will attend the parent meeting for youth wrestling with our older son (6). I am a nervous wreck. Not because my husband can't handle going to a meeting (although I'd rather get the information myself, first hand), but because wrestling is a completely foreign environment to me. I don't get the scoring system, I don't know the lingo, and I'm not sure how I'll handle my baby boy tackling someone to a mat - or worse, someone taking him down. For that matter, I don't know how he'll handle that.

Wrestling is a HUGE deal in Iowa, I get that. We have some top-notch programs in the surrounding school districts, and that's exciting. However, we have always been a football/basketball/track kind of family. My husband was not a wrestler, and in a family full of girls, none of my immediate family members have been involved in wrestling. I'm not sure I could be more of an outsider.

What are your wrestling mom tips and tricks? What are the need to knows?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

What do you feed them?

At the beginning of the season our coach shared this article from Gymnastike on meal timing for gymnasts (and athletes in general), and I thought it was great for outlining types of foods my kids should eat before they work out or compete. So what do my kids eat?

Before morning meets:
We usually end up getting up approximately 3 hours before we have to be at the competition site.

Oatmeal (before she gets dressed)
Apple slices, pretzels, or Bear Naked energy bar (in the car)

Before afternoon meets (around lunch time):
We try to space small snacks about an hour apart before lunchtime meets.

Oatmeal or something a little heavier on these days - grandma likes to make biscuits and gravy
Protein bar
Beef Jerky
Banana Chips (dehydrated banana slices)

Before a race:
This one is really my husband's area, but I try!

Peanut butter sandwich
Protein bars

Before practice: 
We drive about 50 minutes to the gym, so an after school snack is a must.

Fruit snacks
*Chips (I don't recommend this one, but if I'm being honest it's gotta be on the list)

The night before a performance:
It's important to fuel up before an event! We work hard to make smart decisions on the nights before competition, but it's not always easy on the weekend! Some favorites include:
Fresh fruit
Fresh vegetables
Turkey sandwiches
Hummus and crackers
Baked potatoes

What do your athletes eat?

Sunday, November 9, 2014


This year is my daughter's first year doing competitive gymnastics. She is 8 years old and a level 3 JO gymnast at Success Gymnastics in Ames, Iowa. It has been quite the whirlwind, which of course I'll dig into later, but wanting to start this new blog with a bang, so I thought I'd start with our team motto.

Each season the team gets a motto - this year it's #BetterYourBest, and I am absolutely ecstatic. R has never really done anything competitive (or on stage). R is also a complete perfectionist (which she may or may not get from me), and that can be incredibly tough. So each week, when I ask her what her goal is, and she replies, "Better your best," I do a mini happy dance inside. Why? Because my daughter is learning a lesson that many of us don't learn until well into adulthood. Doing your best, and then working to do better - where your only opponent is you - is all I want for my kids. I want them to always work to do their personal best, and always push to be better. It doesn't matter if you are THE best, but never settle for just "good enough."

We've been fortunate this season, and we've gotten to see R "better her best" at every meet so far in one form or another, and is now setting more concrete goals for herself, including joining the "9.5 club," hitting 4 for 4 events with personal best scores (bettering her best), and being able to move up to level 4 next year (she's working hard on her cartwheels on the beam!).

What are your team mottos?