An Open Letter to the Coaches who Comfort Their Gymnasts When They Struggle in a Meet

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Dear Coaches Who Comfort Their Gymnasts When They Struggle in a Meet,

I want to thank you.

I thank you for recognizing that your gymnast just gave it her all, came up short and still validating her worth as a human by giving her a hug and a kind word as she dejectedly walked off the floor.

I thank you for being the adult in the relationship by managing your disappointment so as not to make your athlete feel even worse about having a fall out there today. I appreciate that you have mastery over your emotions. I know you too have put in long hours trying to help him achieve his goal. I know you are upset as well. And I appreciate the amount of self-restraint it takes to keep that in check and instead focusing on helping your gymnast understand his error, helping him prepare for his next event and reminding him that he is more important than any error, score or placement ever could be.

I thank you for understanding that building grit and resilience and treating your athlete with kindness and respect are not mutually exclusive.

So thank you all for being the good ones, the ones who make me proud to be part of this industry, the ones who understand that as hard as an athlete works that part of sports is things don’t always go according to plan and the ones who take seriously the responsibility of what it means to mentor a young person.

Thank you for demonstrating that as hard as we all work to develop beautiful gymnasts what we are really in the business of doing is developing young people who take the lessons learned from gymnastics to make their world a better place.

And thank you for serving as a role model for all those coaches who look up to you.  Me included.

Love,

Anne