Slay Your Gymnastics Goals this Year with these 6 Steps

gymnastics goals

At the beginning of a new year, it’s a nice time to reflect on your life, and think about what we want to accomplish, and how can we make our lives better. What do you want to accomplish with gymnastics? I’m going to walk you through 6 steps in order to completely SLAY your gymnastics goals this year.

I’ve put together a free Gymnastics Goals Worksheet to help you set some goals for the year.  Click Here to Download

1. Dream

The first step to figuring out what your gymnastics goals should be is to dream. What would you like to see in your future?

  • Would you like to be more fit? Gymnastics is a great way to get toned, develop more muscle and like any exercise, it burns calories.
  • Would you like to have more friends? Gymnastics classes can help you meet other gymnasts around your age, and gives you a shared interest to help you bond.
  • Would you like to eventually be on your high-school gymnastics team? Depending on what grade you are in right now, this can be a do-able goal. High school gymnastics teams typically compete Xcel rules. Start learning more skills now, to increase your chances of making the gymnastics team. Being on a sports team in high school also can help to show you are a well-rounded student on your college applications.
  • Would you like to make a college gymnastics team? This is a much more difficult goal, as not many gymnasts are ever at the level to be able to compete college gymnastics. So, if this is your goal you will need to start working towards it now.
  • Would you like to become an Olympic gymnast? This is an extremely difficult, highly unlikely goal. However, right now we are just dreaming. But, if you would like to see this in your future, you will need to start working on the Olympic dream now with extreme focus.
What You Want Your Life to Look Like

During the dream stage you are thinking about what you want your life to look like. These goals are called ultimate goals. They are the goals you need to reach to create the life you want.

(I go over some of the specifics of goal setting and mindset in The Mental Workout all Gymnasts Should be Doing and other Strategies for Becoming the Best Gymnast You Can Be. )

2. Make Goalsgymnastics goals

Once you’ve figured out what your gymnastics dream is, you need to figure out how to accomplish it. These are the goals you need to achieve in order to get to your dream.

For example, if you want to make your high-school gymnastics team, you might decide that you need to be an Xcel Gold by the time you are a freshman. Every high-school has a team at a different level of difficulty, so the level you will need to be will vary.

If you need to be an Xcel Gold by the time you are a freshman, and you are in 6th grade and an Xcel Bronze now, this is a do-able goal if you set your mind to it. You will then need to make sure you advance one level every year, so that in 9th grade you will be a Gold.

So for this year, your goal would be to make sure you get all of the Xcel Silver skills, in order to move up a level by next season.

The goal of getting all the Xcel Silver skills would be a product goal. These are the goals you want to accomplish this year.

3. Make your Goals SMART

One of the keys to goal setting is to make your goals SMART. What does that mean? SMART is an acronym that describes a type of goal that will help you to be successful.

The acronym stands for:

S- Specific smart goals

Making your goals specific will help you know exactly what you need to do to achieve them.

M- Measurable

Goals need to be measurable, so you know when they are completed.

A- Achievable

Goals should be realistic. Everyone wants to be able to go to the Olympics, but if you are only working out for an hour a week, this is not an achievable goal.

R- Relevant

Goals should be relevant. Think about what needs to happen to achieve your bigger goals.

T- Time Bound

Goals should be time-bound, so that there is pressure to achieve them.

In addition to making ultimate goals (your dreams), and product goals (the steps that need to be taken to get to your ultimate goal), you need to make SMART process goals.

gymnastic goals

In our previous example, of wanting to get to Xcel Gold by high-school, the product goal was to learn all of the Xcel Silver skills this year.

We need some SMART goals in order to achieve that. One of the major silver skills is a back handspring on floor. If you’re trying to learn a back handspring, you need arm strength and leg strength. You also need to have practiced back handspring drills.

Here are some examples of SMART goals you could make if you want to learn a back handspring:

  • Do 3 1-minute handstand holds against the wall everyday until I learn a back handspring.
  • Do 2 sets of 10 squats every other day for the next month, or until I learn a back handspring.
  • Complete a mental workout before each practice, where I visualize doing a back handspring perfect, until I’ve mastered the skill.

4. Plan How you will Achieve your Goals

You have dreamed what you want your life to be like in the future, you have decided what goal milestones you need to hit in order to get there, and what action goals you need to execute on. Now is the time to put a plan together in order to achieve your goals.

xcel gymnastics checklist

Visualize Your Goals

It’s nice to have a visual representation of your goals to remind and motivate you. This is where my skill progression charts are very handy. You can visualize what gymnastics skills you need to learn, and your progression as you master them.

On the charts you can check off when you have gotten a skill, when you can do it well, and when you have mastered it. The skill charts are especially helpful if you are trying to get to the next gymnastics level. Like in our example of moving from Xcel Bronze to Xcel Silver, the skill progression charts show you what skills you need to be learning.

One way to visualize your goals would be to buy a skill checklist, check off the skills you can already do, and hang it on the wall. Then write down what actions (SMART goals) you will need to take to learn the other skills.

time for gymnastics goals

Block off Time

Another important step in planning how you will achieve your goals is blocking off time during the day to work on them. Will you practice after you complete your homework every day?  Or on the weekends?

Schedule this time in your school planner, so you won’t forget to take action every day.

Workout Plans

Another way to plan how you will achieve your goals is to come up with workout plans. I have come up with some home gymnastics workout plans, but you might also want to come up with some for the gym.

Your coach might have your workouts already laid out for you, in which case that makes it easy! You simply set your mind to completing them with great form, and concentrating on execution.

If you have open gym workouts at your gym, you could utilize those to do your own workouts. Workouts that for example, allow you to do many back handspring drills in order to complete that goal.

first step towards goal

5. Make the 1st Step Really Easy

After you have come up with a plan of action to achieve your gymnastics goals, you will want to revise the plan to make the first step really easy.

Why, you might ask?

Studies have shown that when the first step is really easy, and you are able to complete it fast, that quick win motivates you to complete the rest of the steps.

So if you are trying to learn how to do a back handspring, you could make the first SMART goal to be to do 1 bridge and stretch through your shoulders for 10 seconds today.  This will take only 10 seconds to complete and you will already feel like you are on your way to a back handspring.

6. Take the 1st Step

The last step to putting you on the path to slaying your gymnastics dreams this year, is to fill out the goals worksheet you have downloaded, and then to take the first step!

I hope you achieve everything you want this year–in school, life and gymnastics!

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32 comments… add one
  • grace January 1, 2017, 9:44 am

    This is really good , if you don’t already have one you should make a page about dealing with blocks and nerves , I think many would find it very usefull☺

    • gymnasticshq January 1, 2017, 10:07 am

      Hi Grace,
      Here is an article about mental blocks–

  • chris rio January 1, 2017, 12:28 pm

    Thanks a lot, it really helped me but I don’t have an active gymnasium nearby therefore, to learn every skill, I improvise and often get injuries ,please give me a word of advice. I also have an injury in me thigh area, I sustained it when I tried to get the splits and now I have been pulled back and have to wait till the pain stops,please help me

    • gymnasticshq January 2, 2017, 10:59 am

      Hi there, you would need to consult a doctor or physical therapist about any injuries. Feel better!

  • Rye January 4, 2017, 3:37 pm

    Hi I’m a gymnast I started when I was 7 now I’m 11 and I am a very good gymnast who just switched gyms my last one was JOGA and this gym is USAG only I’m not on USAG im on USAIGC but I want to be on USAG any tips or ways to be able to do that I want to get to the Olympics one day but I’m not in the right league please please please respond I would really really really appreciate it Thank You!

    • gymnasticshq January 5, 2017, 7:05 pm

      Hi there! I would just keep focusing on improving if you want to get to the Olympics. It doesn’t really matter what league you are in, if you are a great gymnast. Most gymnasts get to the Olympics through TOPS anyways, which doesn’t require you to go through the USAG levels.

      • Rye March 8, 2017, 7:24 pm

        But I’m 11. Isn’t TOPS 7-10? You said most gymnasts. Does that mean you can get to the Olympics without doing TOPS????

      • Rye March 8, 2017, 7:26 pm

        I never did TOPS 🙁

  • Kaitlyn January 8, 2017, 7:06 pm

    I’m on Xcel Silver right now and I’m in 7th grade, and I really want to make it onto the college gymnastics team. Do you think I can with how late i started?

    • gymnasticshq January 16, 2017, 12:24 pm

      I’m not sure–but I would say, work as hard as you possibly can to make your dream come true, and then you will know you gave it your best shot!

  • Ava Swanson January 10, 2017, 9:53 pm

    I am only on pre team. Do you have any tips on splits?

    • gymnasticshq January 16, 2017, 12:25 pm

      This article has some tips on getting your splits—

  • Eva January 12, 2017, 5:06 pm

    Hi, I have been wondering if you can make a page on how to do a back handspring on beam. I am eleven years old and an xcel bronze gymnast, so when my coach said I will be starting to train back handsprings on beam, I got really nervous! I already have my back walkover on a padded high beam, and I really thing your pages are really helpful! So could you please make that page!

    • gymnasticshq January 16, 2017, 12:29 pm

      I have a list of skills GymHQ readers have requested, I will add back handspring on beam to the list 🙂

  • Sky January 12, 2017, 5:34 pm

    I just started gymnastics in late August and I’m 10 years old. Is it too late to become a high school gymnast?

    • gymnasticshq January 16, 2017, 12:31 pm

      I don’t think it’s too late at all! Many high-schools compete rules similar to Xcel.

  • rioyang January 13, 2017, 4:09 am

    I started at the age of 13, is it too late

  • rioyang January 13, 2017, 4:11 am

    I started at the age of 13, is it too late and how far can I go

    • gymnasticshq January 16, 2017, 12:13 pm

      It’s never too late to start gymnastics, you can always take advantage of the benefits of the sport.

  • Kendall January 29, 2017, 2:09 pm

    Hi! I am 11 and I do recreational gymnastics and have my backhandspring, back tuck, kip, flyaway and many more skills like that! I want to start competing. What level do you think will be good for me and do you think I could make a college team in the near future?

    • gymnasticshq January 31, 2017, 2:29 pm

      Hi Kendall,

      You would probably be a Level 5 or an Xcel Silver or Gold. I think you will need to keep working very hard to be able to make a college team. Typically college gymnasts are Level 10 gymnasts. Good Luck and keep working hard! 🙂

  • Joceline February 24, 2017, 9:53 am

    My daughter has been in gymnastice for almost a year now. She is 4 yrs old. I don’t really know how everthing works. I just feel like everything they do can be done at home or a park. I guess my question is when will she be doing more complex things. How can i help her practice.

    • gymnasticshq February 28, 2017, 11:04 am

      When they are young and in preschool level classes, most of the time the goal is to teach them body awareness and coordination. So hopefully she will be doing more complex things soon! As far as helping her practice, you can help her practice the body shapes–

  • Janaisa February 28, 2017, 3:39 pm

    Hi my name is janaisa and I want to start gymnastics at level 8 and I wanted to know if I reach the skill requirements I know how to do a round off back tuck round off back handspring tuck front punch front handspring layout step out and on beam I can do full turn back walkover and jump and leaps and back handspring step out. Bars I can do fly away kip cast straddle handstand pull over change in direction on low bar and on vault I can to front handspring and round off back handspring onto the spring board and a back tuck did I reach the level requirements for level 8

    • Somebodywhostilldoesn'thavetheirkipafter5months:( March 8, 2017, 5:06 pm

      Hi Janaisa,
      For level 8, you must do much more complicated skills than that. Sorry.
      I would probably recommend level 4 or 5, or Xcel Gold or Platinum!
      Good luck.

  • Katie April 8, 2017, 11:29 am

    So I saw that you are always responding to your comments. I was wondering something. I’m a level 6 gymnast and I’m 12. I currently have a bad injury that will never go away. My shoulders pop in and out of socket everyday. I really wanna make college gymnastics. Florida Gators are by far my favorite. So I was wndering when im a Freshman what level is the best if I want to get into college gymnastics.

    • gymnasticshq April 10, 2017, 11:26 am

      Hi Katie,

      Sorry to hear about your injury!
      Usually gymnasts are level 10 to make a college gymnastics team.

      Good Luck!

  • Evie April 16, 2017, 9:29 pm

    My daughter really wants to get her back handspring but she can’t get over the fear of falling. She jumps back and preps for it, but she’s too scared to actually bend her back and let her arms touch the ground. Any ideas?

  • Chy April 24, 2017, 8:59 pm

    Hey I’m 12 I got my roundoff back handspring but I’m scared to do it without my coach standing near. How can I get over the fear of doing it without having the comfort of my coach? I really want to achieve this because then I can prove to my friends that don’t attend gymnastics that I can do it, and I am also wondering why at practice after stretching sometimes my ankles hurt or my foot will lock when I point my toes? It hurts when that happens and it confuses me a lot. I hope you can answer my questions. !!!Bye have a great day!!!

  • Hailey June 13, 2017, 10:38 am

    I was wondering if 12 is too late to start competing as a level 5 gymnast

  • Desiree October 16, 2017, 2:05 pm

    I have been doing gymnastics for about a year and I took a break during the summertime from gymnastics. I have been practicing my bronze skills though, and I would like to know if I will be put in the same level again.


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