Successful meets are part of every gymnast’s dreams. It’s common for gymnasts to psych themselves out before a meet and the hard work and hours they’ve put into the gym doesn’t get reflected in their scores. We’ve put together some great resources, ideas and tips that will help your gymnast have a successful meet and be prepared both physically and mentally!
Believe it or not, preparing for meets is not just physical.
The first step is to set goals. Having your goals written out can help you prepare for your meet because you aren’t focusing solely on your scores at your meets, but on bigger goals. Maybe your goal is to hit all of your skills in each routine, or to perform with more confidence. Breaking down your goals is helpful so you can hit the smaller goals that lead up to your big goals. If your bigger goal is to have amazing form for your back handspring, maybe you want to focus on keeping your legs straight or your toes pointed. Form is something small that will affect your scores and it’s something that you have control over, so take ownership of that!
Our Mindset & Meet Journal (revised 2021) is an amazing tool to use to set your goals, keep track of your meets and to improve your confidence.
You can also download a free goals worksheet below.
Another important step to mentally prepare for a meet is to work on visualization. Visualizing your routines everyday will help you hit your routines. See yourself complete each routine perfectly, sticking all of your landings and hitting all of your skills over and over again. You know that feeling when you’ve done that – hit a perfect routine? Imagine that feeling while you’re visualizing your routines. You can do this each night before you fall asleep, and then again before each routine at your meet. Your mind will help train your body to execute the skills the way you’ve been visualizing.
Download our pre-meet form and visualization complex below that will help you with this step.
Psych Yourself Up
Every gymnast has pre-meet jitters – even the greats like Simone Biles, Laurie Hernandez, Aly Raisman – they aren’t immune to the pre-meet jitters. What sets them apart is that they know how to harness the energy from their pre-meet jitters to calm their nerves and use the increased energy to their advantage during the meet.
Here are some activities that can calm your nerves and get you pumped for your meet:
- Saying Positive Mantras (You can download some free mantra sheets below that you can use!)
- Having a healthy breakfast/meal prior to your meet
- Blasting your favorite song
- Journaling and setting goals for your meet before each meet
A lot of these things you probably already do and don’t even realize it’s part of your “pre-meet routine”.
Just being prepared mentally isn’t enough–there are some physical steps you need to take also!
Pack Your Bag
One major thing you need to do is pack your bag!
Here’s what we recommend having in your gym bag:
- Competition Leotard
- Mindset & Meet Journal
- Grip Bag
- Chalk (if needed)
- Water Bottle
- Healthy Snack
- Hair supplies (hair spray/gel, brush/comb, bobby pins, extra hair ties, etc)
- Ript Kit
- Bag Tag
Practice Your Routines
One of the most important ways to prepare for your meet is to know your routines inside and out, like the back of your hand. Nerves will sometimes make us freeze and blank out, but if you know your routines inside and out, your body’s muscle memory will take over and override the nerves. How do you do this? Practice, practice, practice! Another trick is to practice self talk, where you have words you say to yourself in your head while you do your routine. Download the pdf below with some examples.
When you practice your routines, you also want to make sure you are thinking about your form and how to minimize deductions. You can download the scoring cheat sheets below to see some of the deductions that judges can take.
It’s easy to get distracted in the gym with your friends/teammates, however it’s especially important when you’re entering meet season to make sure you’re paying attention and taking advantage of each and every turn you get to practice your routines. If you have equipment at home, you can also practice at home (the skills you can do safely).
One of the biggest aspects of having a successful meet is to HAVE FUN! Download the affirmation cards below to make sure you are thinking positively before your meet.
We hope you’ve found these tips and resources helpful and would love to hear what your pre-meet consist of and what you’ve found the most helpful in the comments below! You can check out our article for what to do after every gymnastics meet.