- Being familiar with rhythmic gymnastics calendar
- Paying competition entry fees
- Getting detailed information on the meet
- Planning your visit to the meet
- Understanding meet schedule
- What you should bring to the meet
- Things to do after you arrive at the gym
- How to cheer up your gymnast during the meet
- Meet etiquette for parents and gymnasts
What You Should Bring to the Meet
- Apparatus. Make sure your athlete has everything she needs to perform her routines.
- Cash. Everyone, who is accompanying an athlete to the meet, has to pay admission to the gymnastics facility. It’s typically $12 – $15. You might also want to buy a program ($5 – $10), souvenirs, printed T-shirts and hoodies or even rhythmic gymnastics apparatus items, which are usually for sale in the gym during the meet.
- Camera. Make memorable pictures of your athlete, team and coaches to capture one of the most important events in your daughter’s life – her first rhythmic gymnastics meet. Please remember that no flash photography is allowed during the competition. By the way, many professional photographers have permissions to shoot during rhythmic competitions, and they offer their services to parents of athletes. The photographer should be paid in advance. Your rhythmic gymnastics school will let you know if professional photo shooting is available at the meet.
- Hairbrush, hairpins, hairspray, make-up kit… everything you need to make your gymnast groomed and ready for the competition. And, of course, you should try yourself as your daughter’s personal makeup artist and to learn how to make a perfect gymnastics hairbun before the competition. You still have a lot of time to do this!
- Additional pair of half-shoes – If you daughter’s half-shoes become even slightly wet, which often happens when girls forget to change shoes when going to the gym’s bathroom, she will unlikely to be able to perform nice turns and spins on the carpet. Besides, a half-shoe can rip at any moment so it’s better to have an extra pair.
- Tracksuit to keep your gymnast warm after she’s done with routines. It can take long time to wait for the awards and most of the gyms are pretty cool, especially in winter.
- Water and healthy snack for gymnast – Gymnastics competitions usually last for a couple of hours and your daughter will be very thankful if she can eat something nutritious right after the competition. Check out our Gymnast’s Nutrition Guide to find the healthiest snacks for your athlete and to learn which food can help her maximize performance.
Arriving at the GymPlan to arrive for the meet in advance. Typically, lower level teams get earlier sessions, so when attending your first meet, be ready to get up and get going early in the morning. If you arrive before the gym opens you’ll be able to find a good parking spot and have a chance to avoid a long line of those buying an admission to the competition. Being early also helps your gymnast get a sense of the gym and feel more relaxed. After you drop off your gymnast and let her coach know she's there you can always leave the gym facility to have some coffee nearby and return by the March-In. To better understand the meet schedule, please, read Everything You Need to Know About Your Daughter’s First Gymnastics Meet (Part 1).
Cheering Your Gymnast During the MeetBefore the competitions starts, don’t be neither a coach nor a judge, but a supportive parent, who is proud to share the joy of competition with her child. Don’t compare her to other gymnasts; don’t say she must do her best at the meet – your job is to encourage her and make her feel happy and confident, not nervous. Once your daughter is the competition area for the warm-up, she is not allowed to have contact with you until the competition is over to avoid any distractions that could prevent having a successful routine. While your athlete is in the competition area it’s your coach’s job to monitor her condition, give advice and motivate her to do her best. It’s absolutely fine to cheer up your athlete and her team members when they perform routines. The best moments for the words of encouragement and clapping are before her routine starts and at the end of her routine after she finishes major elements. Try to avoid cheering your gymnast in the middle of a hard skill – you are likely to distract her! Please remember that no flash photography is allowed during the meet. The sudden flash of light during performance can confuse a gymnast and even cause an injury. Flash photos are permitted during awards. When the competition is over, coaches usually send gymnasts back to parents. No matter how she performed, this period before awards is the time to give your gymnast lots of hugs, showing her your love and appreciation.
Meet Etiquette for Gymnasts
- Check-in for the meet 10 – 15 minutes before timed warm-up
- Report to the coach after checking in
- Wear a competitive leotard and a team suit if required
- Be well groomed
- Remain in the designated competition area during warm-up, march-in and competition
- Obey all regulations and procedures
- No crying and other excessive emotions
- Be respectful to coaches, hosts, and competitors
- Keep all personal belongings in the sport bag
- Stay in the competition area until the coach gives permission to leave
- Don’t enter the competition area
- No flash photography is during the competition
- Keep team spirit high, cheering up your athlete and her teammates when possible
- Show respect to meet officials, coaches, competitors, and gymnasts’ parents
- Do not discuss competitors’ performance during the meet
Share the joy