When you go to your child’s first gymnastics meet, the more you know the better. In particular, one of the things that you are likely going to want to know about is the schedule, how to read it, and how to tell where you are supposed to be.
What Time Of Day
Almost all gymnastics meets will be divided up into different levels so that there is actually more than one gymnastics meet. These are set somewhere around an hour apart, with as many as three or four gymnastics meets one after the other. These are referred to as sessions.
Generally, the beginner levels compete first with the gymnasts in the higher levels who have the more complicated routines being later in the day. This allows the gymnasts who will have the more difficult routines to sleep in a little and it also gives them extra time to warm up.
Therefore, if your child has never competed in a gymnastics meet, you can pretty much guarantee that your child’s competition will be the first one of the day. You will likely have to get up early in the morning in order to prepare and arrive there on time.
You should be either handed or emailed a schedule long before the day of the competition, and this will tell you the exact times that you need to know. If you did not get your schedule, then you should definitely talk to your coach about getting your copy of it.
While there are things that can happen that can potentially throw off the timing of the schedule, if you are competing in the very first meet then this will not likely be anything that you will have to think about.
You should plan on arriving at the gym about 10 minutes before it opens if you are in the first meet. If you happen to be placed in one of the later meets for any reason, then you want to arrive at least 10 minutes before the Open Stretch is supposed to start.
This is very important so that you can find where you are supposed to go and get there before you are late. Once you are checked in and got to where you are supposed to be, you can relax a little and look at the schedule.
You should know that there are two different check-ins. One of these is for anyone who is going to watch the competition, and the other is for the gymnasts who are actually competing. There are also two different schedules options that you should know about.
While these two options start off the same with and open stretch period and both end with awards, that is pretty much where the similarity ends. Generally speaking, the first session option is the one that new gymnasts will use for the lower levels.
However, it doesn’t hurt to know a little about both just in case. During the open stretch, the gymnasts stretch together on a set aside area of the floor. This helps them hopefully relax a little if there was a rush to get there and starts them warming up.
The first session option goes straight from that and into the actual warmups which is usually done in the same area anyway. The other scheduling option is that the gymnasts go from the open stretch to the march in.
The march in is where the anthem is usually played and the different teams are introduced briefly to the spectators. Since in Option 1 the gymnasts have already had their warmup, they go straight from that and into the competitions.
With Option 2, on the other hand, while the first gymnast goes straight into the first even, the other gymnasts are all going to be warming up. This is why gymnastics meets that go with the second schedule are usually held later on in the day and for the more experienced gymnasts.
If you are one of the first gymnasts to compete in this second schedule, you are going to need to either arrive early so that you can warm up more if you need to, or you are going to have to arrive already warmed up.
Both end with the awards being given out. After that, there will be time to look around and talk to other people there before the next session begins. If you take too long getting out, you may find that there are a lot of people coming in.
The Order Of The Events
When you are watching the actual competition, the individual events will always have the same order that they will be done in. The first event is the vault, followed by the bars, then the balance beam, and the floor event to finish.
These are almost always done in this same order, but if the gym is large enough there may be more than one competition going on at the same time in rotation. This means that while the gymnasts from one competition are doing the bars, the gymnasts from the other competition might be on the floor.
If there is going to be anything like this going on, the schedule will say so. This is another reason why it is so important for you to get a schedule. If there is any changes to the order of events you will need to know since you may have to move around to different parts of the gym.
If the schedule does not state the order of events, then it will be the default order of the vault, bars, beam, and then floor. If the schedule does say the order of the events, then pay attention when you arrive to what is where.
As A Parent
While your darling child is out there competing against other gymnasts, perhaps you are wondering what you can be doing from the sidelines. For example, are parents allowed to cheer? And what about taking pictures and videos?
You are not only allowed, but you are expected to cheer for not only your gymnast but for her teammates as well. However, you should not cheer for her just as she is about to start a skill that is hard for her.
Choose when to cheer so that you don’t distract her. The same goes for pictures and videos. While taking a picture with your flash on is perfectly fine during the awards, you are not allowed to take pictures with your flash on while the gymnasts are competing, or you might distract them.
This could be really dangerous if the gymnast is doing a skill on the bars or they are about to do a vault. You should also be aware of the fact that even video cameras have a light that in some models does flash. Make sure you check for this ahead of time and turn it off.
At the end after the rewards are given out for the meet, you will then be responsible for going to get your young gymnast to pick them up, so don’t plan on meeting up with them at your vehicle or anywhere else.
Finally, there will often be a wide variety of stand that sell gymnastics merchandise as well as other things like food. This being the case, you may want to plan on staying for a while after your competition to look around.
You will need to bring money with you if you plan on buying anything, and there is often not an ATM machine for you to use there. However, once you have payed the admission fee, you can stay and watch all the other competitions if you want to.