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Alina Kabaeva consejos

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How to persuade a girl to go in for Rhythmic Gymnastics if «it hurts»
If you want your child go in for Rhythmic Gymnastics with pleasure (otherwise she won’t succeed), you’d better to discuss this question with your girl. Perhaps, some other kinds of sport will attract her greater interest: dancing, figure skating or aerobics. You may go together to the competitions and shows or watch some recordings of figure skaters, gymnasts and different dance styles. You will easy find such videos in the Internet.
As far as «it hurts»-fact is concerned, I think you shouldn’t talk about it far in advance and frighten your child. Let her make a choice and define what she likes best, let her start training and enjoy her new occupation.
And when it comes to the stretching, which is necessary in sport as well as in dancing, you can explain to your child that any good result, good achievement requires hard work and discipline. Sure, some complicated movements could require special preparations, exercises and her muscles will hurt for want of a habit. Pain is a barrier that should be overcome. If your child has low pain threshold, talk to her coach, she may start doing some exercises in advance in order to prepare the muscles for the stretching, so it’s less painful for her.

If there are too few prizes and slow progress
Sometimes parents complain that their child makes slow progress, has only few prizes and rarely attends the championships. Should they continue in rhythmic gymnastics and spend hard-earned money of the family? I think it’s better to consider this question from your child’s point of view. Children go in for rhythmic gymnastics because they just enjoy it. And if the classes bring pleasure for your child, do not interfere with her school education, why should she give up gymnastics? I think there’s no point to stress that there are few prizes and invitations for important competitions, as your child has chosen this kind of sport not for the reason of prizes. It’s quite a different matter if training interferes with education. In this case you should talk to your daughter and ask her to make a choice, perhaps, either to decrease the number of trainings or to do her best and try to manage both. Anyway, do not make sudden changes, it could upset the child. And one more important thing: serious interest in sport or any other useful activity helps to avoid some bad «interests» in teen age. There is a not 100% guarantee, but there is a kind of immunity.

Conflicts between gymnast and coach
What to do in case of conflicts between gymnast and coach. These are the difficulties you should overcome together with your child. First of all, do not jump to the conclusion and advise your daughter to be more attentively during the trainings and wait for result. The most important thing is not to say some negative words about the coach in the presence of your child. I was sent away at the first choreography lesson in Novogorsk because I was talking too much. But I wasn’t talking I was just listening small tips from the girl from my city who had ended up in Novogorsk before me. After I was thrown away I cried and thought that was the end. Anyway Veronika Borisovna (the coreographer who kicked me out of the class) later became one of my favourite teachers.

About fear, shyness and timidity
Many young gymnasts of the age of 14–15 are timid to ask their coach about the difficulties they face because they are afraid of unpleasant remarks. And I want to say to these gymnasts: «If your question is really important, don’t be afraid.
Don’t be afraid of serious talk with your coach or parents, don’t be afraid of somebody’s emotions and offensive words, may be. People don’t relate to each other delicately, but you shouldn’t let their indelicacy go inside you and hurt. You should learn how to maintain the distance and be considerate, ask the questions clearly and politely and always receive the answer — not a COMMENT, but ANSWER, clear and meaningful.
If people do not answer to you, but tell many different words, don’t be shy to remind her/him about the fact that you need an answer. And it doesn’t matter to whom you are talking to — your mother, teacher, school director, governor of your region of president of your country. If your question is important, if you ask it politely and if you ask the right person (which is competent to answer this question) you have the right to receive an adequate answer.
If your shyness really bothers you, there’s no need to make heroic efforts. You can ask your parents to talk to your coach instead of you. It’s normal. They have rich experience and they can explain better you question. And next time, you will ask something yourself.

Proper Stretching
I’m often asked an advice on proper stretching, people ask me how to do splits, crab position etc. I want to emphasize that it is impossible to give such an advice without seeing and knowing the child. More than that, it might be dangerous. It is necessary to ask the coach for detailed recommendations to stretch at home. As a last resort, you should go to the experienced coach who will estimate the flexibility of your child together with other physical abilities. It is impossible to advise without seeing the child. If the way of stretching is wrong, the child can have serious troubles and even injuries in future. The right foundation should be laid in the childhood. It is more difficult for a child to change the way of stretching she got used to, than to learn how to do it properly from the start.

How long does it take to learn splits?
Stretching is a very painful thing, but you should constantly do stretch exercises. I was stretched on the trainings in the childhood and I cried. My mother told how she was sitting in the gym during my trainings and heard me crying, she thought «now it is painful, but it will be good later». I remember I always worried about stretching.
But if you set a goal — to do split — and do your best on the training, you will achieve this goal at any age. Human physical abilities haven’t been learnt yet, so it is difficult to set a limit. If you have a goal and desire, you will achieve everything you want.

How to ease muscle pain?
Parents of the gymnasts often complain about the fact that muscle pain deprives their child of pleasure at the training or sometimes young gymnasts even refuse to attend classes. Muscle pain could appear, but it is possible to ease it. I would advise massage and special exercises that normalize muscles’ state (after stretching and straightening the back). You can also take salt baths (with sea salt) for 15 minutes each time. And, of course, it is very important not to miss the next training, that will help to prevent muscles pain by fighting fire with fire. You should explain this to your child and say that any beautiful performance, whether it is sport, dance or ballet, requires hard work, tension, fatigue. And I think the issue of whether to force her to train or not will then just disappear.

Excess weight
I once received a letter from mother of a talented gymnast, she was confused that her child was recommended to eat more fruits and vegetables because she was overweight. «Is it really necessary to limit my child in food» — asked me surprised and upset mother. What can I say? Your coach is right. Excess weight will make gymnastics training more complicated or even impossible.But I think here is the problem not only in excess weight but in the right diet. Gymnasts’ parents must pay attention to the balanced and healthy nutrition of their children, if they have any questions, they should go to the nutritionist. Children definitely want to eat cake, drink carbonated drinks, chips etc. Letting your child eat all of this you don’t express your love. On the contrary, you express your weakness and unwillingness to talk to your child and explain why it is harmful to eat some products and how it can influence on her stomach and organism. The earlier we teach our children to eat right food, the easier we will overcome their overweight problems and may be some other health problems. Besides diet should include caloric food and of course you mustn’t starve your child. Your child should always move in order her organism regulates all the processes in the right way.

photo: Daniel Palhegyi gymnast: Mercedesz Macsik 
 

Rhythmic Gymnastics, injuries and unpleasant health consequences
In fact there are fewer injuries in rhythmic gymnastics than in any other sport, I think it is the least injury-prone sport. Of course a lot of things depend on the coach. She should feel the state of the gymnast in order not to overload her. If the physical load is heavy, it is difficult for a gymnast to hold the attention… and here the injury can be received. Coach should know how to feel and read the sportsman to understand who is lazy and cunning and who works hard. Irina Viner, for example, felt us really well, and we practically didn’t receive injuries.

Does Rhythmic Gymnastics stop your growth?

No, rhythmic gymnastics doesn’t stop your growth. Artistic may do so because of strenuous positions. There are no strenuous positions in rhythmic gymnastics. Look how many tall gymnasts there are in our sport.

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