Christine Williams is a busy mom of two children. She was a professional dancer, teacher, studio owner and choreographer. She has also owned a businesses in the children’s fashion industry and is now focusing on helping her oldest daughter with her college future and supporting her youngest daughter and Body Helix Junior Brand Ambassador, Hallie, through her gymnastics career.
Body Helix (BH): Hi Christine! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. We know that many parents of young athletes visit our site for both compression sleeves/wraps and educational information on injury prevention and management. Therefore, we thought it would be helpful to share some insight from you and other parents of our Junior Brand Ambassadors about what it takes to be the parent of a young, successful athlete. In addition, we want to get your thoughts on how you help to keep them healthy and injury free. So, to get started, tell us what sport your daughter, Hallie, is involved in.
Christine Wiliams (CW): Hallie is a Level 9 competitive gymnast at Elite Gymnastics Academy in Ashland, Massachusetts.
BH: How long have you been a sports parent?
CW: I have been a sports parent for close to 14 years.
BH: What do you enjoy most about being the parent of an athlete?
CW: My favorite part is watching her overcome adversity. Sometimes I cannot believe how brave and courageous she is mentally, emotionally, and physically.
BH: What is the most difficult part of being the parent of an athlete?
CW: I would say watching the struggles. It is the absolute worst part.
BW: How do you support Hallie in her sport?
CW: I recently learned to step back. I remind myself “It’s not my sport. It’s hers.”
Taking on the “crazy gym parent” role DOES NOT WORK. They need to develop at their own speed. And this sport is not a race. It will take its toll on them at some point, which in turn, could be detrimental to their future and success.
BH: Young athletes, just like any other athletes, can sustain injuries. What steps/precautions do you take to help Hallie stay healthy and injury free? (e.g. nutrition, training, self-care routines, stretching, rest, compression, etc)
CW: I am very diligent in taking her to her Sports Medicine physician as soon as there is a complaint of pain or discomfort. She ices regularly, and recently began using Body Helix knee compression sleeves, which have made a huge difference!
BH: How do you support your child’s coach?
CW: My daughter has had a very, very rough season. I admit, I am quick to jump at her defense. I have learned that her coaches do want what is best for her and I try to support their opinions as much as I can without compromising her feelings.
BH: What’s one thing that has helped you the most in your role as a sports parent?
CW: Other parents in my gym whose children have taken a ride on the same rollercoaster as we have. I like to ask their opinions about how they have handled certain situations similar to ours.
BW: What tips or advice can you give other parents in supporting their young athlete(s)?
CW: I may be biased, but I think gymnastics is one of the most difficult sports out there. The emotional and mental ups and downs never end, no matter what happens. One minute, they are soaring high and making all of their events and the next day they can be dealing with mental blocks or injuries. It is very important to rely on other moms and dads in the gymnastics world. No one understands this sport like they do. I am lucky to have a strong group of friends who have daughters that are teammates with mine. It is rare in this “gym world” and I am very thankful.
Also, I try to remember that I can’t take it personally. This is my hardest obstacle to overcome. If your daughter can’t get a skill, it’s not about you. If they are having a difficult time at practice, it’s not about you. This is so difficult, but so important. We drive them to practice (for us 45 min away), we help them with their homework in the car on the way to practice, we sit with them while they eat dinner at 10 p.m., we wash their leotards, ice their bodies, and basically pay the equivalent of a college tuition to their gym club. This, we feel gives us the right to have an extremely large stake in their futures. But guess what, it doesn’t. It’s all about them. It’s their sport!