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Time for change: Tips for coping and thriving through changing times

Over the coming weeks at VGA we know there will be a number of changes within groups. These are done to prioritise what is best for each child and their individual journey, whilst also balancing the coaching time and resources that are available.

Not linked to VGA? Please keep reading as there are some top tips for parents to help their child to cope with change.

How will my child cope?

Start by identifying the resources and demands that are relevant to your child’s situation…

  • Demands – These are all the things that may interfere with your child’s ability to cope with the change. The effective identification of these and ability to overcome them will determine the extent to which they are able to cope with the change.

  • Resources – These are all the things that will help your child cope with the change. The effective use of the resources they have available will determine the extent to which they are able to cope with the change.

Our role as the support network during periods of change:

Remember: change affects everyone differently. As adults we learn how to manage our feelings over time. But children / young people don’t always find it easy to understand or express their emotions. They may need some guidance to process what is happening. You can help them learn to cope with these new situations.


The support network can consist of parents, wider family members, coaches, club support staff, friends, and fellow gymnasts. Depending on our connection to the child / young person we may need to help them…

Understand the initial emotional reaction:

  • Emotions may be challenging when your child initially hears about the change, this is completely normal in these situations.

  • Talk through these emotions, help them label them.

  • Do they know what specific parts of the transition are triggering the emotions?

Don’t rush this stage before working through the next 2 ideas – sometimes we need to live through the emotions before we are ready to focus on optimism and action planning.

Challenge the negativity bias:

  • We know change is difficult and that our minds can automatically take us to all the potential negatives linked to it (this links to the demands we mentioned earlier).

  • We need to be an anchor and a point of reassurance as they navigate the change.

  • Potentially even challenging them to notice some of the potential positives that may come from the change.

Focus on the new routine:

  • Bringing a level of control and certainty back into the situation can be really helpful.

  • By focusing on the new routine, you can help your child find out everything that they need to know to feel comfortable about the change (this links to the resources we mentioned earlier).

  • These questions may be helpful for you to discuss together:

    • Who will I be with? (athletes/coaches)

    • What days/times are my new session?

    • Where will I be training?

    • When will the change happen?

    • How does it impact other activities that I do?

From our experiences, we know that some young people may take change in their stride and find that the resources available to them far outweigh the demands of the experience.

On the flip side others may find the smallest changes to be challenging and require more support with resources to help them cope.

This content has been developed as part of our #itsmyjourney project with Valleys Gymnastics Academy.


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