Top tips to help your child when they get discouraged


From time to time, everyone gets a bit discouraged with what they do – in all areas of life!  Success and progress unfortunately isn’t linier. It’s much more like this:


And that messy part can be hard for anyone to deal with, let alone a child! Here’s my five-step process for you to help support your child through if they feel discouraged at class, or indeed with any activities:


  1. Communicate. Talk to and mainly listen to your child. Give them space to tell you what’s going on for them. How do they feel during class? What bits are difficult? What do they enjoy? How do they get on with their coach and peers? What else is on their plate right now? Listen without judgment, empathise with their challenges and reassure them its all ok.


  1. Look at the positives. Celebrate their achievements – there are always lots, big and small. In fact, the small stuff is often the most important and in a discouraged situation, it’s likely these little things have been missed. Our brains tend to forget them when faced with a challenge. Help your child see them. You might even write them all up on a big piece of paper and place it somewhere prominent for a daily reminder of how well they are doing.


  1. Look at the bigger picture. Imagine zooming up in a helicopter and looking down at everything. What’s really important in the bigger picture for you and your child? Are you working towards a specific goal or want a certain value for them from the activity? Is there anything you’ve been worrying about that actually isn’t important? Identify that and when you zoom back down, put that at the forefront of both your minds. Everyone is different and remember to NEVER compare yourself to anyone else – that’s a sure fire way back to discouragement.


  1. Communicate (yes again, it’s THAT important). But this time with those who can help. For gymnastics and related activities that’s us. We will listen to you in exactly the same way you did for your child in step one. It’s important we all know the truth of the situation, then we can work together to help. A lot of times, it is something we can help with – some extra info or understanding the coach needs to give, help making friends in class, or even a class swap – we’ve been here a lot of times and have a whole load of potential solutions in our tool kit.


  1. Support. In an ongoing way. Continue the 4 steps above – keep communicating openly with your child and those that can help support, keep celebrating the positives daily and keeping in mind what’s important.  In no time you’ll be back on track and stronger than ever to deal with future challenges.


I hope this helps. Let me know how you get on and of course, if we can help with anything we’ll be more than happy to listen. Drop us an email

Our AWESOME Trainee Coaches

You know we LOVE gymnastics and all related activities at Affinity but what we’re really doing here is coaching people to be the best they can be and enjoy what they do. From the gymnasts who overcome challenges and learn through gymnastics through to our staff. However, there’s a group in between these two that I’m not sure if you know much about but they are some of the MOST awesome people and one of the best things we do! (Best kept secret eh?)
I’m talking about our Coach in Training (CIT) Scheme.
We run our own in-house training scheme for young people aged 12yrs+ to help them develop leadership and coaching skills. We provide initial training in what leadership and coaching is all about - what it looks like, what's important and why. They are then buddy-ed up with one of our coaches and help assist them in running classes. 
These young people are developing some serious awesome. They are a real asset to the classes, coaches and gymnasts they assist and they are helping us shape the way Affinity develops. We love the input they bring. And in return of course they are getting excellent training and experiences - we love seeing them grow in confidence and discover the joy of coaching and sharing their knowledge with others. When they are 14, they can take their first external coaching qualification and start to lead small sections of classes, then progress to L1 when they are 16, then take on an apprenticeship in the sport and then who knows - take over the world! Cool huh? Yikes we had better get setting up more Affinity’s for these awesome ones to lead in future hey? But it doesn’t have to lead to working within gymnastics - the skills they are developing will stand them in good stead for whatever they want to achieve and we’re super proud to help be able to develop this.
We’re looking for our next CIT members to start in November 2019 - so if you are (or will be by December) 12yrs old I invite you to apply by emailing to the following (or if you are an Affinity/Sapphire existing member please do this via your loveadmin account):
  1. What excites you about becoming a Coach in Training?
  2. What would be your greatest challenge being a Coach in Training?
  3. What class/es could you volunteer with weekly? (parents please help with this! This can be with gym, cheer or trampoline.  Have a look at the timetable on our website here).
The closing date for applications is Monday 30th September 2019, so don't delay!

Looking forward to seeing you all spreading more awesome in the new term :-)
Why am I paying for August

Yes it’s a great question. We don’t run term time classes in August so why am I being charged for it?
Well, it’s to do with the way we’ve organised our monthly membership. We took all fees for the year (39 term time weeks), class fees, badge fees, club membership and rolled it all together into one simple monthly fee, by dividing this across 12 months.
Here’s what you are getting by paying in august:
  • Lower monthly payments as the annual fees are split over 12 months and not 11
  • Consistent billing all year round to aid household budgets
  • Your place in your class safe and secure and ready for September
  • All continued member benefits – including discounted holiday camp sessions. Eg. Our members price is £16.50 per session, non-members price is £22.50.  (You can find out more holiday class information here)

If you didn’t pay the August payment:
  • You’d have more classes than you’ve paid for across the year.
  • You would lose your class place.
  • We’d be out of pocket and we want to stay in business for you to be able to come to our classes!
We could have divided membership into 11 and not 12 payments. Maybe in future we might do this. But the reasons for going for 12 payments are:
  • We don’t charge more in the months where there are 5 classes rather than 4. Or less where there are 3. So by that logic lets keep all monthly payments the same all year round.
  • It means the monthly payment is lower than if we divide by 11.
  • You and us can budget better knowing that it’s the same amount every month.
I hope this sheds some light on how this works and why we’ve structured our membership the way we have.

p.s.  Don't forget that we have our 13th Birthday & Thank You party on Monday 26th August. Come along anytime between 10am and 1:00pm​ and have fun in the gym and eat some cake with us!  

Achievement - putting together the puzzle pieces

Have you ever seen someone take an impressive ‘big leap’ in achieving something? Perhaps a gymnast performing an amazing routine and winning a competition. A teen getting into an amazing university. Someone getting a big new job or opportunity. You might look at it and think Wow! Aren’t they amazing! Or lucky! Maybe you might even be a little jealous that it’s all happening for them. You might even feel a little bad about your own ‘slower’ progress.
But in reality its never actually one big leap. All these big achievements are a collection of loads of teeny tiny pieces that built up over time to eventually create a bigger picture  - it’s a lot like a jigsaw puzzle.
Each little piece of the puzzle is vital. Yet each piece looks so insignificant by itself, makes little sense and you could easily overlook it by itself! To start with, you tip out all the puzzle pieces and don’t know what you are looking for. It feels like a mountain to climb – why did I get the 5000 piece puzzle!! This will take forever!
But you make a start. You might have a strategy – perhaps find the corners or edge pieces first. Or group by colour so you can start to put a few pieces together. Gradually piece by piece things start to take shape and the picture gets clearer.
Eventually you are onto the final pieces and the finished picture reveals itself! Hurrah! Now each piece makes sense and is contributing to the overall image.
Progress in gymnastics happens in the exact same way.


Those edge and corner pieces? They are the pre-requisites of every skill. Like being able to do a bridge before you can backflip. Needing to be able to take your weight on your arms before you can cartwheel.
The pieces that start grouping together into colours or parts of the picture – each represents a physical or mental area of learning the skill. Like having flexibility for bridges, arm strength for handstands, or the mental determination to learn what your body needs to be doing.
Then there’s the important final pieces that join everything together – those are the little ‘tweaks’ that make all the difference. A little bit more arm strength, that final improvement in flexibility that makes a skill possible.  A final ‘oh I get it!’ understand mentally of what you need to do, the determination to try that one final time or that one little piece of feedback from the coach that makes it all come together.  Small…. But massively important.
It would be easy to underestimate each piece.  To look at a half finished puzzle and not recognise the progress and success that is already there.  What we need instead is to trust the process and celebrate all these little parts, knowing that under the guidance of awesome coaches and our own perseverance, the picture WILL reveal itself at the right time.
As we reach the end of term and look to displays and award ceremonies, its time to celebrate all these puzzle-piece achievements with our gymnasts. No matter what the current state of the puzzle – maybe its finished, maybe it’s still a work in progress – every little aspect is worth a celebration. And remember that of course no two puzzles are ever completed in exactly the same way.


Like the idea of how we teach skills and celebrate ALL the little wins?  Register for a class below