For Parents 2 hour drive to gym

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bookworm

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
We did a 2 hour plus drive each way for many years (6+) but my girls were both level 10s when we needed to move to a gym that far away.

From someone who did that commute where we left the school parking lot at 1:30 PM and arrived at the gym by 4 pm ( and sometimes later if traffic was horrendous which was happening a lot in the last 2 years) , they would practice 4-8:30 PM and then get back in the car and get home around 10:30 PM at night....a 9 hour endeavor 5 days a week was basically like having a full time job going to gymnastics....there is NO WAY I would do this below level 9 ....and if nothing else was available in my general area (defined by me as within an hour) for my 6 year old, we would either stay where we were or we'd find a new sport or interest.

A commute of 2 hours or more each way is life consuming and I would not entertain it at all for a young gymnast, no matter how much she loves the sport.

***and I noticed in one of the OP's posts there is mention that "all gymnasts have home equipment" ....we never did and both reached level 10
 

3rd_time_around

Proud Parent
Judge
Oct 25, 2010
1,974
At 6 years old, just let her train for compulsory team and don't worry about the elite track just yet. 6 is way too young to think that. She loves it now, they all do, but that's a long road. I have known so many phenomenal 6 year olds who were amazing compulsory gymnasts who hit optionals and suddenly were dealing with fears, mental blocks, growth spurts, and harder skills that don't come as easily as they used to and they get discouraged and quit. TOPS is also no guarantee for the elite track or even doing better gymnastics. Even class kids can be in TOPS and never be on team. If you can find someplace closer, try there. And what is up with the controlling coach outside of the gym? She's 6! Let her be a kid!

I did a 45 minute commute when when my daughter was levels 4 - the first year of level 10, and it was hard. I know some people do farther, but I can't imagine a 2-hour commute for compulsories.
 
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MuggleMom

Proud Parent
Dec 22, 2016
808
Virginia
We had a girl at our gym that did like 1.5 hour commute. Started level 3 about 6 years old, moved to home school and increased hours quickly (both her an her parents were definitely seeking to try and fast track her as she had elite goals). She did very well but both her and her family burnt out quickly. If you add high hours to high travel times you get no time with family even if you are homeschooling. She quit this year (she was level 8 at 10 years old). For your long term goals the gym you are at may not be the best but I would also be careful about increasing hours and travel times too quickly as it does take its toll.
 

duyetanh

Proud Parent
Feb 21, 2015
4,111
However, 18 months for a mill circle is not that unusual. And it certainly doesn’t mean the child won’t do very well on bars in the future. It is quite normal for a kid to get stuck with one particular skill.
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Yep. My kid is an upper optional. Never did master that frigging mill circle and still loathes it to this day. Word!
 

ldw4mlo

Proud Parent
Feb 13, 2015
6,432
62
Not at L3, 6 yr old.

If she is just as passionate at 8-9 and wants more, then I would move before spending 4 hours in a day in a car 3-4, maybe even 5 days a week.
 
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gymbeam

Proud Parent
Mar 18, 2014
1,966
or 6 days is also quite common and especially if elite is the goal. that will likely happen within the next several years, too- sooner than you think. We aren’t even an elite gym but ours start 6 days at level 7 which could potentially only be 3-4 years away from now for you.

I think the suggestion of finding a compromise gym within an hour for a few years sounds the most logical if there is indeed an option for that.

Maybe you could visit the elite gym you’re considering, have her evaluated and get feedback from them about your options. They may be Abe to suggest compromise gyms and tell you when you would need to come back to them for her to have a shot on their team?
 

John

Proud Parent
May 5, 2017
1,592
54
We drive 45 minutes to the gym. We have a carpool and have done it for a year. It is hard, plain and simple. DD started gymnastics at 5.5 years old in a USAIGC program. She loved it and she loved her teammates. She is 11 Level 8 this year. Don't push her if gymnastics is truly her thing she will excel wherever she is. Once she approaches optional gymnastics you can decide as a family what is best.
 

vbdb

Proud Parent
Oct 7, 2015
234
Yep. My kid is an upper optional. Never did master that frigging mill circle and still loathes it to this day. Word!

My L8 probably never would have made it out of L3 if she had to do the mill circle! Luckily they started her at L4 and we never had to deal with it.

And to answer OPs question, a two hour drive for a 6 year old is absolutely a no go for us. We switched gyms this year to double our drive from 15-20 to 30-40 minutes and it was a huge commitment for our family with two other kids also involved in sports.

We have no equipment at home besides a panel mat and my DD has done just fine progress wise. I will say her friends with trampolines have really crappy form though from chucking skills at home, I'm glad I never caved to her begging for one.
 

LJL07

Proud Parent
Jan 27, 2014
1,856
My spidey sense is tingling, but I'll play anyway.

A lack of emphasis on winning would be a plus in my book. The gym should be interested in long-term athletic and personal development, not "winning."
Yes! Scores in Compulsories don’t mean much. Too much emphasis on scoring 38s in level 2&3 are a great recipe for burn out.
 

meganliz77

Proud Parent
Feb 11, 2014
616
Minnesota
You have gotten a lot of great advice in this thread. We commute 45 min to gym -- but -- I also live very rural, and I work, my husband works and the kids to go to school to the town we commute to for practice. My daughter is an 11 yo level 8 this year and I can tell you, this sport has so many unknowns. 4 hours commuting daily for a 6 year old would be too much in my opinion. My DD came into the sport with a great deal of 'natural talent'. She works her tail off and has been pretty successful thus far. But the things you cannot predict - injuries, burnout and in my daughter's case - mental blocks - happen and without warning. Hey, she wanted to be as "good as Simone Biles"... so I get where you are coming from. Many of our kids have had similar aspirations and love this sport with everything they have. At 6 years old, kids should be having fun and learning to love the sport. I would be concerned about the type of commitment (and pressure) a two hour commute to an elite gym would place upon the entire family.
 

TumbleTimes4

Proud Parent
Sep 13, 2016
578
38
I think you may need to research and understand just how lofty of a goal college Gymnastics is, let alone making it to elite. There’s nothing wrong with letting kids dream big, but please understand that the chances of making it on a college team are very slim. It’s nothing to bank on that’s for sure. There was a great article floating around chalkboard that break down the numbers about how many actually make it.
 
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Ty’s Dad

Proud Parent
Aug 3, 2017
507
40
Hello, I am looking for advice about switching gyms. My daughter is a level 3 gymnast and is 6 years old. Ever since she's been a small toddler she has lived and breathed gymnastics. She loves the sport and her intense passion for it has only increased as she's gotten older. We live in an area where there really is no elite track for gymnastics. The only gym in our area does not have a TOPS program (which is something I'd like her to do) and is not very competitive. She was only allowed (by the gym) to be there 1.5 hours per week until recently when they decided to let her join their team and bumped her up to 6 hours per week. The closest gym to us that is willing to work with a kid who hopes to pursue elite gymnastics or college gymnastics is 2 hours away. Are there other parents who make that kind of drive for their kid to do gymnastics?
I'm also frustrated with the coaches at her current gym. There are only 2 of them and they have a lot of gymnasts to work with. This means there is little to none one on one coaching. Although they do pick favorites and give them extra turns and extra corrections/pointers. They are fine with it taking a long time for a gymnast to get a new skill. (18 months for a mill circle, for example!) They've said they are not terribly interested in winning and that they're not there to get gymnasts to elite gymnastics or college gymnastics. On the other hand, they've said the girls should be prepared to not have a lot of friends outside of the gym, to spend most of their after school time at the gym, and they get really upset if they think a gym parent is looking at another gym. They also forbid at home gymnastics practice and they do not like the gymnasts to watch any sort of gymnastics on youtube. (Tutorials or gymnast channels)
I'm just trying to find other parents who travel a great distance to get to the gym and how they make that work.
My commute to my daughters gym is 1 hour and 15 min going and 2 1/2 hours heading home (because of traffic) but the wife and I are use to it
 

gymdog

Coach
Jul 5, 2007
5,120
You would turn me away if you were the coach and I said these things to you? I'm not saying all of these things to the coaches because I want to preserve the relationship so my kid can continue doing what she loves since we have no other options where we live. That's why I posted my concerns here.

Yeah. I don't do TOPs, but I do have a solid JO program with a wait list. We would both be wasting our time.

I'm not suggesting that I teach her gymnastics from youtube videos. The problem is that she is not allowed to watch kids like Whitney Bjerken which is purely for entertainment for her anyway, and the coach actually gets pissed off if kids watch stuff like that. Why do the 2 coaches at her gym even care what she does outside of the gym if they don't care about her gymnastics and don't want to make too much of a time commitment to her? Why does it matter if she has friends outside of the gym or skips practice some Friday nights for a sleepover if there are no real goals? If the coaches were willing to actually train her and actually work with a big goal in mind, like college gymnastics, then I would understand and agree to their restrictions on her life outside of the gym.

I don't know, I've never heard of anything like that and can't really speculate. None of that paragraph makes a lot of sense to me. But regardless, as the parent, their opinion doesn't really impact what you do your own time, obviously. Skipping practice might or might not be an issue depending on how often or timing before a meet or whatever.

And, no, I don't want them to magically make kids get skills. But I do expect a little more effort on their part. I put the effort in to get my kid to their gym and I pay them whatever they ask. They could at least watch her when it's her turn on bars or beam or whatever they're doing. They explain something once, do a few drills once, and then after that...you're on your own. And don't even think of getting a bar to work on something at home. (Guess what, everyone who wants to progress has gym equipment at home.)

Find a new gym or sport (that isn't two hours away). You've already made up your mind. Time to move on. If you believe they aren't really watching your child, obviously there should be no question about your next move, even if it means dance lessons or soccer.

I've done a lot of research on gyms and I do know a bit about gymnastics since I grew up in a gymnastics family. Thanks, though, for your honest reply.

That's cool.
 

Gymmom0403

Proud Parent
Aug 31, 2016
225
At the age of 6, starting any sport shouldn’t be solely to be elite, go to the Olympics, compete in college, etc. it should be because the kid truley enjoys doing that sport. My dd started at a small local gym. She loved it. She showed a lot of potential. She would have gone every day if she was allowed to. We stayed at the small local gym because she was only 8, it was only 15 min away, I wasn’t sure where she wanted to take this — so we stayed and she continued to progress. When she was a freshman in high school, she was going level 9 and knew what she wanted. She made sacrifices and I felt I had to give her the best opportunity. So we moved gyms - more hours, 45 min away (with no traffic), etc.
Would I have done it earlier? Probably not. Would she be farther ahead than where she is now? Maybe. But there was also a chance of burnout with the higher hours and sacrifices.
At 6 let her enjoy it. If she truly is passionate about it there is plenty of time to change later when she’s a higher level optional.
 

2gymkids

Proud Parent
Mar 26, 2013
243
No way would I drive 2 hours one way for any child's extra-curricular activity, let alone a 6 year old.

And please please please try to keep perspective on this. You could be describing my daughter when she was 6. She lived gymnastics 24/7, came home from practice and went downstairs to her mat to do more. When I asked her what she wanted to do other than gymnastics at 5 years old, she asked for another gymnastics class. She was upside down more than rightside up, would bawl when she was too sick to go to gym, read every gymnastics book, was going to the Olympics (elite never would have been pursued as our family just doesn't have the money or desire to even consider it even if she had the talent) but in her mind it was a realistic possibility. Yeah she quit gymnastics earlier this year just before turning 11. It's great that your daughter is into it and she may still be for a long time, but please don't get your own head too invested in it. I was a parent who tried to keep a pretty good perspective, let it be her sport, took it one day at a time and it was still really hard when she quit, and I have a feeling she wanted to quit for awhile even before she said the words to me. I can't imagine how much harder it would have been if we had invested even more time or money or dreams into it. If you had told me a year ago that my kid wouldn't be doing gymnastics anymore right now, I'd have laughed so hard at you, but sometimes they just reach a wall and for whatever reason, they're done. 99.9% of kids will be done with this sport by the end of high school, so try not to invest her entire childhood in it. Just my two cents.
 
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