4 year olds being invited on "team" NEW to sport, need help please =)

Parents... Coaches... Judges... Gymnasts...
DON'T LURK... Join The Discussion!

Members See FEWER Ads!
Join for FREE!
Not open for further replies.
Jun 19, 2012
My twin 4 year old girls have recently been invited onto the "team" they have just recently completed their first 10 sessions. Their only gymnastics prior to that was I think a half day week long camp last summer and a hip hop tumble class which was pretty basic in a dance studio. They literally will do cartwheels all over the place (I have to tell them to stop in stores etc..) 2 different instructors talked to me regarding "team" one was during a make-up class...the instructor came out about half way through class to talk to me after they learned how to do (I think he called it a pullover) and apparently were catching on very quickly to different skills. On a side note between the two of them they are doing very good cartwheels, one-armed cartwheels, one-armed round offs, round offs, chin up, and I don't know what it is called but it is like a handstand, fall over to feet and kick back over...also they seem to be very strong considering how little they are. I am skeptical for them to go into a 3 day a week training at this age, but would hate to hold them back if they really have a lot of potential. I also of course realize this makes more money for the gym and would be skeptical of that if I didn't see how good they seem to be compared to others in their classes (in Montana for summer and just took them to a class here and I believe it was 4-6 yr olds and there were 8 girls and again they stood out, which is why I am on here now =)
Another side note, my husband played collegiate basketball and I varsity lettered in 6 different sports and earned All-American honors in college in volleyball (saying this to say we know competitive sports but not really much about gymnastics =)! Please help, any advice would be greatly appreciated...glad I found this site! THANKS SO MUCH!
Hi, thanks for explaining your situation with so many details. What is it you are really asking? Should you let your daughters join team? Your daughters definitely have potential if it was suggested that they join team. Trust me, a coach will not invite a lazy, unmotivated, or untalented gymnast to join the team simply to make more money, it's not worth it. Your daughters can already do a few level 2 and 3 skills, and they sound very strong. The pullover and chin ups on bars especially require a lot of strength so it is great that they can do those! I would definitely suggest having them at least try the team if they want to. But be warned, once your kids join team and get hooked, there is no turning back!;)
It's not about the money. Your kids are talented. only 1 in a thousand 4 years olds could do the skills you are describing at that age.
Yup, team is not a money maker. Leaving then in rec stream would profit the gym more. But if it is too much for them, they are too young to need to be there to be successful later.

Sent from my SCH-I400 using Tapatalk
You said this would mean being in the gym 3 days/week---how many hours total is that? Most likely they are talking about a pre-team program since L4 girls don't compete until age 6 and L5 at age 7.
It could be very individual where 1 does fine and the other doesn't like it all.
regardless of their ability 3 times a week is a lot for 4 year olds. And I would say not usual. I suppose it depends how many hours that is altogether too. If they love it give it a try. And try and include other things in their life like swimming lessons and dance.
  • Like
Reactions: 1 person
My DD was also four when she was invited to team, level 4. She went from 1/2 hrs/week to nine hrs/week. She then moved to level 5 at 5 yo. And then went 16 hrs. This summer she is up to 20 hrs./ week. Every day has been at her pace. I have no high hopes for her other than that she enjoys what she does. She knows this is her sport. I have gone into every time change with the mentality of " Let's see how it goes. Let's see if she can do it." DD is quite determined. She is very independent. At six she attended her gym' s week long camp and stayed at the hotel with teammates. I missed her, but she had too much fun to call me.
Let your DDs take the lead. Keep your eyes open and see how it goes. Many will say it is too much for a four yo, but until you go through it yourself you really don't know. DD loves gym. Her desire to challenge herself grows more each day. What's important is to not fall too in love with them doing the sport. Love them for them. Gym is just something they do, not what defines them. I hope that makes sense. I often feel like I go on a tangent.
Yeah, the gym would make more money keeping your girls in rec classes than on team--our owner and head coach is always telling us that team loses the gym money! I'm also not really sure what you're asking, but if you want advice--make sure you know ahead of time what the costs are--hours they'll go, fees for various things. Are they looking to be on pre-team (at their age that's what I would guess, but I don't know where you are, so maybe you are somewhere that they compete level 1, 2 or 3)? Sounds like your girls are gymnasts at heart!
from a related post, the OP stated that they invited the girls to L2 (or L3, can't remember exactly) and the coach said that the girls were beyond their 'preteam' level.

As to the OP: I would say 3 days a week is too much for a 4 yr old especially ones who are new to gym, but some girls really thrive on it. I guess it depends on how willing you are to make the drive, pay the tuition (2x) and how interested the girls are.
  • Like
Reactions: 2 people
Congrats on your girl's success so far! Sounds like they have a real talent. Like everyone else has said, just take it one day at a time. They are 4....and what they love today, they may hate tomorrow (my DD is 5.5 yrs old.) Follow their lead. The last thing I would add is that they are obviously athletic, and could excel at a number of sports. I think someone else said that one of them may end up loving gym and another finding something else. That's ok...they really need to love gym to do the hours and training.

Good luck and have fun!
Thank you all so much for your insight! I really appreciate it! From what I understand (and again I am VERY new to this) I think they can compete at level 2 where we live? Then again maybe they think they will be ready for level 4 by spring (again I do not know what this entails, maybe that is years away...I do not know =) I mentioned pre-team b/c it was only 2 days a week but the lady basically said they needed level 2 team I think that pre-team was for girls who I guess were still working to get to a certain level? There are several gyms in our area, how do you tell a "good' gym from a "bad" gym? In another thread people were saying they should not be doing bridges and kickovers at 4, they have had them do these at the gym they go to....considering I have very bad back problems I do not want to do anything that could set them up for problems down the road. At what age should they be allowed to do bridges and kickovers etc? Is there a good place for this type of information? Thank you so much for all your help!
you DO NOT do bridges with 4 year olds under any circumstances. that's all.
  • Like
Reactions: 2 people
Google up the minimum ages for the various levels of gymnastics. You have to be 5 to compete Level 3 and 6 to compete Level 4. Also, when you see a post by dunno, listen up. Sort of out resident expert...
  • Like
Reactions: 1 person
like cbone says they aren't old enough to compete level 4 until they turn 6 which is why there is no need to go 3 times a week at 4......... a good gymnastics program twice a week is enough at 4. Of course if they are 5 in a months time then it looks a little different but still no rush. If they are only just 4 leave well alone. The coaches will have got all excited seeing how quickly they pick up skills and forgotten how young they are. In a years time they will still pick up skills just as quickly if not more so.
I have kids ranging from 20-8 in many different sports, and I have had coaches tell me in numerous settings they would rather have a so-so athlete that works their tail off than a gifted athlete that is there because some coach or parent thought they were a child prodigy and pushed them into it. I personally would just keep it fun and when my kid tells me it's what they want would support them 110%, but that's how I am. My high schooler had never wrestled before and ended up taking 1st in conference his first year out. I realize gym is different, but I would still try to let them take the lead.
4 yr olds can compete level 2. Our state doesn't compete levels 2 or 3, so have no personal experience with that (I just looked on usa gymnastics website). And dunno is a well respected elite level coach--he knows what he's talking about.

As far as knowing a good gym--you've been there for rec classes, right? Have you chatted with any team parents in the lobby? Observed the team working out at all? I would just try to get a feel how the coaches work with the kids. What level does the gym go through? If they have a ton of lower levels, but then nothing in the higher levels, I would wonder why (if they're doing bridges at 4 yrs, maybe kids are having injuries??). I have to be honest--when my oldest started gymnastics, I just signed her up at the nearest gym. But it was just rec, who investigates that much for just rec, right? But we got lucky--loved the gym and love (mostly) the coaches now (who doesn't have an occasional issue?). So I probably wouldn't investigate--I'd just go with the current gym and look to switch if I see a problem.
To give the OP some perspective, L1-3 are considered rec/beginner levels. Most states don't even have L1/2 meets or a state meet--those meets are usually little informal things that may or may not involve other gyms. L3 gets a little more actual meets, but again some states don't sanction that level either. L4 is the like intro to competition---not every gym does it, but it is taken more seriously and states do offer state meets etc. L5 is the 1st level required by USAG.
So, putting 4 year olds in a program at levels that while it lets them "compete", but are no where close to the 1st real competition level. I would be concerned about the proposed program for several reasons--having little ones in the gym more than 1-2x/week, putting them in any comp situation---this is a time to learn basics and the work they're already doing with bridges etc.
Ideally the OP could put the girls in a preteam program at a gym that starts competition at level 5 or one of the higher xcel's, but if the gyms within a practical driving distance start at 2 or 3, it's understandable that compromises might be made for the family.
Our state does not have competition until level 4 and I believe the child must be 7 to compete at that level. Our gym has "pre-team" for children ages 4-6 who seem to have some ability. They practice 2x/week for 2 hours, I believe. The focus of this level is to help develop the focus needed to be on the JO team. They do a fair amount of conditioning to prepare them for the requirements of the competitive levels. At seven, they would be moved from pre-team to level 4.
  • Like
Reactions: 1 person
Not open for further replies.