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gym_dad32608

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Aug 7, 2018
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Well I think with the target audience being gym parents, then it has to be stuff that gym parents have questions about. As mentioned with several posts, things like:
  1. Dealing with injuries
  2. Finding gyms/switching gyms
  3. What to expect with coaches
  4. The college path/All things about getting a college scholarship
  5. How do you know your child has the special "it"
  6. Dont be the crazy parent (I know some of these have been posted)
  7. Training programs/camps during off-season
Also, while I do not have specific expertise in the whole google search thing, investing a bit to make sure the site pops on top of the list with these types of searches might be a worthwhile investment.

I guess not all or even most parents are not sports fans? I am, and I would love to have a robust board on NCAA teams. I participate in several college football and basketball ones which I find quite engaging and fun. But it doesn't seem to have the same interest for college gymnastics? Maybe its because it seems kinda taboo to have rivalries like you do with other sports where you just want to crush the other team lol. Either way, there is absolutely no place that I have found where you can have a decent discussion about college gymnastics on the internet.
 
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JBS

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I guess not all or even most parents are not sports fans? I am, and I would love to have a robust board on NCAA teams. I participate in several college football and basketball ones which I find quite engaging and fun. But it doesn't seem to have the same interest for college gymnastics? Maybe its because it seems kinda taboo to have rivalries like you do with other sports where you just want to crush the other team lol. Either way, there is absolutely no place that I have found where you can have a decent discussion about college gymnastics on the internet.

Gymnaverse has some… but overall is more geared towards elite…

 

gym_dad32608

Proud Parent
Aug 7, 2018
237
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Gymnaverse has some… but overall is more geared towards elite…

Thanks, I just looked over there, kinda seems like with wine and cheese snooty elite crowd to me lol. A lot of people that probably know way too much about elite gymnastics and anything below that is less than. Several posters don't seem too happy with watching college gymnastics because they cant get over the cheering, skill level and college stick?!!! I mean really? Its college, all these girls have worked so hard to get to this point, its their last go with the sport, let them enjoy the college experience. Although I do have to say there are no language filters lol.
 

MILgymFAM

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Fan
Feb 6, 2014
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Twin Cities
1. It’s not about you. Let your kid drive the amount of time/money/effort that goes into the sport. Even if they’re the best gymnast since Simone, they have to want to be there. When they say they’re done (or show it), listen to them.

2. They will get hurt at some point. Be sure to understand your insurance coverage and the team’s policy on injured athletes.

3. You will sit through hours and hours of competition to see them compete for 5 minutes or less, and you will travel long distances and spend a ton of money to do it.

4. They’re probably not going to the Olympics. Until they’re a solid level 10 with the ability and opportunity to go elite, I wouldn’t even let that be a consideration.

5. Not every gym is right for every gymnast, even the “best” gyms. You have to find a gym who’s philosophy matches your family’s priorities and your child’s ability and goals.
 

gymgal

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Proud Parent
Aug 22, 2008
4,511
My 5 points that parents need to know
- how to choose the right gym for your family, paired with red flags to look for
- realism of being a gym family: costs, time, sacrifices
- basic vocabulary so parents know what the gymnast is talking about
- realism about percentages of gymnasts at different levels (not all- how many compete? how many of those get to options, L10, College, elite, olympian) - paired with the benefits of gymnastics regardless of what level they achieve
- the general notion that : It's a marathon, not a sprint. Enjoy the ride. let the gymnast lead the way etc.

Do you think an area that is not viewable to guests would help others to open up more?
This is where the private groups on CB used to serve a purpose. People could open up more and not feel like the entire internet could find their posts. In terms of closing off the entire CB forum to the public, I would not be in favor of that. I know when I first came across the site, I lurked for a long time before registering and I am sure I am not in the minority here. I want to give people information at whatever level they feel comfortable. If they need/want more information, then they register to ask specific questions.

As for the decrease in member participation, I question whether it is an age thing. When I joined in 2009, these types of forums were the most common way to gain information/connect and parents felt comfortable in this type of platform. As the years go by, newer gym parents are much more comfortable using other platforms like the FB groups. I personally don't like them. I find them to be too muddled, difficult to look for specific info, etc - but I'm old and not the demographic you need to go after now.

Another factor is that we older parents are now out of touch with the levels that are most asked about. My dd came up through prep-op/xcel and then JO through L10 then onto D3. I used to feel very comfortable answering any questions regarding xcel/JO. But so much has changed in the codes that a lot of my experiences are no longer useful. Even information about college recruiting is so different now than 4 years ago
 
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Gymx2

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Oct 9, 2015
798
- realism about percentages of gymnasts at different levels (not all- how many compete? how many of those get to options, L10, College, elite, olympian) - paired with the benefits of gymnastics regardless of what level they achieve
This is one point that I've always found so interesting. I'm not really a numbers person by nature, but I once went through a few years of results from States to get a sense of what % makes it through each level. It was incredibly eye-opening to see the numbers from levels 3 and 4 compared to how many were competing States by 9 and 10.
 
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Mish

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Aug 15, 2015
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I don't have suggestions per se, just some personal insight. When my daughter was younger in compulsories I found this site and would come on almost every day, first "lurking" then posting, and used it as a resource for any question I had. It was a welcomed relief from some of the FB groups that seemed more about bragging and shaming more than anything else. I learned SO MUCH from ChalkBucket in those first few years.
Now it seems the "flavor" of the site is different, but I am not sure how. Maybe because I don't have the same newbie questions, or I have mellowed over time. This used to be my go to for everything gymnastics, and I still get excited when I see posts from some of the members who shared so much knowledge when I first joined (@bookworm , @lovofu). I still come on frequently, but the topics seem different. Lots of posts from kids, etc. I do miss the private forums, as well. I did make some personal connections on those and could be more "open".
Not sure if that helps, just my personal experience.
 

mom2newgymnast

Proud Parent
Jul 8, 2014
1,219
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Thank you!

Do you think an area that is not viewable to guests would help others to open up more?
I agree with @DTAG . I've been a member here for a long time and I much prefer this format to the facebook groups (which I also belong to, but rarely post on). I prefer the relative anonymity it provides and I used to feel more connected to many of the posters here. Unfortunately, most of the regular posters I was familiar with seem to have left and most times I try to post now I don't receive many responses. I also did really like the private areas that the board used to have (the region specific ones and the upper level ones). In fact, now that my daughter is a level 10, I really wish that private group still existed. I do post on the facebook groups, but it's not the same.

I do find it too difficult to post videos though and that was one area that drove me to the facebook groups to be honest.

The other reason I prefer this board is I think it has, at least in the past, been filled with parents that were more seasoned and down to earth about their gymnast. I feel like many facebook groups are filled with parents trying to live through their child who are making many questionable choices, but anyone that tries to point that out to them is immediately attacked and sometimes even doxxed, so I really find I have to worry about anything I comment being taken the wrong way. It's stressful!

As far as things every gym parent should know.. I'm not really sure. Honestly, it's really just a sport to me. I have definitely encouraged my daughter to not wrap her identity around gymnastics. She goes to regular public school and has friends and interests outside of gymnastics. I think it's so sad and hard when I read or see gymnasts that feel like they can't stop because it's all they have ever known or they don't have a life outside of the sport. So I would say to encourage that!

And, I agree with some of the other posters that I think every parent should know how hard the sport is and the chances of being an elite, a college gymnast or even a level 10 are not that high. That's another thing that bothers me a lot about all the facebook groups I'm on. A lot of people aren't very realistic about the odds and if someone points them out, they are often accused of all kinds of bad things. But realistically, if you are 16 and a level 7 (just a made up example), the chances of competing D1 in college are pretty low.

Oh, and I love college gymnastics and would love to have a place to discuss that on here. But I prefer to avoid political talk (or at least covid/masking/vaccine related conversations) .. there is plenty of that on reddit and twitter.
 
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gymgal

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Proud Parent
Aug 22, 2008
4,511
Have you thought about maybe doing a daily poll with an email list? I find the daily polls on other sites (not gym related) get people to the websites more because they are interested in what others have voted and have to say on the subject. IT can be open to replies or simply a poll. The email can include the latest forum topics to entice the members (and non-members - you could let them sign up for a daily news letter). The polls could be across the spectrum from what level is your child to what is your favorite college team/gymnast, to what injuries have they had, etc.
 

ldw4mlo

Proud Parent
Feb 13, 2015
6,266
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  • Member Age: We used to be 13 & up. COPPA dictates that you cannot have members under age 13 without consent from the parents. I'm not opposed to this... however... it really didn't bring in many new members before. I would have to discuss this with everyone else to see what they think. We should definitely offer more content for gymnasts... articles and such.
those 13-16 yr olds are busy, snapchatting, youtubing, instagramming and tiktocing……. Might as well be here.
 
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ldw4mlo

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Feb 13, 2015
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I think gymnastics membership in general is down. I also think the number of “kids in general“ is down. No actual statistic, just anecdotal. My daughter is in 10th grade. The largest class our district has ever had. And each subsequent class currently is smaller and smaller. Add in the Nassau debacle and Covid. I don’t even think there was an Olympic bump this year.
 

ldw4mlo

Proud Parent
Feb 13, 2015
6,266
62
Most important thing I think parents should know. Very few gymnasts do gymnastics in college. And less then 10 make it to the Olympics every 4 yrs.

And there are many ways to do and enjoy gymnastics. its very much an individual journey. It doesn’t have to be high hours. There is still value in gymnastics.

Even if your kid isn’t on the podium there is still value.

And you can grow into podium finishes, there is still value

Or the opposite, you can be on the podium all the time in the lower levels and then it rarely happens, there is still value

Prodigies are rare, but there is value in even an “average“ gymnast. They do flippy things on bars and 4 inch beams many feet off the ground. They run full speed at a stationary object and fling themselves over it. Even the average ones are rockstars.

And at whatever age they want to stop that’s OK too. Gymnastics and the lessons will help with the next thing.
 

JBS

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Ok... I'm busy reading all of this right now... I just want to really thank everyone for all of the feedback... this is awesome!

Thanks Thank You GIF by Lumi
 

GymAir

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Gymnast
Aug 28, 2018
67
What every gym parent should know: what’s NOT okay. From time to time we get parents on here that say my kid’s gym does X, and I’m starting to wonder…and then 20 horrified parents have to jump in and tell them NO X is not okay, and it’s not “just gymnastics”. Or it could be “5 red flags you’re not at the right gym”, etc.
 

JBS

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In terms of closing off the entire CB forum to the public, I would not be in favor of that.

No... no... just open a new section that is only visible to members.

As for the decrease in member participation, I question whether it is an age thing. When I joined in 2009, these types of forums were the most common way to gain information/connect and parents felt comfortable in this type of platform. As the years go by, newer gym parents are much more comfortable using other platforms like the FB groups. I personally don't like them. I find them to be too muddled, difficult to look for specific info, etc - but I'm old and not the demographic you need to go after now.

I don't think it's an age thing... it's a coming of modern social media thing. Forums were social media back in the day. It is possible to show younger people how valuable forums are.
 
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JBS

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Thanks, I just looked over there, kinda seems like with wine and cheese snooty elite crowd to me lol. A lot of people that probably know way too much about elite gymnastics and anything below that is less than. Several posters don't seem too happy with watching college gymnastics because they cant get over the cheering, skill level and college stick?!!! I mean really? Its college, all these girls have worked so hard to get to this point, its their last go with the sport, let them enjoy the college experience. Although I do have to say there are no language filters lol.

It's more of an elite site. The language filters didn't go well over there... had to turn them off.

So the question is... can ChalkBucket house the NCAA talk... or to people want another site?
 

raenndrops

Coach
Oct 24, 2009
6,751
The 'Wood, Ohio
I'm working on a way to attract new members to the site. One of the biggest ways to find new members is to convert our current "guest" traffic (which we get tons of). I'd like to have a free series of emails go out to anyone that signs up that answers some basic questions about gymnastics. The title of the email series will be something like...

5 Things Every Gym Parent Should Know


The only problem is that I don't have the 5 things. Help me brainstorm some ideas here... what are 5 things that every gym parent should know?
1. Different gyms work differently. Not all gyms will work for all gymnasts. Some gyms are more communicative than others. Some have more equipment. Some gyms believe in drilling for skills before attempting the actual skills while other gyms prefer hands-on spotting and still others do a combination. Prices are different. Hours are different. Invitations to team can be based on a number of different factors.
2. Whenever possible, do NOT compare your child to another gymnast ... and don't let your child make these comparisons either. Everyone is on their own journey.
 
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