For Parents Advice needed!

Busymum

Member
Proud Parent
Sep 27, 2014
134
Country
United Kingdom
Hi all
So long story cut short. My 11 year old has been at the same gym since she was 8. She is in squad but not artistic. General 4 piece. She has always wanted to do artistic but her gym have always stated that she started too late for that pathway. They say had she started a year earlier she would have been on that pathway. They say she has bags of potential but no grades route for her due to age. She does well in her squad and competes several times a year. She usually always places well particularly on bars and vault. She only trains 6 hours weekly.

So about 2 years ago her coach left to set up her own gym due to some ethos differences. The gym is doing well despite covid. Prior to leaving she told me that my daughter is more than capable of doing grades as were several of her squad mates and it was, in part, the deciding factor for taking the plunge of setting up her own gym (her dream and goal anyway). She believes all girls with the motivation, desire and ability should get the opportunity even if it means competing out of age.

My daughter has now asked to follow her old coach due to having two coaches leave within the past 18 months. She thrives on consistency. We have just found out that her squad group will have yet another coach when they return later this week! Again daughter has expressed wanting to follow her original coach so I reached out. She has said she would welcome her with open arms. She has also said that she wants to put her in their artistic group. She would skip grades 6 and 5 and possibly 4 if she can get back get skills quickly after so long out of gym thanks to covid. That means potentially starting with grade 3 which would only be one year out of age. 2 years of she she needs to compete 4. My daughter does not mind this whatsoever. She just wants to do her grades and be back with her coach.

Do I let her go for it? Seems scary skipping those early grades. Skills wise she’s def at the grade 4/3.... but she won’t get the chance to grades if she stays at current gym. As silly as it sounds, I’m afraid to move her! Having been told for years she’s too old/they don’t do out of age it’s hard to think she can! She wants to desperately - even if it is the lower pathway of regional grades!

Turns out it wasn’t such a short story! What would you do?
 

Geoffrey Taucer

Former Admin
Gold Membership
Coach
Former Gymnast
Jan 21, 2007
4,237
Baltimore, MD
Country
USA
Just for our perspective on what levels we're talking about, what country are you in? Each country has its own level system, and from the terminology you're using it sounds like you're not in the USA?
 
  • Like
Reactions: JulietTheGymnast

Busymum

Member
Proud Parent
Sep 27, 2014
134
Country
United Kingdom
Just for our perspective on what levels we're talking about, what country are you in? Each country has its own level system, and from the terminology you're using it sounds like you're not in the USA?
Sorry should have made that clear. I’m UK. So here they start on club grades 6 then 5. After that they either go regional grades 4 through to 1, national 4-1 or compulsory 4-1. She would do the regional 4 to 1 route, skipping club grades 6 and 5. There are no grand dreams of olympics here. She just loves gymnastics and wants to train more hours than her current route allows and compete the artistic grades - she doesn’t care that’s it’s the ‘easiest’ of the three pathways nor that she’d be a year or two out of age!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Geoffrey Taucer

LemonLime

Active Member
Proud Parent
Jul 16, 2007
803
As silly as it sounds, I’m afraid to move her! Having been told for years she’s too old/they don’t do out of age it’s hard to think she can! She wants to desperately - even if it is the lower pathway of regional grades!

Turns out it wasn’t such a short story! What would you do?

I think everyone understands change is hard. One day, however, the only thing that will matter is your relationship with your daughter and what your daughter thought of her gymnastics experience. If she wants to go for it -- even if it doesn't work out -- she will know you fully supported her and gave her the chance to try. No matter what, she likely will learn to dream and work for something others told her she could not do.

There's an insidious self-parenting-doubt that permeates gymnastics. Its social structures nearly maniacally reinforce that parents should listen to the coach without question, trust their judgment, and trust the process. I believe in trusting a coach like I trust a doctor, teacher, or interior decorator, but no one can or should dictate what is best for my child. That's the role of a parent. If one teacher says your daughter should not take Honors Algebra, but she wants to try, you should balance the pros and cons yourself. Don't let the current gym's expectations for your daughter control what you think is best for your daughter. Even if you were 100% certain she would fail, often there is more to learn in failure than success. Plus, every child is different! Some crumble in a challenge, while others feel invigorated. You know what's best for her.

There's nothing wrong with wanting more. Defy expectations! She doesn't have to be the best artistic grades gymnast to be a wildly-successful-by-her-own-estimation artistic grades gymnast.

If you don't mind going down a rabbit hole of defying expectations and the challenges moms face, this diary from the 1990s may help you realize you are not alone.
https://www.gymn-forum.net/Digests/Vol3/27Sep1994V3I23.htm
 

rd7

Member
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Parent
Aug 18, 2011
141
Grade 6 and 5 are very basic and as long as your daughter has good basics and strength already there is nothing wrong with skipping them. Many older gymnastics skip the early grades, some don't do grades at all but still do very well at voluntary out of age levels.

It is good that the new gym has been up and running for 2 years and has survived covid. The new gym is offering your daughter an opportunity that she wouldn't otherwise have. Your daughter knows and likes the coach. I'm not sure why you wouldn't move straight away? Especially as we are re-opening this week (England) so it's a great time to start at a new gym. Go for it!
 

Busymum

Member
Proud Parent
Sep 27, 2014
134
Country
United Kingdom
Thank you all! Just a quick update - my daugter is going along tonight to try a session and see what she thinks!
I’m worried about telling her current gym if she chooses to leave though as she’s been there a very long time! They know she wants more though....
 
  • Like
Reactions: rd7 and txgymfan

Busymum

Member
Proud Parent
Sep 27, 2014
134
Country
United Kingdom
Hello! She came out happy! Coach said she’ll be in their artistic squad. She’ll train and be out in for whatever grade best suits her when the time comes (will there even be any this test due to covid?).

What did surprise me was the hours. I’d assumed that she’d need to go for way more hours than she does currently but it seems not. I’ve been asked to bring her for 3, 2 hour sessions so only 6 hours? I’m conflicted as I thought she’d need many more. I spoke to a gym parent I know who said 6 hours for regional grades is plenty abd that it is the elite pathway that requires crazy hours.

what do you think?
 
  • Like
Reactions: rd7

rd7

Member
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Parent
Aug 18, 2011
141
That sounds very positive, 6 hours is at the lower end of the scale for regional grades but easily achievable with good coaching, high hours are completely unnecessary, good luck to your daughter.