For Parents Are JOs really done with gymnastics after senior year of high school

Matt13000

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My daughter is a 1st year level 9, and senior in high school, which surprisingly with COVID she did really well with having to take 3-months off practice. She has been in gymnastics for 13 years and loves it dearly. My daughter just competed JO USAG level 9 State Meet and had some great success (#1 in floor and #3 in vault - Seniors) but it didn't come together for beam and bars; thus didn't make it to regionals (she has high expectations); thus, disappointed. At the beginning of the season and with COVID her goal was just getting to the State Meet particularly with the limited practice but she set her expectations on Regionals but missed it by 0.35 (33.650 score). The good and the bad was it took a move to a new gym 14 months ago to find truly talented coaches and she burned 3 years (thus only at level 9 as a senior) but now she is having success, learning and completing/competing new rountines and skills (level 10 skills) and really progressing (she hasn't peaked). Since she isn't quite at the level to continue as a DI-III competitive gymnast at a great education college (academics first), her gymnastics career has come to an abrupt end when she is still doing great in the sport. My questions: Is it weird for gymnasts to continue JO after high school? Despite no USAG age limit, is there an unwritten rule/belief that she needs to retire? Is there any pathway for her to continue to train and move to compete at JO level 10? Her goal is/was reasonable to compete at level 10 JO not be an olympian or even a college athlete. Is there a pathway for her to compete at a similar competitive level without having to stop now at 18 in her prime. She is really struggling with being done and as a parent trying to find the best pathways to help her through it. Would love peoples thoughts and perspectives and how to help her through this tough time.
 
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Gymx2

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We're not near this point, but I just wanted to say how much I love your post. It sounds like your daughter has stuck it out through so much, and I really enjoy reading the stories of hard-working kids who've persevered in the sport, even if they didn't fly up the levels as a young phenom. I always see parents recommend https://www.naigc.net/club_list.php for kids who want to continue to compete in college, but aren't doing D I II or III.
I'm sure more experienced parents/coaches will have other good ideas for your daughter.
 

cogymmom2dd

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A lot of colleges have club teams that compete for fun, even the D1 schools. It’s possible she can continue her gymnastics journey through club gymnastics.
Also, I have been to plenty of XCEL meets where I have seen adults competing. There is a coach at one gym in particular that competes either platinum or diamond and she is near 30.
 

ladybird

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This is great question. To continue to train JO, you should first think about if the end game will be the same for both the coach and your dd? If they are fine continuing to train her and there are enough coaching resources available, I say go for it. Of course, it is another matter of having to pay gym tuition and college tuition at the same time. Not all families are up for this.

As long as a gym is customer driven and not results and scholarship driven, which in my opinion are mostly the latter, they should be happy to continue having her train and compete. She could be an excellent role model for the younger girls!

My dd has had a lot of bad luck over the last three years and is a 2nd year level 9 as a sophomore in high school. I believe she is going to come into her own so to speak but it will be too late for D1-D3. We too know about NAIGC but I have heard the level at which they train differs so much from one school to another. I would love for her to entertain the idea of this while going to a school that is her first choice for reasons other than gymnastics. When you go after that scholarship as so many of them do, you are going to where they will have you, not necessarily the best fit for you overall.
 

Aussie_coach

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This has always bewildered me about gymnastics in the USA as well.

Here in Australia, you just continue to train and compete with your club as long as you want to.

It’s actually quite unusual to quit at the end of High School. If they are still there at the end of High School, they tend to keep going at least a few more years.

In fact often the gymnasts take on more hours of gymnastics training after they finish high school and compete more because University has a lot more flexibility in their hours than school.

My eldest team gymnast is currently 24.
 

skschlag

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This has always bewildered me about gymnastics in the USA as well.

Here in Australia, you just continue to train and compete with your club as long as you want to.

It’s actually quite unusual to quit at the end of High School. If they are still there at the end of High School, they tend to keep going at least a few more years.

In fact often the gymnasts take on more hours of gymnastics training after they finish high school and compete more because University has a lot more flexibility in their hours than school.

My eldest team gymnast is currently 24.

I cannot love this enough!
 

Matt13000

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This has always bewildered me about gymnastics in the USA as well.

Here in Australia, you just continue to train and compete with your club as long as you want to.

It’s actually quite unusual to quit at the end of High School. If they are still there at the end of High School, they tend to keep going at least a few more years.

In fact often the gymnasts take on more hours of gymnastics training after they finish high school and compete more because University has a lot more flexibility in their hours than school.

My eldest team gymnast is currently 24.
It is pretty bewildering to me also, particularly when she is still progressing, she loves it and a leader to younger girls. Crazy!!!
 

Matt13000

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This is great question. To continue to train JO, you should first think about if the end game will be the same for both the coach and your dd? If they are fine continuing to train her and there are enough coaching resources available, I say go for it. Of course, it is another matter of having to pay gym tuition and college tuition at the same time. Not all families are up for this.

As long as a gym is customer driven and not results and scholarship driven, which in my opinion are mostly the latter, they should be happy to continue having her train and compete. She could be an excellent role model for the younger girls!

My dd has had a lot of bad luck over the last three years and is a 2nd year level 9 as a sophomore in high school. I believe she is going to come into her own so to speak but it will be too late for D1-D3. We too know about NAIGC but I have heard the level at which they train differs so much from one school to another. I would love for her to entertain the idea of this while going to a school that is her first choice for reasons other than gymnastics. When you go after that scholarship as so many of them do, you are going to where they will have you, not necessarily the best fit for you overall.
Thank You!
 

Matt13000

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Mar 30, 2021
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This is great question. To continue to train JO, you should first think about if the end game will be the same for both the coach and your dd? If they are fine continuing to train her and there are enough coaching resources available, I say go for it. Of course, it is another matter of having to pay gym tuition and college tuition at the same time. Not all families are up for this.

As long as a gym is customer driven and not results and scholarship driven, which in my opinion are mostly the latter, they should be happy to continue having her train and compete. She could be an excellent role model for the younger girls!

My dd has had a lot of bad luck over the last three years and is a 2nd year level 9 as a sophomore in high school. I believe she is going to come into her own so to speak but it will be too late for D1-D3. We too know about NAIGC but I have heard the level at which they train differs so much from one school to another. I would love for her to entertain the idea of this while going to a school that is her first choice for reasons other than gymnastics. When you go after that scholarship as so many of them do, you are going to where they will have you, not necessarily the best fit for you overall.
Thank You!
 

Aussie_coach

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I assume part of the reason for this is because in the USA kids tend to go away to college, while in Australia kids tend to live at home and attend local universities. But its become a cultural thing that has been accepted.

To change it, gyms need to stand up and make the change. It will take a few gyms to defy the trend and encourage their students to continue to train and compete past 12th Grade if they are staying in the local area.

As a gym owner it is a great thing because the revenue from those gymnasts doesnt have to stop when they leave school. And its great for the team to have experienced and mature gymnasts there.

There seems to be a very anti adult culture in USA gyms. here in Australia almost every gymnastics club offers adult classes, for adult beginners, or those in their 30's, 40's, 50's. 60's etc who want to return to the sport they loved as kids. Our adult classes are full of parents who see how much fun the kids are having and want to be a part of it.
 

raenndrops

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I assume part of the reason for this is because in the USA kids tend to go away to college, while in Australia kids tend to live at home and attend local universities. But its become a cultural thing that has been accepted.

To change it, gyms need to stand up and make the change. It will take a few gyms to defy the trend and encourage their students to continue to train and compete past 12th Grade if they are staying in the local area.

As a gym owner it is a great thing because the revenue from those gymnasts doesnt have to stop when they leave school. And its great for the team to have experienced and mature gymnasts there.

There seems to be a very anti adult culture in USA gyms. here in Australia almost every gymnastics club offers adult classes, for adult beginners, or those in their 30's, 40's, 50's. 60's etc who want to return to the sport they loved as kids. Our adult classes are full of parents who see how much fun the kids are having and want to be a part of it.
Part of it in the US is also that insurance is so expensive just to OFFER adult rec classes. Where we do open gym occasionally, they can't even let anyone who is over 18 do oven gym (even with signing the waiver)!! It's crazy.
 
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Sk8ermaiden

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Part of it is also that in the US, a family that has had the means to pay for competitive gymnastics will most likely be expected to foot 100% of their child's outrageously expensive college education. I know in my family, there was no way I was going to be able to continue figure skating once I went off to (my comparatively cheap, local) university.

I am 99.99% sure that at my daughter's gym, if someone 18 years old came in and said they were moving here for college and could they continue to train and compete with our girls - if they could pay and make the practices, they would let them. (We don't have levels 10s yet, because we are new and building our optionals program, but assuming she was a level we had.)

We already carry insurance for adults as we offer adult gymnastics, boot camps, weightlifting, etc, so that's no big deal.
 
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Aussie_coach

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Part of it in the US is also that insurance is so expensive just to OFFER adult rec classes. Where we do open gym occasionally, they can't even let anyone who is over 18 do oven gym (even with signing the waiver)!! It's crazy.

Which is crazy, why are adults more expensive than kids.

In my State in Australia the cost for us to get registration and insurance for adult gymnasts is exactly the same as it is for kids.

If the adult gymnast is over 55 then it is significantly cheaper to get registration and insurance, as there is a big push at the moment for those in the 55-95 age group to get into gymnastics.
 

mommyof1

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Which is crazy, why are adults more expensive than kids.

In my State in Australia the cost for us to get registration and insurance for adult gymnasts is exactly the same as it is for kids.

If the adult gymnast is over 55 then it is significantly cheaper to get registration and insurance, as there is a big push at the moment for those in the 55-95 age group to get into gymnastics.
Gyms in the US buy liability insurance on the private market, and insurers charge higher premiums to gyms that allow adults because claims for injuries are expected to be either more frequent or more expensive.

A lot of the cost has to do with the way health insurance works. If an injury can be blamed on the gym, the gym’s liability insurer and not the injured person’s health insurer has to pay the costs of treating the injury. (When there is a health insurance claim for what appears to be an accidental injury, the health insurance company contacts the patient to demand information about the incident and any potential sources of cost recovery. Our family has received several of these inquiries after fractures, etc.) In many cases this results in much higher health care costs, as the liability insurer does not have discounted rate agreements with health care providers the way a health insurer does.
 

bogwoppit

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Medical insurance is just such a crazy huge part of life in the US, this also means liability insurance gets tangled in the huge costs of that. In countries with national health care schemes, you see far less of this, and much lower gym tuition costs. SO people can train as adults much more cheaply.

My daughter quit gym in her early teens, then joined a university gym club in Scotland, it honestly was one of the biggest highlights of 2020 for her. She only got two months of the experience, due to covid, but adult gym at universities should be a normal thing. I mean for everyone, not just the official team.
 

amanda.christine

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I'm 31 and competing in Xcel Diamond right now but my end goal is to go back to JO Level 9 and hopefully L10. I had a similar situation of getting stuck at L9 all through high school and not quite making it where I wanted to so I'm finally back to try again. No reason reason why she needs to quit now if she's enjoying it, the adult gym community is growing and full of supportive people. I competed against a 28 year old woman when I was in level 9 way back when, and know of someone who competed L10 with her daughter in her... not sure exactly, mid to late 40s?
 

pt coach

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There is no age cut off for JO. Gyms may not accommodate adult athletes, but that is an internal policy. We have had athletes "extend" their careers for various reasons. Some have delayed starting college for a year and ended up on a college team the following year. Others competed JO while attending the local college. Some years ago there was a 30 plus year old level 9 in our region who qualified to Easterns. She worked a fulltime non-gymnastics job too!
 

cogymmom2dd

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Another thought if she has the time during college, get a job as a rec coach or coach some of the little ones, the pre-team and Lower level kiddos. It may help to offset some of the gym tuition expenses on top of allow her to train with the upper levels or on her own time if she has practice and class conflicts. Our gym has a few coaches who do this. They don’t necessarily compete, but they train usually XCEL platinum or diamond and then coach the preteam girls on the weekend or do a rec class around their school schedule.
 
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