WAG Dedicating Whole Life to Gymnastics? (Long)

Parents... Coaches... Gymnasts...
Gymnastics Questions?
Don't Lurk... We've Got Answers!

New For 2022
MEMBERS ONLY Parent Group!
Join for FREE!
Status
Not open for further replies.

3rd_time_around

Proud Parent
Judge
Oct 25, 2010
1,974
Wow, thank you all for the responses. It's good to hear other perspectives on this - and I have to admit that I'm relieved no one has just out-right called me crazy (yet!).

As for Regionals - this was kind of the reason we started thinking of moving. There was no travel budget at the gym past States this year, so the athlete who qualified was not able to attend Regionals. I don't know all of the details, and I imagine that if the family had offered to pay the ENTIRE cost of the meet - including compensation for the coach's time, and all travel and meet fees, they might have been able to swing something for their daughter. But to me it felt like a really unfair decision for a girl who worked her butt off all year and then wasn't allowed the reward of a meet she earned. There was also some pushback from other gym parents who felt like it was unfair to their children to have the coach out of town during regular practice days... it was just kind of crummy all the way around and I really feel for the girl who was caught in the middle of gym finances and politics. I also don't know what the policy has been in the past, the gym may have sent girls to Regionals before and this year was an outlier, but it was a big red flag to me.

Also, the coaches are actually really great, The retention level at the gym is very good, especially considering how small we are. I have nothing against those amazing coaches. I think stillhoping expressed my biggest fear of relocating - that sometimes successful gyms do not produce happy gymnasts.

It's a huge, scary, multi-faceted decision. I think at the very least we'll take this year to think about it. I feel very reassured hearing from several people that there's still time to consider our options.
There's no travel budget at our gym either. The parents pay for everything for the coaches--gas, food, session fees, plane tickets, hotel, kid's entry fees, your own travel expenses, etc. My daughter qualified to Easterns, and since she was the only one, we paid for it all ourselves. Did 4 - 5 fundraisers to get all the money needed. If your daughter qualifies to regionals, the coach goes and you all pay all the expenses. I don't understand why the gym needs to have a travel budget for gymnasts to attend a meet. Maybe they don't understand how it works? Is it a new gym?

My daughter made it to level 10 in a gym with only 1 foam pit under a single bar. The vault had regular mats, as did the bars . There was a resi mat for tumbling onto. And her formerly International elite gymnast--gym owner said that when she trained no one had pits. So it can be done without those things, she just would have to train in a different way. I hope you all can figure this out and do what works for you. Good luck!
 
  • Like
Reactions: PinPin and PRY9

wandrewsjr

Coach
Proud Parent
Sep 4, 2009
2,465
It seems weird that the families were miffed the coach would go to Regionals , if the striving for excellence isn't in the lower levels you'd think theyd just see it as a day off....so we're just going to train and train and maybe compete meets here and there but when a meet means something, nah? That attitude alone might have me driving the 100 miles to the next gym because you're going to hit a brick wall without some kind of HC/owner support for the pursuit of post season meets & higher level training....or decide you are in a rec program.

The other thing that seems off in this is that the GYM didn't push back on taking the kid to regionals....it's great advertising for their gym and program and an opportunity to show off their gymnast but are met with, nope not going...the whole scenario seems amiss to me.

Are you in a USAG gym? One of our local gyms is in some little fun league with no post season so if that's your situation, then I can see the families making a fuss (not that I agree with it) because it's not done in those leagues.
I would imagine it mostly has to do with them being the only game in town for over 100 miles, maybe aren't concerned with advertising?

To OP - you said over 100 miles. Is it about 100 or a lot more?
 

aerials

Proud Parent
Sep 30, 2013
483
Ohio
We’ve been on two USAG teams and on both, only the kids who attend meets pay for those meets, and that includes 100% of coach travel costs, salary, etc., as well as their own expenses. Qualifying to nationals can be expensive when only 1-2 girls make it.

Same here for the two gyms we have been to...luckily Regions was very close by this year and didn't require hotels for the coaches
 

Seeker

Proud Parent
Aug 30, 2012
6,687
USA
Our last gym was a 200 mile round trip that we did 5 days a week so a commute can be done....we never really considered relocation as this is our hometown and our families are here so we worked around it. Their schools were on board with the schedule so that was a huge help as well.

I would encourage you to do such a commute for anything below level 10, because just because she's good and likes it at 8, doesn't mean that at 13, and you've relocated for level 8, that she'll still be all in. You'd be surprised at how many people do a long commute for a sport.
This is very rare though...yes, people do it but it’s most certainly a sacrifice that is on the level of moving. Having a willing and available driver who can sit there during practice, agreeable schools, the fortitude to give up to 4 hours of travel time 5 days a week, the finances to be able to accommodate the cost of gas and tomthe vehicle, etc etc. For many, that would really not be feasible or a scenario that they could handle long term. Personally, I’d rather move but everyone’s situation is different so it’s good to look at all options.
 

bookworm

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
This is very rare though...yes, people do it but it’s most certainly a sacrifice that is on the level of moving. Having a willing and available driver who can sit there during practice, agreeable schools, the fortitude to give up to 4 hours of travel time 5 days a week, the finances to be able to accommodate the cost of gas and tomthe vehicle, etc etc. For many, that would really not be feasible or a scenario that they could handle long term. Personally, I’d rather move but everyone’s situation is different so it’s good to look at all options.

I encouraged her to do the commute for a while, because it is doable, to see if her kid stays in it long term and it's worth a relocation, if ever. For us, sports was never a reason to uproot our family and you're right, all the stars aligned so that we were able to do it. I personally would not relocate for anything below level 10. In all our years in level 10 and competitive gyms, we probably drove the furthest but there were folks who drove 75 miles each way and there were a couple who lived with some of the more local kids when feasible. Believe it or not, we were in a carpool for a gym commute of 70 miles so not everyone has a decent gym within shouting distance.

And I think the commute that I describe is not as rare as you think for level 10s with limited options for decent gyms, and families that do not want to move for one child's sport. My son was on traveling teams for his sport so we traveled for that but mostly on the weekends, and always returned to our familiar home base.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BachFlyer

B&M's mom

Proud Parent
Sep 4, 2010
437
If the only reason for the move is gymnastics, I'd reconsider that. My DD was on the fast track at a young age. Once she got into elite training she started having injuries that eventually led her to walking away from the sport entirely her junior year in high school. Her decision was difficult enough without having the pressure of knowing that we had moved simply so she could do higher level gymnastics. She was well aware of what the entire family had done to allow her the opportunity and felt that she was letting us down. (She wasn't and we let her know that).

If you are going to move, don't make gymnastics the reason, rather let it be one of the side benefits of the move.
 

gymmomtotwo

Proud Parent
Jun 21, 2011
478
I would homeschool her and do the 100 mile commute if one of you doesn't work already before I would move my family for gymnastics. But we have 2 other kids with busy lives of our own. She will be level 8 soon, so Regionals is just around the corner. All of our Level 8 and above optionals make regionals (34 all around) barring injury or a disaster. The burden of coach travel etc. Is divided among the whole team. You need a gym that will let her go to the big meets and soon, and has the infrastructure to support that. We had upwards of 30 kids go to regionals this year. That is the benefit of big teams.
 
  • Like
Reactions: PinPin

gymnastmom05

Proud Parent
Oct 27, 2015
395
43
I really think this comes down to a personal decision between you and your family. Have you met with the coaches/owners/decision makers regarding not going to Regionals? I know our team is still in transition and with a new HC leading the way, we have a gymnast heading to Easterns. Caught us off guard for the most part. Our booster club is picking up the tab for the expense (coaches expenses, not the gymnast to get there, entry fee or her gear) because we decided it was good for the gym and the team. We are definitely planning on how to budget next year AND possibly looking at adding more fundraisers to offset this cost. Maybe this is something that your gym might be trying to figure out now? I think a discussion with those in charge would help you to understand what the gym is thinking/planning for the future. As far as moving your entire family, I just don't know. I always worry about all the "eggs in one basket" with gymnastics as it is. That said, I also refuse to commute further than I am now (30 minutes max in traffic) as long as my child is safe, happy and progressing. Each family has a different situation, I know our school is not accommodating and my husband travels most weeks so I have to plan on parenting on my own M-F. I am a firm believer that things are not always equal, that sometimes one kid needs more than the other, but gymnastics is a year long sport and I try very hard to make sure my other child gets what he needs as well, without this sport completely overshadowing and denying him what he also needs out of a mom.
 
  • Like
Reactions: bookworm

mls529

Proud Parent
Feb 12, 2016
241
45
Sounds like you really have a talented kiddo! However, please be careful with how you position a move with the family and friends -- I think your kids are going to know why you really moved.

We have friends who also had a 9 year old level 8 -- very talented and focused girl. At the time, the child and parents said high level/elite gymnastics was their goal. Fast forward to a now 13 year old who is plagued by fears and injuries, and is no longer on that path. Not even sure if the girl will stick with it. SO MUCH changes when a girl hits those tough years of 11-14, regardless of goals and level. I can't imagine the pressure a child would feel if she felt her whole family moved just for her sport. If I were in your shoes, I would try to make your current situation work for at least a little while, before exploring a move. I also have an 8 year old now and there is no way I would let her interests/goals today dictate where we live.
 

gymisforeveryone

Coach
Judge
Nov 16, 2012
895
I don't really know if this would be allowed or possible in your gym, but it might be worth asking. If her coaches are good people they understand that staying in her current gym and training low hours and practicing high level skills without a pit would be unsafe for this particular gymnasts and the current gym can only take her to let's say level 8 and not past that without the proper equipment and investment from the gym. Since there are no other gyms nearby, could you possibly have your daughter stay in her current team but practice 1-3 extra days in the next closest high level gym? Just to be able to practice higher level skills that require a pit. And she could do all the basics in her current gym. If both of the gyms were willing to cooperate with you this would be a good arrangement for at least 2-4 years from now. Of course the coaches should have a similar philosophy on how the skills are taught but maybe the coaches could meet and discuss the situation? Since your daughter is super talented and they like her and you I don't think this would be infeasible. A young superstar gymnasts progressing quickly through the levels would only make your current gym look great and the other gym would know that you would move her there completely after a couple of years so that would make it worthwhile for them.

I know one gymnast who does this. She practices 1-2 nights a week in her "home gym" and represents them in competitions, but since that gym is very small and doesn't have a pit or any other high level gymnasts this gymnast goes to another gym a little bit further away to practice with girls her age and level and get the professional coaching that she needs. But then again, we are in Europe so things might go differently in the USA.
 

MILgymFAM

Proud Parent
Fan
Feb 6, 2014
4,717
42
Twin Cities
I don't really know if this would be allowed or possible in your gym, but it might be worth asking. If her coaches are good people they understand that staying in her current gym and training low hours and practicing high level skills without a pit would be unsafe for this particular gymnasts and the current gym can only take her to let's say level 8 and not past that without the proper equipment and investment from the gym. Since there are no other gyms nearby, could you possibly have your daughter stay in her current team but practice 1-3 extra days in the next closest high level gym? Just to be able to practice higher level skills that require a pit. And she could do all the basics in her current gym. If both of the gyms were willing to cooperate with you this would be a good arrangement for at least 2-4 years from now. Of course the coaches should have a similar philosophy on how the skills are taught but maybe the coaches could meet and discuss the situation? Since your daughter is super talented and they like her and you I don't think this would be infeasible. A young superstar gymnasts progressing quickly through the levels would only make your current gym look great and the other gym would know that you would move her there completely after a couple of years so that would make it worthwhile for them.

I know one gymnast who does this. She practices 1-2 nights a week in her "home gym" and represents them in competitions, but since that gym is very small and doesn't have a pit or any other high level gymnasts this gymnast goes to another gym a little bit further away to practice with girls her age and level and get the professional coaching that she needs. But then again, we are in Europe so things might go differently in the USA.
We are in the US and our entire boys team regularly practices at another gym because our gym doesn’t have a pit. My DD will be doing the same thing this summer. Some pretty unconventional plans can work if everyone is on board!
 

crazygymkidsmom

Proud Parent
Apr 24, 2018
4
I have to say, it has been so good to hear all of these suggestions that I hadn't even considered, thank you to everyone who has commented or sent me a private message. I think I just started to panic a little. It's a tough sport - we ask these kids to dedicate pretty much all of their free time, to do their best at scary, dangerous skills, and then we just hope that everything works out. I started imagining my daughter 5 years from now asking why I never helped to put her in the right place for her to have a chance at being great.

To answer some questions - the next closest gym is 140 miles and about 3 hours away. It's not a hugely successful gym either - although they do have a relatively large group of upper level optionals training. It's pretty impossible to imagine anyone making that kind of commute for their program. Our gym is relatively new. The optional girls have been with the coach since the beginning of their training. So part of the reason we don't have a lot of upper level athletes is probably because we're a relatively young gym. We do have a big (for us) group of strong compulsory gymnasts who will be starting optionals this year and next year - it's very likely that the program will change and grow as the coach finds mores success at the optional level.

I've asked some of the moms of the optional girls out to coffee. It'll be interesting to hear their take on things and to clarify the Regionals issue. I haven't wanted to talk to the coaches because my daughter has been thriving as a compulsory gymnast and optionals seemed really far away, until they weren't and I didn't want to insult them. I think I will try to schedule a meeting with the coach just to see what kind of vision they have for my kid though - it can't hurt to hear what they're thinking.

Thank you all again for talking me off the ledge and for the creative solutions to the problem. It's been a huge relief to talk all of you amazing gym experts about this!
 

crazygymkidsmom

Proud Parent
Apr 24, 2018
4
@crazygymkidsmom what was your eventual decision?
To be blunt, I got a grip on myself and calmed down. :) I spoke with the gym owners and found out that in the past girls did have the option of going to Regionals but parents usually turned it down because the cost was so high. I'm actually working with several families to try to do a fundraiser of two to help supplement the cost of of Regional meets.

We are also realizing (pretty quickly!) that Level 7 is MUCH different than 5. My daughter is going through some blocks on the scarier skills and I think part of the problem is that she's progressing physically faster than she can mentally, if that makes sense. When I see her coming home in tears because she's afraid of a cast away fly away or a double bhs on beam, I can't even imagine how much extra pressure it would be for her if we moved our whole family just so she could train. Plus, if Level 7 seems hard, we know that levels 8, 9, and 10 will be exponentially more difficult.

Her dad and I are keeping our eyes open for an opportunity to relocate that would make sense professionally and for our other children AND that has a good gym nearby - and if we find something that works we might still move in the next year or so. But for now we're staying put and trying to remember that the kid is only 8 (actually she just turned 9) and she has a long way to go before she needs to start thinking about her gymnastics "career"!
 

flyinghigh

Proud Parent
Aug 25, 2015
36
47
She’s 8. Unless she has Simone Biles skills no, I would not move. A lot of girls fly thru the lower levels and then level 7 hits... it gets much harder now. At level 7 it starts getting real. And she’s young. 2% make it to college in this sport And injury is high. Enjoy the sport, keep her where she is, you can reevaluate as she gets older and into higher levels.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Aero and Ali'sMom

Jenny

Coach
Proud Parent
Sep 17, 2012
3,440
I would commute with homeschooling for a couple of years and then think again. You would then have roots within the new gym and might be able to arrange for dd to stay over at a teammates for 3 or 4 nights a week reducing the number of commutes she has to do. Or one of you could move down with her for part of the week and come home at weekends. Or you could love the area and all move there. But commute first.

And be prepared that if you move she will of course give up the month after.....
 
Status
Not open for further replies.