Parents Do you think we should switch?

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Proud Parent
Jan 29, 2014
Hi there,

Can you give some advice?

We'll find out next month if our gym will advance my daughter from the pre-team to the junior compulsory team, or if she'll be recommended over to the Exel bronze team. Of course, dd is dying to join the junior team (she dreams of Olympics and is obsessed with the sport), but we're all aware that this gym is very hesitant about taking girls who are 10, like my daughter, over to the junior team no matter how good their skills are. They prefer to send the 9 and ups over to Exel, as we've seen and heard.

So, if dd is asked to join the Exel bronze team, this gym's Exel team practices just twice a week for 90 minutes, and I'm sad to say that when I've seen their practices, they spend the majority of the time standing around, walking around, and waiting for the compulsory gymnasts to finish using equipment so they can get a few minutes to use the area. They look like a bored bunch of girls, honestly. My dd is 10, but she is small and full of excited energy for life. She is so on fire for the sport of gymnastics, and she is desperately hoping to make it to the junior team, but I'm well aware it would almost take a miracle to get her there since she's 10 and we know the way this gym works.

There is another gym about 35 minutes from here that is big and has elite gymnasts (our current gym doesn't), and they happen to have an Exel program where the bronze level practices 4 times a week at 2 hours per practice. When my husband talked to them a few weeks ago about our situation, they said dd could join their Exel bronze team and practice the 8 hours a week with them, and not compete in any Exel competitions, and then dd would be eligible to try-out to join the compulsory team at their gym once the coaches say that her skills are strong enough. They have no problem with moving gymnasts over to the compulsory team from Exel if they have the skills and have not competed in the Exel program.

Dd says she wants to switch to the big gym's Exel program with the 4 days-a-week practices and the opportunity to switch to compulsory team, rather than stay at the little gym we're at where once you're on Exel they say you're not allowed to move over to compulsory. Would you agree with this switch if dd is not invited to join our current gym's junior team next month?

Thank you,
No one can see the whole picture over a post, but based on what you posted it does seem the second gym seems like a better fit. Why wait? If I had all those problems with my DDs gym and had a viable (better than viable, really) alternative, I would be switching her ASAP. As long as the drive and the tuition (if there is a difference) aren't an issue, I would go for it.
It seems like the switch makes sense provided you're okay with the commute. I would at least watch some practice to get a sense of the program and coaches and how their style would mesh with you DD's personality. In addition, if you get a chance to talk to some parents that would be great. I would want to make sure their representation that she can move from Excel to JO is something that really happens and not just something they're holding out there that's really a remote possibility.
Switch, but ...
If your dd has caught the gymnastics bug and sees herself trying to do gym beyond high school, be aware that Xcel will not get her there and that she will have to get to the JO track at some point.
I agree switch... but I wonder why the new gym will only let them move if they have NOT competed in an Xcel meet?
You would think that having competition experience, in addition to the skills, would make a gymnast MORE prepared.
It is likely too late in the training season for her learn skills/routines in order to compete this year.

I agree that a switch sounds like the right thing to do but I would want more info - like how many girls actually do make that switch from xcel to JO in the new gym? How old are the girls who switch? I would not want to get my (and dd's) hopes up, make the switch, only to find out that the switch is unlikely. Unfortunately, it is a risk you take but you may be able to figure out the likelihood. I am just a little leery because you note it is an elite gym and from what I have read here, they tend to separate their xcel and JO teams more distinctly.
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If "potential new gym" has Xcel, JO, and Elite... do they really not have a preteam your DD could join? Or even a TOPs group for the interim?

Sometimes new gyms can make promises or projections which they cannot or won't follow through on long-term. And some gyms refuse to make those statements. When my DD switched gyms last January, we were told that DD would start in x training group, but where she went beyond that depended on many factors. They're regrouping kids now, and there's no guarantee that my DD will remain in the "A" group for her level. It's all determined by current ability and how quickly she is progressing. We're taking nothing for granted, as it's a fairly competitive gym.

New gym only knows where your DD is now. While they may have some anecdotal information from both you and your DD regarding your DD's recent progress in the gym, once you're there she'll just be one of their gymmies training Xcel and subject to the same rules as the others in regards to moving to JO, etc.

So, if your current goal is JO and your DD's heart is set on it... unless you have a guaranteed plan of "your DD will train with Xcel for "x" months and then definitely move to JO after their season" (or have a solid chance at it), then I might also look into any other area gyms as options. If you're ok with your DD training and remaining in Xcel at the higher number of hours than current gym, and just a chance to move to JO is enough, then it's maybe worth giving them a try.
I think it's a no brainer that you should switch if your DD is put on XCel at your current gym - 8 hours a week is a lot better than 3 hours even the training is equal, and you already know the current gym XCel training is poor. What I'd do if it were me is have my DD try as many practices at the other gym as they'll allow her to starting right now (but making sure to still show up at least most of the time at your current gym), so in the likely event that they place her in XCel you're in a comfortable position to switch right away. Talk to parents at the new gym like others have said to confirm if there is indeed movement between XCel and JO and what those situations were (if they were all kids that were significantly younger/older than your DD, or much higher skilled, it may be less likely than they are letting on). You may also want to look at another gym or two if there are options.

How long has your DD been doing gymnastics? What skills does she have?
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