WAG Does it really matter what gym they go to when they are 5-6 years old

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Proud Parent
May 12, 2018
Does it really matter what gym your child goes to when they are 5, 6, 7 years old? My five year old daughter goes to an average gym. It is family oriented and there are no weekend practices. It’s a low hour gym and the older kids can still participate in other sports if they choose to. It is also on the lower end for coaches fees and tuition. My daughter is five and competed level 2 last year as a very young five year old. She will repeat level 2 again this year in order to mature a bit. She seems to have some natural talent and picks up new skills a lot quicker than most of her teammates. There are other gyms that produce better gymnasts in my area and might challenge her a bit more than she is currently being challenged. I feel like she is being held back a little bit at her current gym and maybe there is good reasoning from her coaches behind that (maturity being one of them). I see kids throwing bigger skills at young ages and with the right training, I think my kid could do stuff beyond what an average kid her age could do. She already has some higher level skills (level 4 skills) that were introduced this summer for fun during practices. She acquired them the same day or a couple of practices after they were introduced. Her coach has mentioned to me how quickly she acquires new skills. My kid isn’t going to be an Olympian or an elite gymnast and I have no aspirations for her gymnastics in regards to college or anything like that. I’m am curious from those who have taken their kid all the way through this sport from a young age if where she goes to the gym matters at this age. If she decides she wants to do something with her talent someday (as in trying to pursue college gymnastics) does any of it really matter at this age? For all I know, she might decide a year from now she doesn’t want to do gymnastics. Another seasoned parent on team told me that if I was ever considering a gym switch that I should do it while she is young and she can still make friends on the team. Her daughter switched when she was older and wasn’t accepted by her new teammates because she was winning. Switching gyms would mean longer training hours at higher levels, increased tuition at the higher levels, and weekend practices at the higher levels. Right now though, it would be the same training hours, no weekend practices, similar tuition/coaching fees, and the gym is 15 minutes closer to my house. I prefer to stay at her current gym, but I also don’t want to take an opportunity away from her by keeping her where she is if where she trains at a young age actually makes a difference. To me it is such a big “if” because she is so young and five year olds are fickle. Thanks for any input!
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My daughter did a rec only gym until age 5 and it was the best thing we could have done for her. The owner of that gym still supports my daughter's gymnastics and follows her as she progresses. It was so nice to have no expectations or pressure to move up through levels.

I think staying in a fun, low pressure environment for as long as possible is a great idea!
If the coaching is good it doesn't matter at this age. If they are not teaching proper technique and form, it is an issue, even young. My dd started at a gym that did not teach her good form. We switched when she was 6 and she still struggles with form at times, 3 years later. Girls who started at her current gym struggle much less worth this. I wish I had moved her sooner.
Yes, it matters. It's of the utmost importance that they go to a gym with a positive environment and nurturing coaches who prioritize fun and longterm physical and mental wellbeing over technical development and competitive goals.

All of the above remains just as important no matter how old they are, and no matter what level.

(if you're asking if it matters purely from a standpoint of technical development, then I'd say no it doesn't)
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5-7 is a crucial age in their gymnastics development, it matters where they go.

At this age, few kids have a “passion”, for gymnastics. Many parents think they do, but flipping on the trampoline all weekend isn’t really what passion is. Many kids have a spark, and they love it.

A great coach and a great gym can help can that spark into a fire and give the child a true love for the sport, a not so great gym can put the spark out totally. I have seen kids of this age, go from loving the sport to hating it as a result of negative coaching.

The other issue is that this is the age where the foundations are laid. There are lots of less than amazing coaches out there, if the initial body shapes and core skills are taught incorrectly at best it will slow down a gymnasts progress as everything will have to be relearned when they start learning to do it properly. At worst it can set them up for lifelong injury.
Just a note, we have many older girls at the higher levels who transfer to the team and they do not have trouble fitting in, getting accepted, and making friends. It’s not true everywhere. Just take her gymnastics year to year. She’s too young to move to level 4 anyway, and emotional maturity makes a big difference.
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