For Parents Educating Myself about USAG when Child is at a Small Gym

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Proud Parent
Mar 3, 2016
Hi everyone -
My daughter and I love her gym and coaches dearly. We are in a small town and at a very small gym. Our gym is young and has not produced any high level athletes yet. My daughter and her friend are the first to come up through this gym from the start.
I have been active on these boards, soaking up as much as I can. She is 8 yr old and shows great promise. She is extremely passionate about gymnastics.
I do trust her coaches but I also feel like I am not being smart if I just blindly follow them. Right now my daughter does dream of high level competing and I want to make sure that I do what I can to help her reach that goal. What is a good balance as a parent? I guess what I am saying is that I am not 100 percent sure that her coach can get a child to that level. How can I know?


Proud Parent
Aug 7, 2018
Well first ask yourself are you prepared for whatever answer you get? Meaning, how far are you willing to go in pursuit of her passion? Are you ready to go to a gym 2 hours away? Move to a different town? No sense in asking the question if you are not prepared for that answer. (assuming you are in a 1 gym type town). A couple of suggestions to evaluate, what are her coaches backgrounds? Where do they come from? They may have other experiences from other gyms that are relative to this question. The other research you can explore is looking up your daughters performance relative to her age/level in state and region. A quick look through mymeetscores or meetscoresonline should give you a sense of where she stands relative to her peers. This can be a more objective look at her trajectory and progress in her current environment.

All that being said, at 8 I would still consider it a bit young to be worrying too much about where she is at. And there are plenty of success stories of girls coming from smaller gyms and doing just fine. I think it is a good exercise to "take stock" but I probably would not act on anything as long as you feel she is in a safe and supportive environment.


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Proud Parent
Aug 22, 2008
What level is your dd? Did her coaches come from another gym that had high level gymnasts? What aspirations are you thinking of - College? Elite? Maybe not now (she's young) but in the next couple of years, I would have a meeting with the HC/owner. Most know where they stand in terms of how far they think they can get their gymnasts as well as how much time/effort they want to devote. Most will tell you when they have no elite coaching aspirations.
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Proud Parent
Jan 27, 2014
We don’t have many gym options where we live. What level is your daughter? I think that makes a difference. The dilemma is that pretty much no 8 year old has a clear sense of the amount of work and commitment that is required long term to reach level 10, let alone elite. Until kids are a good bit older, the parents are the ones driving the decision making. Given the very large talent pool in the US and the number of parents willing to move heaven and earth to make this happen, our family was not willing to make that kind of sacrifice with the low statistical odds. A long-time CB member advised me not to make any kind of major commute or move until level 9. I think that was good advice.


Proud Parent
Mar 25, 2022
Our gym is young and has not produced any high level athletes yet...Right now my daughter does dream of high level competing and I want to make sure that I do what I can to help her reach that goal.
Being at a gym that's never produced a high level athlete is going to make the second part much much harder. Impossible? No. Harder than necessary? Yes.

There are a lot of gyms in the USA that have produced multiple decent to good L10s. They know how to do it. Your gym is going to be figuring it out on your daughter.
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New Member
Jul 9, 2022
I would reconsider it in another 3-4 years. If she is still performing well and wants to take gymnastics more seriously then you could potentially look at a more elite club. It’s still way too early to know at 8 years old.


Feb 2, 2022
Agree that it's way too early to know at this age but I applaud that you're at least thinking through whether you would be "all in" for a "whatever it takes" gymnastics journey. I'm a planner and like to know all my options before they come to fruition, not just on gymnastics but in all I would do the research, determine what it would take, and then make a decision down the road a bit.


Proud Parent
Jun 6, 2019
I just wanted to chime is as another person in a small town. There isn't a competitive program in my town. I have empathy for you as I've also stressed over these decisions. My daughter started at a very small gym closer to my job at the time. It had experienced coaches and did a really good job at technique, progressions etc. Even though the program was small, her foundations were solid. If you feel like she is getting these things, I wouldn't rush unless she's unhappy. And regarding happiness, my daughter moved gyms last December, just before her first competition season. She was very clear headed on wanting to change, and I think she would've quit if I hadn't let her. We could drive an hour in several different directions and hit a high-level gym, and she chose one that doesn't have the "reputation" of the others. Its training is solid, but it's a more inclusive gym. She has thrived and held her own or better than the elite level gyms in the state, but this is because she had a solid foundation, and now she is happy. She puts a lot of pressure on herself to excel and was becoming crippled by her own perfectionism and fear of making mistakes, and she needed coaches who could coach her head and her heart. Her gym has had level 10s but has never had a D1 athlete. But this isn't necessarily a sign of poor coaching, the gym just has different priorities. They are aware of her goals and have openly communicated to me that they will do what they can to help her achieve them or find out how to do so if they can't. Who knows, maybe she will change again at some point. I guess my point is, I'd assess if her needs are being met right now with solid coaching and if she is developing intrinsic motivation and passion.
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