For Parents Getting to college/Olympics

GymDadWA

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So many people are commenting on the OP asking about her daughter's chance at the Olympics or college gymnastics. I think that allowing our child to dream of those things is part of "enjoying the ride. Even parents looking for factual information about the possibilities of those things, I think, can still be part of "enjoying the ride". I beleive in balance in all aspects of this. If we get extreme on the mindset of "don't think about the Olympics or college level" it can be just as damaging as the extreme of pushing for those things.

Just hold onto those dreams loosely and be prepared to support your child no matter what route they end up taking!
I don't think many parents here argue against enjoying the ride, but what many parents and coaches here have seen or experienced are parents trying to drive the ride particularly after it seems to be going off the rails they double down and try to force it back on the tracks. That's when you'll see 10 year old children in the gym 30+ hours a week, or doing 10 hours of private lessons a week, or flying their child all over the country in the summer to attend camps, or switching gyms every year, or allowing coaches like Geddert to have free reign to do what they want. Nothing wrong with putting a little extra into gymnastics, many of us have paid for a private lesson or camp or two, but be honest with yourself and child while being supportive.
 
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skygirlpc

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I don't think many parents here argue against enjoying the ride, but what many parents and coaches here have seen or experienced are parents trying to drive the ride particularly after it seems to be going off the rails they double down and try to force it back on the tracks. That's when you'll see 10 year old children in the gym 30+ hours a week, or doing 10 hours of private lessons a week, or flying their child all over the country in the summer to attend camps, or switching gyms every year, or allowing coaches like Geddert to have free reign to do what they want. Nothing wrong with putting a little extra into gymnastics, many of us have paid for a private lesson or camp or two, but be honest with yourself and child while being supportive.
I agree, but I don't think being curious about the possibility of your child going elite deserves all the reminding to "enjoy the ride" that was in this thread. I think that curiosity can be part of enjoying the ride.
 
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Lucia

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Here is a good article that has been linked to before...

Hi, I wonder, do you think this list adjusted for the level changes? For example, if it lists Gabby Douglas as a level 4 in 2004, do you think it's referring to the old level 4 (new level 3) or was adjusted to reflect the changes? It's inconsequential; I am just curious.
 
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Ry32

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Don't tell Jade Carey those age cutoffs. She is now 20, has secured enough world cup points to be an automatic Olympic Qualifier and was competing as a level 10 in 2017.

I think (and hope) we are seeing a paradigm shift in what is the optimal age for gymnastics. The "have to" and "must" when it comes to age compared progress is hopefully going to become antiqueted. With any luck, a 24 year old Simone will set us on that course even more.
 

LJL07

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Hi, I wonder, do you think this list adjusted for the level changes? For example, if it lists Gabby Douglas as a level 4 in 2004, do you think it's referring to the old level 4 (new level 3) or was adjusted to reflect the changes? It's inconsequential; I am just curious.
Yep, I think that would be old level 4 (current level 3). I feel like level 8 and up are the same though. Is that wrong??
 

gymgal

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And there is absolutely no age limit for going to the Olympics for WAG. Chuso is still competing at the Olympics and she is well into her 40's now.

The minimum age is the year you turn 16, but no maximum.

That is not realistically possible in the US, though.
 

gymgal

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I agree, but I don't think being curious about the possibility of your child going elite deserves all the reminding to "enjoy the ride" that was in this thread. I think that curiosity can be part of enjoying the ride.
I don't think the parent was being just curious. The way I read it was that they were concerned that if the daughter didn't follow this path, her chances might be doomed. I am not even sure the parent feels that their child is college/elite material, just that they were shocked by hearing of these "requirements". In that case, calming the parent's fears that those requirementsare not absolute (not even close) and that the best thing their family can do is to just let the child guide the way in her own timeline - in other words - enjoy the ride.
 
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cmg

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Yep, I think that would be old level 4 (current level 3). I feel like level 8 and up are the same though. Is that wrong??
I would agree that Level 8 and up are somewhat the same, but it seems like every year USA gymnastics makes the requirements for those levels harder. They keep de-valuing skills and that encourages everyone to up their skill levels. So by making it harder every year, it becomes harder to compare level's from 10 years ago.
 
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LJL07

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I would agree that Level 8 and up are somewhat the same, but it seems like every year USA gymnastics makes the requirements for those levels harder. They keep de-valuing skills and that encourages everyone to up their skill levels. So by making it harder every year, it becomes harder to compare level's from 10 years ago.
Definitely! By the time my youngest got to level 7, it was harder than when my older daughter did 7 just a few years before her.
 

JBS

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Hi, I wonder, do you think this list adjusted for the level changes? For example, if it lists Gabby Douglas as a level 4 in 2004, do you think it's referring to the old level 4 (new level 3) or was adjusted to reflect the changes? It's inconsequential; I am just curious.
Not sure.
 

JBS

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Here is something for everyone to think about... and this is my opinion... of course...

The "trust the process"... "shaping shaping shaping" junk has gotten out of control. Most upper level gymnasts have raw athletic ability when they are younger. You can "shape" a gymnast and do strength all day long... that process will only take them until you quit if they don't have something more.

"Shaping" is a like a compulsory game. Any coach can "shape" a 5/6 year old group if they work hard enough at it. It takes extreme attention to detail and and repetition. If the coach doesn't have the knowledge of upper level gymnastics, it also creates very choppy movements.

If you have a ton of 5/6 year olds, say 50, is "shaping" going to give you better results? Better results at what? Compulsory gymnastics? Upper level?

If the answer is upper level, then why not start the shaping process after you have figured out which ones are moving towards upper level gymnastics? If they can't do a kip, why shape? You don't need good shapes to do a kip.

Why do something that is very very hard and mentally demanding at such a young age. Why not build more of their base ability on trampolines and soft surfaces when they are young?

Once an athlete is stronger, they can be shaped in a matter of a few weeks doing some very simple things at full speed and ONE extremely hard thing statically.
 

JBS

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Here is an example of what I am talking about. This video shows an athlete that doesn't appear to have gone through aggressive "shaping" as of the date below...

 

JBS

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Now "shaping" vs. "international bar movements" are a very different thing. You can see she is getting much better here...


Still a long ways to go on the "international line" though.
 

JBS

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Your movements form from your full speed skills and drills, not from the slow motion work. The international handstand forms from strength and holding the international line statically.

Athletes in the compulsory to optional transition phase are the perfect athletes to shape. Shape their full speed movements as they are learning them. Don't shape them 3 years before in slow motion, it just makes no sense.

The one "shape" that they can learn years before is the "international line". Have them lay on the ground on their stomach and work a body line. Then when they are strong enough, put them on a floor bar by the wall and have them do it.
 

JBS

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Now Jade Carey probably could have started "international line" work sooner, but it doesn't appear that she did, and she's one of the best.
 

JBS

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Here are some shapes for you...


Then we started on working on ONE shape... this one...

IMG_4202.JPG


We came up with this...


Got some work to do... but it's possible to shape later while focusing on trampoline while younger.
 

ldw4mlo

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Now I'm curious if anyone knows more regarding these statements and how true they are. My gymnast is a level 3 at 7 yrs and has only been doing the sport for a little under a year now. Just trying to get an idea of what her options will realistically be.
They are pretty true. And if anything generous.....

3 or 4 girls go to the Olympics every 4 yrs..... only one of those spots is guaranteed by placing first at the qualifying meet. The other spots are picked in the back room. That’s 3 or 4 girls in the whole country

A couple hundred scholarships available each year, and they can also take gymnasts from other countries.

The odds are not in an individual gymnasts favor..... and you never actually depending on the gymnast

And my daughter is a 15 yr old level 8 might make 9. she will do gymnastics until she graduates HS... loves it and has 0 aspirations of college, never did.
 
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Aussie_coach

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@JBS Agree, agree, agree. The philosophy in elite gymnastics development in Australia is condition, condition, condition, dance, perfection, condition.

When Mihai Brestyan became our National coach for a few years, his comment was that the Australian gymnasts were some of the best conditioned in the world, but their skills were no where near up to par with where they should be for their age and level of conditioning.

I believe in teach young kids skills, real skills. Then add the finesse later. Of course there are prerequisites before teaching a skill, but they don’t need 50 perfect leg lifts in a row before you teach them Kips, 10 consecutive press handstands before you teach them giants, 3 perfect splits before doing an aerial etc.

When yiu teach with the condition, condition, condition until perfection and then drill shapes until perfection and then teach the skill method. Then you drive The really talented ones out of the sport, the ones with that amazing athleticism and energy. You attract compliant, perfectionist kids who will be quiet and do as they are told but not super gymansts.

Let them learn to flip and fly when the window of opportunity presents itself and create a passionate confident gymnasts, who will then be very willing to put the work into perfect shaping.
 

LJL07

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Here is something for everyone to think about... and this is my opinion... of course...

The "trust the process"... "shaping shaping shaping" junk has gotten out of control. Most upper level gymnasts have raw athletic ability when they are younger. You can "shape" a gymnast and do strength all day long... that process will only take them until you quit if they don't have something more.

"Shaping" is a like a compulsory game. Any coach can "shape" a 5/6 year old group if they work hard enough at it. It takes extreme attention to detail and and repetition. If the coach doesn't have the knowledge of upper level gymnastics, it also creates very choppy movements.

If you have a ton of 5/6 year olds, say 50, is "shaping" going to give you better results? Better results at what? Compulsory gymnastics? Upper level?

If the answer is upper level, then why not start the shaping process after you have figured out which ones are moving towards upper level gymnastics? If they can't do a kip, why shape? You don't need good shapes to do a kip.

Why do something that is very very hard and mentally demanding at such a young age. Why not build more of their base ability on trampolines and soft surfaces when they are young?

Once an athlete is stronger, they can be shaped in a matter of a few weeks doing some very simple things at full speed and ONE extremely hard thing statically.
I really appreciate this post. we were at a gym for a few years that drilled and drilled compulsory routines to the minute detail. They all looked kind of robotic and stiff to me but they were unbeatable almost anywhere in the country. And then she couldn’t produce kids past level 7 bc there was no focus on skills. She had a bunch of burned out 9 year olds and they developed fear issues when it got hard. And the parents were all shocked bc they had award winning level 3&4 athletes.
 

gymgal

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@JBS Agree, agree, agree. The philosophy in elite gymnastics development in Australia is condition, condition, condition, dance, perfection, condition.

When Mihai Brestyan became our National coach for a few years, his comment was that the Australian gymnasts were some of the best conditioned in the world, but their skills were no where near up to par with where they should be for their age and level of conditioning.

I believe in teach young kids skills, real skills. Then add the finesse later. Of course there are prerequisites before teaching a skill, but they don’t need 50 perfect leg lifts in a row before you teach them Kips, 10 consecutive press handstands before you teach them giants, 3 perfect splits before doing an aerial etc.

When yiu teach with the condition, condition, condition until perfection and then drill shapes until perfection and then teach the skill method. Then you drive The really talented ones out of the sport, the ones with that amazing athleticism and energy. You attract compliant, perfectionist kids who will be quiet and do as they are told but not super gymansts.

Let them learn to flip and fly when the window of opportunity presents itself and create a passionate confident gymnasts, who will then be very willing to put the work into perfect shaping.
I don't know about this. Maybe I am misunderstanding what is being discussed. We have a couple of top tier gyms in our state that are known to drill-drill-drill shape/form and consistently win at all levels because they have impeccable form from the very early levels. Their skills do not suffer. They uptrain and are more than ready to compete a level ahead of where they compete.

Having said that I also know that my dd likely would not have thrived in that environment. She was the type of kid who wanted to compete a skills as soon as she got them fairly consistently, even if it meant a lower score.
 
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