Girls Are Different Than Boys

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You'd think at my age I would have noticed it sooner! :eek:

What I'm referring to, of course, is girl gymnasts versus boy gymnasts. It was only last May when we switched our boy to a bigger, better gym. I recall my first impressions vividly. Not only were there about 10 times as many gymnasts working out there, but they were all doing amazing (to me) things! Or at least the girls were. :cheerful:

Not to take away from the boys groups. They were doing fine stuff, too. But with that many athletes of all ages out there, it was immediately apparent that the two genders were miles apart in their capabilities. Particularly in the younger age groups, the girls seem to advance much faster than the boys. I've been subconsciously aware of this for some time, but I've never seen it portrayed so clearly as it is on the gymnastics floor.

My boy, for example, is currently level 4, and the coaches are grooming him to move up a level soon. Little by little they're trying him out on level 5 skills and even some level 6, just to see what he can do. Recently they had him try to do some giants on the high bar. Much to my surprise, on his third attempt, he managed 3 consecutive giants. I was so impressed and proud, until I glanced over at the other side of the gym and noticed several very young girls doing multiple giants on the unevens like they were nothing, and many finishing off with impressive dismounts. Then I realized that pretty much every team girl could do such things with apparent ease, regardless of level. Same for floor skills. Girls are different. :cutie:

None of this is news to any of you experienced gym parents, but it certainly made an impression on me. I hate to admit it, but one of my favorite parts of going to my son's practices is to watch the girls doing what they do so well, especially while my boy's group is going through their 90-minute warm-ups and conditioning exercises. I've befriended several of the girls and their respective parents, and now the 2 and 3-hour sessions go by very quickly and pleasantly for me.

To sum it up:

Most girls are more flexible than most boys (my son won't argue with that one).
Girls, in general, are more coordinated at an earlier age than the boys.
For the most part, girls, even the young ones, behave and pay attention, while the younger boys... well, they seem to have their own agenda. :D
Girls are more naturally graceful, while boys struggle to overcome their natural awkwardness.
Add to all that the fact that the girls wear the really cool leos and perform to fun music, and the gender difference becomes even clearer. And I wouldn't have it any other way. ;)

One of the other parents explained it to me in more general terms. "Girls grow up to become women. Boys grow up to be... bigger boys." :rolleyes: I think she was poking more fun at me personally, rather than at the boys. Their eventual gymnastics accomplishments are truly remarkable.

I should finish off by saying that I couldn't be prouder of my own boy or the boys teams in general. Girls are just different than boys.

- Harv

p.s. This message board, like the gym, seems more heavily attended by girls (and/or their parents) than boys. Anybody know the actual statistics here?
Sep 19, 2008
I've coached boys and girls, and the biggest difference I see is the energy level. Boys are raring to go, ready for anything. Just point them in the right direction and before the skill you want them to do is out of your mouth they're already trying to turn that front handspring into a front layout. They appear to be all about doing and action. Getting them to slow down and process the corrections that need to be made is something they learn in conjunction with their skills it seems.

Girls a more methodical. They seem to rely not only on repetition, but also feedback. Girls at the chalkbucket seem to be having 'meetings' as they chalk their grips. Talking about their skill, what needs to change, etc. There's a much more social and cerebral flair to a boys workout from what I've seen. Of course, you always run into the gabfest factor if you let it get out of hand lol.

A group of girls can stand there and listen to a coach with little issue. A group of boys, I usually have them doing something simple as I'm talking to them. If I don't, they'll give themselves something to do lol!


Proud Parent
Dec 9, 2008
I love this thread! Very interesting thoughts, Harv.

Physically speaking, what you notice makes a lot of sense. Boys' bodies mature later than girls. Girls generally hit puberty around 10-12 while boys are around 14-16(I think I'm close on these numbers, too lazy to check my data right now). Girls bodies are ready to do things earlier, but they also peak earlier. The changes that a girl's body makes are often detrimental to gymnastics...wider hips, change in the center of gravity, fat distribution... And boys benefit from their changes... gaining muscle and coordination. Its no coincidence that the average age of elite women is much lower than men.

I hope I made some sense...I'm a little out of it from the meds I'm taking for a bad fall I took down some icy stairs yesterday.


I too found this thread fun! I have one of each (5-year old DD and 7-year old DS) and can see firsthand the differences between both my kids' focus level and skill level (with DD being ahead of her brother already even though they both started at the same time).

Harv, your post made me chuckle. The entire time I was reading it, I was going, yep...that's right...uh huh...yep...chuckle, chuckle, chuckle...
I would agree that all of this is true.

I also want to tell about my team. I am the oldest person on the team. But I've only been doing gymnastics for about half a year.

However, being that I am (at least I think I am) the most dedicated person on my team, I am making the most progress. I am 17 and the next oldest is 15.

I'm also the most flexible, more flexible than a lot of the girls in the gym.

In case you are wondering, I am now competing at level seven and if I keep the pace up as I have for the past 5 months will be (hopefully) level 8 by summer


So very true;)! As far as gymnastics goes, what I notice is that the boys will try anything, I mean a boy could watch someone do a front tuck and be like "Ha, I can do that" and not really care if they do it right, they just go for it! Whereas girls would be like "Oh gosh, what if I do it wrong, or get hurt".

I get to experience both sides, having a ten year old girl and eleven year old boy:). Nothing against girls, but I have to say that from my experience boys are easier:eek:! They are so different - my son is pretty mellow, and my daughter is wild and crazy! When the boys sleepover they are asleep by 11:00 at the latest, but when the girls sleepover I am getting out of bed at 3:00am to find them still going strong:eek:!
Nov 28, 2008
I'm quite the opposite!
I love going to watch the guys' practices when i'm not in the gym myself!!!
But i agree with all the observations.


matthewmovement -

Level 7 after only 6 months? Very impressive!

You sound like an older version of my boy. He started "serious" gymnastics about the same time, and is the oldest in his level 4 group by several years (an age difference that is currently driving him crazy). Like you, he is moving up quickly, and I think it's for the same reason you are. He is dedicated, listens to his coaches and loves to practice. He now has a pull-up bar in our hallway at home, a mushroom in the living room, and is starting to amass a fine collection of specific muscle-building equipment (dumbbells, wrist/forearm builder, etc.).

Keep us posted on your progress.

- Harv
Dec 29, 2008
Funny you mentioned this! My DD is pre-team (moved up 4 weeks ago) and has been in gymnastics for about a year. DS just started a boys' beginners class 3 weeks ago. The boy's team/pre-team practice as the same time as girl's team/pre-team and DS's class practices for one hour with the boys' team. So, I get to see ALL the variuos level and gender combinations! And, from my personal observation, I totally agree with most of what you said! (Though, sadly, my DD is not naturally graceful. ;) Whatever grace she gathers is bought with repetition and concentration!)

DS LOVES his little class (about 8 other newbies in his class) and he LOVES everything he is learning. But, he does not have natural talent like his sister does. Part of this is due to the fact that he has had 3 cardiac surgeries in the past 4 years so his upper body musculature is pretty mangled! And, he doesn't care that he's not good. He is just having a blast. Don't get me wrong, he is thrilled when he learns a new skill and works his tail off every week. But, it definitely does seem to come more naturally to DD.

DS already asks why he only wears "plain" shorts and a T to class while DD gets special attire by way of a leotard so he does notice. I think its more about looking like a team to him, though, not a jealousy thing.

DD is also extremely flexible (and hypermobile) so she has that advantage. Poor DD has little to no flexibility, YET!

While there may be more "girl" parents/members here, I definitely LOVE having parents of boys around to learn from. Should DS decide to stick with gymnastics beyond more than a fanicful interest, I will have LOTS and lots of questions for the likes of you! :D


I've said it before that in general, girls are easier to coach before puberty and boys are easier to coach after. Sometimes we have to push girls to take the next step while we have to hold boys back from taking the next one. Not always the case.

I used to think that some boys had more aerial awareness and guts. My friend deduced that boys when they do have an awesome level of awareness and guts typically have a lot of confidence in themselves and will push themselves past what they should ( but usually can still save themselves from ). Whereas girls in that situation often meet with disaster. I've seen so many boys near miss and save themselves at the last moment because they knew where they were and reacted to save themselves at the last second. I haven't seen as many girls due so but my friend said quite often girls won't push that line as hard and may not have the confidence ( not guts ) to save themselves when put in the same scenario.

I've had boys that are ever as much coordinated and graceful as the girls. In fact those were quite often my little crazy daredevils because they weren't afraid of anything and they had awesome aerial awareness and balance.

I've also had boys that were just as flexible as the girls in the shoulders and hip flexors. It's more rare but it could be that we have 6x as fewer numbers so I see it less. Currently, only one level 7 can do a better middle split than me on beam and I was doing it with no warmup while talking on the cell phone. Add to the fact, I rarely train my splits anymore ( and used to have oversplits in dominant front and middle and full split on my bad leg ). However, my active flexibility is very poor while my shoulder and back flexibility is right there with most girls ( though my shoulders are not as flexible as they used to be after seperations and tears ). I was very flexible as a child and it was only a few months before I got my splits in my teens.

MAG is also different than WAG as we don't have to qualify to compete at each level. No minimum scoring. An older gymnast can breeze through a lot of the compulsory stuff on apparatus where the only thing that will be tough is pommel and floor as the rest is just swing development.

Harv, get your boy some rings! Your son looks much older than 11 but maybe it's just the camera.

Some years ago, I coached twin boys of around 11-13, something like that did straddle backs on a dare from a girl for the first time. Granted these kids were trampoline enthusiasts ( because the coach was awesome on tramp and they bounced all the time ) with an AWESOME level of awareness. More so, they were also uppity punks ( then again 12yo boys so go figure ) so they thoroughly enjoyed teasing the L7/8 girls ( they were class 4's/Level 7's-good but sloppy ) besides having a surplus in the guts area.


Your son looks much older than 11
Good eye, Bob. He's actually 11-1/2 now. :D Birthday in July.

Yeah, he's done some serious growing in the last 6 months, and since he's gotten serious about gymnastics, his body has taken on a very mature shape.

get your boy some rings!
We'd love to. Not sure what we'd do with 'em, though. Hang them from the chandelier? I'd love to turn our whole house into a gym, but I'm a married man -- I only get 1 vote (and mine is smaller somehow :rolleyes:).

Girls are different than boys, you know. ;)

- Harv
Jan 17, 2008
Harv -

Thank you for the great thread! I havent really ever thought of it that way.. My DD is 13, I also have a 11 year old DD and a 4 year old DS. I cant imagine him in gymnastics. I bet after having DD in optionals it would really different to have a boy do the sport.

Keep up the fun posts and good luck to your DS. Hey - the other positive is that is is normally a female dominated sport and if your son sticks with it, he has great opportunities!

Dec 8, 2007
My brother is 13 and im almost 15, but when I was 5 and he was 3 we took gymnastics together. It was like a level 1 class but we were in it together. He didn't do gymnastics anymore after that. My gym doesn't have a boys team, but we've had a brother sister pair in classes together on multiple occasions.


We'd love to. Not sure what we'd do with 'em, though. Hang them from the chandelier?

Simple. Door frame pullup bar. Either the " Iron Gym " or a doorframe extendable pullup bar. Hang rings from those. Or hang them in the garage or from a tree.

He need to learn how to get a nice support on rings ( which will make him man-strong ) so he can do his L and press to shoulderstand and the ability do dips and back lever to get his bonuses. My Muscle-Man on team has rings at home ( triangle playschool kind ) and he is well, Muscle-Man. His 6yo brother is also quite strong, has just started rec and could probably learn a back lever soon with some effort.


Bob -

Maybe I will get him some rings. They'd go well with his pullup bar, mushroom, and parallettes I made for him. ;)

If you interested, I just added his last ring routine to my video scrapbook on the web: Rings.

He had some problems, got a disappointing 13.40, but I think it was the routine I was most proud of because of the tremendous effort he put into it. With a little more muscle, like you suggest, he could do much better in the future.

Thanks for your support.

- Harv


Slight wiggle as he lowers down from his first pullup followed by more wiggling in his bonus pullup. Pullups need to be hollow, not showing an arch. Notice how he almost wiggles into an arch after the first one.

Swing is good for a L4, except the head out, but I'm not sure of the deduction for that. Front swing is slightly piked.

Nice attempt at back lever but no recognition there. Needs head on his basket, but I suspect his pike flexibility is poor-like mine. He missed his hold for german hang ( maybe less than 1s which is a big deduction or non recognition ) because of the attempt at back lever and that's probably why his score was so low. Obviously leg seperation upon land with a poor quality stick.

Hahah, I think I definitely recognize his coach. I thought I did, but wasn't sure but I didn't recognize the leo.
Feb 15, 2008
Great thread! I like that there is not so much DRAMA with the boys. Now I'm generalizing a little bit, and I am speaking of younger girls...when one of the girls peels off the bars, or splits the beam or whatever it seems like there are lots of tears and the ice packs immediately come out etc... Boys peel off the bar or crash spectacularly, they're like, " Did you see that? Did it look cool? This is gonna be a killer bruise..." I volunteered at one of our gym's boys' meets. What a different atmosphere! It was cool to get to listen to the radio. The boys go out and chat with their parents in between events. There were a lot high fives and fist bumps at the awards (even between opposing teams). But, I've got to ask how many socks y'all go through in a season? Socks on, socks off, on again, off again. None of them nicely tuck their socks into their gym bags. Just a big pile of stinky socks in their team area!


No drama on boy's team...:rolleyes::eek::confused::mad::rotfl:

Not mine. One of the boy's on team has probably been more drama than any female competitive gymnast I've coached of any age, from the troublesome to the constantly melodramatic or emo moody ones. He is known to be so amongst all the female team gymnasts and most of the team and rec coaches and team parents.

In a month and a half+, I'm not sure if there has been ONE day where we haven't had one episode with him or if he hasn't pouted or tried to hide behind a mat or stomped off 10-20 feet away from the group.

The other day he wasn't staying in one spotting while doing kick to HS and got too close to another guy. So he rolls out of the HS and the other boy fell out of his HS with his foot going right to the ear of our Drama prince. Tears...from a 10yo. Just wired to be emo. If I didn't think the kid was worth the trouble, I would've kicked him off 5 weeks ago even if we are in season.

However, most of the other boys aren't little drama queens, just typical boy behavior. It means I'm very stressed at the end of the day after a boy's team day. Luckily, it's improving...I hope :eek:ptimist:. In fact the other 10yo is like most 10yo get and how I was...a sneak and complete jokester. I was brutal at that age and just got worse.

Puck incarnate.

Boy's meets are very cool and chill. I've never heard any of the boy's try to intimidate each other or get katty towards each other. In fact, they are usually plotting how to get the candy or snack food from the judge's table. Heheh.
Feb 15, 2008
I suppose there has to be a kid on every team that needs a little cheese with their whine (even the boys). Yes that is another thing I enjoy about the boys team at dd's gym, they are ALL a bunch of schemers and practical jokers! They keep the atmosphere around the gym fun!
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