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AlexandraU16

Proud Parent
Aug 31, 2021
20
30
Hey everyone! I’m still pretty new to the gymnastics world and honestly still am figuring out the do’s and do nots so I have some questions and am looking for some advice from veterans such as yourselves. (Also this is long so apologies)

I have two girls, 7 and 4, who started gymnastics this past fall and have really been enjoying it. There aren’t very many gyms to choose from in our area- it’s definitely more a dance and cheer culture around here- but they started at the most prominent local one which offers a really wide selection of times and days for classes. I thought they were an AAU gym but now it seems they compete NGA and I have found very little info online about NGA and their levels and legitimacy etc so maybe someone can give me a little insight into AAU vs NGA and what they know about NGA?

Anyway when they started it was great. Rec starts at age 5 there so before that it’s preschool classes. My younger daughter’s class was great with 4-5 kids and she excelled. My older daughter’s class was great right away too and has continued to be this whole time. My 4 year old’s coach pulled me aside a couple months in and told me she thought my daughter would be better off in an advanced invitational only preschool class (it isn’t listed online or anything so I didn’t even know it existed-also it is non competitive) but it’s only an hour a week and she loved her friends in her current class and always wants more gymnastics so we ended up putting her in the advanced class but also allowing her to continue in her regular class too. The advanced class has been great. Only five girls and it’s out in the main gym not the preschool room and working some more advanced skills etc. But all the sudden her other class suddenly has 8 or 9 kids to the one coach and it has become so chaotic that learning is definitely not happening at the same rate and it’s honestly fairly overwhelming.

There’s one USAG gym in town and I saw they offer homeschool class (we homeschool for non gymnastics related reasons) so I thought how great it would be for our schedule for them to take a class during the day vs waiting til the evening as we currently do. I inquired if they have anything equivalent to the advanced preschool class my daughter is currently in and the owner said they have a group of 4-6 year olds that will be competing in the fall and that she would need to evaluate my daughter to see if that would be a good fit for her. Doesn’t that mean they must be competing levels 1 and 2? So I looked at level 1 skill requirements and my daughter just turned 4 so doesn’t have a lot of those skills (no cartwheel, handstand light years away, etc) so I’m wondering if it would be worth anyone’s time to even have her evaluated? The coach wasn’t very expansive about what they would be looking for at her age.

My older daughter is doing well where she is and doesn’t have competitive aspirations but would love to take more classes so I thought she’d enjoy the homeschool class at the other gym and maybe make some homeschool friends but I’m wondering if it’s a huge no-no to have your kids enrolled at two separate gyms even at this low rec level? Would we need to completely switch or just stay where we currently are or is both an option?

I want my younger daughter to keep progressing and I think maybe she could be on the competitive track so I wonder if an NGA gym will get her where she wants to go or if it would be better to make the switch to the USAG gym now? Or let her keep going at the current gym but drop the chaotic preschool class and only do the advanced? Is four way too young to be competing?
Sorry for the word vomit. Opinions and advice welcome.
I’m leaning towards just staying put and seeing where things go over the next year or so. Thanks everyone
 

gymgal

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Aug 22, 2008
4,548
Welcome ! I don't know anything about NGA so can't help there, sorry.

Personally, I think your instincts to stay in the current gym are on target for now. She's 4. You have time. See how she is liking gymnastics after this year and then make a move if you feel the need. As for the preschool class, One coach to 8-9 kids should be manageable and the coach may need just a little more time to figure it out. If it doesn't get better, inquire with the front desk. As for the invite only classes, usually they are feeders to preteam and team so it's good that you have her in one.

At their ages, going to two different gyms shouldn't be an issue. Once the younger transitions to a team, you will want to stick to one gym for her but the older is well established and the new gym *shouldn't have a problem with you at the old gym.
 

Mommybymiracle

New Member
Apr 22, 2022
1
42
We (now 5 yr old)have done two separate gyms before for like a month or two as we transition. There wasn’t any problem at the competitive gum, as they understood and said that many gyms require notice and it helps the kiddos transition from their 1st coach (as a former kindergarten teacher, there is something about you first teacher that kids always have a special connection with. ) I don’t think it’s a big deal at all.
 
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LJL07

Proud Parent
Jan 27, 2014
1,842
I am not crazy about NGA. I was initially hopeful as there are numerous problems with USAG. In my opinion, NGA was thrown together quickly, was rolled out quickly, and it is not a great option just yet for upper optionals. I also do not see where they are implementing any super "culture" changes like they are claiming, but that is just my observation from the grassroots level. I am also speaking from the perspective of having two older optional level gymnasts.

Here is the problem you might eventually run into: if you keep your girls in an NGA program past NGA level 3, they will have to score out of USAG level 4 and higher because there is no reciprocity between NGA and USAG.

However, with your girls being preteam, I am not sure NGA versus USAG matters right now. That being said, I think NGA is fine skill wise for compulsory levels and even has more latitude than USAG. It kind of reminds me of Xcel in that regard. If your 7 year old had competitive aspirations, I think it would be more of a concern, but for a 4 year old, I would just concentrate on fun and loving the sport. I hope this is helpful.
 

AlexandraU16

Proud Parent
Aug 31, 2021
20
30
I am not crazy about NGA. I was initially hopeful as there are numerous problems with USAG. In my opinion, NGA was thrown together quickly, was rolled out quickly, and it is not a great option just yet for upper optionals. I also do not see where they are implementing any super "culture" changes like they are claiming, but that is just my observation from the grassroots level. I am also speaking from the perspective of having two older optional level gymnasts.

Here is the problem you might eventually run into: if you keep your girls in an NGA program past NGA level 3, they will have to score out of USAG level 4 and higher because there is no reciprocity between NGA and USAG.

However, with your girls being preteam, I am not sure NGA versus USAG matters right now. That being said, I think NGA is fine skill wise for compulsory levels and even has more latitude than USAG. It kind of reminds me of Xcel in that regard. If your 7 year old had competitive aspirations, I think it would be more of a concern, but for a 4 year old, I would just concentrate on fun and loving the sport. I hope this is helpful.
For sure thank you so much! It is all so complicated- the different organizations and levels etc. Headache inducing really. My older daughter started late (by late I mean 6.5 ) and has to work very hard as it doesn’t come easily to her and has never expressed any desire to compete- she just really enjoys what she’s doing and is determined to move up to the next recreational level (and she’s close! Just needs some work on those casts) so I am not concerned about the NGA vs USAG thing for her.
My younger currently loves gymnastics and is very strong and seems to be picking it up quickly so I could for see a future where she competes but lord knows tomorrow she may decide she hates it so I’m definitely not banking on it. Just thinking if she does end up competing if a gym switch down the road when she’s older and has more consistent friends there etc would be harder than now when she’s not as invested. But I think we are just going to stay out for now and see how things naturally unfold.
 

AlexandraU16

Proud Parent
Aug 31, 2021
20
30
Welcome ! I don't know anything about NGA so can't help there, sorry.

Personally, I think your instincts to stay in the current gym are on target for now. She's 4. You have time. See how she is liking gymnastics after this year and then make a move if you feel the need. As for the preschool class, One coach to 8-9 kids should be manageable and the coach may need just a little more time to figure it out. If it doesn't get better, inquire with the front desk. As for the invite only classes, usually they are feeders to preteam and team so it's good that you have her in one.

At their ages, going to two different gyms shouldn't be an issue. Once the younger transitions to a team, you will want to stick to one gym for her but the older is well established and the new gym *shouldn't have a problem with you at the old gym.
I feel like that class gets rowdier every week. The coach is great and she keeps them mostly controlled but has to spend a lot of time getting them that way and so the amount of actual working time is lower than it used to be. The class is primarily three year olds (her advanced class appears to be all four year olds) and several boys so there’s definitely a lot of energy.

I am pretty settled on staying put for now. I do wonder how the whole preteam/team thing works as they appear to be one of those gyms that doesn’t tell anyone about the process until they’re in the process. The rec program starts at age 5 and does a color system- they start at “pink” level and move up to orange and then green and then blue etc. I do wonder how it’ll work when my daughter turns five and moves out of the preschool classes- if she will have to go straight to the pink level rec class…at that point she will have been in gymnastics for a year and a half with a year of that in advanced. No idea how any of it works but I guess I’ll find out eventually!
 

PreciousJ

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Fan
Feb 16, 2021
426
USA
I do wonder how the whole preteam/team thing works as they appear to be one of those gyms that doesn’t tell anyone about the process until they’re in the process.
Hi, welcome to "virtually every gym ever", nice to meet you! LOL

Seriously, though, that's what happens to so many parents, and how so many find their way here. You're already starting out ahead of the game by being on Chalk Bucket at this point in their gym journey. :)
 

AlexandraU16

Proud Parent
Aug 31, 2021
20
30
Hi, welcome to "virtually every gym ever", nice to meet you! LOL

Seriously, though, that's what happens to so many parents, and how so many find their way here. You're already starting out ahead of the game by being on Chalk Bucket at this point in their gym journey. :)
Haha that’s the theme I’m noticing for sure. Well we are just along for the ride!
 

gymgal

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Aug 22, 2008
4,548
I am pretty settled on staying put for now. I do wonder how the whole preteam/team thing works as they appear to be one of those gyms that doesn’t tell anyone about the process until they’re in the process. ..... I do wonder how it’ll work when my daughter turns five and moves out of the preschool classes- if she will have to go straight to the pink level rec class…
Most gyms have advanced, invite only classes that they transition their "hotshot" preschoolers into. So, no, she likely will not be going into the basic school-aged rec group. Likely will go into a feeder group for pre/team

Also talk with the front desk. They should be able to give you some answers as to the class sequence. Just let them know you are curious. You may get vague answers but you should get an idea, including whether their "hotshot" gymnasts are fed into the team program.
 

AlexandraU16

Proud Parent
Aug 31, 2021
20
30
Most gyms have advanced, invite only classes that they transition their "hotshot" preschoolers into. So, no, she likely will not be going into the basic school-aged rec group. Likely will go into a feeder group for pre/team

Also talk with the front desk. They should be able to give you some answers as to the class sequence. Just let them know you are curious. You may get vague answers but you should get an idea, including whether their "hotshot" gymnasts are fed into the team program.
That’s what I was considering doing- just casually asking what I should be planning on doing for her enrollment closer to when she turns five.
So is an advanced preschool class pretty much “hotshots” just by a different name?
You guys are so helpful I appreciate it. I feel like this is the most complicated kid sport. :D
 

gymgal

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Aug 22, 2008
4,548
That’s what I was considering doing- just casually asking what I should be planning on doing for her enrollment closer to when she turns five.
So is an advanced preschool class pretty much “hotshots” just by a different name?
You guys are so helpful I appreciate it. I feel like this is the most complicated kid sport. :D
I put hotshots in quotes because it can mean different things to different gyms but most have some kind of separate preschool program for those kiddos who are showing clear potential for future team. They are the ones who have talent, get skills faster (or better) than others, are well behaved/focused, have reasonable amount of risk taking behavior (not super cautious), etc.

It is possible that your gym has a few levels of preschool classes (beg, intermediate, advanced) and also have a separate track for the more talented preschoolers (hotshots). Some only have one level of preschool and then feed their more advanced preschoolers into their separate track
 

AlexandraU16

Proud Parent
Aug 31, 2021
20
30
I put hotshots in quotes because it can mean different things to different gyms but most have some kind of separate preschool program for those kiddos who are showing clear potential for future team. They are the ones who have talent, get skills faster (or better) than others, are well behaved/focused, have reasonable amount of risk taking behavior (not super cautious), etc.

It is possible that your gym has a few levels of preschool classes (beg, intermediate, advanced) and also have a separate track for the more talented preschoolers (hotshots). Some only have one level of preschool and then feed their more advanced preschoolers into their separate track
Gotchya. From what I have gleaned our gym has the regular preschool classes and then the advanced preschool class that my daughter is currently in but that’s all from what I know. I wonder if they don’t even have a preteam- it looks like they’re competing with girls who look about six so maybe they just go straight to team but what the heck do I know? Lol
 
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