For Parents Going from 8 hours to 3 hours of practice

LittleGymmie88

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My DD is level 2 and will compete in level 2 meets this fall. DD is 5 but her team is made up of mostly 7-9 year olds and with very few 5-6 yr olds. They train 8 hours a week.

We are moving in in January. There’s a few gyms but one that is known for being really good. They do not compete level 2. I asked if it was possible for her to do pre-team and if she has the skills compete level 3 in the fall of next year.

They were adamant that there is no way she would be able to join pre-team at age 5 and that our only option was do hot shots for a year and then 1-2 yrs of pre-team. Their hot shots team practices 3 hours a week. Will she lose skill going for 8 hours to only 3!? Also she will devastated to go from competing to then not being on a team for 2-3+ years.
 

cogymmom2dd

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I’d say 8 hours is a little much for a 5 year old level 2. My DD1 was 5 when she started practicing L2 and 6 by the time competition season started. I believe it was somewhere around 5-6 hours per week. My DD2 started preteam at age 5, 3 hours per week and will be doing L6 this upcoming season as a 10 year old, so I don’t think less practice at age 5 hindered her mobility through levels. My DD3 is 4 and was invited to team this year, she is ready to turn 5 soon. We opted for preteam instead due to less hours and commitment. She is an anomaly because she has 2 older siblings who live and breathe gymnastics and has had exposure to the gym since the day she was born. Typically, our gym does hot shots/preteam for ages 4-6 and then they join team at age 6.
However, our preteam is also allowed to compete for at our inner squad meets and in a rec league with a few other local gyms but they don’t go to sanctioned events. It’s purely for fun and exposure to meet structure.
 

Lucia

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In case it’s reassuring, my daughter is 8 and will compete level 4 this season, and only trains 3 hours a week. She was on preteam prior to Covid and was supposed to compete level 2 this past year. However, her gym didn’t compete much (and not at all at level 2) during the Covid season. They added a couple girls to preteam during the year, but they still trained my daughter to her potential during this time, and she acquired her kip and cast to handstand. They follow a strict progression and focus a lot on strength in preteam, but were able to stratify training to meet the needs of my child. At first I was concerned about hours, but now I am so happy for smart training. I know her hours will likely increase soon, but I’m thankful for less pounding on her immature skeletal system.
 

txgymfan

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If your daughter still wants more physical activity than three hours of gymnastics, this is a great opportunity to try new sports. Swimming is an important skill to have and develops strength with far less joint strain. Ballet is great for strength, balance and musicality. A team sport is always a good idea to balance the individualism of gymnastics. At her age, most of the kids are beginners, in a few years starting something new will put her with kids that already have experience.
 

katrid11

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Did the gym do an evaluation or was this a phone call?

If it was a phone call then it sounds like they may have a blanket policy based on age. That could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the gym, coach, etc.

3 hrs for age 5 is not bad but when coming from 8 hrs it will be different. More so the class can't do the conditioning and amount of work on each apparatus as she will be accustomed too. I would also ask about # of girls and the types of skills they do. I think you need to understand more about how this gym handles progression vs just looking at levels. What you don't want is your daughter being bored if the skill base is far under her abilities. IF the gym is as good as you may believe, then they should recognize that and push skills where appropriate even in a 3 hr class.

It might not hurt to look at other gyms as well. Each gym may do things differently and a lesser known one maybe a better fit for now.
 
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ausnat83

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There isn't really an incentive for gyms to underdo hours - they could charge more for higher hours. Gyms want to build successful teams of gymnasts that advance and stay in the sport while staying healthy. Many gyms overdo hours in pursuit of success because that's the traditional model and parents and young gymnasts in a hurry to advance think that's what they need. Fortunately more gyms are moving away from high hours, especially at young ages. Quality of practice time degrades after a point, overuse injuries accrue, and young gymnasts burn out.

I like to see kids that age & level stay in the 3-5 hour range, and honestly I'm not a fan of competing before level 3 or 4. That amount of time leaves them plenty of time to build well-rounded athleticism & health through other sports & activities, leaves them wanting more gym instead of less, and paces them for a slow & steady approach. I can understand the disappointment about not competing yet this year, but I think that will be short lived and there's plenty of time for expensive leotards, endless polishing of routines, and nerves.
 

dancemom

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My young son (7-10) was at a gym where he was doing 20 hrs/week. The coach left, without a replacement, and we changed to a gym that only allowed 12 hrs/wk max. The new gym had more stations, was very organized, had the kids much more responsible for their own conditioning and practice results. We realized that we'd been paying for many extra hours, but the kids were essentially just sitting and waiting for their own short turn on an apparatus. So you really need to watch the practices and compare how the training is accomplished, not simply compare the hours.
 

Mom9024

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Does the gym have T&T or acro she can do in addition to hot shots? Ballet can also compliment her gymnastics.

I also agree with other parents on letting your DD try team sports. When L3 competition comes, you likely won't have the time. We did more a variety of sports with DD's older brother, and he has gravitated to soccer naturally. If they chose to specialize in one sport down the road, they enjoy it more when the drive organically comes from them. Less chance of burnout later, too.

DD who just turned ten and is a repeat L3 team gymnast, has asked every now and then to try soccer. This summer, we took a week off gymnastics when I enrolled her in a rec soccer camp, and she had a blast. But here's the kicker--she was ready and determined to go right back to gymnastics. She's always had some talent and a great physique for gymnastics, but she's easily distracted. A light switch seems to have gone off in her head this year, and she's much more focused. The exposure to other sports, IMO, has helped her focus because she appreciates gymnastics more.
 
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dancemom

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My young son (7-10) was at a gym where he was doing 20 hrs/week. The coach left, without a replacement, and we changed to a gym that only allowed 12 hrs/wk max. The new gym had more stations, was very organized, had the kids much more responsible for their own conditioning and practice results. We realized that we'd been paying for many extra hours, but the kids were essentially just sitting and waiting for their own short turn on an apparatus. So you really need to watch the practices and compare how the training is accomplished, not simply compare the hours.

We are on an almost identical situation as the above poster. We’d been sending our young son to 20+ hours of practice a week. There was way too much sitting/waiting/no structure… parents were complaining, across the board, that better practices could easily be accomplished in half the time. Our only coach left, we transferred gyms…. New gym has almost half the hours, but is much more organized with multiple stations and personal responsibilities for the gymnasts. So basically, hours don’t equate to quality. You don’t want to burn out your kid- most importantly, keep it fun!!
 
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