Parents Gym changes~ what would you do?

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curlymomof3

Proud Parent
May 31, 2011
127
Hi all,
I mostly lurk on these forums but appreciated the feedback I have received in the past so I am back for more advice. Dd is a 7-year old level 3 gymnast at a gym we have been at since she could walk. She loves her coach and the overall gym experience and even did pretty good at her first meet a couple weeks ago (first place with 35.775 AA).
I just received an e-mail from the HC tonight stating that she is leaving for another gym in 2 weeks. Once she is gone, the owner of the club does not intend to replace her. She coaches the level 7-9 girls and they are either following her to the other gym or quitting. So basically, the gym will only offer levels 3-6 for now and that might be all they offer from now on. The level 5/6 coach is leaving at the end of summer for college. My daughter's coach is planning on staying for now.
There are really good gyms within a 30-minute drive (I drive about 15 minutes to get to our current one) but I haven't even considered them because of the longer commute. Should I switch now and find a program that Dd can stay with so I don't have to switch her later or just let her stay with her coach that she loves and hope for the best? And BTW, there are only 3 girls on the level 3 team and 1 level 4 at her current gym. I also have a feeling that the owner is moving toward a more "rec" gym that competitive. I have not talked with the other parents yet to see what they plan to do since we just found out tonight. Would love some advice and don't hold back~~ I can take it :D

TIA!!
 
My main thing is that it comes down to what your daughter wants from gym. If she's looking to compete, moving her is what I suggest. The reason I say that is that we have a gym here locally that focuses on Levels 3-5. They perform poorly from a placement standpoint. If a gym doesn't have a higher level infrastructure, they likely won't have an eye for the details that help gymnasts progress later and succeed now.And congrats to your daughter on a great AA score. I'm a father of a young level 3, and I just love seeing these girls going out and doing well.
 
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I like cbone's perspective, but want to offer up a few ideas that are niether right or wrong.

Keep your thoughts and plans to yourself or you may be influenced to make choices that you are not happy with down the road. It is also a good way to stay free of guilt when somebody follows your lead and later regrets "their" choice.


Use the time span between now and when the situation erodes (maybe December) to become educated about what your DD wants and what commitments your family can take. If she says she wants to be a great gymnast, and they all do at some time, does she train and act like a dedicated athlete. Really wanting to be a good gymnast and enjoying gymnastics means doing the "homework" most coaches send home, like flexibility and strength exercises instead of doing just the "fun" things kids do because gymnastics skills are fun.

Try to sharpen your information filtering skills as there are some clubs and coaches that will overwhelm you with insignificant accomplishments and excessive certifications. Watch for smiles that come with suprising amounts of enthusiasm and frequency. My feeling is that "come-on" chatter is in some cases the biggest investment a few gym programs make in their staff and facility.

Use the time to learn about other gyms by visiting them during all levels of team practices. You may want to maintain a low profile, be the fly on the wall, portray yourself as just being curious about how other gyms operate. The fewer questions you ask, the more information you get. Keep an ear out for what the parents around you are talking about. Visit each gym AT LEAST 2 times. After eliminating those that really don't fit you can concentrate on 2 or more finalists and visit each at least 3 additional times.

Meet with the head coach of each finalist facility to get a feel for where they stand on child development and how they integrate that philosophy with training and achievement. What do they say about their success in the competitive arena, and which age ranges are experiencing that success. It won't do you or DD any good to be in a program that takes 10 years to bring an individual child to level 8 competence unless that is what's hoped for.

I hope this helps!
 
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It does sound like this gym is headed to a mainly rec program with small low level teams. I would see if the owner is going to address the future of the team program and if not, could the parents ask for a quick meeting? At least you would be getting the plan for the gym from the horse's mouth.
What do you and your dd want for the next few years? If she is wanting to move and compete L4-6 this may not be the place to do it simply because there won't be any coaches. It probably wouldn't hurt to start contacting other gyms to find out about their team programs and make some initial visits to watch a practice, meet coaching staffs and get information.
 
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Thank you all for your insight!! I actually talked with the owner today about the whole situation to kind of get a feel for where she's coming from. Apparently, she just found out a week ago that the other coach is leaving (although she has suspected for some time). The HC's reason for leaving (per e-mail) was because she wanted to coach at a more competitive gym that is better equipped to handle the upper-level programs. I can kind of see where she is coming from because, while our current gym does okay in the competitive arena, there are much better gyms around. We currently only have about 6 optional girls, including 1 level 9 and a handful of level 7s. According to the owner, she does plan on eventually bringing back the optional levels to the gym but it might take some time and we just have to "trust" her (her words) that it will all work out!
I'm kind of torn because the reason why we love this gym so much is because of the positive atmosphere; it will be hard to leave after being there for so long. I told Dd this morning and she is heartbroken over the older girls leaving. They are so cute with her and she will truly miss them :( I realize Dd is only 7 and things could change as she gets in the upper levels but for now she loves it and I'm just following her lead. Thank you for the advice about making this our decision and not involving others. Dd has some friends on the team and I have been tempted to talk to them about moving but I now realize that my not be the best idea. For now I am going to have her finish out the season and then maybe look into other gyms in the summer.
 
I haven't read through all of the other responses, but you have a good game plan for continuing through the end of the season and then checking out other gyms. If you don't already know, this is the time when any gym switching tends to occur anyway. You won't be the only one out there checking for greener pastures!
 
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Our gym had a similar turnover with a coach from the optional levels about a year and a half ago. All of the higher level girls followed their coach and the gym was at a rebuilding stage. To keep a long story short, the gym's dedication to rebuild the program with a strong new coaching staff has been great for the younger girls (like dd). The compulsory girls that stayed through the transition are treated as the future of the program and get a lot of time with the new optional level coach because he only has a handful of girls.

It could have been a different outcome for us if the gym hadn't made all of the positive changes that they did after the transition, but dd has definitely benefited from being part of a gym with a growing program.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I997 using Tapatalk
 
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It is concerning losing the optional coach, but what would worry me more is the L5/6 coach leaving at the end of the summer which would be before those levels compete. It is hard to lose the entitre optional team and then rebuild at some point in the future because the gym gets known as compulsory only so many kids wouldn't even give it a try past L5 or so.
As TQM said, the spring and early summer is the most common time to change gyms, so many places wouldn't be surprised by you contacting them for info. Also I'm sure the gyms in your area have already heard about the coach exodus at your gym and are expecting calls and new kids to show up.
Good luck and keep us updated.
 
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