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AusDad

Proud Parent
Aug 5, 2022
5
37
My 7yr old daughter started gymnastics at the beginning of this year, instantly fell in love with it and is in the comp team (in Australia at level 2 I should add). Currently she trains 6hrs a week, increasing to 9 next month (which she says still isn't enough for her lol).

We're at a YMCA gym and I'm just worried that they don't have much of a programme going towards the higher levels. At the same time, she's 7 and I don't really want to send her somewhere else unless it's warranted, but how do you know when that is?

She finishes at training and then comes home and immediately wants to start practicing her kip on the home bar (she can't do it yet but it's not trained here until level 4 I think), so she's seeking out other things to try and work on.

While she's definitely not the best gymnast in her team, no-one matches her grit and determination, and I don't want her to miss an opportunity to develop further because we kept her at a more 'fun' gym.
 

JPC13

Proud Parent
Mar 25, 2022
129
Have her try out at another more competitive gym and see what they say. People in this sport are honest. If they think she’s wasting time at a low level gym they will tell you. However, they will also probably tell you if she’s nothing special and a good fit for a fun type of team — so be prepared.
 
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JessSyd

Proud Parent
Oct 10, 2013
299
Sydney Australia
To give you an answer from an Australian perspective……a lot of what you read here doesn’t apply to Australian gymnastics. Changing gyms is an easy and generally non acrimonious process (you can always go back if you made a mistake), ‘team’ is for pretty much any girl who is willing to put in the work, and there is no rush to move up the ranks, because college gymnastics isn’t a thing.

Assuming you’re not interested in elite, just letting her go as far as she can and do as well as she can, there is no drawback to having her in a local friendly club for her early levels (as long as the club attends external competitions from level 3 and up). It is true that some clubs are more competitive than others, but they all follow the same program and she can switch at any time if she wants higher hours, or if she needs to to access higher level coaching. FWIW, a gym that is putting level 2s in a 9 hour program is probably taking it seriously!

What state are you in? It differs from state to state, but in NSW, there is not really even open competition until level five. For the early levels, girls just compete for banded ribbons (a certain score range gets you a certain coloured ribbon), so there is no limit to the number of girls who can get ‘gold’. It means that as long as you feel the coaching is safe and that the coaches are engaged and have a plan for the girls, that your daughter is having fun, and that the situation works for you, you can take a few levels to figure out the lay of the land. Go to a few competitions, see what other gyms are up to, talk to parents at the competition etc.

Gyms can grow with the girls too. My daughter’s previous gym only went to level five the year she joined it, and now it sends level tens to Nationals.

Of course, if you and she are both interested in pursuing elite gymnastics (which is a very niche thing in Australia, where the vast bulk of girls only ever train for the National Level Program), then get her to an evaluation at a high powered gym straight away, as they are the only gyms that will push and accelerate girls sufficiently to meet the strict age requirements of the elite developmental program (which are on the gym Australia website). But they are very selective, and a seven year old would probably have to be an outlier in terms of size, shape, flexibility, strength and body awareness, and speed of skill acquisition, for them to consider an accelerated program for her.

One thing to consider about high powered gyms is that stars - kids with genuine elite potential, get a lot of time and attention. Smaller, less aspirational gyms can sometimes be better at helping every girl meet their own inner star potential!

This is just a ’mum’ perspective, from having had a kid at three gyms across the past ten years. Our changes were largely for logistical reasons, as each gym had its strengths and weaknesses. So coaches or gymnasts here might have a different perspective on things?!
 
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Aussie_coach

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Jan 4, 2008
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What State you are in will make a big difference. But as JessSyd says, a lot of what you read on here isn’t as relevant in Australia. When people say go to a more competitive gym, that might be less simple than you think. If you are doing 6 Hours a week in Level 2, then you are at a very high hours gym. Most gyms do not have a lot of higher level kids.
 
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AusDad

Proud Parent
Aug 5, 2022
5
37
Thanks for the responses. We're in QLD, just North of Brisbane. Honestly, I probably fall into that category of every parent thinking they're child is the next Georgia Godwin (how awesome was she at the Comm Games). I grew up with parents that didn't have the time or money to help push in sport, and being more fortunate and the fact that she's fallen in love with this sport makes me want to support her as high as she can go. I'm not use to a sport where you have to be on top of it at such a young age, and guess it makes it a struggle with knowing what steps to take up help her the most.
 

belgym

New Member
Jul 9, 2022
6
I wouldn't worry too much until she is competing. The truth is that sadly there are very few gyms in Australia that get to the point of coaching elite gymnasts at all. If you get to that stage Delta Gymnastics (where Georgia trains) has a few venues in Brisbane that can get kids to that level.
 

Aussie_coach

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Jan 4, 2008
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I am also in QLD, if you are North of Brisbane, check out Delta gymnastics. They have multiple venues and have one of the largest upper level gymnastics teams in all of QLD.
 
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