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cogymmom2dd

Proud Parent
Feb 9, 2020
186
My DD1 is really struggling this season as a 1st year L8. We’ve had a lot of things happening in our lives, so I don’t know if those could be contributing factors or if this is a sign that we either need to find a new gym or scale back all together.
Backstory: we moved last summer. New school, same gym. She is new to middle school and spent the first few weeks of school eating by herself in a cafeteria overflow area. There was assigned seating due to COVID policies and she knew some people from this school but not at the same lunch period as her. She struggled and begged to just be able to do day program gymnastics, which our gym doesn’t offer any longer.
Officially diagnosed with abdominal migraines, gets them approx every other month and she is out of the gym for at least a week at a time. I have been timing them and usually come on before big tests or meets, so could be stress induced. During this week, she doesn’t eat or drink like she should, we have had multiple visits to the ER for hydration and pain control. I feel like it’s one step forward and 2 steps back both academically and at the gym.
Last year, she was on a hybrid schedule, so her remote school days were spent at the gym in the morning and she finished her assignments in the afternoon. She did amazingly well in school last year and did OK with gymnastics. Ended strong at the end of the season with 36+AA as L7.
We were anticipating her repeating L7 again just because she didn’t have a great season l until the end and wanted her to be able to have podium finishes this year.
Over the summer, she practiced up skills and caught on to them quick. She was flipping vaults, had her pirouette on bars, and had all of the L8 skills for beam and floor. Coach/Owner said she’s ready for L8. So, we go with what the coach says. School starts, meet season starts, and she is struggling. Will not flip on vault. Has a watered down vault with an 8.6 SV. Has not made a flyaway dismount out of a giant on bars in competition yet. She does her giants and then freezes and doesn’t connect the flyaway. Her pirouettes are sloppy. She also cannot do a full on the floor anymore, won’t even throw a layout. She has had many of these skills for years and all of a sudden they are gone.
To add to everything, she is struggling at school in a few classes and the teachers say the same thing as the coaches: we know she is capable of doing everything, she just doesn’t do well on tests/ competitions.
Part of my concern is that she has a slight form of ADHD and anxiety is having problems focusing and concentrating. She’s 12. Her body and brain chemistry are changing, so maybe this is just a phase and we need to have her evaluated and possibly on a low dose of medication. Another part of me is wondering how she would do academically and socially if we were to switch gyms to one that has a day program. She did so well with gym first and school later in the afternoon.
However, I feel like most of my local gyms with day programs were designed for kids who are on an elite path and not necessarily run of the mill level 8’s.
I know she is also struggling because she is the only L8 competing this year. We had a L9 who quit all together and a L8 who does HS gymnastics so doesn’t compete in season with her.
Our gym owner has caught on to this and has offered some solutions for her: come in an extra day for a 1:1 with her. Not a private, but just extra practice because she needs to focus on specific skills. Coach will still be there coaching some of the lower levels (bronze and silvers). She is not the head coach for that team, but does go out and help from time to time. She is mostly there on those nights to do office work but said she would do this twice a month. She would be there to spot her and give feedback as needed. She said we can do this at no extra cost. She offered to have her come an hour early every day for practice but DD2 is on the same practice schedule and there are many days that she gets off the elementary school bus and we have to leave for practice. It would add in an entire round trip on our end. This would also be at no extra cost.
She also said she would look into another gym that has a pit that she can vault into and see if she can get the motions back for her vault. We would have to pay for this obviously. She said she knows there is a local gym that rents out space for privates so we would have to pay that fee and she would come and coach her at no cost. We have an elevated pit but not one at ground level and she thinks that a few sessions doing this will bring back muscle memory and she will overcome her fears.
She also said that she totally understands if we leave all together, she will give us recommendations as to where she would like to see her go. She keeps saying she has so much potential but I just don’t know how to motivate her.
Part of me says maybe we need a change, but the other part of me is thinking that she is almost old enough for middle school sports. Maybe encourage her to find something else to focus on and cut down the gym hours and compete XCEL platinum or Diamond next year. Maybe have her evaluated for anxiety/ADHD and see how that goes, I am so lost.
I should add that I have 2 additional kids on team at this gym and receive a pretty hefty discount because I have 2 kids training and competing optionals. DD2 is thriving on L6 and I cannot uproot her. Her best friends are at the gym. She loves her coaches. I do not want to sacrifice her happiness. I also absolutely cannot have 3 kids at 2 separate gyms.
Any thoughts, advice, etc?
 

PreciousJ

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Fan
Feb 16, 2021
426
USA
My quick two cents. Sending positive vibes your way, these are tough situations!
  • First, what does SHE want? Does she still want to do gymnastics? Does she want to compete as an optional or scale back hours/levels?
  • Consider the anxiety/ADHD evaluation. Perhaps she could also be evaluated for an IEP to help her with school? Her mental and physical health are obviously priority #1.
  • Switch to Xcel, if she wants to continue
 

cogymmom2dd

Proud Parent
Feb 9, 2020
186
My quick two cents. Sending positive vibes your way, these are tough situations!
  • First, what does SHE want? Does she still want to do gymnastics? Does she want to compete as an optional or scale back hours/levels?
  • Consider the anxiety/ADHD evaluation. Perhaps she could also be evaluated for an IEP to help her with school? Her mental and physical health are obviously priority #1.
  • Switch to Xcel, if she wants to continue
She says that she wants to do gymnastics, optionals.
She has also mentioned that she wants to start running with my husband to start training for cross country in the fall and has been going to some volleyball clinics to figure out what interests her. She also enjoys golfing and mentioned that football cheer sounds fun and has big dreams of being a collegiate hurdler like her father. So, I would like her to try school based sports. I think she could really excel at any sport because she’s fast and strong. She just isn’t tall.
We talked about switching over to XCEL and her response was how would that help me out any because there aren’t any other girls competing Diamond this year? So, she would still be the lone competitor from the gym.
She could quit gym all together and it wouldn’t change the fact that I still have to be a gym mom for the other 2 so I will do whatever she wants to do but we are in a tough spot because I think a lot of her struggles are coming internally and not necessarily because of a lack of care, concern, or coaching abilities. They know she can do so much more, so much better and are actively trying to help. I am not sure I can find another gym that cares as much as they do.
COVID changed alot of things for many of the upper level optional girls at our gym. They mostly all quit all together because the gym was closed for such a long time or they have moved on to high school gymnastics, which they cannot compete both at the same and competition season happens to fall both at the same time so they practice with the club team in spring and summer but in early fall switch over to HS and can no longer compete or practice in season. Hence the reason why I think she does so well during those times because she has people to push her to do the harder skills.
 

rd7

Coach
Proud Parent
Aug 18, 2011
173
12 is a tough age in gymnastics with bodies changing and it sounds like she has a lot of other stuff going on. Could she compete level 7 again this year and take some pressure off? I'm not sure that privates will help as it will increase the pressure to get/regain these skills.
 

cogymmom2dd

Proud Parent
Feb 9, 2020
186
12 is a tough age in gymnastics with bodies changing and it sounds like she has a lot of other stuff going on. Could she compete level 7 again this year and take some pressure off? I'm not sure that privates will help as it will increase the pressure to get/regain these skills.
We asked that and coach said not for the remainder of our USAG season. We have 2 more meets and then State meet next month and the entries are already in and done deals. However, we flip over to AAU meets in April-June and she said she could probably lower her down to 7 for that. The only bad thing is that DD2 has all of her skills to move up to L7 so they would be competing with but probably not against each other because there is almost 2 years age difference. Not sure if that is a good thing or not. There are a handful of kids on L6 that would move to 7, which would give her that sense of ‘team’ but would include her sister.
 

PreciousJ

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Fan
Feb 16, 2021
426
USA
We talked about switching over to XCEL and her response was how would that help me out any because there aren’t any other girls competing Diamond this year? So, she would still be the lone competitor from the gym.
Maybe it's time to think about setting some gym related goals, then. As in, WHY does she want to continue as an optional? Reframe what she wants and expects out of gym, basically. Does she want to work/perfect certain skills? Qualify for states/regionals/etc.? Does she want to compete X skill by the end of the season? Does she just want to keep working on her blocks? Does she even need to compete for the rest of the season? Can she still work towards XYZ goal as the only gymnast at L8?

It sounds like she's putting a lot of pressure on herself, and maybe she's also worried about feeling like you and her coaches are going out of the way to help her, which is increasing her anxiety. She needs a way for gym to be fun without the pressure.

Not that I have any answers at all, just throwing some thoughts out there. I also struggle with feelings of anxiety sometimes, so I feel for your DD.
 
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rlm's mom

Proud Parent
Aug 21, 2021
260
39
I think company in the gym is super important, especially one they hit teenage years. Are there any bigger gyms in your area? I would have a fresh look around and consider doing a trial elsewhere after this season. I know it may be hard for you to have kids in two different gyms but will probably take some pressure of her, not being in the same gym as her sister.
Also if she is evaluated and found to have ADHD or any other condition you should probably put her into a day program. Let her thrive at what she is good at instead of making her miserable, trying to cram in as much Maths as possible. I generally do not encourage home-schooling for the typical child but if you feel she is different this may be the way to go.
 
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Kara

New Member
Jul 16, 2013
16
If this were my kid, I'd sort out the mental health issues before making any gymnastics decisions. From what you wrote it sounds like there is a lot more going on than just gymnastics stuff. So, I'd get her in to see a good mental health professional, see what's going on there, and then revisit the gymnastics part.
 

ldw4mlo

Proud Parent
Feb 13, 2015
6,339
62
As a mom to a mulit year level 8 during middle school, puberty, Covid p, and injuries. I really feel like this is my kids first real L8 year. No injuries, isolation downtime and she has adjusted to her new adult body. It was a rough couple of years and many would have quit. but she isn’t in it for the medals. Although its fun to get them (Again).

We are lucky in that we are at a gym where they max out at 12 hours and mine is back at 9 because I’m back working full time and our schedules only allow for 9 hours, until she gets her license hope fully over the summer. And she is playing HS lacrosse and misses a lot of gym in spring after States which we are fine with, including writing the checks.

We weren’t at gym for medals and placements. There are so many other reasons. Very happy we “let” her work through up her physical changes. But and this is key. She had core friends at gym that carried her through the changes of MS, then Covid, then HS.

She has had a great year, compared to the last couple.

Find what gives your kid balance. But also it’s ok to push a bit. It would of been easy to let mine quit. But I knew she was capable of more. And now she does too. If she said mom I’m done after this year, that would be ok.

Final but most important point. We were willing to let her work through the lost skills, the mental and physical readjustment to her new self. Seriously, she lost her giant (which took years to get) for a year, 365+ days. She finally got a BHS BHS connected, again a couple of years with a block and injuries. My kid needed the time. Now she knows she can do it.

Only you know your kid. But you need to let go of medals and podium placements as a measure of success. And give her what she needs.
 

ldw4mlo

Proud Parent
Feb 13, 2015
6,339
62
If this were my kid, I'd sort out the mental health issues before making any gymnastics decisions. From what you wrote it sounds like there is a lot more going on than just gymnastics stuff. So, I'd get her in to see a good mental health professional, see what's going on there, and then revisit the gymnastics part.
This first
 

ldw4mlo

Proud Parent
Feb 13, 2015
6,339
62
And give her what she needs.
forgot the most important part. Time. Sometimes they need time. The question to ask yourself is how much can you give.

for us it was easy she is currently our her only one. Her brother is grown and on his own. We all had time.
 

ReluctantGymMom

Proud Parent
May 11, 2020
255
32
From what I’ve seen from our first year level 8s: it is a STRUGGLE. Girls who won regionals in level 7, multiple meets with events scratched, usually vault. Level 8 is hard. And it’s even harder if she’s the only one doing level 8. Just assume she’ll do another year, like plenty of other 8s do, and with other 7s moving up, she won’t be alone.

Middle school is a really bad age all around :(
 
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Tigtimes

Proud Parent
May 12, 2015
243
Sounds like just a lot of change and stressful things going on. School stress has a great effect on my child’s performance at the gym. As the pressures at school increased, social and academic, the once consistent gymnast became a bit of a mess. Skills would come and go, sometimes staying lost for long periods of time. Summer practices would always be awesome lots of skills acquire, then September rolled around and everything would go backward once adding in school pressures. Add all the COVID school crazy and just lots of anxiety for these kids which for mine heads into the gym.

Try and focus on one thing at a time. Guessing if her school stress/anxiety gets better things outside of school will too. Middle school are tough years combined with a mentally tough activity can just be too much. Mine has settled with age and communication with coach on heavy homework times and test time and modifying her practice days, she is a level 10. We have seen great improvement with year managing it This way.
 
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LJL07

Proud Parent
Jan 27, 2014
1,842
Aw, I am going to send you a PM when I have a bit more time. This sounds like a ton of stress. I also have more than child in gym. My older daughter was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and similarly has been in and out a lot. Full time school and upper optionals is a lot on a kid's plate especially if they are dealing with multiple stressors on top of that. It is so hard to find a reasonable balance. You and your daughter are not alone.
 
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cogymmom2dd

Proud Parent
Feb 9, 2020
186
I think company in the gym is super important, especially one they hit teenage years. Are there any bigger gyms in your area? I would have a fresh look around and consider doing a trial elsewhere after this season. I know it may be hard for you to have kids in two different gyms but will probably take some pressure of her, not being in the same gym as her sister.
Also if she is evaluated and found to have ADHD or any other condition you should probably put her into a day program. Let her thrive at what she is good at instead of making her miserable, trying to cram in as much Maths as possible. I generally do not encourage home-schooling for the typical child but if you feel she is different this may be the way to go.
Yes, I live in a suburb of a large urban area and we have options for gyms. There is one close but their day program consists of kids who are on an elite path. I have a friend with a daughter who is in their day program and she made TOPS A this year and trains with her TOPS A teammates and 2 others who are JR elite qualifiers. So, I don’t know if that gym would be the best fit. There is another local gym that could be an option but it’s about 35 additional miles out of our way.
 

Tigtimes

Proud Parent
May 12, 2015
243
I think company in the gym is super important, especially one they hit teenage years.

There is another local gym that could be an option but it’s about 35 additional miles out of our way.
I agree with RIM about company. That being said mine is a team of one at her level. We tried a gym post covid with large level 10 Team, drive was way longer.
That additional drive time created different stress, less down time, less homework time, etc. It was not the answer and my kid felt “the end didn’t justify the means”. So keep that in mind when heading further. I know tons here do it but it was not for us.
 
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