Parents Gymnast with other interests

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Mar 26, 2023
As a first time poster, I have a 13 year old level 9 daughter who is interested in other things but excels at gymnastics. She plays the trombone and made the District Honor Band. She is also in the Beta Club at her school. As a parent, how do you manage your gymnast’s talents against other interests? As parents, my wife and I want our daughter to stick with gymnasts; however, she wants to explore other sports and interests. From a societal perspective, she wants to be more engaged with her friends. My wife and I believe she wants to be “one” of and not the “one”. Help me understand what is going on?
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Her desire to "be a regular kid" is not unusual and many gymnasts retire in middle/high school for this very reason, even those destined to do really well in the upper levels. I would say to explore other options with her like switching to xcel, moving to tumbling only, etc. It could also mean not progressing to L10 and just staying in L9 with reduced hours. If she wants to completely retire I personally would let her make the decision. Gymnastics is too expensive to keep paying for it when the child is not feeling it any more. However, I would also make sure that everything is OK at the gym - that this is not an excuse for something more going on - fears/blocks for L10 skills, peer or coach issues, etc
For everything that she does I'm sure she has friends who want to do more of that with her as well as things outside of that activity. If she's like a lot of teenagers she wants to do everything and not let anyone down.
It’s her life. if she doesnt want to be the “one” she shouldn’t have to be. Let her explore other things.
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I'm not sure if this is the case with your daughter but just because you're really good at doing something, doesn't mean that you like doing it or want to do it for 20+ hours a week.

My dd was in a similar situation at 13 but also had some injuries. She decided to switch to a low key Xcel program and has never looked back. She loves gymnastics in a stress-free environment with no end game. She's a hs senior now and had a great high school experience. She was able to do gymnastics and also school clubs, volunteer, rock climbing, a fun summer job and spend time with friends. She also has more time to dedicate to school work and not be so stressed about finding time to keep up her grades.
Mine is 17 and a soon to be senior. L8/9. Loves gymnastics and other things. She has L10 friends incredibly likely to be or about to be recruited. And friends who have moved on from gymnastics long ago. A few of those being actively recruited in other sports.

Mine does many things, music, gymnastics in HS (went to states) along with club, lacrosse. She has been offered “more” over the course of many years now regarding gymnastics and lacrosse to possibly continue to college, camps, more hours, travel teams. She has always said nope, I don’t want to do NCAA level sports in college. To her that’s a job, she doesn’t want sports to be a job. Including when approached this weekend.

She has never done more than 12 hours of gym usually 9 during the school year. We are changing gyms next year so she can stay competitive for HS, and she is amandant no high hours.

She is a well rounded 4.0 student. An amazing and ordinary kid. And she is happy like that. She will likely go to a state university. She is looking forward to finding a school with both club gymnastics and lacrosse. But her area of interest of study and gymnastics will be the must haves, lacrosse a bonus. And she may start at community college.

She is and will be fine. It’s her life, she gets to decide. I just made sure to offer her opportunities
Sounds like she's a kid who wants to explore what's out there and not be mono focused on one sport. I don't really understand what you mean by her wanting to be "one of" rather than the "one". I'm sure you and your wife don't feel that being a gymnast is the one thing that makes her special- how crushing that would be to a kid knowing how their time in the sport is inevitably limited. When the skills become as difficult and the time commitment as intense as it is by level 9, only the kids who really, really want to be there (and are fortunate not to be injured) remain. Let her explore her other interests. If she truly loves upper level gymnastics she'll return to it, but if you make her continue, I suspect she'll become resentful and eventually quit anyway.
Xcel is a really great option for girls who love gymnastics, but want time for other interests as well. And if she moves to xcel and wants to go back to dp at some point, she's young enough and high enough of a level that shouldn't be an issue. I was really hesitant about moving my dd to xcel (so was she at the time), but it ended up being the best thing for her.
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Thanks to everyone for the responses. My wife and I are very supportive of our daughter’s desires to explore other options. At the end of this competition season, we plan to sit down with her coach and layout our plans for the summer. Our daughter will attend a band camp and tryout for volleyball while trying to gain her level 10 skills for the upcoming season. It is amazing how focused she is when she takes ownership of her activities.
DD14 felt that way too last year! She was a 13 year old, second year level 10. She hadn’t lost her passion for gymnastics but wanted to try other stuff, mainly competitive climbing!
With the help of her coaches we reduced her hours in the gym from 20 to 12, with a personalised training schedule, and she has had a successful year with both sports. I think that year with another focus has been her best yet, and she is excited to move on to the elite climbing team next year. Surprisingly she has managed to maintain all the gymnastics skills she competed last year although has dropped some planned upgrades. She is moving on to compete at regionals now.
Definitely recommend trying out other stuff, let her experiment now as a teen.
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