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Jul 14, 2009
Bonney Lake, WA
Hi there,

I am the parent of a newer gymnast (2 years) and am just starting to look around at what forums are out there. My daughter is competing this year as a level 6 so some of the elements are starting to look a lilttle scary (more for me than her I think).

Since I only know our local gym it is interesting reading about what other gyms are like and I am also interested in finding out what we should be looking for in an optional program as until recently our gym only went through level 6 (they have just added an experienced optionals coach so hopefully we will not have to make a move when she is ready to move up).

I am in the Seattle/Tacoma area.
You have found the best online forum around. At least thus far as I had recently found it as well. So, welcome and enjoy the ride.

What in particular about optional would you like to know? Gym's program? Skills? Gymnasts' attitude? Parents' view? Competition? Progression?
What in particular about optional would you like to know? Gym's program? Skills? Gymnasts' attitude? Parents' view? Competition? Progression?

Nothing specific, just trying to soak it all up so we will be good when the time comes, she has just started level 6 so should be a little while before she moves up again. It has been quite a whirlwind as we had no idea gymnastics would end up such a large part of our lives when she started.

We had thought we might have a hard choice when she gets promoted to level 7 as we had no optionals program a couple of weeks ago but now there is a full fledged team as the new coach brought over several gymnasts with him. The booster club and fund-raising for the optional girls is way beyond what we have been doing for the compulsory team so that was an eye-opener.

I know the coach has been very successful, has trained several college gymnasts, and served on the regional USAG board so I feel confident he is well qualified.

It looks like we can choose between 4 or 5 days a week at level 7, right now she is doing 3 days a week (9 hours/week total) which is going well. I do not think we are prepared for her to be going 5 days a week at this point.

One nice thing in a way is that our school district does not offer gymnastics so we do not have to worry about her wanting to compete for a middle school or high school team and can just focus on the club. The only bummer would be if high school gymnastics ends up being the most she could achieve as she would have to transfer in to a neighboring district that has gymnastics.
There were several recent threads on L7 vs. L6. So, doing a search will yield much information.

Nonetheless, here are a few of my observations...

L7 is a transitional level, so it's really part compulsory and part optional. L7 is not all that different than L6 when it comes to minimum skill requirements. At a meet, judging criteria are different and more tough. Just about all top strong L6s from a good gym will naturally perform well at L7.

At an optional level, gymnasts typically grow closer and they support and motivate each other more. They are far more in tune with their and others' strengths and weaknesses. They also are more interested in seeing others perform and become inspired.

Parents of optional are less apt to brag about the gymnasts without real substance. They tend to get together more as a group before and after a meet.

Besides longer hours, training and conditioning will be much more intense and demanding. Gymnasts will no longer be able to get away with giving less than 100%. There will be many more pep talks and lectures.
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