For Parents Hi new here. Questions?

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GymMom1006

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Hi, I’m new to this site, and am very confused, sorry if it’s too long. Anyone ever been through anything like this???
My daughter is 7, she been going to her current gym for 2 years in July. She started in a rec class, then they moved her up to Rec Team, then last summer she moved up to Developmental Team(Pre Team).
This gym is very small, and has no pit, only handful of coaches, etc. They compete USAG, and an organization called AGA. AGA doesn’t go by normal levels like USAG does. The team doesn’t start competing USA until Level 4. So, my daughter is all over the place. They haven’t taught her the windmill thing on the bars, but they’re starting to train her to do a kip, and jump to high bar. She hasn’t learned a handstand on beam, but is doing a cartwheel, and round off off for dismount. She’s been training a ROBHS for at least 6 months, but they haven’t really trained her on standing BHS.
She went to an open gym at an elite high profile gym once, and all she can talk about now is changing to that gym I got pricing, and it’s more than double what we are paying where we are. I explained what she can do, and they said that she might be on a pre team or level 3 there, but they would need to evaluate her. There’s also another gym that she likes. It’s not an elite gym, but they do train according to levels up to level 10. She has a few friends there from school, and all their parents seem to like it, and give good reviews.
I’m very confused. I don’t know if it matters that she doesn’t have those early skills, but if it does I worry if we wait too long to change her she will be held back with girls much younger than her, and that might discourage her. If we do change her is it worth paying the extra money for an Elite gym, or just a normal competitive gym? But then I think well maybe if she stays there longer and makes team and starts actually training USAG, she’ll be on par with other gyms. I just don’t know. Any opinions are appreciated……
 

MaryA

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Wow... Too many factors at play to say for sure. As for the progression of skills, some skills, like the mill circle, don't necessarily lead to anything bigger down the road (whereas the kip is definitely something they need to learn), so the lack of that skill may only affect her if she wants to change from AGA to USAG. Whether making the change is worth it or not really depends. USAG JO is more or less the only path in the US (or at least the most well-known path) to upper level gymnastics (level 9/10 comparable skills, college scholarships, etc.). But many girls can still have a long and enjoyable "career" in gymnastics through the other programs. Look at where the girls at your DD's gym "top out." Is it only a few levels above where your DD is now? Are they mostly elementary age and younger? Or do kids stick with it into middle school and beyond and continue to advance and learn new skills? Ask the same questions at the other gyms you are considering. Clearly the elite gym takes a few girls to the highest levels, but what about their "average" gymnasts? Do they have lots of optional gymnasts of all different ages?

It is not worth going broke to take your DD to an Elite gym when she is 7 (or ever). If you are hearing good things about the other USAG gym, then it's definitely worth checking out. But, unless money is no object, be sure to ask questions about other expenses... How much does their comp leo cost? Their warm-ups? How often do they need to buy new ones? Does the team travel out of state? How often? Are there booster club fees? Fundraising requirements? You want to go in with your eyes wide open.

Yes, it will be harder to switch as she gets older. My DD switched from a YMCA gym to a private gym when she was 10, but her YMCA followed USAG JO progressions, so she was learning the same skills in the same order, and even so she is still generally the oldest girl in her level because she didn't progress as fast as she might have at a private gym where she would have practiced more hours.

However, many of the kids that participate in less intensive programs (I don't know anything about AGA, but I'm assuming that it practices fewer hours than JO, on average) are then able to pursue other interests... dabble in other sports, play an instrument, be in drama club, etc. etc. Those things become very difficult past level 4 or 5 in JO. My DD is a 13-year-old level 8 and is in the gym 20 hours a week during the school year and 25 hours a week in the summer. That doesn't leave a lot of time for much else. It's also hard to take extended family vacations. You may find that the AGA program gives your DD more opportunity for "balance" in her life.

So, I guess I'm saying nobody here can tell you the right path for you and your family. It sounds like your DD wants MORE gymnastics, and I think it's great that you are willing to look into the possibility of giving her more. To be honest, when I'm at the gym and overhear a coach taking the parent of a young gymnast aside and telling them they think their daughter is ready for pre-team, I am torn between welcoming them to the "club" and urging them to RUN! RUN AWAY! My daughter has learned a lot of amazing things through her gymnastics journey but it is definitely a major factor in the life of everyone in the entire family, including her non-gymnast sister.

Good luck as you explore your options!
 

billise

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I am not a coach, just a mommy of a 7 year old level 3. Personally I would say there is no need to pay for the elite training at this point. I would put her at a gym that has a strong optional team up to level 10. Then you can be fairly confident that she is getting a good foundation. If she has the potential to go elite I would think a gym with a strong optional program would be able to spot that and help steer you in that direction if you and your DD want that. DD's gym no longer trains elites (both gym owner and head coach were elite gymnasts/National Team members) but has a great optional program with many of our optionals coming up through our compulsory team. Most of the girls progress "normally" through the levels but they can spot the girls that are uber talented and they move them along very quickly. We currently have a handful of 7/8 year olds who are training levels 7 & 8 and a 9 year old level 9. There is a great deal of communication with the parents of those girls and i'm sure some of it revolves around other options if they are interested in pursuing them.
 

sevenatenine2

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AGA is like Excel. We competed it many years ago. It was fun. I don't think it's that much of a disadvantage to do AGA until Level 4 instead of USA Level 2 and 3. It might actually help, bc she's not wasting her time on skills like the windmill.
 

GymMom1006

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Thank you guys so much for your replies. We've been wrestling back and forth with the idea of switching gyms for a while now. I just want to make sure she's getting the best training, but they have a policy if we leave we can't go back. So it's a stressful decision.
 

Ariekannairb

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AGA is like Excel. We competed it many years ago. It was fun. I don't think it's that much of a disadvantage to do AGA until Level 4 instead of USA Level 2 and 3. It might actually help, bc she's not wasting her time on skills like the windmill.


I was sitting in the gym watching my DD do her bar routine and wondering what the windmill led into. I couldn't think of what it built up to so this answers my question.

Sorry for the tangent OP.
 

MaryA

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Thank you guys so much for your replies. We've been wrestling back and forth with the idea of switching gyms for a while now. I just want to make sure she's getting the best training, but they have a policy if we leave we can't go back. So it's a stressful decision.
I think this is silly. What other businesses have this policy? If I leave one (health club, shopping center, church, wherever) to try another only to discover that I preferred my original choice, shouldn't the place I left welcome me back, and hope that I might talk to others who might think of leaving and tell them why I decided this was the best place after all?

The other gym you are considering may have an Xcel program that would allow you a lower-hours option but with all the cool pits and equipment your daughter is admiring if you should decide in the future that the JO path is not for you and returning to your original gym is not an option.
 

Sasha

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If you're feeling like the current gym setup or coaching is possibly lacking, most likely, making a switch is the right thing to do. And I would agree that switching earlier is always easier than later. She's only on pre-team now, and only 7. If her current gym isn't as good at the fundamentals (it might be great, but if you're concerned....), then it's only going to be harder to get her on a different team when she's 9.

Here's what my thought process would be if it were my DD...

I might stay at the current gym through L4 IF...
- DD would be on track to compete L4 by age 9 (skipping L3 isn't a bad thing - avoid the mill circle that plagues many)
- current gym has successful L4-L5 scoring reasonably well compared to other gyms in the area
- current gym is the most convenient and affordable for the family, and DD likes the coaches, etc. and is happy there

I would then plan to get her through L4, with the intention of potentially switching if there was not a good path to and through optionals.

If the above IFs are unlikely, then I would switch to the 'other' (non-elite) gym that your friends have positively rated.

In either case, I would recommend you you take her to be evaluated there and observe the atmosphere, etc, to see if the coaching style, the recommended path for your DD there, the hours commitment, and the price, all fit your needs. My main question would be what level they would put her in after an evaluation, and if she would be satisfied with that, compared to her current gym.

Like others have said, if she does turn out to be phenomenal after competing a few years at a decent gym, you can re-assess the elite path at that point. I would scratch the elite gym off my list, personally, at this point.

Hope you find whatever is right for you and DD!
 

JessLW

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If your DD herself is wanting to switch to a different gym, that's a pretty strong indicator that the current gym isn't giving her what she needs right now. Usually the kids are the ones reluctant to make a switch (don't want to leave friends, would miss their old coach) even when switching is for the best. Is the elite gym one with famous gymnasts/Olympians? It is possible she's just star-struck -- how does she feel about the other solid USAG gym?

I'm with the rest -- I don't think you need to shell out money for the expensive elite gym at this point. A gym with successful optionals will recognize young talent and will not hold back a kid with natural ability. If your DD has elite potential and that is something your whole family is interested in, you can re-evaluate when she hits level 8 or so. That elite gym will still be there (presumably!)

I'd definitely take her to check out the non-elite-yet-decent USAG gym and see if it might be a good fit.
 

gymmomtoo

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Check out gym two. She will get better training and have friends there without breaking your budget. And moving soon is better. If you wait too long it will be compulsory season again and the gym might not take her
 

GymMom1006

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Mary - I agree. I don't understand that policy at all.

Sasha - I'm not sure if she would be through level 4 by 9. Her bday is in October, so she'll be 8 this yr. They told us last week, that there MIGHT be a few girls on pre team that they would let compete level 3 this yr, and that's only if their routines would be perfect. She said if they didn't compete level 3 this year it would be next year. So she would be 9 competing level 3 next year. I think I will get her evaluated at the other gym to see what they say.

Jess - No olympians, but a few Rio hopefuls. I think she was a little starstruck. But, also had a pit and few more trampolines to play on too. lol
 

Sasha

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So she would be 9 competing level 3 next year. I think I will get her evaluated at the other gym to see what they say.

Ok, that sounds like a good plan. The reason I asked it that way was if your current gym was potentially fast-tracking her to skip 3 (since she is training kip but not mill circle, for example), then this could be a big positive for current gym. If that's not the case, then now is probably the right time to switch if there are more promising options.

Hope it works out!!
s
P.S. most of our L4s are 9-10 (youngest is 8) and we're a a decently competitive, though not 'elite', gym with good foundation training. So she is right on track if she gets in a decent gym :)
 

GymMom1006

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Yeah I think they just train as they go, like if they think they can do something they'll try. They started teaching her a back walkover on the beam last week, and imo she's not ready for that. Thanks Sasha.
 

dunno

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Thank you guys so much for your replies. We've been wrestling back and forth with the idea of switching gyms for a while now. I just want to make sure she's getting the best training, but they have a policy if we leave we can't go back. So it's a stressful decision.

oh...well for sure you should leave now. :)
 

meganliz77

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A little OT, but can I just say that you are very fortunate to have OPTIONS! As difficult of a decision it may be, be thankful you have some choice. We live in a very rural part of our state... Our gym is the nearest with 100 miles and it's still 45 miles away... No matter how talented our DD is, we are not able to shop other gyms or have an ability to even think about an elite track or the TOPS program (I think - because I have yet to hear of anyone in our gym ever having participating in it) don't get me wrong--- so far I love the coaches and support in our gym...

It sounds like you have gotten a lot of great feedback and I wish you and your DD lots of luck!!
 
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