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Drjwj

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Mar 29, 2022
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My 7 year old is obsessed with gymnastics right now and is on a pre team level at her gym. (They don’t compete until level three so those are the skills she’s working on). She has a bar and mat from Amazon that she spends a lot of time on, but now that she is starting to do things like squat ons it doesn’t seem stable enough. Should I splurge for better home equipment, or as she moves up will it become less relevant as she spends more time at the gym and gets harder skills that she probably shouldn’t practice at home without a spotter anyway?
 

PreciousJ

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Feb 16, 2021
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You answered your own question at the end :). Generally, equipment for skills (bars, beam, tumbling) is discouraged by coaches because kids can develop bad form/habits at home. Injury is also a risk. Conditioning equipment, like a pull up bar or mats for stretching or handstands, is never a bad thing, though.
 
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LucyRobinson

Gymnast
Feb 27, 2022
133
When they are little maybe a mat or soft beam as a "toy". Don't bother upgrading, it will only cause injuries and burnout.

As she gets older, a pull up bar could be good. I would discourage anything more than Level 3 on home bars or beam, and definitely no home back handsprings.
 
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KineticChris

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Club Owner / Manager
Jun 4, 2019
10
56
Oxfordshire, UK
No squat ons at home unless you want a broken arm. The issue is kids fall forward and then stick their arms out in front of them when they fall.
I'm really not a fan of the never do stuff at home philosophy. This one is easy, if they are taught properly. If they are falling forwards keep hold of the bar! Kids will always be working stuff at home, the ones who aren't are not hungry enough! Just make sure they know what they should/should not be trying to do. Give them things to work on at home and they'll spend less time trying stuff they shouldn't be doing!
 

KineticChris

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Jun 4, 2019
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Oxfordshire, UK
Not a fan of this thinking regarding the 6-8 year old beginning kids.

Its supposed to be fun.
And if its fun then are going to want to do it! At home, in the gym, in the playground, wherever. Its your job to try to get them to understand what is good for them to try and what isn't! You can't stop them, so yo uneed to direct them.
 

KineticChris

Coach
Proud Parent
Club Owner / Manager
Jun 4, 2019
10
56
Oxfordshire, UK
Not a fan of this thinking regarding the 6-8 year old beginning kids.

Its supposed to be fun.
And if its fun then are going to want to do it! At home, in the gym, in the playground, wherever. Its your job to try to get them to understand what is good for them to try and what isn't! You can't stop them, so yo uneed to direct them.
Also you have taken one sentence, with no context. At no stage did I say it shouldn't be fun! Your comment has little/no relation to my reply. If kids don't want to do anything outside of their class then they almost certainly not
having fun in their class!
 

LucyRobinson

Gymnast
Feb 27, 2022
133
I think maybe I should have worded my post better.
Level 3s are going to bounce around and do their routines at home. If you provide them with bars and mats, they will do their skills on the bars and mats. I'm not going to go into a whole discussion of the best home equipment/should you have it, etc. You already have gotten some basic "toy" gymnastics equipment which a lot of parents do, so it is what it is. Little gymnasts love doing handstands and cartwheels and practicing what they learned at the gym at home, and if you try to prevent it completely, it's going to happen when you're not watching.

On the other hand, as your daughter moves towards L4/5, her play equipment is not going to work for kips and backtucks. So you can say: "Please only work basics at home. I don't want you to have an accident that will prevent you from going to gymnastics!" Do not set up a home gym in your basement. As she progresses she will probably have less interest in practicing a lot at home anyways.

As an optionals gymnast I still dance through my routines in the living room. What I don't do is attempt back layouts on the miniature mat from my early elementary years.
 

ldw4mlo

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Feb 13, 2015
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And if its fun then are going to want to do it! At home, in the gym, in the playground, wherever. Its your job to try to get them to understand what is good for them to try and what isn't! You can't stop them, so yo uneed to direct them.
You can direct them.….To not do what they shouldn’t be doing. That’s called parenting. If you don’t put a beam/bar in at home, they can’t work out on a beam/bar at home.

The reason my kid started gymnastics was to stop her from using the back of our couch in the middle of our living room as a beam.

Plenty to be done at home without doing actual gymnastics. Our coaches have always happily given kids things to do at home. And they want gymnastics to be kept in the gym. Because practice makes permanent. And it’s harder to undo bad technique practiced at home.
An occasional flip on the playground is not the same as repeated improper skill execution at home.

And I stand by my opinion. 6-8 yr olds shouldn’t be thought of as not hungry enough.
 

KineticChris

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Jun 4, 2019
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You can direct them.….To not do what they shouldn’t be doing. That’s called parenting. If you don’t put a beam/bar in at home, they can’t work out on a beam/bar at home.

The reason my kid started gymnastics was to stop her from using the back of our couch in the middle of our living room as a beam.

Plenty to be done at home without doing actual gymnastics. Our coaches have always happily given kids things to do at home. And they want gymnastics to be kept in the gym. Because practice makes permanent. And it’s harder to undo bad technique practiced at home.
An occasional flip on the playground is not the same as repeated improper skill execution at home.

And I stand by my opinion. 6-8 yr olds shouldn’t be thought of as not hungry enough.
And as someone who has a daughter who still does gym at 26yo, a coach who started coaching because of their daughter (then aged 7), and now a club owner I stand by my opinion. Kids who enjoy gym will want to practice at home. Saying "you cant have a beam in case you do do flicks" when they would greatly benefit from practicing jumps and leaps isn't going to help them. If they really don't want to practice and get better then that suggests either bad coaching or lack of desire.
 

LucyRobinson

Gymnast
Feb 27, 2022
133
The reason my kid started gymnastics was to stop her from using the back of our couch in the middle of our living room as a beam.
This is exactly what I did! Not my parents' favorite.

Ok what I really wanted to say:
KineticChris you use the phrases: "Lack of desire." "Not hungry enough."

Let me introduce the story of "Suzie" and "Sally", which I have actually experienced a version of in real life.
Suzie LOVES gymnastics. Her parents did not buy her home equipment, so she did as much as possible. She worked her hardest at the gym and was always excited to go to practice.
Sally also likes gymnastics, but she has other interests too. Her parents want her to be a really good gymnast. They buy her bars, beam and a trampoline so she can practice at home. Her parents are always pestering her to practice and Sally would rather save gymnastics for the gym.

A few years later both Suzie and Sally are competing in Level 5. Sally has not had major issues on a skill, but feels overly pushed by her parents and "burnt out."

Moral of the story: the right amount of gymnastics is different for everyone. If you are like Sally, that is OK. If Sally's parents had also been okay with Sally wanting to enjoy gymnastics rather than be the best, she might still be doing it. There are those great kids who love conditioning and find leaps very entertaining. But that is not everyone. That does not mean they are not motivated enough.
 

JessSyd

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Oct 10, 2013
323
Sydney Australia
And as someone who has a daughter who still does gym at 26yo, a coach who started coaching because of their daughter (then aged 7), and now a club owner I stand by my opinion. Kids who enjoy gym will want to practice at home. Saying "you cant have a beam in case you do do flicks" when they would greatly benefit from practicing jumps and leaps isn't going to help them. If they really don't want to practice and get better then that suggests either bad coaching or lack of desire.
Honestly, I would see your comments as a red flag in a gym owner. Outside of elite sport, what on earth is ‘hungry enough’? Hungry enough for what?

There are plenty of kids who love gym but don’t live for gym. While they are at gym they give 100%. They probably stretch and condition at home too. If they have coaches they can trust, then they put in the effort and trust the process. When they’re not at gym, they have music lessons, and scouts, and playdates and so on. They have no need and no desire to do dodgy squat-ons on inferior equipment when they can do it on real equipment, under expert guidance, at the gym.

OP we have all the home equipment. Decent mats, a reasonably good home bar, a floor beam, an airmat and even a floor bar.

The bar was a hand me down from a friend who couldn’t be bothered selling it when her gymnast grew out of it. It has never really been used as a bar, except for chin-ups during shutdown, but she likes to perch on it to read. For a reading perch it takes up a (sigh) ridiculous amount of space. The airmat was great during shutdown for minimising load during zoom activities like leaps and squat jumps etc, and doing back extension rolls. But we don’t set it up anymore because it’s a bit unweildy and who really has time for it and she was never really comfortable tumbling on it because the gym’s disapproval of home tumbling is strong.

The beam…well that was actually useful. In the earlier levels it was used to get confidence with the handstand, turns etc. The coaching she was getting at that point wasn’t great, so home practice was good for her confidence. Once she had a supportive, helpful coach it wasn‘t as useful until shutdown. And now that she is doing flight stuff on beam it doesn’t really get used anymore. She has outgrown it.

The floor bar was given to her by the gym for some reason (she probably knows, I don’t.). She has never used it at home.
 

Dad1234

Proud Parent
May 12, 2018
68
43
My 8 year old is on her fourth year of competing. She has had a bar and beam since she was four. She became really strong just by playing on her bar (not really doing skills) and she got her early bar skills by practicing at home. She is now at the gym 11-12 hours a week. She stills plays on her bar every time she walks past it and occasionally practices kips and back hip circles on it. She rarely ever uses her beam. She used to use it to try to remember her routines when she first started but really hasn’t used it since. But, she also doesn’t like beam. We also have an air track which she never uses (this was the least used of all three). I found that once her hours increased beyond 6-8 hours a week of practice and the skills became more advanced, the home equipment really wasn’t used. Now, it basically takes up a bunch of space in my basement. And honestly, I don’t want her practicing some of her skills anymore at home because they should be done in the gym and I don’t want her getting hurt. We also have a trampoline which really progressed her tumbling skills. That rarely gets used these days too. I don’t regret having had the home equipment those first couple of years. She loves gymnastics but gets enough in the gym and doesn’t have a desire to practice outside of the gym. Play around from time to time, yes, but rarely practices.
 

katrid11

Proud Parent
Sep 1, 2020
80
47
We have 3 mats, a 8ft adjustable beam and a low bar. The bar was bought at COVID start to keep up her skills. That said, I have coached and spotted for years and her bar work was only with me around... If it wasn't for COVID, we would not have bought a bar. It was heavily used for the 4-5 months we had no gym to use (but she was a L2 back then...)

Now she spends more time with the dance moves, handstands, etc than "major elements". Her chip up bar gets alot of usage - she must do 10-15 a day just b/c she passes by it. Same with leg lifts. So long as the form is correct, she can do them as much as she wants to.

But we are not going to upgrade any equipment. She is aging out of her low bar b/c she is getting 1) too tall and 2) too strong and 3) her skills are getting harder

I recommend staying with some mats and letting the bar go. A chin up bar will serve a better purpose going forward...
 
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Tmacs

Proud Parent
Feb 19, 2019
223
We had a bar and a beam and a panel mat... it was great for L2 and Covid shutdowns and then it really wasn't useful. She's L5 and does plenty of hours at gym. She still stretches at home and dances around the house/practices dance throughs on "beam" (the wood sections on the kitchen floor). I'm super glad we never bought anything else.
 

KineticChris

Coach
Proud Parent
Club Owner / Manager
Jun 4, 2019
10
56
Oxfordshire, UK
This is exactly what I did! Not my parents' favorite.

Ok what I really wanted to say:
KineticChris you use the phrases: "Lack of desire." "Not hungry enough."

Let me introduce the story of "Suzie" and "Sally", which I have actually experienced a version of in real life.
Suzie LOVES gymnastics. Her parents did not buy her home equipment, so she did as much as possible. She worked her hardest at the gym and was always excited to go to practice.
Sally also likes gymnastics, but she has other interests too. Her parents want her to be a really good gymnast. They buy her bars, beam and a trampoline so she can practice at home. Her parents are always pestering her to practice and Sally would rather save gymnastics for the gym.

A few years later both Suzie and Sally are competing in Level 5. Sally has not had major issues on a skill, but feels overly pushed by her parents and "burnt out."

Moral of the story: the right amount of gymnastics is different for everyone. If you are like Sally, that is OK. If Sally's parents had also been okay with Sally wanting to enjoy gymnastics rather than be the best, she might still be doing it. There are those great kids who love conditioning and find leaps very entertaining. But that is not everyone. That does not mean they are not motivated enough.
I dont think that I actually disagree with you. Despite what people seem to have read into my comment my own club supports every gymnast we have. Despite being the club owner (and head and highest qualified coach) I coach at EVERY session we run (we are quite a small club). Today I spent more time, teaching forward rolls and cartwheels, with kids who do one hour a week because they think its fun than I did with my squad gymnasts.

However the original post was a question about a prospective competitive gymnast, and my response was to someone who said a kid should never do squat ons at home because they would break an arm. Context is important!
 

GymAir

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Gymnast
Aug 28, 2018
91
I dont think that I actually disagree with you. Despite what people seem to have read into my comment my own club supports every gymnast we have. Despite being the club owner (and head and highest qualified coach) I coach at EVERY session we run (we are quite a small club). Today I spent more time, teaching forward rolls and cartwheels, with kids who do one hour a week because they think its fun than I did with my squad gymnasts.

However the original post was a question about a prospective competitive gymnast, and my response was to someone who said a kid should never do squat ons at home because they would break an arm. Context is important!
First of all, OP states that the bar does not seem stable enough for squat ons. I’m also not going to assume that every person reading this post has a gymnast that a) has been trained to fall properly and b) will fall correctly in that second of panic. This is a home bar with probably only a panel mat underneath. I’ve seen several kids (not mine, thankfully) fall forward and fracture their arm or wrist. I stand by my warning, although I should have said they *could* break an arm.
 
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