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FifiMum

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Mar 14, 2022
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Hi my son is 6 and has recently joined the intermediate boys group at his club, having worked his way through the club levels since he was crawling in baby classes. He loves it and often says he wants to be a gymnast when he grows up. He hasnt been selected for any development squads though (we were told he lacks some flexibility in his neck and shoulders). He's doing well at the classes and most importantly he loves them. He is competitive though and each session I can see he's set on improving, takes the coaching on board really well and sets his mind to 'perform' at his absolute best. He calls this 'showing the coach what I'm made of' and even though he's 2 years younger than ther rest of the boys, he seems to be progressing well in the new group with older kids around him. The only way to take part in competitions seems to be if he was in a squad or if they go through to advanced level.
Not knowing anything about gymnastics, I'm not sure if there's any other routes open to him to try competitions, or if its just that hes too young and I should just let him enjoy it without needing to win medals/ awards (which he really seems to want to do!). I think there is a club competition each year, he did win one once but they don't seem to train towards this. So, thats my question. Does anyone know anything of UK gymnastics and if there are more open competitions that arent only for squad kids?
 

Gymbletot

Proud Parent
Nov 28, 2021
32
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I don't know much about this at all (I have a 6 year old daughter in WAG foundation squad, so also coming at this as mum of a girl), but at our gym there is recreational, advanced recreational and squad. The advanced rec team seem to compete quite a lot in Gymnastics For All competitions.
 

FifiMum

New Member
Mar 14, 2022
15
45
I don't know much about this at all (I have a 6 year old daughter in WAG foundation squad, so also coming at this as mum of a girl), but at our gym there is recreational, advanced recreational and squad. The advanced rec team seem to compete quite a lot in Gymnastics For All competitions.
Thanks! I think once they reach Advanced recreational then they can compete, but otherwise its only squad/ invitational only. I don't know how old they are in advanced though :) I looked up Gymnastics For All but looks like its just down to pot luck if the club participates (don't think his does) rather than something individual gymnasts can register for.
 

FifiMum

New Member
Mar 14, 2022
15
45
Yep, I've asked staff. It's a big, highly regarded club that does well in national level comps and beyond. It only has a very small number of squad kids though (there are other local clubs who seem to have loads of kids in squads). I think if he joined another club, he might well be considered squad material but for this one they can really afford to focus on those that really could (and frequently do) go all the way. Also (and I don't know how other clubs work by comparison) I think squad kids have fees subsidised as they need so much time in the gym so they invest heavily in their competition kids. In the recreational classes,the standards are still really high as they have superb coaches who bring out the best in the kids, but they don't compete.
He doesnt like the other local club we tried though, he felt the coaches there were 'teenagers who didnt know as much' as his existing coaches and it wasnt as well organised, so he knows the difference already...he's sort of in between. I don't know shoulder/ neck flebility will ever change/ how much could improve as he grows, as I think its there or its not? So, he's maybe not going to the Olympics :)
 

rd7

Coach
Proud Parent
Aug 18, 2011
181
He's still very young so if he's happy I'd leave him there for now, boys develop later than girls in gymnastics terms. Have you considered another sport that he can compete in? Or trampolining? No need for shoulder flexibility and usually several options for competing.
 

FifiMum

New Member
Mar 14, 2022
15
45
Hi, I didnt know that about boys so thank you (though makes perfect sense as they do seem to have longer careers!). He does also really like swimming and has an ex-competition swim teacher so I could speak to his teacher about that. And he seems to have a natural ability for racket sports and enjoys, but for some reason completely lacks confidence (even though he's won a tournament) and tells me he's rubbish at them! I'm very happy with his gym club, they really do build the children confidence there. Will also explore trampolining, I'm sure he'd love that! Thank you, great advice!
 
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