For Parents Hypermobile, loose gymnast

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Proud Parent
Dec 30, 2018
My DD just turned 7 and is a level 4 gymnast. She is quite coordinated and can do all the skills, but she struggles with good form, mostly because she is very hyper mobile (legs and arms both overextend). Body tightness has always been difficult for her, she can tighten, but she has to think a lot about it. Any tips? Does anyone have a gymnast like this? Can she overcome this weakness and if so, what helps?
It could be just her age and learning to stay tight and find her form especially if she's a new 7 year old. She just needs more time to learn body awareness. However, given you're talking about her overextention have you looked into her having Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS)? I'm guessing she probably doesn't and certainly don't want to scare you or bring up anything worrisome. I only bring it up because a gymnast I know was like this and she ended up having EDS, but the family suspected it because there were other relatives in their family with it too.
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I was going to bring up EDS as well, honestly. I have a child who has EDS (not my gymnast). Gymnastics gets brought up periodically in EDS forums -- many members in those groups are former gymnasts and I've taken note of this.

There's sometimes a fine line between having physical characteristics that lend themselves to amazing athletic skills and having physical characteristics that become disabling. I have one of each and it's hard.

It may be that your dd will be fine as far as this goes, but (regardless of whether she has connective tissue issues or not) my advice is to believe her if she says she has pain -- especially if it's daily or if she seems to have extreme reactions to it. And remember that her pain levels are going to seem normal to her, even if they might be extreme. My EDS child was in ballet for three years and had no idea that the pain she was feeling wasn't normal. She assumed that all the other girls in ballet were experiencing that same excruciating pain after rehearsals too. The pain often got worse during puberty for the women I know with EDS and that's been true for my EDS dd as well.

And hopefully that's not it at all and she's just flexible! My gymnast dd doesn't have the same issues as my EDS dd so it's possible to have it run in the family and still have a flexible child who doesn't have any additional issues.
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