For Parents Importance of Teammates......

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Jan 17, 2008
Question for all parents,

What influence do you think your DD's teammates have on them? I am specifically talking about teamates in her/his level. The ones that they would compete with.

Beetle is straddling the L8/L9 line. If she competes L8 again, I expect she will have a really good year. Last season, as a 1st year L8 - she scored in the mid 34's, Qualified for Regions and Routinely placed on floor. She did this without a 10.0 S.V. on all events. If she repeats L8, she will have a 10.0 vault and *fingers crossed* a better beam flight. This should up her scores, by a point or more.

If she competes L9, She will come in with the bare minumin of L9 skills.. I think she will be fine, but I dont expect she will place a bunch. Probably get around 32's. Which should qualify her for state but not regions.

So what is the delimma you ask? Teammates.

The Girls in L9 are focused, encouraging, dedicated. one of them is Beetle's Best Friend. They have a good time, they take things seriously. They have goals such as, Regions, Westerns, Scholarships. Etc.

The Girls in L8 are easily distracted, talk behind each others back, there is a couple mom's that are "THAT MOM" (you know what I mean). I know for a fact in one of the meets last year our coach said "I have never been so embarassed. They had no focus and spent more time talking about boys and hair then worried about their routines" With the exception of 1 girl.

I am worried if Beetle is a L8 next year, she would get sucked into that mind set. She tends to be more of a follower than a leader when it comes to social aspects.

I think the L9 girls would encourage her and her skills and the L8 girls be resentful that Beetle might score higher.

Have any of you had any experience with this? Oh and her coach says it is up to her, if she gets the skills she can be a L9 but she can also be a L8 if she wants.
I would go with the coaches recommendation of letting her choose. If she chooses she will be happier where she is and will put more effort into it. You of course have a great influence on her as a parent and can steer her to choose the choice you would like to see happen.
What about having her train w/ the 9's and just compete as an 8? I would have concrens about a gymnast moving to L9 w/ out 10.0 start values as a L8 the year before.
That's really a tough call. I would share your concerns with the coach (I would get your DD's input too about where she wants to be)

I know at my gym there have been a few higher level girls that pick on my DD for various reasons (envy is often one of them) and I worried about it a lot, but the coach was okay with uptraining her from a lower group, so she only has to compete with them, not train with them.

Does your DD know which group she wants to be in?

sit and chat with your DD about what her thinking is. If she wants to eventually compete level 10, then moving to 9 now might be a good thing--especially with "better" teammates and even knowing she might not do great the first year.

I sometimes wish Beth would move to level 9 this year, rather than doing 8--simply because their 8 team will be small with only possibly 2 or 3 other girls at that level this year. And those girls will barely make 8 and tend to goof off, so I know where you're coming from. Beth's moving to 9 isn't really a possibility though, so we'll have to deal with it and I know she'll be fine.
Tough situation.

I guess the best thing is to let her decide what she wants to do, then she will be the most happy.

In an ideal world the best solution would probably be to train with the 9 girls and compete 8. She will rock as an 8. She would still be uptraining, but also mastering her 8 skills. If you think about it, if you know that she will struggle at 9, you can almost be guaranteed that she will do at least 2 yrs of 9. What's the difference if she does another yr at 8 (a great yr too) and then goes to 9 and if more confident and more solid on her 9 skills her first yr she does even better.

I totally sympathize with you. My dd is in the same situation (not the team mate thing, but level-wise.) HC told me she may have dd do another yr at 8, but assured me that she would continue to work her 9 skills - I still have no idea what is going on level-wise. I was a little upset because with the exception of the State meet, I thought she had a great 8 season. After thinking about it, I started to think the way I was mentioning above (in regards to the 2 levels). I know that she would at least do 2 yrs of 9 anyways. My greatest concern is that yes she is working her 9 skills, but you know how it is, the minute comp season starts that all stops and they focus on routines.

SO, I am really no help for you, but if your dd is doing what she wants to do, then at least you know she is ok with the outcome. Again, tough situation.

Wow this is so similar to our situation!!! I've been asking myself the same type of questions. My DD is training L8 this summer & I have noticed a major difference in the girls on our L8 team(all highschool age girls)...they are all boy crazy & unfocused!!! A few admit this is their last year & they "don't really care anymore". I've had them over to my house to build team spirit & I have to say, I didn't like what I saw. My DD is just entering highschool in the fall, so HC put her with the highschool girls for the summer. But my DD doesn't fit in with them(although they have accepted her warmly). These girls are 16yrs old, learning to drive, dating, etc. My DD just turned 14yrs she is much more like the middle school girls still & I'm fine with that. She's done better being the oldest & role model for middle school girls. The high school girls say they are going to get my DD "ready" for highschool "so she'll fit in"(some of them are actually in DD's highschool). I have an older DD who is already in the same highschool & she doesn't act like these girls. I swear they are like something from a "Girls Gone Wild" video! I really want my DD to repeat L7 for several reasons; it took a while to feel confident in those L7 skills & I don't want her stressed out as a L8 so soon. But mostly...I like the girls on the L7 team better! I'll be following this thread to see what advice ppl have. I know it all depends on the child. But for your situation, since your DD had a successful L8 season(Congratulations!), I think I would encourage the move to L9. I think teammates can have a HUGE impact. And being with unfocused teammates could have a negative effect(that is what I'm seeing right now!). You may not think your DD will have as successful L9 season this year, but don't under estimate the power of positive thinking & positve influences:)! As long as your DD would not be stressed & struggling with the L9 skills, the more focused L9 group may be the best fit for her. Although I have no problem with girls repeating levels to build confidence & improve skills(especially the higher levels). I just think in your DD's case the move to L9 maybe better for her in the long run, JMHO. Good luck!
I am going through a similar situation with my DD. She is being skipped from L5 to L7 and she is the only one in her group that is doing this. The girls she has been with are all very close, supportive and the same age. My DD is 10 and the girls in this L7 group are 13/14 and are really mean. It's been a tough summer for Morgan just dealing with all the drama from these girls. I am really torn about telling her coach that I would prefer to go back to her old group and compete with them. (they are going to compete PREP Gold in place of L6) Or just sitting back and letting Morgan work things out. She is against going back but I see how unhappy these girls can make her. For example, she has to go to a L6 score out meet on August 29th and she actually cried in the car yesterday because she didn't want to go with "these girls" (they have to go to score out because they all competed PREP Gold last season)
Anyhow, sorry that I turned this about me but I wanted to let you know that I feel where you are coming from.

I would also find out what Beetle wants. They have to be happy in the gym, friends really do matter. I think it is the time of year when we are all looking at groups.

I am hoping my girls will train on the same days next season, but they have the same coach and are three years apart in age, so that may not happen. With my huge drive, son (and babysitter) going away to school and hubby away working I just do not know how to make 6 days a week at the gym work. No car pools here I am afraid. I am hoping they can train together at least a few days a week, that way I don't have to drag the 10 year old on the 90+ minute round trip twice a week when she should be doing bed, homework and bath.

It is so difficult, we want them to work hard, be with the right crowd (for obvious reasons) and progress gymnastically. I am sure for the coaches this time of year is a big challenge too, fitting everyone in, trying not to hurt gymmies feelings, ruffle parents feathers and create training groups that will be the easisest to manage.

There simply is no perfect.

I hope Beetle can find the right balance for her, I also agree that competing and perfecting another year of L8 whilst uptraining may be the perfect thing for her. She would knock the socks off the competition.
I think the atmosphere of the team can make or break a seson for the gymnast. Being on a team with girls who are focused and have some set goals and that would be encouraging could make a big difference in the way Beetle approaches L9. How does she feel about possibly moving up, but knowing it might be a year without going to regionals and placing often?

I certainly understand the concern expressed by gymch34 about moving her up when she didn't have 10.0 SV as a L8. Where she is at skill wise is something you need to discuss with her coach. Also, ask if she stays at L8, will she get to continue to work those L9 skills. We all know that once they get close to meet season, the uptraining seems to slide and all the focus is on the current routines. My concern would be is that Beetle remaining with a group that tends to goof off and can be nasty, may backslide her 2nd year at L8 just due to the enviornment she's in.

We had a girl last year that they really wanted to move to L9. Injuries and other things slowed down her progress on vault and bars has always been her challenge. She practiced with the L9s up until the week before the 1st meet. The plan was to compete 2 meets as a 2nd yr L8 and qualify for states and still hope to practice her L9 routines with hope of competing L9 later in the season. She just never got her vault or bars well enough and did compete the whole year as a L8. What caused her alot of stress was having to redo routines that were designed to meet the L9 SR so she could use them as a L8. She really didn't have a fun year---never felt settled at either level so I wouldn't recommned training up at 1 level and competing at a lower one.

Most of our girls are pretty focused. One who who always has problems in that area left the sport in the spring---wanted more of a school/social life. I know my gymmie(if all her coaches would listen) would rather spend a year competing L9 knowing she won't be on the podium than repeating L8. But thats just her.

Might be best for you and Beetle to talk and then have a sit down with the coaches to discuss what is best and what Beetle wants.
I would talk to Beetle and find out what she wants more important to her. Some kids really want to move up the levels and want more challenges and others really care about how they place and their confidence level. Find out what more important for her. I love that the coach is letting her decide.
Thank you everyone for your comments.

Beetle doesn't know what she wants. She keeps asking her teammates for their opinions.

To clarify, the only event she didnt have a 10.0 SV on was Vault. She did a twisting vault not a flipping vault. She will do a flipping vault this year regardless.

Our optional team all trains together so regarldless it would only be competitions.

I guess this is my worry: She stays in L8 in order to have a great year, score high, get medals, go to regions.. all the fun... But what if the other girls resent her for the medals, scores, etc and then the season isn't fun for her anyway?

My gut tells me that she will be a L8 again this year.
I totally hear what you are saying in regards to if she does 8 again. Would she be in the same age group as some of the other girls that would be doing 8. Maybe it wouldn't be bad if she isn't competing in the same age group. If the other girls are first yr 8s they might understand too.

At some point though, you can't worry about how others are going to react, you have to do what works best for you/Beetle and the situation at hand. ;)

Thank you everyone for your comments.

Beetle doesn't know what she wants. She keeps asking her teammates for their opinions.

To clarify, the only event she didnt have a 10.0 SV on was Vault. She did a twisting vault not a flipping vault. She will do a flipping vault this year regardless.

Our optional team all trains together so regarldless it would only be competitions.

I guess this is my worry: She stays in L8 in order to have a great year, score high, get medals, go to regions.. all the fun... But what if the other girls resent her for the medals, scores, etc and then the season isn't fun for her anyway?

My gut tells me that she will be a L8 again this year.
Personally, I feel that the group is a very important component of a gymnast's career.

Having said that, I also believe that there is a fine line between where a gymnast "belongs" and where they will thrive.

For example, my dd thrives when she is the "weakest" in a group. She loves the challenge to catch up and surpass. Another teammate of hers (very talented, and was moved to our group last September) is in the same position as my dd. She does not thrive there, and is being moved to a group where she will be the leader. Two gymnasts, both talented - different needs.

Were it my dd, I would absolutely push her to the L9 (and trust me that is what she would want) - however, it doesn't matter to her where she places (although she loves to win or place in the top six). She would take the opportunity to learn more and move forward. Let's face it, with this sport there is always room to improve!

In our group the girls have mostly all moved forward at the same pace for the 3 years we have been in it, so we haven't had to deal with this issue a lot. However that will likely change soon. We have had one girl who was the squeaky wheel, and she caused a lot of upset and challenges - she has been moved (although our group truly is the best place for her) and I suspect more changes are coming. In our club, it isn't just about what level you are, but also about your comittment.

You know, there are always going to be athletes who are less committed, less able to get along in a group setting - does it impact the group as a whole? Absolutely. Is that the most important reason for asking for a change? No. You have to look at the whole picture.

In our case, the girl who was the squeaky wheel got moved to a higher level group - a bit tough for some of our girls to take. Why was she rewarded for bad behaviour? However, ultimately it means that the rest of the group have some peace, and are able to focus so that is good :)

For your dd, I would make the move to the L9 - it sounds like she is close enough and that the group dynamic is more suited to your family philosophy.

Best Wishes
Keep in mind too that the level 8 routines have been watered down this year--she may be bored to death if she competes 8 again, especially if she had some success with the harder skills last year.
Keep in mind too that the level 8 routines have been watered down this year--she may be bored to death if she competes 8 again, especially if she had some success with the harder skills last year.
Cathiann - this is probably the only reason why we are even THINKING about L9 this year. Had they not changed the requirements she would have done a second year of L8 for sure . Especially since she cant put anymore difficulty in her floor routine (She consistently scored in the low to mid 9's and placed 10th at regions).
Just read your post about Beetle heading to LO this weekend. Hope she has a great time. This could also be a good time for her to get some unbiased advice on levels from the coaches there. My guess is she'll be in the group training L9 skills and that might shed some light on which level feels better to her skill wise. Maybe a break from the home gym atmosphere is what she needs to make a decision on what she wants to do next season.
What a dilemma. Based on what you've said about the L9 teammates I might try and persuade her to go for 9. It's a tough level and the more time she has to train it the better. The group sounds encouraging and friendly. As long as the coach feels she's ready. another factor is how she would feel about her skills. If she is ok with it being a learning year so to speak i don't see a problem. Or is there an option to train with this group until she's fully ready? Maybe instead of competing at the start of the meet season could she train a few more weeks to get her skills ready and then compete with the team half way thru the season? I don't know, it's a toughie, just my thoughts.
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