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JBS

ChalkBucket Founder
Staff member
Gold Membership
Coach
Proud Parent
Sep 3, 2005
7,634
Wisconsin
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It's time for another great article by Jen Kula!

 

JBS

ChalkBucket Founder
Staff member
Gold Membership
Coach
Proud Parent
Sep 3, 2005
7,634
Wisconsin

TELL US YOUR STORY! WAS IT TIME... OR WAS THERE STILL HAPPY YEARS LEFT?​

 

GymOwl

Coach
Gymnast
Fan
Feb 6, 2021
28
18
I'll try to make this as short as possible lol.

I started gymnastics at the age of 10 in a rec class. My dream was to be on a competitive team, but we couldn't afford that so I chose to stay in the rec class and learn what I could. In a few months I had advanced to level 4 rec and I still dreamed of being on a competitive team, but at one point at an open gym, a team coach told me that I was too old for team and that no gym would want an almost 11yr old on their team, no matter what level I was. When I tell you my heart dropped, like it physically felt like it had collapsed. I was crushed and honestly thought about quitting. But after talking to my coach, I decided to stay and work on what I could, hoping that one day I could prove that coach wrong. So for the next 5 years I continued to work on skills similar to ones in level 6/7, even working on standing back tucks on beam and half pirroutes on bars, which 10yr old had DREAMED of doing on a competitive team.

Now fast forward to 2020. An old coach from my gym had left the gym started their own. After helping out with getting the gym together, the owner offered me a spot to train with his competitive team in exchange for me helping coaching the recreational classes. I'm not going to lie, I balled my eyes out when he told me, and I felt like my younger self was screaming and jumping with joy. I loved the idea of coaching because of what my coach did for me, and anything involving gymnastics had my heart, so it was a no brainer. It was such an incredible experience, and I had learned so much while I was there. Every now and then I would think about what that one coach said, but now I wish I could look at him and go "who said I was too old for a competitive team again?" Although I was the oldest (I was 16, the second oldest was 13) I still made the most of it, and was even able to compete! (albeit, for a highschool team because I thought being a 16yr old level 7 was way too old, which spoiler alert, it is NOT)

Anyways, a year later I started to fall out of love with the sport when I turned 17, and shortly after, the gym eventually closed down. I felt lost for a bit and struggled a lot with trying to find who I was as a person without gymnastics. And if I'm being honest, I feel like that's a struggle a lot of people tend to overlook, and it took a hard hit on my mental health. But Coach S and Coach C had helped me a LOT with my struggle, and although my story was like a rollercoaster, I am still so so grateful for this experience. I learned so many life lessons from my journey, and I'm so glad I hit the lottery with the most supportive family and coaches.
 
Last edited:

GymOwl

Coach
Gymnast
Fan
Feb 6, 2021
28
18
That's a crappy thing to say to a kid. Yes, 11 is older than average for a L5 but it's not so far above average that you would have stood out at a competition.
100%. I remember crying to my mom telling her what he said. She wanted to tell him off but I told her not to in fear of being kicked out (which definitely wouldn't have happened, but hey I was 10 and my brain was going haywire). I had told my coach what happened the following practice and she told me, and I loosely quote, to "never listen to idiots like that" and to not let "that type of coach stop you from reaching towards your goals". Since then, she had lit a fire in me I never knew I had lol
 
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Jun 18, 2022
74
49
That's a crappy thing to say to a kid. Yes, 11 is older than average for a L5 but it's not so far above average that you would have stood out at a competition.
Level 5 , 11 year old is not that late. Some gymnasts still get a full scholarship for tumbling , just competing level 8 when in high school junior year.
 
Jun 18, 2022
74
49
Besides some homeschoolers do supersenior and you still have time to get level 10 even without supersenior year.
 

Finaille

Proud Parent
Apr 15, 2019
12
Minnesota
My kiddo was training level 3 when she was 5 and in Kindergarten, but by January it was very clear she was not ready to commit. I pulled her out and placed her back in rec. Then COVID hit.

Now my daughter is 8 and in third grade, this year she competed Bronze. She competed at State yesterday and she did great!

She still loved gymnastics, she just hadn’t been ready for the commitment when she was younger.
 

JPC13

Proud Parent
Mar 25, 2022
459
Level 5 , 11 year old is not that late. Some gymnasts still get a full scholarship for tumbling , just competing level 8 when in high school junior year.
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Canadian Gym Mom

Proud Parent
Jun 22, 2018
34
I'll try to make this as short as possible lol.

I started gymnastics at the age of 10 in a rec class. My dream was to be on a competitive team, but we couldn't afford that so I chose to stay in the rec class and learn what I could. In a few months I had advanced to level 4 rec and I still dreamed of being on a competitive team, but at one point at an open gym, a team coach told me that I was too old for team and that no gym would want an almost 11yr old on their team, no matter what level I was. When I tell you my heart dropped, like it physically felt like it had collapsed. I was crushed and honestly thought about quitting. But after talking to my coach, I decided to stay and work on what I could, hoping that one day I could prove that coach wrong. So for the next 5 years I continued to work on skills similar to ones in level 6/7, even working on standing back tucks on beam and half pirroutes on bars, which 10yr old had DREAMED of doing on a competitive team.

Now fast forward to 2020. An old coach from my gym had left the gym started their own. After helping out with getting the gym together, the owner offered me a spot to train with his competitive team in exchange for me helping coaching the recreational classes. I'm not going to lie, I balled my eyes out when he told me, and I felt like my younger self was screaming and jumping with joy. I loved the idea of coaching because of what my coach did for me, and anything involving gymnastics had my heart, so it was a no brainer. It was such an incredible experience, and I had learned so much while I was there. Every now and then I would think about what that one coach said, but now I wish I could look at him and go "who said I was too old for a competitive team again?" Although I was the oldest (I was 16, the second oldest was 13) I still made the most of it, and was even able to compete! (albeit, for a highschool team because I thought being a 16yr old level 7 was way too old, which spoiler alert, it is NOT)

Anyways, a year later I started to fall out of love with the sport when I turned 17, and shortly after, the gym eventually closed down. I felt lost for a bit and struggled a lot with trying to find who I was as a person without gymnastics. And if I'm being honest, I feel like that's a struggle a lot of people tend to overlook, and it took a hard hit on my mental health. But Coach S and Coach C had helped me a LOT with my struggle, and although my story was like a rollercoaster, I am still so so grateful for this experience. I learned so many life lessons from my journey, and I'm so glad I hit the lottery with the most supportive family and coaches.

Wow! What a great story! Thank you for sharing. Your perseverance is an inspiration ❤️
 
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Jan 12, 2023
4
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TELL US YOUR STORY! WAS IT TIME... OR WAS THERE STILL HAPPY YEARS LEFT?​

I started gymnastics at the age of 5 and automatically became completely obsessed and my mum knew it the coachs loved me as i was “a good mix of flexibility and strength” as they used to say and i was pretty much automatically in the competition team and i stayed gym crazy for the next 6 years at 11 i fell out of love and quit but between the ages of 11 and 13 i regretted that decision i went back to a teen class at a new gym and was moved out of it because i still had a lot of skills i moved from that gym early 2022 bc it was emotionally abusive and in less then a year i have passed three levels i think it’s time if someone really loved gym sometimes you need a break to appreciate it
 
Jan 15, 2023
3
14

TELL US YOUR STORY! WAS IT TIME... OR WAS THERE STILL HAPPY YEARS LEFT?​

I was a gymnast from young age and was recruited to team straight from a preschool class. I competed dev for 3 or four years before switching to xcel. Xcel worked for about year. Then the coaches I liked weren’t there anymore. One of my coaches had no gymnastics experienced besides being a judge and couldn’t spot at all. I had crappy coaches and mean teammates. I was crying to my mom that would go to any other coaches practice but ones, she told me if I didn’t go, I didn’t go to the meet that weekend. I didn’t go. I took that year off. I came back the next year to a newer, closer gym as a rec gymnast. I’ll be honest, I was better than the rec kids. For the next three years I went to one or two rec classes a week. I got a bit better, and got to do the sport I loved. I took some time off for a broken ankle and then Covid. I loved my coaches, my teammates, and the atmosphere.

So I started coaching there. This led to being able to practice with the team girls of a similar skill level twice a week (without competing). It’s been an amazing few months. I’m going to compete in my first meet in four years in march. My coaches have offered me amazing solution for next year. I’ll be able to practice 6-8 hours a week and compete level 6.
 
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Jan 23, 2023
1
13
This is going to be really long. You don’t have to read it if you don’t want to :)
I’ve been doing gymnastics since I was 5. I’m 13 now. When I first started, it was clear I would make a good gymnast, naturally flexible and strong. I was offered a spot on the competitive team at my gym when I turned 7. I worked hard with the older girls and competed level 3, not doing very well. But, I pushed through and went to level 4 the season after and ended up doing quite well later in the season as I perfected the compulsory routines. Next season I was an xcel gold, in the spring of 2019. I did probably the best that I’d ever done, scoring 9.6’s and winning districts/regionals. I stayed a gold during fall 2019, and competed until COVID. COVID sucks. I grew 6 inches during lockdown, getting little to no exercise besides the occasional zoom meeting for conditioning. Finally, May of 2021, my gym finally opened up after having to switch to a smaller location. I struggled to regain my strength and skills, but succeeded to get all necessary skills for xcel platinum. I got to compete in spring of 2022 for the first time in 2 years and I was overjoyed, but there was this feeling in my stomach I’d never felt at a meet. I realized I’d had gotten quite nervous and wasn’t confident at all like I used to be. I had a mediocre season last year, but I still enjoyed it. By then, I had been getting really bad ankle pains and had severs in the summer of 2021. I have quite hyper mobile hips and it turned into problems throughout all joints in my body. I had thoughts of quitting, but I never thought I would actually do it because it had been a part of my life for years and I loved my coaches and teammates. Fast forward to beginning of 2023. By then, I’d regained my love for the sport, getting excited to try new skills and feeling good enough to go for them. I’ve had a history with mental blocks and energy levels. Now that I’m older, gymnastics has been a large toll on my body and I’ve had harder times breathing and pains shoot through my body at times.
Ok but back to the point. January 9th. It was a regular Monday practice until it wasn’t. We were doing floor basics, an hour into practice, and I go for a front handspring front handspring; something I’d been doing for years. But, something happened and my arm twisted backwards and flopped forwards. I had dislocated my right elbow and fractured a small bone. Plus, a bone on the side got dislodged and I had surgery a couple days later to put it back in place with a screw. I’m fine now physically, in a cast for a couple more weeks. But, my parents sat me down one day and told me I had to quit gymnastics. This broke my heart. I’ve tried to negotiate with them, but every time they get their way. Practically, this is a good time to stop as I’m nearing the end of 8th grade and am already busy. And, I’ve been dealing with pains everywhere for years with no known reason besides growing pains. I know this is the right thing and would be better in my body, but I can’t imagine never putting on a leotard again. Never feeling the butterflies before a floor routine, and smiling so wide after a good one. I can’t imagine not laughing my head off with my teammates and goofing off on late night practices. I can’t imagine my life without gymnastics. But, my parents aren’t going to let me get my way. What should I do?
This season, I was feeling really good about my gymnastics as I had every skill solid and a floor routine I loved. I was even excited for beam, my least favorite event. But now I’ll never get to compete it. My heart hurts every time I hear anything related to gymnastics. My close gym friend won her meet this weekend and I was so happy for her, but that made me remember that I’d never get to be her again.
I wish things didn’t turn out this way, but everything happens for a reason and I hope I can pursue other activities that cause me less pain, but the same amount of joy and happiness.
 
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Oct 12, 2022
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That's a crappy thing to say to a kid. Yes, 11 is older than average for a L5 but it's not so far above average that you would have stood out at a competition.
That’s crazy for the coach to say that because I see girls competing in levels 2-3 at the age of 11-13. I feel like that’s a little old to start if you are wanting to compete in college or elite but most kids burn out these days by level 5 anyhow. I say let them enjoy it while they can, gymnastics is short lived unless you go on to make a career out of it.