For Parents Just a venting a smidge

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I am so proud of my dd. She was offered a spot in a new group that the gym is forming called "Stars Fast-Track", where they work extra on strength, conditioning and new skills and they're planning on forming teams in a year from this group. She was one of eight chosen! But, unfortunatly we can't afford the extra expense, so we had to pass. I am so bumbed, but if we want to get our youngest started, we have to save some $$ for her. It's so aggravating that such a wonderful sport can be so expensive. I feel like we're keeping our dd from a great opportunity. In the long run she could make a team I suppose, but still. How awsome to be chosen like that. Plus, my husband thinks that part of being "chosen" is just the gym's way of getting more money out of the parents. That's not really how it is right?! lol. Anyway, thanks for letting me get a little off my chest.
Maybe you can feel both complimented and manipulated, so you and your husband both have a reason to feel what you feel. Of course I can't know how your gym does things, so this is not a comment on them. In general, I've grown leery of special programs, particularly for the youngest kids. Whenever I've seen these, and then been able to check back some years later, most of the kids have left the sport. Too much too soon. I don't doubt it's done with the best of intentions, but it probably isn't the best route to long-term success, and it certainly isn't the only route.

The sport's a marathon, not a sprint. Those who've been successful in the sport are seldom flashes in the pan, but instead have put in the years, properly learned the fundamentals, and grown in the sport through lots of practice and good, solid coaching. Kids who look dynamite at 5 or 6 might be completely different at 15 or 16. Kids who excel at Level 4 might struggle at Level 9. It's not a sport where it's easy to gauge at a young age what type of gymnast the child will be at a later age.

With any gym, look at their track record. Their history is the best predictor of their future. Have they regularly developed athletes who excel in the sport at the highest levels? If so, then the way they trained those girls will likely work with the current youngsters. If they haven't been successful in the past, then a sparkling new program won't change things. The sport's about technique, persistence, repetition, correction. It's not about a single missed opportunity at a young age relegating the child to a gymnastics' life of mediocrity. The sport, and the children, are more resilient than that.
Wow, thanks for that. You've put it into a good perspective for me. :)
First off- Congratulations to your daughter on the invite! She should be very proud of herself.

I started gymnastics at age 5 in a club, and came from a big family where $ was always tight. When team was mentioned my parents knew it was not possible and I ended up having to quit club at that time. I went back when I was 10 but could not stay in long, I eventually joined our school teams with an amazing coach who helped us to work out all year round. As much as I would have loved to stay competitive and thought it was the end of the world when I couldnt, I had an amazing gymnastics career and competed in College until I was 21. Who knows how long I would have been in if I started on the team at 5 and if I would have the love for the sport as I do now. We as parents do what we can, and paying the bills is far more important than an additional gymnastics class and will be what is remembered by her as she grows up.

On the other side, a Gymnastics Club is a business and in some way gyms use every class and student to generate more income and they know that parents have a hard time saying no when they are told that their child is one of the best! But it in no way takes away from the accomplishment and hard work your daughter has shown to deserve the invite.
Dazed, I can't add to what Mac said---it was written quite well. Since you said this is a new group they are starting at the gym and they hope to form teams in a year, then see how it all plays out. It may be successful or it may fall flat. Watch some of the classes and keep in touch with those coaches----you can evaluate if this is something worth putting money aside for or not.

One option if both dds are taking classes is to ask if there are any part time jobs at the gym. I know parents that work the front desk, do cleaning, work birthday parties etc. and instead of getting a salary, they get reduction in their child's tuition. It might be something worth asking about.

Does your hubby have a point? Sure. All sports are businesses. This is a new program this gym wants to get up and running so they may go a little overboard trying to get parents to sign up for it(not saying your dd isn't ready!). My daughter didn't even start pre-team until she was 7---we were clueless about competitive gymnastics. Now, just barely 11 she is training as a definite L7 possible L8 for the season starting in Jan. If they really love it and are willing to commit to all the hours, you'll see alot of success and hopefully your dd will be around when she's 16.
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