For Parents L10 parents, can you share your gym successes/shortcomings for younger college path athletes?

lathyrus28

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For L10 parents with gymnasts on a prospective college path -
What's the one (or several) best thing/s that you would say your gym, or coaches, did to help your athlete be successful in their college gymnastics approach? Or alternatively, what did you WISH had been done?
Any advice can you offer for L7/8 girls starting down this road to look for, or ask for, in their gyms?
 

gym_dad32608

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I think you will hear a wide variety of thoughts. Everyone is different and what works for one might not fit for another. Ultimately I think we sometimes get caught up on things in the margin that really don't matter. I do not claim to be any type of expert. But here are my personal observations/opinions:
  1. All about the gymnast, bottom line, perform well at regionals and nationals and the rest will come. I think more than anything else, college coaches want to see gymnasts that can hit against the top competition when needed
  2. Coach/gym that has some track record of placing gymnasts in college programs. These gyms have direct contacts with the college coaches and can introduce and advocate for their gymnasts. Our gym in the last week has had coaches from LSU, Arkansas, Michigan State in the gym to watch the athletes train with more programs scheduled. These are great opportunities to get on the radar of these programs.
  3. I hate to say it but some Instagram presence. Im not talking about the kids that do the whole insta-fame thing, but some account that you can post training and competition videos that you can link to coaches/programs. This might be more important if you are at a smaller gym that maybe does not have an established track record with college programs.
  4. Be realistic, talk with your child, their coaches, other coaches. Ask for unvarnished truth. You don't want to focus efforts on a program that is not a fit for your child. I don't think you need to worry about this till they hit high school but something to consider.
  5. Dont lose sight of academics. If you home school make sure you are tracking NCAA course requirements and grades do matter!
I still think item 1 is most important but my observations.
 

Ty’s Dad

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I think you will hear a wide variety of thoughts. Everyone is different and what works for one might not fit for another. Ultimately I think we sometimes get caught up on things in the margin that really don't matter. I do not claim to be any type of expert. But here are my personal observations/opinions:
  1. All about the gymnast, bottom line, perform well at regionals and nationals and the rest will come. I think more than anything else, college coaches want to see gymnasts that can hit against the top competition when needed
  2. Coach/gym that has some track record of placing gymnasts in college programs. These gyms have direct contacts with the college coaches and can introduce and advocate for their gymnasts. Our gym in the last week has had coaches from LSU, Arkansas, Michigan State in the gym to watch the athletes train with more programs scheduled. These are great opportunities to get on the radar of these programs.
  3. I hate to say it but some Instagram presence. Im not talking about the kids that do the whole insta-fame thing, but some account that you can post training and competition videos that you can link to coaches/programs. This might be more important if you are at a smaller gym that maybe does not have an established track record with college programs.
  4. Be realistic, talk with your child, their coaches, other coaches. Ask for unvarnished truth. You don't want to focus efforts on a program that is not a fit for your child. I don't think you need to worry about this till they hit high school but something to consider.
  5. Dont lose sight of academics. If you home school make sure you are tracking NCAA course requirements and grades do matter!
I still think item 1 is most important but my observations.
EVERYTHING 100%
 

LJL07

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Never a bad idea to gather information, but it is definitely true that levels 7 and even 8 are pretty far removed from level 10. We were told don't even worry about college until they actually get to level 10. We were also told regionals don't matter as far as college until level 9/10 when they qualify for Easterns/Westerns and Nationals.
 

mom2newgymnast

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I think that is a really good list that gym_dad32608 put together. I agree with the last 2 posters also. I can tell you that, in my experience, my daughter's gym won't even talk about college prospects until they have competed level 10. I do know that our gym has the ability to get girls to D1 and they will do their part once the gymnast is ready. But prior to level 10, they do not really engage the parents in college preparation type talk. The most we have heard about my daughter (competed 9 last year and hoping for 10 this year) is that, as a rising 8th grader, she's in a "good position" for now.

I do know that our coaches have some connections and they do invite colleges to observe and sometimes sends their group to camps, etc to be seen. And all of the already competed level 10s have instagram, youtube and usually a gym recruiting page. But really none of that happens until after they have competed level 10. Like the previous posters said, so much can change between 7/8 and 10.
 
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GYM0M

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Our gym is relatively new to the processes of L10/elite/college so I don’t know what is consider a realistic approach from more established and/or larger programs.
For your gymmie, puberty sucks! I whole heartedly believe this is why so many girls quit around 11-14. Hormones do so much more than just change their bodies physically. The emotional fluxes create frustrations, self-doubts, & fears. This is the true test, IMO. Keep healthy and take care of her body as well as possible. Don’t rush the skills. Live and love every minute of the journey, even when she, or you, don’t want to.
 

mom2newgymnast

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Our gym is relatively new to the processes of L10/elite/college so I don’t know what is consider a realistic approach from more established and/or larger programs.
For your gymmie, puberty sucks! I whole heartedly believe this is why so many girls quit around 11-14. Hormones do so much more than just change their bodies physically. The emotional fluxes create frustrations, self-doubts, & fears. This is the true test, IMO. Keep healthy and take care of her body as well as possible. Don’t rush the skills. Live and love every minute of the journey, even when she, or you, don’t want to.
Yes! Puberty is so hard and just changes everything. Physically and emotionally and gymnastically. Just making it through healthy and still in the sport should be considered a major accomplishment. :)
 
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skygirlpc

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This is just an observation but I think it would be helpful if those giving advice would also tell their experience level.
 

Ty’s Dad

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I would say at level 9 (depending on age and scores) colleges start to look. My daughter was a Level 9/Hopes (season that just passed) and got two letters from a D1 just basically saying they’re looking at her. D1 colleges come to the gym all the time, and also had a meeting about this. They told us don’t post a lot on IG only post meets and skills that look good in the gym. They also told us that they hate the whole Instafame thing and don’t know if the girls want to be a model or gymnast. School is the most important and like someone else says make sure it’s NCAA approved. But I will say this levels 6-8 are the fun levels, things change when they get to the upper 9/10 level. Enjoy it because it gets real stressful when your daughter is about to be a level 10/hopes/elite for 6 years
 

mom2newgymnast

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This is just an observation but I think it would be helpful if those giving advice would also tell their experience level.

A couple of years ago there were a lot of level 10/college families here. Sadly, there don't seem to be a whole lot of active posters left that answer these questions. I wish they were still here as I much prefer chalkbucket over the facebook groups, but I pretty much get no responses to anything I post here anymore. So I don't think the OP is going to get a ton of responses from her target group unfortunately..

My daughter is 13 and just competed level 9 and is training for level 10. She will be in 8th grade this year, so she will likely have 4-5 years at 10, assuming best case. She's currently injured (broken ankle) and so competing 10 next year is definitely not a given and may not even be likely. We'll see where she is in a couple of months I guess. But she trains with older level 10s that are definitely ramping up the recruiting process right now, so I do have some awareness of how it works at her gym..

I would say at level 9 (depending on age and scores) colleges start to look. My daughter was a Level 9/Hopes (season that just passed) and got two letters from a D1 just basically saying they’re looking at her. D1 colleges come to the gym all the time, and also had a meeting about this. They told us don’t post a lot on IG only post meets and skills that look good in the gym. They also told us that they hate the whole Instafame thing and don’t know if the girls want to be a model or gymnast. School is the most important and like someone else says make sure it’s NCAA approved. But I will say this levels 6-8 are the fun levels, things change when they get to the upper 9/10 level. Enjoy it because it gets real stressful when your daughter is about to be a level 10/hopes/elite for 6 years

I think this is pretty unusual (for level 9s to be looked at), but obviously your daughter is amazing and it makes sense for her to be on their radar. I'd guess it's more her Hopes performance that has them interested. She's very, very talented!

I haven't heard our gym's stance on instagymmies, but I personally agree 100% with you/your gym. I would personally be shocked if any of them make it to level 10/much less college or elite. I think that most reputable gyms would discourage those kind of gymnasts/accounts too. I don't think they have much to do with gymnastics and are more about popularity/being an influencer/getting free merch (Yes, I know those are fighting words to many people, but that's just my opinion). Most girls I know have a private, personal instagram where they can post normal friend stuff (although for sure, they should still not post anything that can come back to haunt them) and a public gymnastics only account where they post training and meet videos only. There have also been talks with all the girls about being aware of how they are representing themselves and the gym in public and online and not doing anything that would negatively affect the gym's reputation or image. They take it very seriously.
 

LJL07

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One daughter is supposed to do level 10 (I’m saying “supposed to” because she’s training 10 but has not done a meet yet) and will be in ninth grade. She has a medical condition and had injury after injury this year. She’s doing well at the moment. My younger daughter is going into sixth grade, and she will be a level 9. I like cb better than the Facebook groups too, although there is an upper optionals group that is helpful. This is good advice about the social media. I don’t like the “instagymnast/model” accounts either. Ty’s Dad has a very talented hopes gymnast, so that is likely why she might be getting some interest from colleges. I guess I’m basically echoing everything @mom2newgymnast said :-D
 
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txgymfan

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There was a very informative and honest thread about this topic that bookworm wrote in. I’ll try to find it or if someone else can please post the link. She had two daughters that were level 10’s for about 6 years, both were recruited to college. One daughter was injured before starting and went on to dive for the college that recruited her for gym. The other competed D1 for 4 years. She didn’t have the happiest path but she posted valuable practical advice that I still pass along when it’s appropriate.
 

GYM0M

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This is just an observation but I think it would be helpful if those giving advice would also tell their experience level.
My daughter is 15 and just finished her freshman year. She’s an elite gymnast and national team member. She’s also the first to come from our gym and our town. When she started gym at our current gym, they only had 1 level 9, 2 level 8’s, and 1 level 7. They weren’t terribly competitive in compulsories either. Her coaches have put in an incredible amount of extra time researching and learning over the last 10 years. We still only have a bit more than a handful of upper level optional gymnasts, but I think that’s more because of our town.
 

txgymfan

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Threads from a few years ago about recruiting and general advice from some of our most experienced parents. Some of the information will be outdated but much of it still fits.
 

JBS

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All about the gymnast, bottom line, perform well at regionals and nationals and the rest will come. I think more than anything else, college coaches want to see gymnasts that can hit against the top competition when needed

It's this 100%.

I could talk about other things that it seems that some colleges like forever... but when it comes down to it... it's the ability to hit under pressure at tough competitions.
 

GymParent

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I have a 2nd year level 10 going into her senior year. Did 2 years of level 9 (freshman/sophomore). Very small gym but an owner that has NCAA connections. The last of the college gymnasts from her gym have graduated college so it's been a while. She's just coming off injury that she pushed through the end of season. Was a Westerns qualifier first year level 9 (2nd year was Covid so no post-season). She made it to L10 regionals this past season, but she's an older birthday so was in an age group with some seniors with summer birthdays that were former elites that qualified to nationals (dropped back their senior year).

She started going to college camps early on (starting about level 5) but those were more for the fun experience and getting pointers from college coaches. She's currently in talks with a couple D2 and a couple D3 schools. She started going to camps in level 9 that were more realistic schools for her and got exposure with those coaches before she was old enough to formally recruit. She's currently communicating with some of those same coaches.

She has 2 IG accounts. One personal and one for gymnastics. Her gymnastics account just has training and meet videos along with a couple bio videos (updates bios about annually). The coaches/teams that are interested in her follow both accounts. She started the gym account in level 8, but started seeing interest in level 9 after going to camps, showcases and Westerns.

I would recommend touring schools (even if just walking around campus, but we took a lot of academic tours) any chance you get. We took advantage of this anytime we had a travel meet in the vicinity of an NCAA gymnastics program (or a camp). It was really helpful for my daughter to determine what type of school she was looking for even if she wasn't going to attend that school (big school, small school, size of community, geographic location, amenities for athletes, residence halls, etc). She has known her choice in major for about a year now and having those academic tours behind her has been really helpful in narrowing down her focus on schools for the academics.

I agree with the others on puberty. Several talented teammates quit after puberty and Covid. Seems to be more injuries with the bigger skills as well. Practice on soft landings as much as possible to protect the back, knees, and ankles. She also has a weights trainer that focuses on the muscles not used as much in gymnastics to provide that well rounded balance, strengthen muscles to support the gymnastics muscles. She also had a couple teammates that switched sports recently with a much better opportunity at an athletic scholarship (i.e. track & field).
 

FlippinLilysMom

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I have a 15 year old 5th year level 10. She's lucky to be at a gym with coaches/owners that have amazing connections with college coaches and have been very helpful in leading us in the right direction. She's been receiving college mail since she was 10. She will be attending camp this summer at two of her top choice schools. Next June she can finally begin receiving contact from colleges. Feels like a lifetime away! I highly recommend following Jill Hicks on Facebook, she does weekly facebook live sessions where she answers many, many questions.
 

LJL07

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I have a 15 year old 5th year level 10. She's lucky to be at a gym with coaches/owners that have amazing connections with college coaches and have been very helpful in leading us in the right direction. She's been receiving college mail since she was 10. She will be attending camp this summer at two of her top choice schools. Next June she can finally begin receiving contact from colleges. Feels like a lifetime away! I highly recommend following Jill Hicks on Facebook, she does weekly facebook live sessions where she answers many, many questions.
I’m so glad you mentioned Jill hicks. Would it be worth it to work with her? I keep debating it. She sounded very knowledgeable over the phone but it’s $$$