Parents Level 3 dd afraid to compete?

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Feb 25, 2009
Just wondering if any of you have been in this situation. I have a 5 y/o that is on level 3 now. She loves gymnastics, is excited to wear her new competition leo, but states she doesn't want to compete, but then later she'll say okay she'll compete later on. I don't want to push her if she is not ready. She doesn't quite have all her level 3 skills yet anyway. However, she also didn't want to do her dance recital in May. Well, she did it because we said she had to try (paid for the costumes, etc - and initially she wanted to do it) well, she ended up loving it and had a great time.
So, now I am wondering, do we sign her up or not? The club needs to know soon. At this age so much can change so fast. I have no idea if by November will she change her mind and be mad that I didn't sign her up.
What has been your experience? I am learning that she is going to be my little tempermental little one.
I would say wait one more year. Let her keep training, but not competing. It becomes a huge expense later on, and a lot of gyms don't even let their level 3 kids compete (except maybe in-house). (some of the gyms in my area don't compete before L5)

You can always take her to meets and let her cheer for her team-mates, and that might get her a little more excited about the whole thing. If she regrets not signing up, you can remind her how much better she will be next year when she does want to compete. JMHO, your mileage may vary.:p

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Seems to be the week for 5 yo issues! She has no reference as to what competing really is. You and the coach could explain it to her or show her videos on youtube and she might have an idea, but not really understand. Sometimes little ones get excited initially because they want the pretty leo, dance costume, skating dress etc., but then realize there is more to it than just getting dressed up.

I wouldn't rush her into this especially since you said she doesn't have all of her L3 skills anyway. Is there a way she could just practice for another year and possibly work on L4 with a goal of her competing that level in fall of 2010? Remember levels 1-4 aren't required by USAG and its not worth it for her to have a rocky start at a level not even mandated by the program. Again, another year of practice and growth might keep everyone happy and less stessed.
Hi there, Snowbound made some good points, but on the flipside, L2/L3 is great for the little ones to work out the nerves in a low pressure setting (relatively speaking). Once they get to the higher levels, there is more pressure and obviously more difficult skills. If they have the chance to go out and just have fun and learn about performing in front of the crowd...I say go for it. You mentioned she didn't want to do her dance recital but ended up loving it...she'll probably be the same for gym too. Whatever you decide, you will be fine, she's so young that waiting a year, if that is what you choose, won't hurt at all. Good Luck!!
I don't have any experience as mine has not competed yet but boy if I had a choice of what level DD first competed at it would be ... not 3. 4 or 5. I'm just so busy and money is money. I'd rather she uptrained. But around here she will probably have to compete starting at level 2 and that will be OK.
I would let her get used to the idea alittle longer it is hard to tell if they will like competing or not at this age. If you have the option I would probally wait until she has all her skills or maybe level 4,it is not cheap and the judges can be very intimadating. Do they have a mini meet at your gym where she can compete and get an idea of what it is like.
I just wanted to add that I have two daughters that are polar opposites to eachother. My little one is just like your little one....the more tempermental one. She too had a dance recital she stressed over for many nights. She was adamant about not wanting to go on the big stage. But again she had to do it because costumes, tickets, fees were all paid for. After her recital her first words were: That was fun I want to do it again!!! Overcoming a fear is a very valuable lesson and great self-esteem booster.

Now My older dd (now 6yo) competed L3 as a 5 year old. She has no problems with performing in fact LOVES it! But at some meets (towards the end of the season) she shared with me that she had 2 butterflies in her belly-lol. I just told her to do what she does everyday. Told her to do what she does...gymnastics!!! It's important for your dd to feel she is "ready" to compete. The fear of falling or not doing well may be too much pressure for her. Owning her skills and having confidence is important. But again I think L3 is low pressure and usually everyone gets a medal and can be a great learning experience for her. Either way she is still young and has plenty of time.

Good luck:)
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Maturity is different for each child. Yours at 5yo (which is young no matter how you see it) may not be ready for the "big scene" yet. Both of my girls had a really hard time doing basic rec dance and gymnastics before they were ready. It was frustrating to me because out of classes full of the kids the same age, they were the only ones either constantly crying not not paying attention in class. I had no idea that they would become such competitors in sports years later.

Encouragement is good but I would not suggest pushing your daughter if she doesn't think she's ready yet. Like others have mentioned, keep her trained with fundamentals for now. When she's ready, she'll let you know. There is no rush as there is plenty of time at her age.
I agree with snowbound! In our area, level 3's don't compete, but I DO think it would be very beneficial for her to watch her teammates. If she does wish she had competed, help her to channel that into determination to have a great competition season next year, rather than getting bogged down in regret or anger. Five is way too young for that!
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My DD actually competed L3 for two seasons. The second she had all her L4 skills but really struggled with form. She will be competing L4 this fall.

I think L3 was great for her. It really helped her get used to being out there in front of the judges and all the parents. In her very first meet floor was the first event. When she finished and saluted - she looked like she was going to throw up LOL !!!

What I think I learned from the first to second season was to just tell her to have a fun. First season I talked about the meet on the way there etc. I was trying to makeher less nervous but actually made it worse. Second go round I did not talk about the meet at all unless she askedanout it. When we got there I would tell her to have fun and that I loved her and hand her off to the coach. She had a blast that season.

Your DD is young and I think waiting is fine. See if there are any meets inyour area that she could watch first. I took my DD to two before she ever competed. Just so she would have an idea of what would be happening.

Good luck
That isn't uncommon for the kids at that age. Talk with the coaches etc and see what they think let them know your concerns. Maybe you could do just the in-house meets this year and just have her attend a few of the other meets as a spectator. It's scary to get out there all by yourself and have a whole room of people looking at you while your trying to remember a routine .
but I DO think it would be very beneficial for her to watch her teammates.
I don't know if I agree with that necessarily. At that young age, wanting to compete and wanting to watch really are two different things. Many (if not most) just don't have the patience or attention span to watch and to relate. In fact, even my 3rd year competing 10yo still couldn't care less to watch others (including her optional sister) except maybe for one or two of her close buds on her team -- still not as a spectator but a cheerleader. I don't see anyone in her group reacts too differently either.

It's scary to get out there all by yourself and have a whole room of people looking at you while your trying to remember a routine .
That isn't necessarily true either at a regular meet, is it? Sure there is a big room full of people but only a handful is watching any one particular competitor. Every once in a while, a gymnast may stand out and catcj attention from a part of the audience that is not from the same gym. Of course, a nervous gymnast cannot understand that.
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It sounds like normal nerves to me. I think that seeing a meet might benefit her, but it might be too late for that if they want fees and commitment already. Maybe just in-house meets would be a good start? And go see one meet at another gym and let her see what she thinks?

Though if she has done this before with dance and then loved it, I might just go for it.
Thank you all for your ideas, etc. Well, we had to make a decision as meet fees were due last week. My dd told me, without me asking her, that she would like to try and compete in a few meets at the end of the year. So, I signed her up for 2, one in Nov, one in Dec. That way I figure she has several months to practice. We will see where it goes, I am not going to push her though. If things are her idea, then she does better with it. I am not going to talk meet talk with her as one of you suggested, and just tell her to have fun. Thanks again.
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