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Level 6 Mom

New Member
Apr 4, 2022
5
52
Hi. I am mom of a level 6 gymnast. She will be 12 years old in September. Gymnastics has been her passion since age of 5, has always loved it and always happy to go to practice. She has been successful and has always placed in top 5, on top 100 gymnasts in country, state champ, etc. Coaches all
Love her hard work & dedication. she has not suffered any injuries, has advanced level skills. She has one more competition this season and then states. A couple of weeks ago she expressed to me that she is realizing that as she moves up levels the practice hours increase and will not have a life and that she does not love it as much as she did before. That it is boring as all they are doing are routines for competitions. Right now she practices 5 times per week for 4 hours each. I started asking her routine questions if it was something to do with coaches, teammates etc. Her answer is no. It all seems to boil down to the hours and not being able to do stuff with friends. I started scheduling time with friends on days she does not have practice. She loves that. Told her that all we want for her is to be happy. That we are here to help her work thru this as all her life has revolved around gymnastics. But also that we want to make sure her decision is not one she might regret later. If she wants to try other sports it’s ok, If she wants to take break, cut down hours etc. She does not say anything when I ask her these questions. Seems like she’s processing it all. Told her she does not have to make a decision right away. I did say that she needs to finish out the season for her teammates. I am struggling with how to help her work thru on how to make a decision. She says she does not want to go to practice and has skipped a couple. When she comes out of practices she’s always happy and talks about the future in gymnastics. I’m at a loss on how to help her. Have spoken to other moms of her teammates. They all are going through some sort of struggle but not considering quitting as of now. Have not spoken to coaches yet either. Please help! Thanks!
 

Em09

Gymnast
Fan
Oct 13, 2020
139
19
Australia
It sounds to me like she still loves it, but she's confused about it, because she misses being able to do things outside of the gym. I've definitely had times like this in high school, when I would be thinking about practice that night and I didn't want to go, and hated saying no to party invitations and things like that, but once I went to gym I was happy. I feel like you should just wait and see what she says, it's her decision, and you've done the right thing telling her that. She will take everything into account, because she will notice what you're seeing and more herself. Whatever she decides will be right for her.
 

MuggleMom

Proud Parent
Dec 22, 2016
757
Virginia
Honestly this sounds like every middle school gymnast I know....they love it while they are there and never want to go to practice when they are home lol. Unless you are homeschooling she is probably at the top of how many hours she will be doing. They may add one more day they may not (at least thats how it is at our gym my level 8 is doing the same amount of hours).

I started letting my kid pick 2-3 practices a month she can skip no questions asked. I just tell her to use them wisely cause if she is out of "get out of jail free" cards she may end up missing out on something important. The other rule I have when she considers quitting is she needs to find another activity to participate in. You aren't going to quit so you can sit in your room on tik tok or texting friends. So "quitting" does not equal unlimited free time. She may also want to investigate how much hang out time her other friends have. IF they are in sports or other activities she may find that they dont have nearly as much free time to hang with her as she thought they did...she may not be missing out like she imagines.

For us it typically comes down to she isn't sure what other sport she would like to do in place of gym. That and her stress is also typically related to a fear of something at gym once we address the fear she is much happier and less interested in quitting.

I think you are having all the right conversations with your kiddo. I would encourage her to come up with a plan of what she wants her life to look like after gym (what activities etc) and maybe do a trial run in the summer. I think summer is a great time to maybe take a break and if it doesn't work out get back into the gym before they get into the heart of competition season. I also always tell my kid she has to decide one way or another before I purchase the expensive leotard (if its a new leo year) or before I pay for the meets (if its not a new leo year).
 

gym_dad32608

Proud Parent
Aug 7, 2018
299
53
I generally dislike these types of posts because it is really hard to extrapolate and fully understand things from a simple post that is generally one persons point of view. But I get it, and it helps to hear from others and just vent.

From what you present, it sounds like she might need to change gyms, one that might be more advanced. She is hitting the age of self-awareness and skill level that gymnastics can get boring. I know for my little, she actually hates the competition season because it is so repetitive with the training, her favorite week is the week after season is over because they start working on upgrades and new skills. Actually her gym has already started training upgrades even though still have regionals and nationals left. There are also plenty of gyms that keep hours low but still work big skills, it doesn't have to be 25+ hours in the gym. Might be worthwhile to explore a more advanced gym in the area, if that exists. Or work with her to stay through the summer. If she gets to the end of the summer and still feels blah after upgrades and stuff, then she is probably genuinely disinterested in the sport.
 

LucyRobinson

Gymnast
Feb 27, 2022
124
Every gymnast has a time when they question "Is this really want I want to be doing with my teen years?" Some more than others. At different times for everyone.

Your love for gymnastics changes and grows as you get older. Your daughter may not want to be constantly in the gym anymore, but if she still loves and appreciates gymnastics and what it does for her that is OK.

It is OK too to take a couple days off a month or experiment with what else she likes. But for me, I had some other interests outside of the gym, but I would have wayyyy to much extra time without it, and there wasn't anything else I was that interested in to fill it up. Sometimes a month off just to figure out what you want to do is incredible.
 

Em09

Gymnast
Fan
Oct 13, 2020
139
19
Australia
Honestly this sounds like every middle school gymnast I know....they love it while they are there and never want to go to practice when they are home lol. Unless you are homeschooling she is probably at the top of how many hours she will be doing. They may add one more day they may not (at least thats how it is at our gym my level 8 is doing the same amount of hours).

I started letting my kid pick 2-3 practices a month she can skip no questions asked. I just tell her to use them wisely cause if she is out of "get out of jail free" cards she may end up missing out on something important. The other rule I have when she considers quitting is she needs to find another activity to participate in. You aren't going to quit so you can sit in your room on tik tok or texting friends. So "quitting" does not equal unlimited free time. She may also want to investigate how much hang out time her other friends have. IF they are in sports or other activities she may find that they dont have nearly as much free time to hang with her as she thought they did...she may not be missing out like she imagines.

For us it typically comes down to she isn't sure what other sport she would like to do in place of gym. That and her stress is also typically related to a fear of something at gym once we address the fear she is much happier and less interested in quitting.

I think you are having all the right conversations with your kiddo. I would encourage her to come up with a plan of what she wants her life to look like after gym (what activities etc) and maybe do a trial run in the summer. I think summer is a great time to maybe take a break and if it doesn't work out get back into the gym before they get into the heart of competition season. I also always tell my kid she has to decide one way or another before I purchase the expensive leotard (if its a new leo year) or before I pay for the meets (if its not a new leo year).
I love the idea of 2-3 skips, sometimes gymnasts just need a break! And I also totally agree with the fact that her friends may also be occupied with things and the gymnast might be disappointed with the result. Also that she should be doing something else that she is passionate about.
 

B&M's mom

Proud Parent
Sep 4, 2010
431
This is fairly typical at this age. I had two gymnasts, one never questioned her desire to do gymnastics and the other, who at this age started making the same comments. She was very good, enjoyed the sport but was ready to move into more activities. I allowed her to quit after ensuring that she really meant what she said and she had plans for her new free time. She really didn't regret leaving and now had free time to do other things. I would have loved her to stay in the sport as she was good but her heart wasn't in it. It turned out that walking away on her terms worked well for her.
 

Aussie_coach

Staff member
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Coach
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Gymnast
Club Owner / Manager
Jan 4, 2008
3,828
She is 12. This is the start of the age where friends and social life are more important than anything.

when they are little, if they weren’t at gymnastics they would usually be at home. But now there is hanging out, parties, trips to the mall, Horus of chatting on social media etc. The feeling of Missing out is big with this age group.
 
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Level 6 Mom

New Member
Apr 4, 2022
5
52
It sounds to me like she still loves it, but she's confused about it, because she misses being able to do things outside of the gym. I've definitely had times like this in high school, when I would be thinking about practice that night and I didn't want to go, and hated saying no to party invitations and things like that, but once I went to gym I was happy. I feel like you should just wait and see what she says, it's her decision, and you've done the right thing telling her that. She will take everything into account, because she will notice what you're seeing and more herself. Whatever she decides will be right for her.
Thank you! Needed to know if this was common :).
 

Level 6 Mom

New Member
Apr 4, 2022
5
52
It sounds to me like she still loves it, but she's confused about it, because she misses being able to do things outside of the gym. I've definitely had times like this in high school, when I would be thinking about practice that night and I didn't want to go, and hated saying no to party invitations and things like that, but once I went to gym I was happy. I feel like you should just wait and see what she says, it's her decision, and you've done the right thing telling her that. She will take everything into account, because she will notice what you're seeing and more herself. Whatever she decides will be right for her.
Thank you! Needed to know if it was common to feel this way. :)
 

Level 6 Mom

New Member
Apr 4, 2022
5
52
Honestly this sounds like every middle school gymnast I know....they love it while they are there and never want to go to practice when they are home lol. Unless you are homeschooling she is probably at the top of how many hours she will be doing. They may add one more day they may not (at least thats how it is at our gym my level 8 is doing the same amount of hours).

I started letting my kid pick 2-3 practices a month she can skip no questions asked. I just tell her to use them wisely cause if she is out of "get out of jail free" cards she may end up missing out on something important. The other rule I have when she considers quitting is she needs to find another activity to participate in. You aren't going to quit so you can sit in your room on tik tok or texting friends. So "quitting" does not equal unlimited free time. She may also want to investigate how much hang out time her other friends have. IF they are in sports or other activities she may find that they dont have nearly as much free time to hang with her as she thought they did...she may not be missing out like she imagines.

For us it typically comes down to she isn't sure what other sport she would like to do in place of gym. That and her stress is also typically related to a fear of something at gym once we address the fear she is much happier and less interested in quitting.

I think you are having all the right conversations with your kiddo. I would encourage her to come up with a plan of what she wants her life to look like after gym (what activities etc) and maybe do a trial run in the summer. I think summer is a great time to maybe take a break and if it doesn't work out get back into the gym before they get into the heart of competition season. I also always tell my kid she has to decide one way or another before I purchase the expensive leotard (if its a new leo year) or before I pay for the meets (if its not a new leo year).
Thank you for all great advice. Really love the 2-3 skip idea.
 
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Level 6 Mom

New Member
Apr 4, 2022
5
52
Honestly this sounds like every middle school gymnast I know....they love it while they are there and never want to go to practice when they are home lol. Unless you are homeschooling she is probably at the top of how many hours she will be doing. They may add one more day they may not (at least thats how it is at our gym my level 8 is doing the same amount of hours).

I started letting my kid pick 2-3 practices a month she can skip no questions asked. I just tell her to use them wisely cause if she is out of "get out of jail free" cards she may end up missing out on something important. The other rule I have when she considers quitting is she needs to find another activity to participate in. You aren't going to quit so you can sit in your room on tik tok or texting friends. So "quitting" does not equal unlimited free time. She may also want to investigate how much hang out time her other friends have. IF they are in sports or other activities she may find that they dont have nearly as much free time to hang with her as she thought they did...she may not be missing out like she imagines.

For us it typically comes down to she isn't sure what other sport she would like to do in place of gym. That and her stress is also typically related to a fear of something at gym once we address the fear she is much happier and less interested in quitting.

I think you are having all the right conversations with your kiddo. I would encourage her to come up with a plan of what she wants her life to look like after gym (what activities etc) and maybe do a trial run in the summer. I think summer is a great time to maybe take a break and if it doesn't work out get back into the gym before they get into the heart of competition season. I also always tell my kid she has to decide one way or another before I purchase the expensive leotard (if its a new leo year) or before I pay for the meets (if its not a new leo year).
Thank you for great advice. Really like the 2-3 skip idea
 

Livelovegymnastics

Gymnast
Fan
Mar 20, 2022
33
I would ask her if she would want to move to a different gym or to excel so that way she can have lower hours and have more time for things outside of gymnastics. She may still want to do it, but she may not want it to consume her entire life and personality. Present her this option and if she says she still wants to leave the sport then that should be the end of it.
 

LucyRobinson

Gymnast
Feb 27, 2022
124
I agree with considering Xcel or a different gym with less hours. Our gym does 13-14 hours during the school year and 16 in summer for level 6 and we place top 3 frequently. I think other gyms do even less.

Before you quit, have a plan. Gymnastics is a huge time guzzler. Come up with ideas for how you will spend your time: with friends, other sports, art, clubs, more focus on school, etc... then try them! There was a nice article on sports to do after gymnastics on Chalkbucket recently if you are looking for ideas.

You can always decide to "take a break". This leaves doors open for coming back rather than "I quit." Summer is a great time for a trial run of life without gym. You may decide you're done, you may find you are better off with it than without it.
 

Mom2Angie

New Member
Mar 24, 2022
6
41
Gosh this sounds all too familiar! My daughter is in 6th grade, age 11 and level 7. She was 1000% gymnastics until a couple months ago when she started talking about trying other sports (but doesn't want to quite gymnastics entirely). Since she can start school sports in 7th grade, I'm allowing her to try cheer this coming fall while doing as much gymnastics training as she can reasonably fit in. Cheer will end in early November, so she'll have just enough time to get 'meet ready'. I know this won't make her gym coaches happy, but we don't have an Excel program and this feels better than having her quit altogether. I think coaches need to be able to accommodate a variety of schedules and changes if they want to keep athletes mentally and physically engaged in the sport of gymnastics. ‍♀️
 

Tmacs

Proud Parent
Feb 19, 2019
194
Yes. This is common- lots of kids quit or switch to Xcel around middle school. My daughter is in 5th grade, level 5 and so I know I'll face this soon. She's high hours every day already so I actually force skips and time off. She never misses a birthday party or school event for gym. We take trips etc. It does not affect her gymnastics. I think planning and normalizing breaks all year long help her not get overwhelmed.
 

MuggleMom

Proud Parent
Dec 22, 2016
757
Virginia
Yes. This is common- lots of kids quit or switch to Xcel around middle school. My daughter is in 5th grade, level 5 and so I know I'll face this soon. She's high hours every day already so I actually force skips and time off. She never misses a birthday party or school event for gym. We take trips etc. It does not affect her gymnastics. I think planning and normalizing breaks all year long help her not get overwhelmed.

. I think planning and normalizing breaks all year long help her not get overwhelmed.
Very much this!! I don't think I did this enough early on for my kid. This year her meet season ends right before spring break so she is taking all spring break off from gym. We also do a vacation every summer and usually she will miss some for other smaller vacations as well. The gym does a few days off at Christmas and then a week off in the summer but I dont think this is enough. They are so exhausted after meet season and then its like UP TRAIN! I think its important to find those strategic breaks to let their body and mind rest
 
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