looking for moms of level 9/10 gymnasts

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hi lv 9/10 moms. The challenges of an upper level gymnast are so different than the others. I have questions,and sometimes concerns about stuff she is doing and where this is going to take her. We are going to have a meeting with her coach about going elite......have no idea what this means. I have heard all negative stuff about going elite. I want to havee a grasp on this before my husband and i go talk. there is just so much. Please if your the mom of an upper level gymnast and think we could support eachother,please be my friend!!!
thank you so much,
Hi Amanda, you are right, the kinds of issue's your family will be facing will be very unique and not like the issue's faced by a lower level gymnast. I'm sure you will find that there are lots of parents on here who are in similar situations.

Going elite is a big step, basically elite is the step after level 10, its changing from competing to national requirements, into competing international requirements. Elites will compete with the same rules as the gymnasts at the olympics. The aim of elite is to choose girls for the National team to represent the country in international competitions such as the World championships and the Olympic games.

Training hours for elites are a lot. Elites train 5-7 hours a day, 6 days a week. So you will be looking at 30-40 hours a week of training. This is what is required because this is what every other girls who she will be competing against in the country and in the world are doing.

Elites usually train twice a day with a 2-3 hour training session each morning and then a second 3-4 hour training session in the afternoon. Some gyms just do one big long training session during the day each day for around 5 hours. But coaches have found doing the two sessions works better.

Most elites do not attend school. A large number of elites are home schooled, some gyms will require their elites to be home schooled because it would be the only way to fit in their education around their training. Some Elites attend specialist schools that are very flexible for top sports kids, but it will depend if these kind of schools are available. A few do attend a normal school but with reduced hours if they can find a school that is flexible enough, but many find they burn out if they try to attend school and Elite training.

Doing elite will also mean all else in life comes second. There will not be time for much socializing with friends, doing other sports and activities, family time or study. All these things will come second in life, most of her time will be spent training and resting for more training. But for the right kind of kid this isn't even an issue. The right kid for elite is the one who would rather be doing gymnastics than anything else in the world and who would happily give up everything else at the chance to do more gymnastics.

Elite will be a big commitment for the whole family. Financially it will be very expensive with 30-40 hours a week of training and a lot of travel competitions. If elite only competed locally they would never find enough competitors to develop the competition experience they need. It will mean early morning driving for a parent every day and late night pick ups, ferrying about during the day, putting off family things. No vacations, elites must train at least 50 weeks per year.

I am not saying this to put you off, I think if your child has the potential to make elite then that is an amazing gift that should be nourished, I also think the life experiences she would gain from training at this level would be priceless. But its also important to know what it is that you are committing too and recognize that it won't work for every kid and for every family.
Another thing to talk about in the meeting-will she be the only one?It will be VERY difficult for her to be the only one- for her own "mental" sake as well as they will probably be in a training group w/ Level 10's- which is a totally different type of workout.

Is she still young enough- no older than 13-to take the time to move into the elite ranks and have enough time to be successful.

Does she have a good base of skills right now to build on-she should be at minumum able to do all the skills in the pre elite compulsories w/ excellent form & technique easily.

What experience do the coaches have? what will happen to your daughter's training when they take the rest of the team to meets?

What are her physical deficits (flex, power, etc?) and how will they deal w/ them. Does she tend to stay injury fee? How does she deal w/ fear and being pushed very hard.

Do you have the money for at least 4-5 plane travel meets per year? That is MINUMUM. pLus paying for the coaches travel- most booster clubs do not pay for the elites.
What an exciting opportunity!

First and foremost, the question to ask (and not of the coaches) is, "What is the personal goal of your gymnast? What will going elite accomplish that being a 9/10 hasn't? Is the goal trying to make the national team? Is the goal trying to get into collegiate gymnastics?" These are the questions that your DD should be able to answer for you before you go in and meet with her coaches.

Often I feel that the responses on this board are too pro sport. By this I mean that the replies don't consider the GYMNAST first. Going elite has many factors to consider, and though previous responses have outlined generalities of things to consider, each situation is unique. We know many elite gymnasts who do not get homeschooled and in fact go to regular public schools and they are doing just fine balancing training and education as well as having a life outside of gym. And yes, they are successful elites.

Be prepared in knowing what your gymnast and your family want out of this next step. Then ask all the usual questions about training hours, travel, financial commitment and such.

Good luck - let us know what happens!
Hello everyone and thank you for giving me alot to think about. Wow this is alittle overwhelming. Our daughter just turned 13 this march,and is a level 9. she is doing layout stepouts on beam,double layouts on vault,and can do a single arabian on floor and is working on a double arabian into the pit last i heard(yesturday). she is a 2nd place national champion in vault. she loves this sport. She has only ever talked about college gymnastics. the only time elite has been brought up has been a hasty kind of thing, with alot of of negatives...in our book. so ....with allittle more insight, we will have to talk about the challenges as a family and see what it is , she wants out of this . The only "injuries" shes had is "severs disease" fractured heel. 10 weeks of no pounding last summer. set her back alot.she was supposed to be a ten this season. but ...its fine. So i will keep you all posted. thank you for responding. hope to talk again!
hi my name is abby and i am i levle 2 i just moved up to levle2 :huge::bars:
What an exciting opportunity! When my daughter’s coaches approached my wife and me a few years ago about pursuing an elite track (dd was then Level 7), however, we demurred. Here’s why:

Although dd’s coaches had trained extremely successful athletes ex-US, we didn’t fully understand how the education of an elite athlete in this country could help my daughter to achieve her long-term goals—unless she turned out to be a star. I understood that my child would have to either use her gymnastics as a springboard to achieve her long-term goals or achieve those goals despite the long training hours. It happens that my wife used to share a medical suite with another physician who had been one of America’s most successful Olympic athletes; I suppose that his educational prospects might, at the least, have been undiminished by the spectacular results of the long hours that he had devoted to training, but my wife—as a Division 1 athlete but hardly a star—had learned that an extra twenty hours a week could be more fruitfully devoted to independent undergraduate research than to team practice if her goal was a career as a physician/scientist. Thus a clear goal is useful, and a clear head is required to understand how to achieve it, for there are different paths—but those paths may be influenced by luck (read injury) as well as by tenacity and ability. As thoroughly middle-class and suitably concerned parents, I suppose the question we asked was this: If we choose to allow our dd to devote so much time and effort to gymnastics, what happens if she is merely very good—and what happens if she is hurt—and how would that affect her long-term prospects?

Along those lines, I’ve been interested for some years in the study of expert performance by psychologist Anders Ericsson, who suggests that ten thousand hours of dedicated practice is necessary to achieve real expertise in a field. (This doesn’t count the time spect chalking up; instead it counts only those minutes devoted to intense concentration similar to that of a chess grandmaster studying a world championship game or a violinist practicing a very difficult piece; elites clearly have the edge here over other gymnasts, simply because they devote more hours, and presumably more intense minutes, to the sport.) Unfortunately, most of us don’t have much of that time available, and we have to choose how to parcel those minutes out. Some people may choose to devote their available periods of intense concentration to gymnastics, and some of them do very well. We suggested that our daughter should devote those limited hours of intensely-focused efforts towards areas that we feel will have a longer-term benefit. Because we decided to prioritize our child’s education, she will never reach the elite level and, in fact, I doubt that she’ll ever even get to Nationals by defeating those Level 10 athletes who focus much more sustained attention on gymnastics than we allow her to do, but we’re looking years down the road—she’ll be fine. Your daughter will be fine, too, although she may choose a different path.
This site has been such a cultural education to me.
In Oz there are no college gymnastics programs, and gymnasts (however high they get in the sport) almost always retire between grades 10 and 12. An Oz parent who was academically ambitious for their child would probably favour gymnastics as least likely sport to interfere with university entrance study/marks. We also attend whatever uni is closest to home. The few exceptions are if you qualify into a subject at a distant uni but not the local one. And all unis and degrees are totally equal - we don't get what advantage their could be in travelling to Harvard or whatever.
So my thoughts on this are very biased by my cultural difference ...
But here's my worry for any gymnast who has the potential to be world class (ie: elite) but this potential is sacrificed - and this opportunity denied - because her parents are determined to prioritise education: There is clear expectation that she'd better end up with a brilliant career. And whether or not she succeeds - and whether or not she's satisfied with the brilliant career - she'll always wonder what might have been.
I don't personally get it. The opportunity to be an elite gymnast is fleeting. If it's missed, there's no turning back the clock.
Whereas education is available at any age and stage of life. You can be a hairdresser today and a doctor tomorrow if you want to be. Unless Patch Adams was the last mature aged student allowed entry to medical school, I gather this is still true in the US - isn't it? So what's gained by sacrificing sporting opportunities? At best a couple of years head start on a career? if that!! Is it worth it??
Whilst few of my friends even knew I was a former gymnast until DD started gym - and even now none of them knows I was good enough to have trained at the AIS (national sports centre) for a while - it does far more for my positive self concept than my graduate degree. I wouldn't have to think for a second if a child of mine was offered a fleeting, never-to-be-repeated opportunity, whether it be elite sports, modelling (HA - they'll be a foot too short), etc ...
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That is so true Happyfacetwin, but our culture in Australia is so different to the USA, the focus on education here is far lower and there is really no such thing as "going away to college" as so few do. Most continue to live at home during their University years and many continue to train in their gymnastics clubs just as they were in High school. I can see how there would be more pressure in the USA to rush kids through the levels as you would tend to lose them as soon as they finish high school.

However, the problem here in Australia is that there is nothing to shoot for after level 10, there is no college scholarship, there is no chance of becoming elite (you have to have gone through the IDP for that at a specialist training centre) so we tend to lose many kids by 12 or 13. Few have the incentive to continue through their high school years.

We have the belief in our society that education can happen at any time. Many people wait until they retire to return to university and get higher level degree's. We believe in learning for learning sake not as much to get a top job. Our country also believes that education is not the most important thing in finding a top job, and we in fact many of our High school kids to focus less on academic studies and more on trades. Things are very different in the USA.
I get why they're much more likely to progress to L10 - I just don't get why they'd be less likely to embrace an opportunity to go elite? Isn't education as valued there if it's delayed a little bit??
It would be good if our USA friends could answer this. Why do people tend to always go to college straight from high school? Why is deferring for a few years to get some life experience not an accepted practice?
It would be good if our USA friends could answer this. Why do people tend to always go to college straight from high school? Why is deferring for a few years to get some life experience not an accepted practice?

More people take a few years off than you might expect.

I think American movies, TV shows, etc. present an idealized image. Kids spend final year of high school making college decisions. Immediately start college. Graduate in four years. In reality, people take a lot of different paths through their education.

I think part of it is socioeconomic. Those with more money and more educated parents are likely to go (or be expected to go) directly to university. For middle and lower income Americans, college may be delayed or stretched out by necessity. Life happens. People want to get jobs. People want to explore their interests. People get married or have children.

According to the federal agency that provides financial aid to American college students (Student Aid on the Web), 40% of American college students are over the age of 25. That means 40% of those in college did not follow the high-school and then directly to college plan.
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but there is a new NCAA rule that if you wait a year or two to go to college you lose some of your eligibility. If it's true it's really stupid.
There's a rule that, from a certain age on (21? around that age anyway), your NCAA eligibility starts. So if you start after that age, the it's counted as if you'd started competing NCAA at that age.
...According to the federal agency that provides financial aid to American college students (Student Aid on the Web), 40% of American college students are over the age of 25. That means 40% of those in college did not follow the high-school and then directly to college plan.

Sorry to labour the original topic, but doesn't that mean most Americans would also see sacrificing a chance at elite (in favour of focusing on education) as kind of ... pointless??
BTW I don't mean to judge rbw's choice - I'm sure that was more complex than it seems. I just would see a situation like that being the exception rather than the rule??
IMHO denying a child an amazing opportunity requires some extremely compelling reasons. The only one that really grabs me personally is that the child just doesn't want it - talent and passion don't always go together (eg: I think way too many "smart" kids are pushed into "smart" careers they don't want or like - JMHO).
Of course the decision to go elite does not have to be an unchangeable one. The best way to know if a child is suited to something like this is to give it a go. If it doesn't work, lots drop back to level 10 and continue to compete successfully or land a college scholarship.
The think the whole issue, for Happyfacetwin, has been oversimplified. It is not only a case of "what a wonderful opportunity this is and I need to grab it now." It is also an EXTREMELY serious FINANCIAL and TIME commitment that a parent makes in order to allow their daughter to go Elite. Read back to some of the first posts on this thread. There are so many more factors that must be taken into consideration in trying to make a decision like this. In order to support an elite gymnast, the WHOLE family must make sacrifices, including any siblings. Some parents don't want their entire lives to revolve around one child's gymnastics career. There is no right or wrong answer here. Parents must make the decision that is right for their family.
Based on the skill set you describe, and the fact that your daughter is still a Level 9, I would not think that she is there yet to test at the elite level. My daughter is a 10 again and has done elite (and it's as vigorous as described in prior posts, although my daughter has always remained in "regular" school with modifications to her schedule) but I think what I have seen in the past few years is certain coaches/gyms taking kids to elite qualifiers that just weren't ready just so they could say they went :confused:. As one of the posters said, it's BEYOND Level 10, not instead of Level 10 (Madison Kocian of WOGA did make the leap last year from 9 to Elite but she also was scoring high 38s all year and won Westerns, so she's not the norm) so I would consider this carefully. If she's not kicking butt in Level 9, then I would have her do Level 10 and go from there. A lot of girls test elite after going to JO Nationals (that's what my daughter did) and although one of the posters said she had to be around 13 to be seriously considered, Kayla Williams, the reigning World Champion on Vault , won JO Nationals last year and then went elite and made the National team as a senior...but I will tell you that she was a strong 10 for a few years prior.

It is a huge committment for the gymnast and family from a time standpoint and financially but looking back, we have no regrets as it was what she wanted at the time. She is back competing as a 10 and is happy as a clam and that works for me too. She sees herself competing in college and so elite isn't what she needs to pursue at this point. Good luck!
...It is also an EXTREMELY serious FINANCIAL and TIME commitment that a parent makes in order to allow their daughter to go Elite...the WHOLE family must make sacrifices...

You know ... I'm finding that quite compelling!! :D:D
To happyfacetwin and aussie coach,
It is interesting to see how differant things are where you live,but i think im confused. is what your saying mean that if my daughter goes elite that equals no college? Me personally, im not to worried about college for the sake of going,you see..Im not a college graduate.Its My daughters desire to go to college and represent a school of her choice. Since so many colleges offer scholorships,it seems logical. When i watch college competitions when they introduce the girl, they say what college they are from and the major they are taking, havent heard anything related to gymnastics half the time. Education and gymnastics can go hand in hand.
My concerns for her going elite tended to be more on the side of expense, burn out, the stress it would put on the rest of the family etc........ After talking briefly with the coach, Kirah will be going 10 next season and doing a season of 10. so the pressure to go elite is off.....for now. please write back, i dont know if i totally understand and responded to your posts with what you were looking for???? anyways, thank you for posting .. :) Amanda
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