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BouncingCzech

Proud Parent
Aug 30, 2017
10
46
Our daughter G just turned 10. She has been in gymnastics since she was 4 however due to far too many tragedies in our life, she paid the price and had to take a couple of breaks. She is completely obsessed and wants to only do competitive gymnastics. She has been at a gym for a few years now and she wanted to make USAG there but only made the state competitive team. They told us they only take a certain age and she is too old already for their gym, and it is just their policy and as much as they adore her, they stick to it. We were told she is level 3/4 and if she works on a couple of skills, could be L4 within a few weeks and already has L5 skills down such as a back tuck, but she is just too old and "so sorry". We know she is a little behind but the coaches said there is a chance she could get caught up so she is hopeful and so are we. So we went to another gym to be evaluated just to see because she was so eager (and relentless) to get on a USAG team. The gym we went to has a great reputation and even had a few girls just place at the US Classic and the P&G. They gave her a shot to workout with them and at the end, they said she was great and they would love to give her a chance on the USAG team and would get her caught up. They said she does have potential and is very strong. They said she is probably only L3/4 and they were excited to see the few L5 skills, but they will work with her.

My first question is for someone who just turned 10, what level are most competitive female gymnasts at?

My other question to you is "what would you do"? Stay at the gym closer to home, that is comfortable, still allows her to do what she loves and hopefully still get the chance to do college gymnastics knowing always in the back of our minds, "maybe we should have let her try"? OR do we drive much further away, to the better gym, knowing they are willing to give her a shot, (and yes, we know she may never even be close to Olympian status) but do we let her try for her dream to be on a USAG team and yes, we are willing to make the sacrifices for her?

We both work full time and so I am begging my job already to see if I can switch work hours around for her. We do not have alot of family so I have nobody to ask really for help. I am from another country and most relatives are gone. My beautiful father, brother, and identical twin all died tragically and way too young and my mother has emphysema. My husband's family is few and they are equally stocked with kids and activities and I would hate to ask for their help when I know they really cannot. I am only 40 and feel like I am 80!!!:)

Anyway, my point is, we are willing to make the life choice but is it worth it??

The final question is, do you think they are only taking her (at the potential new gym) for the USAG team to take our money to pad their gym??? If her current gym says "no way, yes she has potential but we have an age policy" but then one of the top gyms in our state says "yes, she has potential, we will allow her to join".......should we be fearful of this? I am not saying I don't see her potential because we do......she has a natural grace to her that is fun to watch and she is freakishly strong from a young age:) But such opposing views make us nervous and we don't want to make the wrong choice for our baby girl. Any help or advice is so greatly appreciated. Love from Chicago and many thanks to anybody who stayed awake reading it:):):)
 

John

Proud Parent
May 5, 2017
1,592
54
DD has a friend who will be 13 this year. She never did any gym until she was 8. She was state champion level 6 last season. Switch gyms let her follow her dreams.

I drive 40 minutes one way to gym. I know your worries. When you establish yourself at a new gym you may find team members who you can car pool with. We had a big carpool but some girls retired this year, the carpool is back to just two families.

I do not think gyms pad their income with team members, the padding and real income come from rec classes.
 

BachFlyer

Proud Parent
Mar 29, 2010
1,103
My first question is for someone who just turned 10, what level are most competitive female gymnasts at?
Hi there. My answer is that it doesn't matter. There are 10 year olds that are training level 10, and there are 10 year olds that are training level 3. Your daughter is where she is at, and it sounds like she's in a good place with what sounds like talent, drive, and a supportive family. She's on her own journey. My dd started on team at 8 and she's going into her 4th season as a L10. There are lots of stories like hers. We had a girl on our team that competed in college who started at 10, and had a very bad health issue that took her out for a considerable amount of time.

My other question to you is "what would you do"? Stay at the gym closer to home, that is comfortable, still allows her to do what she loves and hopefully still get the chance to do college gymnastics knowing always in the back of our minds, "maybe we should have let her try"? OR do we drive much further away, to the better gym, knowing they are willing to give her a shot, (and yes, we know she may never even be close to Olympian status) but do we let her try for her dream to be on a USAG team and yes, we are willing to make the sacrifices for her?

If she has a dream of college gym, she needs to be on a competitive team and start catching up soon. While elite is probably a sailed-ship, there is no telling if she can make it to a college team. I'm sure people will be raring to remind you of this. There are no guarantee for anyone, including my kid either and she already has a verbal offer. Anything can happen.

I am only 40 and feel like I am 80!!! :) Anyway, my point is, we are willing to make the life choice but is it worth it??

Yes. I would advise you just to know what you are getting into, and understand that optional gymnastics is even more of a time and money investment than compulsory, before you say yes. It is very hard to pull any child out of an activity they are passionate about, especially in gym where the physical, emotional and time investment is huge. Of course life throws really crappy curve balls, but I'm sure you don't need a reminder that also life is short. I love everything gymnastics has brought my dd and our little family, even though it's been enormously hard for our us to make it work over the years, and we have had to rely on a lot of help even when I didn't want to. If this is a good gym that people commute to, ask about carpools.

The final question is, do you think they are only taking her (at the potential new gym) for the USAG team to take our money to pad their gym??? ...should we be fearful of this?
Least of your concerns. Every gym has different requirements for their team. . Our's is very successful with L10/college athletes and they take kids of all shapes, sizes and ages if they have the skills and commitment. Sounds like the new gym is smart - I actually take it as a good sign! Usually a team won't take someone that they don't want, since team is not raking in the dollars and the rec programs are usually more profitable

Good luck and keep us posted!
 

honu

Proud Parent
Aug 29, 2016
64
Sounds like your daughter has a passion for the sport and that you are eager to support her. I am not familiar with a "state competitive" team. Most gyms have 2 USAG tracks. One is the Junior Olympic (JO) program and the other is Excel. The JO programs has the levels you refer to (level 3, 4, 5 up to level 10). The excel program starts with the Bronze level and next is Silver.

You will see 10 year olds competing at many different levels. Some girls start competing level 3 at 10 years old while others start at the age of 6 or 7. I would not focus on her age, but instead on what works for her and your family. The feedback about your daughter's skills and potential level seems comparable at both your current gym and the new gym. The difference is your current gym has a younger preferred start age and the other gym is more flexible. It is not unusual for gyms to have different views about ages and starting team. To reach level 10 or elite, starting younger at age 6 or 7 gives the advantage of more time. But more importantly the vast majority of girls who start competing will not reach level 10 or elite. I would not take the willingness of the new gym to place her on a JO level team as a red flag. It is more gym philosophy than any reflection on your DD. A 10 year old is by no means too old to start competing in a JO level 3 or 4 program.

Are there any other gyms beyond these 2 that are a reasonable drive for you? If so, visit those and get their feedback, as well. Good luck and hope you find the right fit for your DD and your family.
 

ldw4mlo

Proud Parent
Feb 13, 2015
6,434
62
Bachflyer pretty much covered it. How much you are willing to do is your and your familys decision alone.

Hours, travel, expense etc.....

But I am not a fan of the too old stuff. Well I'm sure there is a too old age but I don't think 10 is it. So if you are OK with her going for it, yes change gyms. I can assure you no JO team means no shot at college at all. And a shot is difficult enough.

The gym we moved from tried to tell me my girl was not cut out for competitive gymnastics meaning JO, because we couldn't commit to that gyms schedule. So we found a gym that worked for us and believed she could.

She is currently a L7.
 
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NutterButter

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Jan 24, 2013
880
In my state, the median age of L4 is 10. So, no, your DD is not at all too old. If JO team is your DD's goal, then I would get away from your current gym ASAP. They have already told you that she is too old for their standards. It's time to move on...like now. I want to make sure I'm understanding you correctly. Your current gym has an age requirement and your DD is too old. But, just maybe, they will put her on team if she can acquire the L4 and L5 skills needed? Is this because she would then be with her age peer group? Feels a little funny to me. What happens if she gets injured and needs time off to heal. She would just be getting older while she is healing. I would leave that gym immediately.

You will find gyms have different criteria for athletes. Some want them to be a certain age. Some want them to be specific body type. The fact that the better gym says yes doesn't raise any red flags for me. If anything, the current gym giving you a glimmer of hope does raise a red flag.

Keep us posted on what you decide. You are asking all the right questions.
 

Flyaway

Proud Parent
Jun 1, 2014
1,380
If your dd wants to do USAG, you are going to have to move gyms. Your current gym made it pretty clear that while they think she has potential, she is too old. Since the "too old" policy is a load of crap, I'd want to move her anyway.

Dd did level 4 last year and turned 10 during the season. She was never in the youngest age group at meets but usually in the second youngest.
 

Gigi

Proud Parent
Apr 20, 2016
227
Hi. If I were in your situation, I would move her to the second gym that would take her on team. She is artificially held back by her current gym because of her age, even though she clearly has potential. There is no opportunity at this gym. She should move on. Hopefully, you can find someone to carpool with. Best of luck.
 
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2gymkids

Proud Parent
Mar 26, 2013
243
My DD is 10 and heading into a second year of Level 4. Last year as a 9 year old Level for she was generally in the second youngest age group, and at one or two meets, the youngest group. So, no, 10 is not too old. But I would give a lot of thought as to what kind of commitment you want going forward as the time and hours and cost will continue to increase. Good luck!!
 
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Gymmamabear

Proud Parent
Mar 11, 2013
139
This whole thing that she is "too old" makes me so mad! Too old for what??? She is a KID doing a SPORT for FUN. As are all our girls. Even though ones that are 10 and in level 10 may not get a D1 scholarship or make the Olympic team and that is ok! They are all doing a sport they like, who cares what age and level they are?? It's not a race! I get so tired of the fact that in gymnastics gyms think all girls have the same end goal.
 

dbean

Proud Parent
Dec 16, 2013
166
One gym around us requires girls to be 11 or younger to compete level 6. If older they send them the xcel route. My daughter will be repeating 6 again, as a 12 year old, so good thing she isnt at that other gym.

Try the second gym. We had a girl who is 13 and only in her third year of gymnastics, competing level 7. Anything can happen.
 

CLgym

Proud Parent
Dec 22, 2014
1,165
I live in your neck of the woods, and will try to answer your questions specific to our area (in fact, I have some pretty good guesses regarding which gyms you are considering) Feel free to send me a personal message (conversation) if you have specific questions you'd like to ask.

1.
My first question is for someone who just turned 10, what level are most competitive female gymnasts at?

My DD competed Level 4 last year. She was 8 years old at the State meet. She was in the second youngest age group, but she was still many months from her 9th birthday. Some 8 year olds were in older age categories. In total, there were 21 age groups for Level 4 at State. Girls age 10 would have been in age groups 9-15 depending on birthday.... so middle of the pack as far as age (8 younger groups, 6 older groups). You can find the exact birthday cut-offs on the IL USAG website, but it looks like there were definitely a lot of 10 year old Level 4's -- might have been the biggest age group represented!

2.
My other question to you is "what would you do"? Stay at the gym closer to home, that is comfortable, still allows her to do what she loves and hopefully still get the chance to do college gymnastics knowing always in the back of our minds, "maybe we should have let her try"? OR do we drive much further away, to the better gym, knowing they are willing to give her a shot, (and yes, we know she may never even be close to Olympian status) but do we let her try for her dream to be on a USAG team and yes, we are willing to make the sacrifices for her?

My DD moved gyms last year in order to compete JO/USAG (my DD had been tracked into an Xcel program at her old gym). The new gym is about 8.5 miles away. In traffic (which is almost every day after school), it takes about 40 minutes to get there. It has taken longer. Numerous times. Chicago traffic is no joke. I'm not sure where you are driving to/from, but I would do a test run during the designated times to make sure it is manageable. Everyone's definition of manageable is different. In my case, I could not do a minute more car time between DD's homework, bedtime, and two other kids (thankfully teenagers who are fairly self-sufficient). And I am a stay-at-home mom for the most part. Only you know what will work for your family.

3.
Anyway, my point is, we are willing to make the life choice but is it worth it??

Totally a matter of personal circumstances. I am happy we moved gyms in order to give my DD a chance at JO/USAG. She will compete Level 6 this year as a 9 year old, is happy at the gym, and is making progress. However, her goals are very reasonable. Not college gym, and certainly not elite/Olympics (those girls are in a totally different world than my DD!!). My DD's current goal is Level 8. Something good to work towards, I think. If you are making the switch to give your DD a shot at the Olympics, then it might not be a realistic reason to make a change at age 10 and Level 3/4. However, if you want your DD to have a chance to reach her own personal best, then it might be worth it (assuming you an make the commute, cost and schedule work for your family).

4.
The final question is, do you think they are only taking her (at the potential new gym) for the USAG team to take our money to pad their gym???

I highly doubt it. I'm sure they see that your DD has potential. However, you should be aware that some of the big gyms in our area have different tracks within their program.... In other words, girls at the same level will not necessarily be grouped together and will not necessarily receive the same hours/coaching, etc.

Like others, I am not a big fan of the "too old" or "not the right body" mentality that some gyms have. We were happy to have moved from such a gym in order to give my DD a chance at JO/USAG. Best of luck with your decision.
 

BouncingCzech

Proud Parent
Aug 30, 2017
10
46
Thank you all so much for such wonderful advice and thank you for taking the time. We are so nervous but I think we are making the switch.... yikes. She wants it. My hope is if for some reason she wants to go back to her old gym, they might take her back but I have a feeling she will not be looking back because she is a persistent one. We would be leaving on great terms and no hard feelings.... well I hope:) I'm truly grateful for the help because my husband and I were not gymnasts so my knowledge is slim to none but we are willing to learn what we need to know to survive this. So excited I found this forum❤️
 

Gymmom0824

Proud Parent
Jan 19, 2017
100
I dislike when gyms refuse to work with girls due to age, it's super disheartening to me. My daughter was 9 when she started level 3 and now has progressed quickly in a couple years and is working level 5/6 skills. Her gym however is also moving towards a younger gym age as all the level 3 girls this year are 7 and under. I say switch gyms and let your daughter shine if you can make it work.
 
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