For Parents need advice

Parents... Coaches... Judges... Gymnasts...
DON'T LURK... Join The Discussion!

Members See FEWER Ads!
Join for FREE!
Not open for further replies.


Proud Parent
Oct 26, 2007
My dd just started preteam this week after not beong chosen for team. 20 girls tried out for the team and only 5 made it. I heard the head coach tell another parent that they just didn't have enough slots this year. My dd had the same skills these girls had but I am guessing that she didn't execute them quite as cleanly. Form has always been her downfall. 9 girls were chosen for preteam. During class this week I was getting more frustated. She is so far ahead of the girls in her class. Only half the class was there since a few girls took the summer off. The coach did a good job of having my dd fo differnet stations. While the others were learning their backwalkovers she had my dd doing back handsprings since my dd has been doing backhandsprings for almost a year. On bars 2 were sturggling with pullovers and and 4 can't do back hip circles. My dd was instead working on mill circles. She can do all her level 4 skills except her front hip circle. I was also so impressed this week because her form had improved so much the week she was at camp. I just don't get why she got pasted over for team. I was waiting to pick her up yesterday when the team members were arriving since their practice was next. I over heard two moms talking. 2 little girls that are still only 5 that were on an invatation only class were moved to preteam without even having to tryout. The coach felt that these 2 little girls would not make it through a long week of camp. That just about did it for me. I wasn't planning on talking to the coaches until I found this out. There was not enough slots for qualified kids and yet two kids who didn't even have to try out and don't have the same skills my dd has made the team. I am planning on talking to the head coach next week after my dd's practice. How can I best approach this wihout sounding bad? Should I make comparisions? I am not really comfortable doing that since I think that's in poor taste and yet I want some good answers and not just generic answers. I had one other problem with the gym last year and I was given such vague answers. I can guess that they are going to tell me that there just weren't enough slots. Any advise on how to discuss this would be appreciated. I am not very confrontational and I have a lot of aniexty about how to handle this conversation and get real answers.

gym law mom

Proud Parent
Dec 23, 2006
First, sorry to hear that dd didn't get picked for team. Sounds like in a way, they have too many girls in the lower levels and either assumed more of the L4s would move up than did or it doesn't bother them to keep girls back for another year. I'm sure they lose some kids that way.

As far as meeting with the coach, I agree don't compare kids. That does come off sounding bad. Write down your questions and then go back and look at them and edit if needed. Tell the coach that its hard to just tell dd "not enough slots"------you and she need some concrete things to work on. Where did the coaches see her strengths(always good to know) and what are the weaknesses. Vague answers like "form" aren't alot of help. Have the coach be more specific----are her legs bent alot, does she do skills looking like a "wet noodle" etc. Sounds like the pre-team coach does recognize that she can do more and is letting her work those skills which is good.

Does your state have a long season or 2 seperate compulsory seasons? If so, ask what would be the chance of moving her up in late fall----assuming she could get her front hip circle(gotta have it) and learns routines. I was thinking that they may have a few L4s repeating that might move to L5 during the year opening up some slots.

BTW---Since 15 girls did not make team, what are they all doing? Thats alot of girls and families to be disappointed.


Proud Parent
Mar 1, 2007
I'm sorry your DD didn't make the team. I don't know if I have any advice for this situation, but I can tell by your post how frustrated you & DD are and I would be too. I am sure some of the other moms here will have great advice for you. Before my DD was invited to pre-team I watched a PT session and knew my DD could easily do those skills and put the time in she loved gymnastics so much. She was bored in rec and we almost left the gym altogether in search of another physical sport. I had never spoken up, but when she was invited the coach told me they would have taken her sooner but she was a little inmature. I am not sure what coaches see or what criteria they use in selecting girls. When I look at my DD's L4 team I see a make-up of different types of girls. Some are very flexible, some are very graceful, some are older (started gym late) and using L4 as a stepping stone to move up quickly as they are obviously talented. There are a couple younger ones like my DD who just love the sport and work hard, not pretty, but get the skills done.

Can you possibly approach the new coach and ask his/her opinion? If it is obvious to you and the coach (if she had to have different work stations for your DD) then they have to have some "plan" for your DD too. Since my gym doesn't do a selection camp I am not familiar with it...but do they give you the parents some sort of feedback other than you made/didn't make the team? Is there a list of their skills completed/judged? Instead of approaching coach with "why didn't my DD make the team" maybe you could ask what do they plan on working with your DD in pre-team to make her ready for next time? They obviously know you and your DD are interested in making the team, it would be nice if they could give you some sort of feedback on what improvements could be made.

I know this is extreme, but maybe you can shop around and see if there is another gym in the area with different criteria for joining the team? Can you do a "try-out" somewhere to just get an unbiased opinion of your DD's strength/weaknesses and potential?

In the meantime, your DD sounds like she will be one for the others to look-up too! She may be called on often to demonstrate skills and show other coaches that she is able to work independently, be a leader, and eventually they may see your DD in a different light!!
Last edited:


Staff member
Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Club Owner / Manager
Jan 4, 2008
There may be something else going on. Coaches make desicions on who goes on team for a lot of reasons. Some are good reasons and some are not so good.

Often as a parent we judge a childs skill level by the skills that they can do. For example feeling that a girl who can do front and back handsprings is better than one who can only do walkovers. But when it comes to competition it often matters less what skills you can do and matters a lot more how you do the skills. Your daughter may have some difficulty (like loose knee's) that would pull her scores down very seriously is she competed. It is often something very subtle that wont be as pbvious when watching the skills. But gymnastics deductions can be incredibly harsh.

Another possibility is favoritism. Do the coaches seem to have favorites or seem to prefer to work with certain kids? Sometimes a coach and a kid just dont mesh well personality wise and it can mean the coach does not want to work with the child. This is of course a terrible reason to not select a child but it is often done sub consiously.

Another possibility is that the coach is picking the parents. Many gyms do this. They look for certain parents. Usually ones who are very willing to open their checkbooks and take out a second loan to finace their daughters gymnastics career. You can sometimes be labelled difficult if a previous situation has come up which they didnt like.

How about being able to cope with other demands of the team. Does your daughter manage long training sessions well? Does she cope well under pressure? Does she ever fall apart?

Definatly sit down and have the talk and dont allow them to give you vague answers. If they say there just werent enough spots on the team, this is not a real answer. Some kids were selected for team in the spots that were avaialble. Ask why your daughter wasnt chosen. I would also be enquiring as to what they plan to do with your daughter now. Will she be left on pre team for another year with girls who are not at her level and then asked to try out againa or do they have a different plan for her?
Feb 4, 2008
Region IV
Our head coach used to tell us that they didn't always take the best girls, but the most coachable. You might ask what that means for your gym. What do they consider "most coachable"?

Younger girls were frequently passed over for older girls. Dd2 spent an extra season in preteam for this reason. It doesn't mean they never took very young girls, just that if things were close at try-outs, the nod usually went to the older. Ask if there's a general philosophy favoring younger or older girls. Some gyms are not interested in older girls.

Like Aussie said, there are SO MANY reasons for selections. It's kind of like grading essays. Certain students may definitely feel theirs were "better" than the A and B papers, but they missed enough details to keep themselves from that level--even if they wowed me with a couple of elements.

By all means talk to the coach, and ask, specifically, what your dd needs to make the team next year. Remember, as so many have said, speed is less important than persistance. Keep at it and she'll make it if it's really what she wants.
Jan 22, 2008
I am sorry that your DD didn't make the team. Making Pre-team isn't too shabby. I know it can be frustrating when our DD's are not placed where we think they should be. To be honest DD has never had to try out for any position. She has been placed in a Dev class since 3. That being said the coaches evaluate them during those sessions. Those classes are usually smaller and they know these girls VERY well and how they progress and the coach ability. When we went to preteam we had 5 girls that did not HAVE to try out they were just moved. The rest of the 20 girls had to try out. Now once on pre-team none of those girls HAD to try out again they were moved based on their progression. All of our pre-team and 2 from regular classes were moved to L4. All of the dev class but one was moved to pre-team and they have about 20 that are from classes that had to try out again to be on pre-team. I hope this makes sense. The pre-team pretty much gets those spots on team first if they are ready. The age doesn't really matter. I know at our Gym DD has been the youngest for 3 years at each of her levels. I am sure it ticked off some people because dd didn't have all the skills that some of the older girls had but she was coachable and hung with them and had great body awarness. DD was a perfectionist and was willing to work hard every practice. I know a few were placed in levels because of the willingness to open the check book. I have seen it. The girls have some talent but they are not at the same level. I have seen kids passed over because the coach doesn't get along with the parent. Remember that there are a lot that goes into the mix.

When you meet with the HC and Coach I would make a list and be objective. Being on Pre-team is not a bad thing. Your DD will improve and they will still challange her. This will be a good time for her to clean up skills and get stronger. I would ask what the goals are for your dd and ask for what she needs to improve upon to move to L-4 for the next year. I would express my concerns about her becomming board but I can tell you they will condition her and pretty much nitt pick her form while on pre-team to make sure she is compeition ready for next year. Also they may have her skip l4 all together and go strait to 5. You never know what the plan is. I would just approach it as trying to find out their goals and what their plan is before you do any comparisions.

I have to say though I would not bring up the dev kids and them not trying out. Heck we didn't even know that girls had to try out for pre-team till we over heard the parents talking. They asked us about our tryouts and what we had to do. Pretty much the entire year in Dev we were trying out for our spots. They are just different paths and the decisions are tough. I wish you and your dd the best of luck.
Nov 9, 2007
For what it's worth.....

This is my dd's 11th year in gymnastics, she started when she was 2 and has been on pre-team or team since she was 5. Through the years there have been many times when I wondered why she was not chosen for specific programs. At our old gym in St. Louis she was always with the youngest quickest moving groups. When we moved to Illinois at first they told us she had to try out for pre-team and put her in a rec class. That lasted for two weeks till they moved her to pre-team again. At first I wanted to say "why", but I just let them make decisions. It all worked out.

As we have progressed there have been many times again that I didn't understand their decisions, but dd is turning 13 later this summer, and is now a level 7 and really really happy. She is working level 8 and level 9 skills and looking forward to a great season. I think the most important thing you said is that your coaches are letting her work ahaed on the skills that she is strong on, while still working the current level on the things she is not. I think that this is a good sign for the future. As long as they are not bored things will go well for you in the future. And just because they got moved up doesn't mean that all will score well this year. Sometimes it is better to wait and feel more secure so that scores are better, at the younger ages not getting a medal when others do is quite an issue sometimes.

I hope that things work out, please let us know if you talk to the coaches. Good Luck


We're still in the early stages of gymnastics but DD hasn't really "tried out" for a team, either. When we were looking into switching gyms, she did a couple of evaluations so the coaches could decide where to put her but they don't do regular try-outs. They do move ups annually and if they've gotten their scores during the competition season and are doing well learning the new skills, they get to move up. Preteam move ups are in May and I don't really know the criteria for that, except that they usually move from preteam to L2, although sometimes a girl gets put straight into L3, particularly if she's older.

Deleted member 1703

I think it is very difficult to understand why different gymnasts get chosen over others and it really depends upon the relationship that you have with the owner/head coach on how you approach asking them about it.

In the past, my daughter was chosen over several others by one gym for selection to their squad (she was 7) and I really did not know what they saw in her that others who were not selected did not have. I remember several girls crying on the day that the news was broken. Some years later I saw these girls again and could see that they were not as flexible and also had not progressed that much in the years that had passed.

Then later, at different gym, my daughter was not selected for several competitions and other events and I could not really see why she had been passed over. However, now, a few years later, I can see how these girls that were chosen have progressed and how they can now do skills which mine still cant manage regularly enough to go into her routines even though she is pretty good at what she can do and works extremely hard! Fortunately I had a great relationship with both the owner and several of her coaches from this gym and they volunteered information about her on a regular basis but really in both cases it was only a few years later that I could see clearly what she had that others did not have and then in the second case, what she was lacking that others gymnasts did have.

If you really want an answer, I would probably try and approach the head coach as lightly as possible with as much humour as you can muster in the circumstances.

I would probably begin by asking them how they think she is doing generally, does she listen to the coaches, does she respect them, does she get on with the other gymnasts (even if you already know the answers to these, it just starts things off as an interested rather than accusing parent). Keep it light and enquiring. Dont compare. Ask what the selection requirements are, what particularly they look for, if there is anything that you could work on at home.

You can always end off by asking which Olympics she will be ready for. ;)


Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Sep 25, 2007
I am sorry that your daughter didn't make team. I can only imagine how hard it must be to see your daughter work so hard and then not be chosen for where she wanted to be.

I don't know how our gym decides who gets on team either. I actually have sat and watched the preteam girls practice and there are many that have skills that my DD doesn't have and she was moved to team and she is young (was 5 when moved up, just turned 6) and they haven't been moved up.

I even had this discussion with one of the grandmas of a girl that was moved to team. Her grand-daughter had to have certain skills before she could move up. None of the girls that moved up with my DD from the developmental class had those skills. I can see how frustrating it must be for the parents of those girls or girls on preteam still to see our girls moved to team, especially when 2 of them were 5. Though another team mom said to me that the coaches know sometimes and they choose for potential as well. Our girls have progressed very well since being moved up, though at least one mom was told her DD won't compete all year, which of course has her mom upset since they seem to have already decided and there is still so much time. It seems to be so subjective and varies widely from gym to gym. My DD would definitely not be on team yet at her old gym. She might have never been team material for their criteria.

I hope you have figured out a way to talk to them. I am non-confrontational as well and tend to get over emotional when I talk about things that make me upset, so I do better with emails, though that might not be an option for you.

I agree with the other posters to not compare and to try to be calm and open minded and have a list of questions planned out beforehand.

Good luck figuring out what the best plan for your DD is.
Jul 6, 2008
My daughter had the same situation - when she first started. I think every situation is different and you should definitely meet with the head coach. In our situation, we had moved to the area within 4 months and the coach essentially told us that it was a numbers game. When we asked whether she could handle a team program, he said absolutely, but he was restricted by the numbers. We decided to try another gym and she was placed on team at that gym.


I've read this post a few times before replying and it really just breaks my heart. I don't know if there is anything harder as a parent to try and explain to or console a child who is disappointed about something they try so hard at. This sport sure does have a way of doing that doesn't it. It really would be nice if the coaches could offer explanations as to why some kids don't make it so they know what they need to work on. When my dd was in the intermediate class at the first gym she competed at, her coach let her work out with the pre-team girls over the summer. All the girls on pre-team had already been there for a while and after the summer she was still pretty far behind most of them. When summer was over he moved her back to intermediate thinking it was a better fit. She was devastated, but more resigned than ever to work her butt off. Anyway after about 2 weeks the coach called me and her over and explained that she was past all the int. girls, but at the bottom of pre-team. He gave her the choice of where she wanted to go. Needless to say she picked pre-team. By the time they were all level 4's she ended up scoring the highest on her team. What he saw in her was her determination and love for the sport. If your daughter has that, and this gym isn't going to give her a chance, you might want to seriously consider finding someplace that will. Too many girls get discouraged and quit because they are at gyms that make it too hard to get on team. We had a girl at our current gym that came from another gym in the area - they didn't put her on team for some reason or another. At our gym she did just fine on team (AA state champion and all). I hope you get some answers from the coaches or find a gym that gives her the opportunity she is looking for.


My DD had the same experience with the first gym went went to. She started in the usual classes when she was 4 and then moved into their rec program just after she turned 5. She did one session (about 3 months) as a level 1 before moving up to level 2. She did two sessions as a level 2 but desperately wanted to move to team. We asked the rec coach about it and she said DD was nowhere near ready for team. But she couldn't give us anything that DD needed to work on. She was not helpful at all. So, we had DD evaluated at two other gyms, both of which wanted her for their teams. We then went back to the rec coach and explained the situation to her. DD wanted to stay at that gym but the rec coach would not do anything to help her get to team. So, we left. DD started on the team at our current gym last August and went on to win two state titles for the team this past April. Obviously the rec coach did not see DD's potential whereas her current coach did. Maybe your current gym is the same way. Have you considered having her evaluated elsewhere? Even just to get an unbiased opinion?


Proud Parent
Mar 1, 2007
I just had to say I agree with what Flippymonkey said about gyms not taking girls (or making it hard to get onto the team) but girls finding their spot elsewhere. Our gym over the past year has grown, almost doubled. We take girls from other teams. The highest AA girls on our L4 team and then into L5 came from other gyms. 2 girls who were older had been at another gym since they were about 4 (they are 10) or 5 and sitting on a team that didn't really compete and never ever saw their potential. Even the parents were kept in the dark. I love that they see "something" in everyone. You just never know what someone's potential is unless they are given the opportunity.
Not open for further replies.