For Parents Need Advise are we wasting our time with a Gym

GymDad21

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Hello All,

I am looking for advice. My daughter has been at GymNameless since she was 5. She will be turning 13 in a month. So she has been practicing gymnastics solid for 8 years. She is very devoted to gymnastics we even have some equipment here at the house. She recently was moved from level 4 to level 6. This year, it has been a disaster. I have seen other schools succeed in our city over this last year but hers just feels like they are phoning it in. We recently went to a tournament out of state and I felt so bad for our girls as they were not even competitive. I also feel that after 8 years my daughter should not be scoring high 7's low 8's in level 6. They are not even starting some events at 10 from what I understand it means they are missing skills. It's not just my daughter, the other girls are in a similar boat.

I feel this school is wasting her time and potential.
The problem is we are friends with the owners and my daughter loves the gym and her teammates. I have asked to speak to the owners and coach.

Am I being unreasonable that after 8 years I should have seen more progress? level 6 high 7 low 8's?

p.s. I try to be as positive as possible with my daughter and talking to her that she may want to change gyms but that has been a tuff sell.
 

MuggleMom

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This is tough....as a parent I would be frustrated too. I don't need my kid to be the "best" but I agree I would be expecting scores within range of the competition. Low 8s for first year level 6 after a pandemic is not bad but I wouldnt be happy about consistently being in the 7s range either or not having a 10 start value; especially a few meets into the season. All that being said if you read on this board there is a lot to be said about having a happy well adjusted kid; you don't want to ruin her love of the sport either.

Every kid is different so I would be less concerned about what level she is at at this age but I think you should be asking questions about the start value for the routines, and why in general the girls aren't getting more competitive scores. If they have a lackadaisical attitude about those things I would start asking your kid what her goals for gym are what she likes about gym, what she doesnt like about gym. If her goals are to reach the higher levels, to get higher scores and placement you may need to point out to her that this isnt neccisarily the gym to do those things. If her goals are to stay in the sport till she graduates, continue to improve, spend quality time with friends, I would ride it out where you are because moving gyms will probably just push her to quit.
 

GymOwl

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Is there a reason the gym decided to have her go from 4 to 6? The jump from level 5 to 7 can be hard for some gymnasts, but the skill set is pretty similar for some gymnasts going from 4 to 6. If other kids on the team are also struggling with low scores, it could mean they weren't ready to make the jump, but scoring high 7s and low 8s aren't too bad, especially during a pandemic.

However I will say, if she doesn't have all of her level 5 skills and the gym is willing to take a risk in exchange for a higher level, than maybe I would have a talk with the owner about your concerns, especially since you all are good friends.
 
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kaha

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I'm a TnT gymnast, so I'm not sure if the levels/scores I use are the same as your daughter's.

I started gymnastics when I was 4-5. I loved gymnastics (still do) and so I, of course, worked hard. And I was actually really good. But I had a disadvantage in that, in order to get to gymnastics, I relied on a highway that would very often become impassable due to snow, rock slides, and wild fires. So often, weeks could go by without being able to practice.

The month after those breaks sucked to high heaven. My skills dropped from scoring low 9's high 8's to 7's and 6's. I'm guessing your daughter went through a big break due to COVID, so she may need to regain her technique.

And in regards to level: It is perfectly normal to be a level 6-7 at 13. I was level 6 on floor and level 7 on tramp and double-mini. When I competed that those levels and that age at national championships, it was by far the largest group of kids. So your kid is at the average level, if she is in TnT.

I'm 19 now, and I'm a level 9. I would be level 10 if not for one thing: USAG changed the level requirements. In 2016, level 8 skills were required for level 7, level 9 for level 8, and level 10 for level 9. They did a similar level bump in 2012.

So, basically, gymnastics levels go through inflation. This is super frustrating for gymnasts, because even though they are progressing, it doesn't feel like it because the number stays the same.

It's hard to say without seeing your daughter in practice, so I'm just trying to cover all the possibilities and make sure everything is clear.

Low scores mean your daughter needs to clean up her skills. She is uncertain, sloppy, and/or is struggling with her skills. It is possible the coaches she's with aren't as good as they could be. It's possible that the coaches are pushing her to compete skills she should be only practicing. I know the best competition/practice mix is to have the gymnast practicing and preparing a level higher than what she's competing ... although it sucks. Not too high, of course, otherwise that's holding her back. I've had that happen to me.

But it's possible she has the skills and just keeps making small mistakes. Bending her legs, flexing her feet, moving her arms when she shouldn't, etc.

Before pulling her out, you have to know where you're going next and whether the next gym is better. Watch the coaches interact with their athletes and watch the athletes. Look at how far their athletes have gone.

Best course of action in the short term is to talk to the coaches and figure out their reasoning for how they teach your daughter and how they push her.
 
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GymDad21

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Is there a reason the gym decided to have her go from 4 to 6? The jump from level 5 to 7 can be hard for some gymnasts, but the skill set is pretty similar for some gymnasts going from 4 to 6. If other kids on the team are also struggling with low scores, it could mean they weren't ready to make the jump, but scoring high 7s and low 8s aren't too bad, especially during a pandemic.

However I will say, if she doesn't have all of her level 5 skills and the gym is willing to take a risk in exchange for a higher level, than maybe I would have a talk with the owner about your concerns, especially since you all are good friends.
She was Level 4 state champion for her age group last year. But were a small state for gymnastics. They have a limitation on staff, I think that's why they bumped them up to keep them together as one group. They had no level 5's this year at the gym I guess my other point is would you expect more progress after 8 years of solid 365/ 3-4 practices a week?

There is a single coach for about 8 girls. We have had girls who left last year who went to another gym that are outscoring our girls by full points on each event. Same situation 4-6 transition.
 
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GymDad21

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This is tough....as a parent I would be frustrated too. I don't need my kid to be the "best" but I agree I would be expecting scores within range of the competition. Low 8s for first year level 6 after a pandemic is not bad but I wouldnt be happy about consistently being in the 7s range either or not having a 10 start value; especially a few meets into the season. All that being said if you read on this board there is a lot to be said about having a happy well adjusted kid; you don't want to ruin her love of the sport either.

Every kid is different so I would be less concerned about what level she is at at this age but I think you should be asking questions about the start value for the routines, and why in general the girls aren't getting more competitive scores. If they have a lackadaisical attitude about those things I would start asking your kid what her goals for gym are what she likes about gym, what she doesnt like about gym. If her goals are to reach the higher levels, to get higher scores and placement you may need to point out to her that this isnt neccisarily the gym to do those things. If her goals are to stay in the sport till she graduates, continue to improve, spend quality time with friends, I would ride it out where you are because moving gyms will probably just push her to quit.
Great advise !
 

GymOwl

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She was Level 4 state champion for her age group last year. But were a small state for gymnastics. They have a limitation on staff, I think that's why they bumped them up to keep them together as one group. They had no level 5's this year at the gym I guess my other point is would you expect more progress after 8 years of solid 365/ 3-4 practices a week?

There is a single coach for about 8 girls. We have had girls who left last year who went to another gym that are outscoring our girls by full points on each event. Same situation 4-6 transition.
First off, congrats to her for being a level 4 State Champion, that is an amazing accomplishment for your daughter.

As for the amount of practices and length of time she's been at this gym, it can depend on multiple factors, like how long she has been competing, has she needed to repeat the same level, etc; but I will say for her age, being a level 6 is amazing. Especially for being at this gym for 8 years, it seems like the gym is pacing her very well. I've seen cases where a gymnast was moved up too quickly and unfortunately suffered many injuries, mental blocks, and ultimately resulting in the gymnast quitting the sport all together.

And like others have stated, every gymnast is different, so it could just be all the girls getting used to the new level, and I'm sure she'll be scoring higher the more she participates in meets.
 
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ausnat83

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I think this goes back to what your daughter wants. If she's happy then I'd take a hard, honest look at whether this is just something for you to work through internally rather than a problem that needs solving. Most of us want our kids to excel, but at the end of the day this is a recreational activity for a kid. The primary goals IMO should be to have fun, be active, and develop socially and emotionally. For a lot of kids the scores and other objective markers of progress are a part of it, but for others they really aren't. The latter can be a huge strength in life. Winning is fun, but being able to enjoy activities that you aren't the best at makes life so much more enjoyable and encourages trying and learning new things throughout life.

On the other hand, there could be aspects of the situation that indicate an actual problem to be solved. First and foremost is safety - if you feel like coaching is lacking or problematic enough to pose a safety risk, that's not ok. And of course if your daughter does have an interest in a different environment or is displaying signs of being frustrated then there's absolutely nothing wrong with looking into a move.
 

Tmacs

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If she was state champion at level 4, it means she has very good basic skills but the jump from 4 to 6 is very large. I would personally expect her to get in the 7s and 8s as a first year level six and then when she repeats next year, she will do much better. Our gym used to skip level 5 and go straight to 6 and as a result, the optional kids have had to backtrack and repeat levels. Now, we do level 5 and all of the level 5 girls who did it last year are repeating level 5 again. 5/6 have hard skills!
 

gymgal

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what was her pacing for the past 8 years? did she repeat levels? Is it common for the gymnasts to repeat levels? Do they have higher level gymnasts and how are they scoring? All these would factor into how I would approach the coach/owner with questions. But also what others have said - if your dd is happy where she is and she doesn't have major aspirations for reaching a certain level then this may not be an issue for her and I would leave it alone.

There are a lot of gyms that do what yours did - move the girls from 4 to 6. Sometimes it's logistics but other times they prefer the girls to be in optionals so they can play to the girls' strengths. However, with that comes increased difficulty that the girls may not be ready for. Bar scores in particular can be cruel if they don't have cast handstands.
 

SMH

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She was Level 4 state champion for her age group last year. But were a small state for gymnastics. They have a limitation on staff, I think that's why they bumped them up to keep them together as one group. They had no level 5's this year at the gym I guess my other point is would you expect more progress after 8 years of solid 365/ 3-4 practices a week?

There is a single coach for about 8 girls. We have had girls who left last year who went to another gym that are outscoring our girls by full points on each event. Same situation 4-6 transition.
If she’s been at the gym for 8 years, what level did she start out at and did she repeat levels?

My daughter is a first year level 6 along with about 20 other gymnasts on her team. Her gym goes from level 4-6.
Some are excelling in optionals and others who did amazing in compulsory are finding new struggles to work through and not scoring as sky high as they did in level 4. If your daughter was a state champ last year she hopefully has a solid foundation to work with. If your daughter is happy and enjoys herself I’d let her keep on working. Most kids had a huge break from gym this year also and it effects them all in different ways.
 

cogymmom2dd

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Is your daughter stressed because of her lower scores? If she is ok with her scores and happy with her coaches, I wouldn’t uproot her from where she is comfortable for the sake of higher scores. When my DD1 made it to optionals, it came with a warning that there is a learning curve and scores may not be higher than she was used to. My DD was a state champ level 3, did XCEL Gold and was 2nd place state in that level. She jumped to level 6 last year and her highest AA was somewhere around 35, which is low for her. However, she was just happy to be on Level 6, so she didn’t mind that she wasn’t scoring in the 9’s like she was used to. Our season got cut short by COVID and I really thought that she would repeat level 6. One of her best friends/former teammates went to another gym and they made her repeat L6 and she is thriving after a repeat level, winning events, but not necessarily progressing. My DD was moved to L7- I really feel like they probably did this to make a full L7 team because we don’t have many girls on 7,8 and 9. She has struggled at meets this season, but again seems happy because she is doing skills that challenge her. I’m guessing she will repeat 7 next season and thrive.
And, I get it. We have 2 highly regarded gyms in our area that produce elites. Our gym would probably be considered GymNameless in our area. I have had many people ask why I don’t have DD1 at one of those gyms because she has potential. I have friends who have kids at those gyms and it’s just not the type of environment that I want my kids to be in. We have girls that leave to go to those gyms, and those same girls usually come back 2-3 years later because the grass isn’t always greener. With transfer to these powerhouse gyms usually comes a lot of push for privates because they will say your kid isn ‘behind’ or ‘needs to learn things the right way’ -I’ve heard stories from some of the moms of our ‘comeback kids’ while watching practice.
 

mom2newgymnast

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I agree with everyone that it depends on what your daughter wants to get out of gymnastics. If she is just trying to have fun, be with friends and do something active, then it sounds like she is in the right place. If she wants to make it to level 10 or be more competitive, then you probably need to find another place. I also would like to know what her progressions has been? 8 years of gymnastics sounds like a lot, but if she was doing rec classes for 5 years and only on team for 3, that's totally different then if she has been on team for 8 years.

All that being said, if you think the coaches are just phoning it in and aren't doing a good job coaching, then I would be concerned. It was a strange year and I don't know how long she might have been out of the gym, but in general I wouldn't be happy with lower start values and widespread scores in the 7s for level 6.

I will say that my daughter is around the same age (just turned 13) and has been at her gym since she was 5. She's been on team since she was 6 and is now 13 and level 9. She's had a very linear progression, competing every level from 2-9, except 6 and also not yet repeating a level. We are at a successful college track type gym, definitely not elite. But I would also question the coaching/gym if my daughter and most/all of her teammates were scoring low and not having 10.0 start values and the coaches weren't working with them to improve that. But again, a lot depends on how long she has been competing and what her hopes are for the future..
 

gymgal

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Others bringing up covid is a good point. If they were not in the gym for quite a while, then that could explain why they are not ready for L6. They could repeat 4 but that wouldn't make sense for someone who won at state meet last year. And since a lot of states don't compete compulsory in the winter/spring, L6 may have been the best option for these girls and the coaches may have felt it was better to let them compete, even without all needed skills than skip another year of competition. You mentioned that there are other gym who skip L5 and are doing better but that could be that they uptrain beyond next level in the off season, so they already had their skills before covid hit.
 

bookworm

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If you have been at a gym for 8 years and your 13 yo daughter is just a level 6 (and mostly because they didn't have any 5s) , and she and her teammates do not have 10.0 SV and are scoring 7s and low 8s, yes, I think you are wasting your time in thinking that this particular gym is going to progress her in any type of meaningful way .

That is not to say that her time there has been a waste of time....has she been happy? Kept busy? Enjoys the workouts that she's doing? Is she content to be "doing gymnastics" but not excelling at it, and realistically, maybe this is more what she wants. There are plenty of average , and below average, athletes doing gymnastics just because they like the workouts and the camaraderie of a team ...if she has that, at her age, I'm not sure I'd uproot her to go to a better gym.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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I mean, whether it's a waste depends entirely on what she wants to get out of being at the gym.

Is this a gym that's going to make her a great gymnast, get her to the high levels, help her win a lot of medals, etc? Sounds like probably not. If she's hoping to go elite or get a college scholarship, then I'm sorry to say that if she's a 13-year-old level 6 that door is already closed. But imo, all of those things are inconsequential for the 99% of gymnasts who aren't bound for the highest levels. Nobody's ever going to care what she scored at level 6; colleges won't care about it, future employers won't care about it, etc.

Most of the benefits gymnastics offers have nothing to do with scores or levels. Is she learning to try her best under competitive pressure? Is she making friends? Is she staying in shape? Is she having fun?

It's up to you and her to decide together whether what she gets out of it is worth what you both put in. But I don't think whether the time spent there is worthwhile should be viewed as a function of how well she does in competition.
 

MuggleMom

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I would personally expect her to get in the 7s and 8s as a first year level six and then when she repeats next year, she will do much better.
I dont think this is true. My DD was a middle of the road level 4 scoring mostly 34s and low 35s didnt place at state. She skipped level 5 (our gym doesnt compete it) and she got 8s and 9s at level 6 was getting the same all around or highers. All our girls who went to 6 were scoring mid 8s to low 9s on most events even the girls that were struggling. My DD moved to level 7 this year and is doing better than last even with COVID set backs. I agree with what others said if she was good enough to be state champion at level 4 she should have the basics down and should be capable of scoring higher than 7s at level 6 (Maybe a weak event or a fear have you lower at one event but 7s across the board is different) Also if all the kids are in the same boat I would say they didnt do enough uptraining or something.

To me the biggest "red flag" is not the 10 start values and I think that is something you can easily bring up with the coaches whether you decide to stay or not. I would ask why (maybe they dont have the skills they need yet etc) and what they are doing to fix it, also when do they plan to have your daughter at a 10 SV on all events. Keep it more focused on your kid though as other kids could have things going on you are unaware of.
 
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Gigi

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If your daughter is serious gymnast and wants to be more competitive, then for sure you should change gym. It doesn't seem right she's been there for 8 years and she is not ready for level 6. If she just wants to learn gymnastics skills and have fun, then maybe Xcel is a better way to go.
Good luck with whatever your daughter chooses to do.
 

DonPerl

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If you have been at a gym for 8 years and your 13 yo daughter is just a level 6 (and mostly because they didn't have any 5s) , and she and her teammates do not have 10.0 SV and are scoring 7s and low 8s, yes, I think you are wasting your time in thinking that this particular gym is going to progress her in any type of meaningful way .

That is not to say that her time there has been a waste of time....has she been happy? Kept busy? Enjoys the workouts that she's doing? Is she content to be "doing gymnastics" but not excelling at it, and realistically, maybe this is more what she wants. There are plenty of average , and below average, athletes doing gymnastics just because they like the workouts and the camaraderie of a team ...if she has that, at her age, I'm not sure I'd uproot her to go to a better gym.
I agree. After 8 years in competitive gymnastics I would expect the gym to progress the gymnasts to a higher level at this point. However as the others mentioned, if she is content and happy with the progress, it is a different story entirely.
 

raenndrops

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I agree. After 8 years in competitive gymnastics I would expect the gym to progress the gymnasts to a higher level at this point. However as the others mentioned, if she is content and happy with the progress, it is a different story entirely.
I dont think OP meant that she has been in competitive gymnastics for 8 years. I think she probably started in the gym's rec program at 5 years old.