Parents Need help with DD to Change Gyms

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Proud Parent
Aug 16, 2020
Hi parents,

I'm fairly certain I need to change gyms to help DD to reach her goals. She's 12 years old training for L5 this upcoming season and eventually wants to be a L10. I've always resisted putting pressure on her to make her an elite gymnast and explained to her what they go through. She was the one who brought up the L10 goal, so I told her I'd support her since I thought it was a good goal to strive for. Maybe my expectations are wildly off, but I've always suspected she'd be a better optional gymnast than compulsory. My instincts were confirmed when one of her coaches told me that earlier this spring. We had one setback last year when she broke her hand early in the season and was out for 8 weeks, but she recovered quickly and finished the season's L4 state meet with decent scores (above 35AA).

Problem is kiddo loves her gym and friends. We've stuck with the gym for years through the ups and downs to avoid grass is greener syndrome. Long story, but they lost some experienced coaches since the pandemic, and it's clear now that is has lead to a weakening of their JO program. I've talked to management who has said they are trying to hire more coaches, but haven't turned up the right candidates. Has anyone ever had to change gyms if your kid didn't want to, and how did you approach it with them? I don't want to force an ultimatum, but I'm not sure what else to do. I'm actually sad we've come to this point because they're some really lovely girls and parents at our gym. I know I'm not the only frustrated parent at our gym.
We changed gyms when my daughter didn't want to. our old gym lost a lot of coaches during COVID and the JO program was not bouncing back in early 2021. I searched out some gyms and found a new one and had our daughter try out.

We essentially told her that switching was required for mom and dad to continue spending that much money. She had actually declined in skills in L3 rather than improved and that was NOT a good way to spend $500/mth. She asserted she wanted to try for College gymnastics and was willing to try another gym b/c even at her young age she knew her skills were not progressing as needed.

My daughter has been at her "new" gym for just over 2 years. she is immensely grateful for changing. She has seen her "old" gym mates complete this last year -she said that the coaching was clearly not where it needed to be. She still loves her old teammates and talks regularly with them.

The grass is not always greener. For us, the results are clearly greener even though there are some other aspects we aren't keen on. My daughter is happy, healthy, progressing rapidly, and loves her coaches and teammates. For us that is all that matters.
We just went through a gym change, leaving a gym we really loved because the optionals coach was waaaay to old school for our taste (but really it was his use of threats/humiliation as a way to motivate...still do not understand why they keep him). It's been HARD. Our new gym is nicer, bigger, wins more, and has some of the best coaching I have seen. Still, the transition has been really difficult on my daughter. She even decided to leave optionals and go back to Xcel for a year to help her adjust, and that's proven to be a good move. All that to say - I think you know when it's time to move on, and even if it's a good thing I would anticipate some growing pains. Best of luck :)
Just left a gym I never imagined we would leave.
It simply was not the same gym I signed her up for. The building was the same. Even some of the coaches were the same. And it was simply not the gym that I was happy to write checks too. And my kid was miserable.

I moved my daughter to her 3 rd and final gym. She 17 and is happy and thriving again. I should have moved her 2 yrs ago but she was 15 and would not have left her tribe. Her tribe left her so she was miserable and ready.

At 6/7 she left the gym I moved her from kicking and screaming. And spent 10 yrs at the gym I just moved her from and for many years it was perfect for her and her tribe is awesome.

And her new gym is also amazing.

You are the parent and the customer. You know your kid best. if the gym you are at works Great. When it no longer serves you, leave.

Side note, being realistic L5 at 12 so 6th grade. She is L10 as a senior. For high level college, that’s late.
12 is definitely old enough to have a real talk about which gym provides a greater growth opportunity! We just changed gyms recently and that was how we handled it with my then just turned 9 year old. She has big dreams and goals and I explained how hard it would be to reach those at her old gym versus finding a gym that was equipped to help her reach them. It was a very tough decision but she did come around to choosing to leave.

I will say that changing did come with a lot of growing pains. We lost friends, she has had a huge confidence hit while having to go back and relearn things... but in the end she is growing and sees real hope in her goals and dreams now. That hope is something that was dying at the old gym and seeing it come back is worth all these growing pains!
Thanks everyone for your replies! We're currently reaching out to other gyms to see what might fit DD. This is such a tough sport, and it's really wonderful to have different perspectives from other parents.
We recently switched gyms as well, and my daughter was reluctant at first. I was also worried about the grass is not always greener, but I followed my gut after many conversations with my daughter. She now thanks me and is thriving in her new gym. She has improved so much and is excited about gymnastics again. She has had to go back and relearn some fundamentals, but it has truly made such a difference in her gymnastics and I’m so glad we finally made the switch. The grass isn’t always greener, but sometimes there is a better fit for your child. Good luck and keep us posted!
Update: We did an eval at another gym who promptly invited DD to their L5 team. It's a good gym with solid coaching, but I broke DD's heart about the move. She cried multiple nights, begged me to stay, and stated that she would rather do Xcel at our current gym than move and continue JO elsewhere. That last bit cracked me. Even I got emotional about leaving our gym when I saw her current teammates smiling and waving at me.

So I went to talk to management about my concerns (it's about one coach in the gym, not the others). Management really wanted DD to stay and offered to come to all my meetings with said coach. The coach is knowledgeable, but is missing that kid's touch, if you will, and could communicate with parents better. I'm optimistic we'll get to optionals next season with a coach that myself and DD likes as her skills so far are progressing nicely. If not, the Xcel coach is fantastic, so that's always a possibility too. No one ever said this journey would be easy, but in the end, I've accepted this is her journey. Thanks everyone, for your replies.
We switched gyms this summer, a gym we had been a part of for 5 years but the coaching was lacking and it was frustrating watching/paying/spending time driving back and forth to practice each week with coaching that was not up to par. So we looked elsewhere and my daughter made the choice to switch after seeing what other coaching was like. That excited her....however, leaving her friends and gym family was so so hard. So many tears (I cried for a week straight), buyers remorse feelings on my end because changing gyms changed a lot for us. Carpools, friendships, text chains with parents, camaraderie......BUT she does feel like the coaching is so much better at the new gym. The girls are not the most welcoming, but time will tell as we are just at the beginning stages of all this newness. It is hard to feel so much for our kids.....good luck with your choice and know that whatever you're feeling is normal and others have been in the very same situation.
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I almost could have written this! I am also afraid of grass is greener syndrome, but my 11 year old level 5 wants to get to 10 as well and it doesn't seem like her gym is going to get her there. I don't have any background in this sport though so I don't want to be wrong either and screw everything up.
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