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Proud Parent
Oct 26, 2013
Hello Everyone! I'm new to this site, although I have lurked about for a little while. I feel like I'm learning a lot by reading through the forums, but I really don't understand most of what I'm reading as I was never a gymnast. :p

My DD is 6 and has been in and out of gymnastics for 3 years. In preschool classes we just chilled out. If she wanted to stop, we stopped, but then a few months later she always wanted to start back again. I was taking her to a good gym, but she didn't really have a passion for it and was never invited to pre-team or anything like that. I always joked that I could spot her no matter where she was in the gym, because she was always bouncing. She has a ton of energy!!

Anyway, something happened this year right after her 6th birthday in May. She suddenly started practicing at home EVERY DAY - teaching herself skills from You Tube videos, getting her splits, and using the back of our couch as a makeshift bar to practice casting. She wanted to take classes again, so I took her to a new gym and placed her in a beginner 6-9 year old class. She spent a few months in that class once a week and was 'promoted' to the intermediate class. On her first day her new coach told me that she was very talented and strong and asked me when her birthday was. She also encouraged me to bring her twice a week. This morning we started her 2nd intermediate class for the week, and they had to put her with a new coach. I've seen him around training older girls who are more advanced, and he seems like he's pretty good. He was kind to her today, and that means a lot to me.

He told me after class that he wants her to start taking private lessons with him every week for half an hour. If she keeps progressing like she is, then he is confident that she will make the team. He said a full hour would be too much, and she'll get more from a private lesson of 30 minutes than she will from a full hour of class. (Really he wants her to keep taking 2 classes a week and then add the privates on top, but there is no way we can afford that)

Ok, so here are my questions for all of you seasoned folks:

1) When do they 'make the team'? I mean, these lessons are EXPENSIVE. Is there a particular month of the year when kids are usually chosen? I need a deadline for my pocketbook if we're going to do this.

2) Is it worth it? I've searched these threads, and I've seen a lot of conflicting views on private lessons. Most people seem to be against them. In our case, this is a very high-level gym, and I don't know if she'll have another chance if we just keep going in rec classes because it seems to be so competitive here. He made it sound like this was the one path for her. They don't have open tryouts. Most kids advance out of the preschool class to team, but she started here after that was even an option. I need some perspective.

3) Do you think he means team or pre-team? I didn't think about it then, but I'm starting to wonder what in the world we could be getting into if he meant the actual team. I have NO idea how much that will cost if she starts going a lot of hours. I'm sure it's a ton.

I'm realistic in that I have no idea how long this will last for her if she does make it. I know that she could get injured or just decide to quit at some point. I don't have any lofty goals for her, but she WANTS to make the I feel like I should at least give her a chance to do that. It seems ideal for her compared to other sports she's tried. She's very short and very strong and also flexible. I wouldn't say that she is a natural, though. I can certainly see other kids who have picked up skills in the preschool class when she didn't, but she also didn't seem to care very much then. I don't know! We love this gym so far, and it's really amazing to me to see her progress and her joy when she learns something new. If she loves it, then I love it. ;)

Advice? Suggestions? Find a money tree. Run away as fast I can??? LOL.
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Welcome!!! My DD is 6 also and is in the middle her 1st competitive season (level 3). DD goes to gym 3 days a week for 3 hour each day (total of 9 hours a week). Her tuition is $250 a month (of course that doesn't include meet fees and uniform costs). DD moved to team after 1 year in tot/rec classes and then one year on pre-team.

Most gyms that I know of have some type of pre-team or developmental group and I've never heard of wanting a child to do privates to "make the team"(although admittedly I am a fairly new gym mom). At our gym rec kids who are interested in getting on the team track are often encouraged to take 2 classes a week although my DD didn't start going 2 days a week until she was selected for pre-team. So I would suggest you find out if they have a developmental program and if so why the need for the privates? It's hard for me to imagine that if it's a really competitive gym they wouldn't have a developmental program. Our gym does privates but really only occasionally to help a child with a specific skill that they might be struggling with. For example my DD was struggling with her round-off back-hand spring going into meet season so we did a couple of privates to help her get it. Personally I don't think I would want to do 2 classes a week and a private in order to make the team.

Most of our move ups happen in January but my DD was a mid-season move up so for us January is the standard but not the rule.

I guess bottom line is every gym has different philosophies regarding progression, private, etc. so if I were you I would ask a lot of questions to familiarize yourself with your gyms philosophies then decide if you/your pocketbook are comfortable with it.

Best wishes to you and your little gymmie!!!
First, I would find out how much pre-team and team cost. If you simply can't afford it, then there is your answer. Gymnastics is expensive everywhere, but if you are at a high-level, exclusive gym, then it may be even more expensive. At our gym the cost of twice per week rec classes plus a 30 minute private would just about equal the cost of pre-team tuition. It only goes up from there :)

A coach asking for weekly privates with a six-year-old is unusual. First, find out who this coach is, and what levels he coaches. In both gyms my DD has been at the rec coaches did not ever coach team girls. Does this coach even have the ability to move your DD pre-team when she is ready? Before doing the privates, I would find out exactly what he wants your DD to accomplish, when, and what will happen next. I would think that most high-level gyms, as you say it is, can move a talented six-year-old from rec to team fairly quickly without privates.

Good luck! I'd love to hear what you decide!
I completely agree with happy chaos. I'm new to team parenting as well (my kiddos first year competing third year in gymnastics) and it's a lot more expensive than I could have imagined when we started this journey... And it's only going to get worse!

Welcome to cb, it's always great to find out as much as possible about our kids passions. I have learned tons in the short time I have been here, and I'm so grateful for that. At our gym, it would not be suggested to do privates in order to join team, but it may be how it works in other gyms. At ours, privates are primarily used to focus on getting a certain elusive skill, and generally once a gymnast is already on team (and normally higher levels, although some parents do privates in lower levels as well).

Please take this in the kindest way possible because that's the place it is coming from.... If you think 2 rec classes and a private is pricey, you are probably not going to stomach the cost of being on the team. It is very, very expensive, at least it is to me. :) worth it to support your kiddos passion but if the money isn't in the budget, it isn't in the budget, you know?

Best of luck to you and your little gymmie!
As others have suggested, I would get more information. Maybe see if you can talk to the head coach of the team program. It seems odd that you would need to do privates to be able to get into the team program. The other questions you have can only be answered by your gym. Every gym is different in their time table, which level they move the girls to first, etc. I would also see if you can find out from them what the cost is. I (and anyone else here) can tell you that gymnastics is an extremely expensive sport. Every gym is different in what the cost is. For us, we pay $300/month for level 3 (and it goes up with each level), plus we have paid over $800 this year in meet entrance fees, coaches fees for meet season, uniform cost, etc. Some gyms are less monthly, and I'm sure some are more. Some gyms have booster clubs who pay a lot of those fees associated with meets also. And, depending on where you are, there may be some travel expense associated with the meets. We're in a huge city, so our meets are local, with the exception of state, but if you are in a smaller city, you may have to travel, even in compulsories. Once we hit optionals, most of our meets are a few hours away, even though we do live in a large city. So each gym is different there as well. Your own gym is really the only one who can answer your questions.
Thank you so much for the advice! I really appreciate it, and I'm not offended in the least. I was asking about price, because I had definitely thought about the fact that we might not be able to afford it. I guess I was wondering if what we're currently spending would equal pre-team tuition. If it's not even close then yeah...this is a bad idea for us. I just need to have a new look at our budget.

I will also try to find out more from the gym. I have no idea who to talk to besides this new coach, but I'll investigate. Everything seems so hush hush. There is nothing on their website about price besides rec. It is odd to me that he would suggest so many private lessons as well. That's why I put it out there. I didn't know if this had happened to anyone else before. Now I'm guessing not! I don't think he coaches team, because he mentioned that team coaches (and he pointed to some other people) are always watching for girls like this.

Two lessons a week plus these extras will cost $332 a month just for her. I also have an older son who takes rec, so it would even be more for us. If team costs more than that, then we should stay with rec, because $400 a month for kids who are NOT on team is just insanity.

I think we'll do one lesson with him this coming week to see what it's all about. I'll see if I can get more information out of him, and if not, I'll see if I can talk to someone higher up. He didn't seem like he was trying to hide info, but I didn't know what to ask until I got home. Of course.

The ONLY reason I can imagine this to be the way instead of a developmental team or class is if they only move kids into those classes once a year, and she missed the deadline. But even then, why the rush? Should we just hang out in rec for another year and try to make team then?

And p.s. I cannot imagine her going to a 3 hour practice at this point. That is quite a jump from a one hour class at this age. I wonder how other kids adjust to that? Time to start digging for more info...
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I have always thought that a private lesson should be when child struggles with a specific skill and needs extra 1 on 1 help to get it. Lately though I have been taking my 9 year old in for semi-privates (shared with 1 other girl) because of a few reasons. 1) she is a little bored with her current class and the coaches have admitted that they are not able to push her like she needs right now 2) she is struggling with a few things 3) she is trying very hard to learn the new routines so she can compete this year 4) she really misses her best friend who moved up and she didn't. We share the privates with her. The girls LOVE it more than anything right now.

One thing I have noticed though is that the coaches at our gym NEVER suggest a private to a parent, the parent has to ask about it. When they did come to me saying dd needed to come in extra for something they made it clear it was not a private lesson and I didn't need to pay. So it bothers me a bit that they want weekly privates with a 6 year old.

I would investigate further. Talk to the gym owners, the front desk people, her coaches, etc. Ask a lot of questions. Why exactly does she need privates? What skills is she behind on? What is she missing? What is the specific goal of the privates? How long will they last? When can you expect to move up? I would be very hesitant. If they are willing to push for privates for a 6 year old, then this will likely continue over the course of her career there. And that adds up very fast!
I would ask the coach to give you a breakdown of team or preteam expenses and when he is going to move her so you can budget. I think that's only fair.

The cost PER HOUR of team does go down as the hours go up.

If team is truly out of your budget, look for teams owned by rec centers or YMCA teams. These will be subsidized.
In metro Atlanta, my son trains 9 hours a week and tuition is $195/month. His group goes to a lot of meets and everything else (uniforms and gear, entry fees, etc.) is about $1600-1700/year most of which you can fundraise if you want/need to.
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Reactions: Mellow Yellow THAT we could do. $195 a month is much easier to stomach. Thank you for the perspective! THAT we could do. $195 a month is much easier to stomach. Thank you for the perspective!
That is a typical private club here. Ones sponsored by cities, counties or the Y will be cheaper. My daughter goes 6-8 hours a week on a YMCA team and it's $85-95/month and the expenses all total perhaps $700.
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Welcome to CB and the wonderful world that is gymnastics! When my DD was on pre-team (old L2), she was the only girl after 5 months that wasn't moved up to L3. I asked the coach about it and she said that she was close and maybe with a few private lessons she could move up to team. Sound a little familiar :)? Well, we did the private lessons and two months later they moved her up with the other group. Did she really need them? I don't know, but they seemed to think she did and it achieved the ultimate goal and got her on the team. I mean technically she was already on team, but L3 was a competition level at that gym so it was a bigger deal. You'll have to ask the gym about their progression.

I'm a supporter of privates where it makes sense. Our current gym doesn't do them and I wish they did. The privates to team process worked for us. Your daughter is still very young though so you've got plenty of time. FYI, despite the fact my DD was the last moved to pre-team, she is now at a higher level (L8) than any of the other girls moved up first. Most aren't even the sport any more. It's a long journey so be prepared for the cost, the time, the stress, the ups and downs. We must make it sound terrible, but it really is a wonderful world - but it is a long journey.
Just stop by the front desk and ask them who you need to talk to--they can direct you or answer your questions themselves. And our gym doesn't put team prices up on the website either. I have no idea why, but it's something they don't want out there. BTW, I think over $300 for rec is way too expensive! The coach might be wanting to do privates because he sees talent in your daughter and wants to get her up to team speed as fast as possible, but who knows! Better to ask and find out as he might just be looking for extra money (our coaches that do privates make extra money on them).

And I love your avatar LOL!
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Ha ha! Thanks. ;)

The money for private lessons goes directly to him, so that is in the back of my mind for sure. Is it a scam? Can he really promise me that she'll make it after only working other her once? I'll call today to see if someone at the front desk can help me. I know they are open today, but I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to say yet.

It seems like a lot of money to me, too, but they are a well-known gym, so I guess they can get away with charging those prices. Ugh.
Move ups may be occurring once a year and be coming soon, so definitely ask about that. Our gym only does move ups/ team tryouts in December. If your Dd needs to have a certain skill prior to that (like a back hip circle on bars) maybe it would be faster to get it through privates. Definitely talk to the front desk as they may have information on how team and pre-team/developmental work. This year we did have girls move directly to L3 team from rec, so it is possible although most move into one of our levels of pre-team. Also find out how kids get chosen. Is it by recommendation of the rec coach for an evaluation or do they have open tryouts?
Team definitely is not cheap but others are right: the cost per hour definitely goes down (even as they move up in hours on team the hourly cost drops - I am at approximately $20-25/hr right now).
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I know they don't have open tryouts. One parent I sat next to one day mentioned that her dd was in preschool class, and her rec coach was going to bring in one of the team coaches to look at her to see if she was ready for pre-team. She told me that was the only way at this gym. If the team kids move up in December, then I could handle the private lessons, but if it won't be until June...maybe we could do privates for a short time and then move back to twice a week rec.
Wait...$20-25 per hour is your price going DOWN? We are at $20 per hour for rec right now, and I thought that was high.
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