For Parents new to meets help needed

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 10, 2008
I need some help understanding the "going to meets" system.

My daughter is 6. She's supposed to compete level 2 this year. (Most gyms in my part of the metro area do, and I've made my peace with that and put her in a program where they do compete level 2 as overall it's the best place for her and for the family to have her do gym.)

I *thought* the first three meets we could drive to, but on the schedule they are listed as taking place over 2 days. E.g., Jan 23-24. I don't think we would drive 2 hours home to sleep and then drive back 2 hours.

So ... what does this mean? Question 1: Does an AAU level 2 actually need to compete both days? Or is this because maybe level 2 might be on Sat but level 5 is on Sunday? Surely she can perform for 60 seconds total in a single day?

The fourth meet on the schedule is in another state and will involve an amusement park. So I hesitate to just tell DD she can't go as I'm sure the other girls will be talking it up big time. But apparently the coaches are not going to take care of her on this weekend in another state. And then she's going to talk it up to her brother, and of course he'll want to go. Question 2: So ... the whole family is supposed to go on an expensive vacation? How does this work?

Question 3:
And does the entry fee to the meet include one parent watching, or both, or none?

Sorry, I'm a bit stressed out about this -- November 1 brings calendar updates and also a flurry of emails I was supposed to get, but didn't, and am reading them all at once.

As far as I know DD does not have all her skills for her level 2 routines so while I'm sure she'll get them by January, it's not like she's been honing things to a shine since June hoping for gold medals. I suspect the reputation of her program is not utterly dependent upon her participation this year. Or Question 4: if you tell your program that you're not doing a meet, is that OK? Or are you not sucking it up for the team? I already told her that even if she was selected she was not doing Nationals this year. Am I missing how her team needs her to do that, or is that more for the girls to enjoy, right?
Feb 26, 2007
You will find out closer to the meet the time you are supposed to be there. She will compete on one of the two days and that is the only time you need to be there.

As for the travel meet, if you want your DD to go then a parent will have to go with her. Often families turn travel meets into an excuse for a short family trip. It can be alot of fun to stay in the hotel with team mates and their families.

As for 3 I think that may be a regional thing. In Quebec they are not allowed to charge parent to attend meets. But I have read her many times that parents do pay, and sometimes qy=uite a bit.

4, most programmes do not mind a gymnast missing an occasional meet.. BUt some gyms frown on it. Best speak to her coach.


Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Sep 25, 2007
Question 1: Does an AAU level 2 actually need to compete both days?

Usually on schedules, they list all the days your daughter MIGHT compete. She should only compete on one day. You usually don't find the exact date and time out until about a week or 2 before the meet weekend.

Question 2: So ... the whole family is supposed to go on an expensive vacation? How does this work?

Basically, yes. At the lower levels, out of state meets are just for fun. If you go, you take care of your kid and make hotel arrangements, etc. You either skip it, just take her and deal with siblings or make a family vacation out of it. Glad we don't have those kind of meets on the schedule. Hard to say no, but would be impossible for us to go. Don't know what the gyms are thinking with this economy.

Question 3: And does the entry fee to the meet include one parent watching, or both, or none?

NONE. You have to pay for each person that goes to see. I have paid from $8-12 for adults and usually half price for kids. Sucks big time, just another hidden cost of gymnastics. :(

Question 4: if you tell your program that you're not doing a meet, is that OK? Or are you not sucking it up for the team? I already told her that even if she was selected she was not doing Nationals this year. Am I missing how her team needs her to do that, or is that more for the girls to enjoy, right?

You have to do what is best for your family. Some gyms require attendance to all scheduled in state meets, etc, but that varies. Some are more lenient. She is only 6 and those out of state meets are expensive. If you can't do it, you just can't. She will understand and so will the gym, hopefully.

Hugs to you. All these things can come as a big shock. It is the untold extra costs and life of gymnastics as a sport. They don't tell you this before, though they should. I don't know if I would have let Abby take gymnastics had I known she would ever be on team or love it so much. It is so expensive and I think quitting will be worse than not ever knowing, but who knows. :(


Proud Parent
Jul 11, 2008

You asked about AAU, but I can only speak for USAG as that is what dd has done throughout her career. However, with that in mind, I will try to answer your questions.

1. At our meets the levels are spread over 2 days so that levels 4 5 6 might be on Saturday and 7 8 9 10 on Sunday. You would only have to be there for one day. Some large meets do have 'finals' where the top scorers from the earlier sessions compete again but these meets are rare in my experience and usually only for upper levels.

2. Very often a meet will be scheduled in conjunction with some other event or entertainment venu, but it is up to each individual family to decide who will go to the meet and whether they will do any additional activities. We have made 'mini vacations' out of many meets where there is something interesting or fun to do.

3. Entry fees are for the gymnast only (USAG). Parents, spectators, etc. will pay their own admission but it will not be the same as the gymnasts. We have paid admissions of anywhere from $3 to $10 each depending on the meet.

4. Attendance at meets is a gym decision - you would have to check with your gym to find out what their policy is. I don't know how AAU determines qualifications for national meets, but USAG has state, regtional and national meets. We go to states as compulsories, regionals for lower level optionals and nationals for 9 (actually split between east and west nationals) and full nationals for L 10 only

Hope I have answered some of your questions.


Proud Parent
Mar 9, 2008
Meets are broken down into sessions. You're DD will only be competing in 1 session. So she will only be competing part of one day(ie. 8am-11am, noon-4p or 5p-9p), so it won't even take up a whole day, unless you want to watch other gymnasts sessions. As Bog says you will be notified closer to the meet date which session she'll be in.

Especially in these tough economic times I think many gyms are more understanding about having to skip some meets. But make sure you notify your gym way in advance if you are considering this. They have to enter meets early & have probably already spent money entering her. You don't want them to waste money entering her, that they can't get back. They can usually get a refund, but only if they withdraw the entry by a certain date. So let them know ASAP. That being said, a travel meet can be really fun if you can afford it. Maybe just you & DD, could go with another gym family to keep expenses down? Just an idea. We've done that many times.

We have had to pay admission at every meet we've gone to(usually $5-$15/adult). And the program is also not usually included in that admission fee(not that you need the program anyway). Scores sheets are usually available
for free.

Good luck! It really is a fun experience once you get through the confusion of the 1st meet.


Proud Parent
Mar 7, 2008
Region 7
Ditto what others have already said (my experience is USAG and USAIGC), however, there are some teams/gyms that require attendance for all sessions "to support teammates". I only know of one in my area that requires this, however, just wanted to put it out there so you're not shocked.


my 2 sense...

AAU nationals this year is in Disney..Milkhouse. Amber competed two years ago there as a level 2 and it was great. Of course we live in florida and it was expensive.

Admission for parents were 25 and 15 for kids.

However if you can swing it..also do the opening ceremonies where you kid marches out for their state. way cool.. brings tears to moms eyes


Everyone else has answered what I would have (my experience is with USAG, but I can't believe they're that different). Talk to the main coach at your gym about skipping a meet--it's typically not a problem, especially when it's an away (and expensive) meet.
Hope you and your daughter have a great time in gymnastics! We've loved it :)


Proud Parent
Jun 26, 2008
My dd does AAU and I in the past coached USAG. In my experience, AAU is much more lenient and low key. Meet fees are significantly lower--a typical meet $20 and judging is less stringent.

At our gym, unless it was States or Regionals, etc... it would not be a big deal to tell the coach ahead of time that you were not making the meet. We pay our meet fees 2-4 weeks before each meet. If you don't pay you don't play:) no big deal.

Talk to your coaches, be direct and up front. Then you will know where they stand and they will know where you stand!!!
Jul 20, 2009
Region 3
Others have pretty well covered most of your questions. At our old gym, some girls competed only AAU. We always called AAU the gentler, kinder gymnastics. 1) A week or two before each meet that you are attending, you'll get information that includes the actual time your daughter will need to be at the gym for warm-up, walk-in and actual compete time. You won't need to be at the meet for sessions your daughter is not competing in unless you want to watch teammates. 2) You don't have to attend any events outside of your daughter's competition that you don't want to. All other activities are optional. 3) Registration fees cover only your daughter. Anybody else who wants to watch must pay - but AAU meets are much less expensive then USAG. Meet registrations are also capped for AAU meets (i.e. - AAU meets are $20 - $40 while USAG meets are $50 - $100). AAU is a great organization and a great place to get your feet wet in gymnastics. Relax and enjoy and know that ALL of us were overwhelmed when we started out!


Proud Parent
Oct 10, 2008
Our AAU meet fees this year are $50-69 per with the travel meet being the $69.

Thank you all so much. I am thinking at this point we will skip the expensive travel meet, but haven't decided yet.


In reference to question number 3 ~ Not only do you have to pay to get into the meet, get ready to spend even more money on little gifts! They do what they call 'shout-outs' to the competing gymnasts. You don't have to do it but it stinks to be the only one not getting anything. It all depends on the gym, really. Some gyms have available ~ flowers, water bottles, candy, balloons, gym bags and all kinds of stuff. The host gym will also probably have leotards and other fun gymnastic stuff for you to buy. I always take along a little extra money just to give her a little something, especially when she didn't get a medal. Her eyes light up and she forgets all about the medal for a while.

Welcome to the wonderful world of gymnastics! Enjoy it!
Not open for further replies.