For Parents New to the Gym need advice

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Proud Parent
Jan 8, 2009
Des Moines Iowa
Hi, this is a question specifically about my younger daughter Sophia (5 1/2). She started gymnastics in Sep and was placed in the pre-pre team invite only level. They jumped her to pre team 2 right before Christmas and she went from 2 hours a week to 4. The coach pulled me aside after Tuesday's practise and said that she thinks Sophia works too hard and isn't having enough fun. Sophia was adopted from China and has an unbelievable work ethic. She's very hard on herself when she doesn't know something and with this big jump it's more than a few things. The coach said she thinks I'm pushing her to try this hard. I laughed....but it hurt. I'm not a stage mom and really wish she didn't love this sport this much!! Any advice to a newbie?:(


Hey - You beat me over here! I just posted to your thread in the Intro Forum:)! Sorry that the coach made you feel bad, I completely understand about kids being hard on themselves! My dd is one of those;)! She has lightened up over the years, though. With your daughter only starting in September, the coach hasn't had much of a chance to know her or understand her personality. Regardless of personality, that is alot of of change all of a sudden. Sometimes it just takes a little adjustment time, and I think maybe the coach should have taken the time to get to know her (and you) before insinuating that you are the "pushy parent". If it is any help, my dd was the hardest on herself when she was age 5 to about 7. She was a stress case in kindergarten because she felt that everything had to be perfect - she would draw things that looked like a 3rd grader did them, and throw them away because she thought they were awful:confused:! I am sure you already have, but keep stressing to your daughter that no one expects her to be perfect, and this is all about FUN:D.

Hopefully the coach will get to know her a little better and will help her understand that she is doing an awesome job to even be on pre-team, let alone only after three months:)!
Feb 26, 2007
Only you know your own child, if this is the way Sophia is and she is truly loving gymnastics then let her be. Some kids are born perfectionists or just have a huge amount of drive. One childs fun is not necessarily another childs fun, how do you compare such things?

The coach may have never encountered a child like Sophia before and is drawing conclusions based on her previous coaching experience, which is totally normal. All I would do is reassure the coach that this is the way Sophia is in all her endeavours and that she wants to do gymnastics because she loves it, not because you push her.

Congratualtions in making it this far and in having the joy of adopting a little one, how special that is. We have another mom on the board who has an adopted girl from Kazhakstan.

Try not to take the coaches comment too personally, the coach is just doing her job and is trying to work out her new little gymnast and her Mom at the same time.

gym law mom

Proud Parent
Dec 23, 2006
The coach probably could have discussed the issue of you dd working too hard without sounding accusing. She is probably comparing Sophia to most 5yos she coaches. As others have said, Sophia could be having a blast, but looks like she's not.

You might want to have another chat with the coach(I've found right as practice lets out isn't a great time). Let her know how Sophia approaches things and that you put her in this class based on the gym's recommendation. This can all be said in a nonthreatening way. Maybe you could ask the coach to help Sophia relax just a little and reassure her that she'll still get the skills even by taking a little time to "have fun."

Our dds are very similar in several ways: love gymnastics, very hard workers and adopted(mine from VietNam). Mine has learned to have her goofy time in the gym(she does some silly dances), but she's 12 now and I think has grown out of the super intense phase a little. Its hard to be hard core for 18 hours/week.


Proud Parent
Jan 8, 2009
Des Moines Iowa
Thanks for the reassurance

My other daughter (kazakhstan adoption) is so opposite that Sophia was a shock to us! Tonight is the gym again so we'll see!!

Thanks again,



Proud Parent
Feb 16, 2008
We have another mom on the board who has an adopted girl from Kazhakstan.

Hey that would be me that Bog is talking about. Welcome to the board.

OK just read father that you also have a daughter from Kaz. We will have to talk and exchange notes. DD was adopted in 2001 from Almaty, she is currently a 7 year old level 4. At times I wish she was more serious in the gym, her BFF is on team with her.

Bog and gym law mom gave you good advice. Good luck.



It sounds like they want to put her on team (L4?) for the next season (Sept). You can slow things down and go back to Pre-team 1, and then do Pre-team 2 Sept 09. At that point she would start L4 team at 7 years of age. I'm a little opinionated on this so I'll stay quiet:rolleyes:
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