For Parents Newbie mom needs advice please

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Gymnast C's mom

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Hi Everyone,

I am new to this forum so thank you for taking the time to read this post. My DD is 6 years old (7 in April). She started rec gymnastics 4 months ago at one of the competitive gyms here and absolutely LOVES it! When she started she could barely do a front somersault never mind a cart wheel. Now four months later she has a strong handstand, strong cartwheel, back bend and kick over, pullover and cast on bars but is weaker on beam. On beam she executes gracefully and gets the job done but she is slow and cautious in her skills. She is working on her cartwheel to 3/4 handstand dismount on beam and can do it although execution needs work and she hesitates. Her vault skills are coming along as well but bars and floor are definitely progressing faster. She is physically strong, can do chin ups and 5-6 pull ups. She can rope climb all the way up.

My question is this: I heard that the coaches are always scanning the rec classes and when they see a kid with potential they flag them for the pre-team. Our gym has both JO and Xcel programs. First do they flag different kids for different tracks? Does the fact that my DD hasn't yet been approached mean it is unlikely she will be flagged for either track since she will be 7 in a few months? Is she already too old? Most of the pre-team kids at this gym are 5 and 6.

Last week after DD's 1 hour rec class she was getting dressed with her friend (who just turned 7 and just started at this gym 3 weeks prior) and one of the coaches came up to me and said "I think you should consider having your daughter try out for pre-team, she is very good". In my gut I knew she thought I was the mom to my daughters friend but I said "oh you mean her?" and pointed to my own daughter and the coach said "OH NO, not her.." and pointed to my daughters friend and said "her".

I said "oh that's her mom" and so the 2 started talking about the next steps while my DD and I just stood there listening. We didn't say a word and my daughter was so gracious and didn't make a face or cry or anything. After their chat I felt like I had to at least ask because my DD was right there so I said "Do you think maybe my daughter could try out too?" and she said right in front of both girls and her mom " oh no, she is weak on vault, no power in her run and she isn't flexible enough, how old is she anyway?" I said 6 and she asked when she would be 7 and I told her April and then she just said "no" and that was that. We didn't push or question. Conversation over. DD was such a good sport, didn't say "why not me?" she didn't complain or anything.

MY DD loves gymnastics and all she talks about is getting on the pre team. I know that the ones they pick will make the most progress because they are the ones who get the conditioning, training and coaching to see what they can do. If she does improve her flexibility and power on vault, could she eventually be asked to pre-team or is it unlikely at this point? It seems to me she is rapidly becoming too old in the mind of this particular gym. Are all gyms like this? Should we look to another gym? This is a highly competitive gym for sure. Would other gyms without JO and just Xcel be a good option for her?

She just loves it so much and really hopes to make a team one day and I would like to be able to prepare her for the chance it may not happen and it breaks my heart. BTW I am super easy going and would never be a difficult parent for the coaches. Thanks so much for any insight.
 

triplethreat+1

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At your gym, does pre-team mean JO? Or can it be for Xcel too?
From what you have said, it's doubtful your dd will ever be asked to preteam at your current gym. If there is a separate 'path' to Xcel, possibly she might make that.
If your dd continues to hope for team, you'll probably have to switch gyms. Not now, since it sounds like she is getting good coaching where she is, but maybe in spring/ summer when moveups are being made. Won't hurt to start looking around now (don't tell dd yet).
 
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gymbeam

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I'd start with asking your current gym for more information (without your daughter around). They should be able to tell what, if any, team options are still a possibility. Then ask how she gets there. Depending on their answers, then I'd consider other gyms.
 

Gymnast C's mom

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Thanks to both of you. I have no idea if pre team means Xcel or JO. I'm assuming definitely JO but not sure about Xcel even though they do have an Xcel program. I think her biggest hindrance is that she is not as flexible as some of the other 5 and 6 year olds although she is fairly flexible. Has her splits etc. would looking at Gyms that just focus on Xcel and don't have JO option be better for a strong kid with less flexibility? Her flexibility is improving every week
 

Pineapple_Lump

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Last week after DD's 1 hour rec class she was getting dressed with her friend (who just turned 7 and just started at this gym 3 weeks prior) and one of the coaches came up to me and said "I think you should consider having your daughter try out for pre-team, she is very good". In my gut I knew she thought I was the mom to my daughters friend but I said "oh you mean her?" and pointed to my own daughter and the coach said "OH NO, not her.." and pointed to my daughters friend and said "her".

Did anyone find this alone rather rude before even reading further? The PC way for the coach to approach a parents would be to ask are you 'Suzie's' parent?
 

Gymnast C's mom

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I did think it was a rather odd way to go about it. I just really felt bad for my DD but she was a trooper
 
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Seeker

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I thought it was pretty rude! Is this person the Rec coach that teaches their class or is she a team coach? The reason I ask is because sometimes actual team coaches has a different opinion (either good or bad) than the rec coach.

If your only path to team is through this person, you may be stuck if you stay at this gym, but there may be other options. If they have a team tryout, it will likely be in the spring. Maybe ask at the front desk?
 
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triplethreat+1

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Certainly not PC... Blunt, yes. Rude... Depends on the tone of voice.
But I think she's doing you a favor being honest, so you know how this gym works. Better that then telling you to add an extra rec class and privates without ever planning to actually let dd on team.
And you have see yourself that preteam at your gym is very young.
Still, I would ask about Xcel at your gym.
If you do switch, I don't think you should necessarily look for an Xcel gym over JO, she's flexible enough if she already has splits and kickover. It matters more how much time and money you are willing/able to put into it, imo.
 

Gymnast C's mom

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So I'm not sure who this coach was. I think she was watching and helping out that day. I do not think it is her usual rec coach but I can't be sure. This advice has been so helpful. Thank you
 

Gymmommy71

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Filtering a kid out for no power in their run at 6? Goodness. You're right that it must be a strict/highly competitive gym. If she really wants to be on team, you should look at other gyms before she gets behind on skills compared to others her age (kids on a team track will usually always progress faster than rec kids just based on hours and conditioning alone).

Around me, at age 6, I think lack of flexibility would be more of a hinderance to getting on JO team than anything related to the run, but the skills you described would definitely be enough for Xcel.
 

Gymnast C's mom

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Thank you for the advice. If I call another gym should I ask if she can try out for either team? Also does Xcel start later in terms of age for competing?
 

triplethreat+1

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You should ask for a tryout to see where they think she should be placed. Where she might belong depends on the individual gym. Unless you have decided on Xcel, then tell them that straight up. Otherwise leave which stream up to them.
 
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jillc

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You might want to ask your current gym on what the path to Xcel looks like there. My understanding at the gym my daughter is at -- the goal of preteam is to get girls ready for JO. They seem younger girls from lower level rec for that route. Then I think they find slightly older girls from higher level rec for Xcel. They even encourage girls interested in Xcel to take multiple rec classes a week to keep progressing towards Xcel team.
 

Madden3

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I would not assume anything until you talk to someone at this gym who you know is in charge or speaks for whoever IS in charge. If I understand correctly you do not even know who this person was or what their role at the gym is? When my oldest son was in rec, his rec coach came over to me enthusing over how strong he was and going on and on about how he should try out for team...well my son did eventually get asked to try out for and got onto team, but as far as I know, not on this coach's say-so. He was a very nice, enthusiastic but also very young rec coach, who I think liked my son because my son is so well behaved, hard working and attentive and is always loved by his coaches and teachers for those reasons. But he was not someone who made any team decisions. It was nice to hear, but ultimately did not mean anything team-wise in the long run. Also I have learned over the years that opinions vary about training, kid's abilities, readiness for tryouts, getting on team or moving up levels etc. even among the team coaches. So I would not take this person's comments as the end of it until you get more clarity.

If this person is the one who makes decisions about who gets on team and how the process works at this gym, then you still need more clarity about what they meant and what the options are for getting on team. Maybe no meant "not this year." or "not now" and the person did not elaborate because it dawned on them they had seriously blundered and they were just trying to get out of the conversation at that point. Also because the gym has a preteam program does not mean that is the only path to team. It may be, it may not. It sounds like your child has been 'doing' gym for only 4 months. Maybe her friend has only been at your gym a few weeks but what was her previous experience? Your daughter may simply not be ready to try out yet.

Of course if this person is instrumental in team training and team decisions and they spoke that way about your young daughter right in front of her, this may not be the gym you want her at regardless.
 

Mish

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Am I the only one who thinks that it is crazy to write off a child for JO at 6? She only began gymnastics 4 months ago!!! How sad to say 4 months in that she cannot be team material! Certainly there must be other gyms in your area that are not looking to pick future elites. Obviously you have no idea what path she is headed for in the future, but if she loves it and you are able, I would look toward other gyms where she can go on a JO path.
 

Gymnast C's mom

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Thanks everyone. Looks like I have to start by talking to someone at our current gym to see where to go from here. I definitely got the impression that this particular coach does not think dd would ever be JO potential. I will ask if there are other options for her. If not I will call around to other gyms. The gym we are at produces elites/olympians so maybe a different gym will be better for her. Especially if they don't really think she's up to snuff so to speak. This advice has been so helpful.
 
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cadybearsmommy

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I think you've got some great advice. Please keep us updated. It really rubs me the wrong way that the coach spoke to you in that manner. If you don't get a good vibe from the front desk when you ask about the path to team I would most definitely start looking at other gyms sooner rather than later. Your dd sounds more than ready to be considered for some sort of advanced rec, preteeam, or Xcel team depending on the gym and their path. As a matter of fact for her to pick up all of those skills that quickly after starting gymnastics shows some talent and potential IMO.
 

OzZee

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Move.

She is 6. She has been doing 1 hour a week for 4 months!
Has cartwheel, pullover etc. has splits. Chin-ups.
That's great progress.
What the heck do they want!

They have said she isn't what they are looking for and you have seen she is older for this gyms preteam already.

That coach was rude.

All gyms aren't like this.

Look around at other options.
 

duyetanh

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Move.

She is 6. She has been doing 1 hour a week for 4 months!
Has cartwheel, pullover etc. has splits. Chin-ups.
That's great progress.
What the heck do they want!

They have said she isn't what they are looking for and you have seen she is older for this gyms preteam already.

That coach was rude.

All gyms aren't like this.

Look around at other options.
This. THIS. Thisssssssssss.
 

Gymnast C's mom

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Haha thank you. This has made me feel so much better. Dd and I just had a chat and she again reiterated how much she wants to do this. On another note, my daughters friends mother called the gym today to discuss next steps and they told her pre-team is during school hours and they are interested in her daughter trying out for level 1 team. SOO I guess that means I was wrong and the pre-team kids are even younger than I thought! Obviously the coach who invited her friend was indeed referring to JO team. It's starting to make sense now.
 
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