For Parents Newbie with vent questions.

Twinmom2015

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May 11, 2021
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This might be a little long, but I have questions and some venting to do. I am a total newbie to gymnastics, so please let me know if I am being unrealistic with my expectations. I really don’t want to sound like a crazy mom. I also want to mention that my girls are twins with one on the autism spectrum, but high functioning.

My girls who were 5 at the time started a recreation cheer program this past July. I had initially taken them for a evaluation (standard even for beginners with no experience) at an all star cheer gym, but was blown away by the cost and also with covid didn’t want to invest the money in the tiny program not knowing if they would like it or have another shut down again due to covid. (They had previously only did about 6 months of combo dance class at age 4 turning 5), but covid shut it down and no recital.) I found the local recreation competitive cheer program and ended up signing them up for that. Thinking they can see if they like cheer and learn. I also added the tumbling in at a cost, so they can learn that. First cheer practice at a park, because they are non profit and the usual spot would not allow the cheer program to practice there due to covid... I quickly saw how the girls who had previously done it and the skills they already had where my girls at the time couldn’t even do a forward roll. A lot of the girls were there already for several seasons and were from 7-8 years old. Because of covid they didn’t start the tumbling right away and I decided to look to take them to a gym for a class to at least get some basics down. One gyms beginner tumbling class for my girls age was waitlisted, but I ended up finding another gym that we are currently still at, but they didn’t start tumbling that young until 6, so I signed them up for kinder gym. (Beginning gymnastics class)

So they started the kinder gym program in September. The gym is big and busy lots of classes going on at once and their teams practice. You can barely get feed back from the coaches, because they are getting their next class together when my girls are getting out. No biggie my girls are newbs and I know that. Finally catch up with a coach to find out my daughter on the spectrum wasn’t always listening. Sometimes runs to another piece of equipment they are not working on ect. She pretty much is always on the move and they really have to pay attention to her or she will go in areas that interest her. (She loves their foam pit, but not always the safest for her to go near if they are not working there, because skilled kids are tumbling in it) I did talk to my daughter explained to her that she has to listen to her coach or I have to pull her out. I asked her twin to help keep her on task, but I can’t expect her to fully do that she is there to learn too. Anywho months pass my girls are obviously not naturals at gymnastics, but they try and are getting some skills. At this point we are still in cheer practicing at a park and cheer tumbling class has started. (On Mats in a basketball court outside ‍) At this point I know that my nerotypical daughter likes cheer she actually really likes gymnastics too where My daughter on the spectrum really likes gymnastics and not as much into cheer. January when my girls turned 6 I decided to transfer my one into cheer into the beginner tumbling class at the gym and to keep my other in kinder gym. She did her first tumbling class and wow it was a workout, but she liked it and really tried. There was only two other older girls in it and I thought that was great for some more individual help, because kinder gym was always full. Within the week the gym owner calls wanting to transfer my other daughter in the tumbling class. ‍The coach at the kinder gym class talked to the owner and was having a hard time keeping her on task and she still wasn’t always listening. It was becoming disruptive to the class and the class wasn’t as productive for Claire or the other girls in the class. At this point she had started taking a small dose of adhd meds and last time I talked to the kindergym coach she seemed to be listening better. I pretty much was giving the choice of sending her to private lessons or trying the tumbling class with her sister. They wanted to see if that class/coach would be a better fit for her since tumbling is always going not a lot of stop and waiting your turn. I also asked the owner if she wanted me to pull her from the gym and she said no.

So she starts the tumbling class with her sister and the coach comes out talks to me said she did well and actually seems interested in coaching her saying stick with me I can teach her some skills. Now fast forward to now. I’ve been watching the monitor the last few months and I’m not seeing the class being productive. At this point the other two who were in it are gone. A couple of weeks ago a new girl came to one class and is gone... last week a new boy showed who knows about this week. I notice a lot of free time play time is giving to my daughters. The coach told me he likes to give them breaks for working hard and to keep them interested. My nurotypical daughter dosent even need free time she has done hour long cartwheel workshops with out a play break or free time and was able to listen and participate without a problem, but if you give her a choice she is going to go swing on the rope and play vs work on the mat with you. She is very shy and just won’t come up and ask for help or for him to teach her something. I did mention to the coach early on that I would like her to have a cart wheel she is doing a round off right now, but can’t nail a cartwheel. I don’t think he hasn’t worked in it with her since the first time I mentioned it. I just don’t feel like it is as productive as it could be for such a small class and that he has catered the class to my daughter on the spectrum which I did not want. (He is really nice to her and she really likes him) If I wanted my girls to get free time I can take them to open gym for a hell of a lot cheaper.

I finally called the owner yesterday and told her how I felt. I also mentioned if my daughter couldn’t do the tumbling class and handle it without a ton of play breaks I can take her out. I mentioned with my other daughter I had some goals I wanted met before taking her to an all star cheer gym for the upcoming season. She said she would monitor their class this week. I did ask her not to mention my name or the girls name. I do think he is a great coach and I’m not trying to get him in trouble. I think he is doing the best he can with her, but honestly I think a lot more can be done with my daughter I initially signed up for. After finishing a rocky season thanks to covid of competitive recreation cheer and gymnastics /tumbling since September my girls can do a forward roll, a good bridge, and my spectrum kid can do a cartwheel. I think they obviously would of learned more at an all star gym and at the end of it all after doing the gymnastics classes I spent the same I would of at all star, but all star would of only been good for my one twin and not my spectrum kid, so not to many regrets. She actually really does love tumbling and tumbles all the time at home. She just doesn’t have the focus and the maturity isn’t fully there compared to her neurotypical twin. I actually think she could be really good tumbler if she was pushed more. And my poor shy girl isn’t even getting glanced at or pushed at all and she needs the help especially if she sticks with cheer.

So at this point should my girls know more then they do? I’m not expecting back handsprings right now, but I know they have 6 year old on their teams and 6 year olds doing a lot more. I know all kids develop and learn different and probably they started younger then my girls. I just want to know what typical beginner tumbling class should look like. This one is for ages 6-14. So a variety of ages and I know they wouldn’t twice older girls play breaks. And it’s not like I’m really seeing him work with one kid and the other is playing. Like both are playing at the same time and the other kid will do I guess doing what instructed. I don’t see a lot of hands on help either I don’t know if that is a covid thing or what. I did watch him on the mat with the new girl a few weeks ago actually helping her and I never seen that kind of help with my kids really. I don’t always stay for the whole practice, but will at least watch some of the beginning and at least 20 or so minutes of the end. If I’m out of line let me know too. I feel so bad for calling the gym yesterday, but I do want some change. I mentioned to the owner that my other thought was to separate the girls again. Oh and skills were not even recorded under the profiles until May 7th. How often should skills be taught and tested for? That’s all for now on my book. Thank you if you made it this far. I know it’s a long one, but wanted to give as much detail as possible.
 

Aussie_coach

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I have never heard of “play breaks” in gymnastics. Sometime a free choice skill or a free choice turn on trampoline, but never full on play breaks all through the lesson.

As for what should the kids be doing at 6, that is hard to say without seeing them workout. At 6 some are fine doing round off back handsprings and aerials and others are not yet ready for cartwheels.

Kids do need to meet certain developmental milestones before they are physically ready to do a cartwheel and the age at which these milestones are reached varies greatly, it’s not usual for kids at 6 to not be ready. This is very difficult for many parents as they see other kids the same age doing so much more, and often assume it’s poor coaching.

But have a look at what the lesson consists of. At that age for the beginner level I would expect to see handstands every lesson, cartwheels every lesson, as well as skills like forward and backward rolls and bridges. I would expect to drills and activities for the skills every lesson. If you are seeing that, then it may be that they just need a little more time. If not it may be a lack of good coaching.
 

Twinmom2015

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May 11, 2021
2
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USA
I have never heard of “play breaks” in gymnastics. Sometime a free choice skill or a free choice turn on trampoline, but never full on play breaks all through the lesson.

As for what should the kids be doing at 6, that is hard to say without seeing them workout. At 6 some are fine doing round off back handsprings and aerials and others are not yet ready for cartwheels.

Kids do need to meet certain developmental milestones before they are physically ready to do a cartwheel and the age at which these milestones are reached varies greatly, it’s not usual for kids at 6 to not be ready. This is very difficult for many parents as they see other kids the same age doing so much more, and often assume it’s poor coaching.

But have a look at what the lesson consists of. At that age for the beginner level I would expect to see handstands every lesson, cartwheels every lesson, as well as skills like forward and backward rolls and bridges. I would expect to drills and activities for the skills every lesson. If you are seeing that, then it may be that they just need a little more time. If not it may be a lack of good coaching.
Yes, I’m not seeing that. Initially I did especially when the older girls were in the class, but it definitely seems to lack more now. A few weeks ago on one of my daughters breaks she climbed in a pool of foam cubes and was stacking them. He walked by and playfully patted her head. ‍♀️ There is more that I can’t even think of right now. I didn’t nit pick and give full details what I see just that I want my girls pushed more and for class not to be catered to my one and more productive. If she actually goes back and watches on the monitors she will see for herself what I’m talking about. She is going to observe by I am assuming on the monitor while they are in class Friday, but I have no idea if she will talk to him first or not about what to do with them. I do think he is a good coach, but might be use to working with the older kids vs the younger.
 

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