For Parents Not Moving to Optionals

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Mompoul

Proud Parent
Dec 30, 2018
14
40
My daughter is 11 and just finished level 5. She started the season scoring 33s and ended scoring 35s. She did 2 years of level 4 before 5. She competed a BHS on the beam all year in level 5 and she has her giant layout flyaway by herself on the uneven bars and a beautiful BWO BHS on the high beam.

A little background: Her gym is not an elite gym. They have sent some girls to local colleges and girls are successful, but it's a smaller town and not a crazy competitive environment.

The optional coaches do not want her to move to optionals because her form isn't amazing. She is very hypermobile and it is difficult for her to feel body tension. It gets better every year, but it is a slow process.

I'm struggling with this thought process as she LOVES this sport and will probably never have awesome form. Am I crazy to think this is crazy? Honestly, it's hard not to think that they are just trying to get rid of her.
 

LucyRobinson

Gymnast
Feb 27, 2022
124
Boy that sounds like a tough situation :( Have the optional coaches already made the final decision she's not moving up? It is only May. It is totally reasonable to expect good form, but it's still early on. It looks to me like she already has all the L7 skills which is superb this soon after season. Is it possible for her to work extra hard polishing during the summer and be ready?
 

Tmacs

Proud Parent
Feb 19, 2019
194
I'm sorry! That sounds crazy to me. And way too early to suggest repeating. Optionals should allow for her to play to her strengths!
My dd is 11 too and did ok in L5 (35/36s) but struggled with occasional mental blocks. And I would be super bummed if they had her repeat.
 

LCsMom

Proud Parent
Oct 27, 2020
16
48
Gyms that hold kids back because their "form isn't amazing" aren't looking out for the interest of your kid. If they are letting your kid do Level 7 skills on her own at practice, then presumably (hopefully!!) they believe she is safely executing that skill. Gyms that don't move kids up because they are afraid that if they let the kid compete that level, they might impact the team's placement, are gyms that care about the gym's reputation, and not about the individual gymnasts who are paying the gym to be on team and trusting the gym to progress them responsibly.

If you and your gymnast don't care about whether your gymnast will place, or whether her scores will make her gym more money and add to her gym's reputation, but care more about the love of the sport and being able to progress, then this gym isn't for you.
 

gymgal

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Aug 22, 2008
4,548
Only you know the atmosphere of your gym and coaches as to whether they are pushing her out or really have her best interest at heart. Repeating a level often does help with form because the gymnasts can focus more on it without worrying about performing the skills they have just learned. Scores and confidence usually increase as a result. She repeated 4 already so three coaches will know whether this helps your dd. Does your gym do L6? There isn't much jump between 5 and 6. I believe Bars is the biggest with the higher cast requirements
 
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Mompoul

Proud Parent
Dec 30, 2018
14
40
I fully agree with the above poster about repeating to develop confidence and improve form. Repeating level 4 turned out to be a good thing. Doing level 5 was also a very good thing for my daughter. But, she is absolutely executing these harder optional skills with safety. Her struggle lies mostly in the excessive deductions she takes for her legs bending and not always being tight. She is getting there, but she is like any other gymnasts I've ever seen. Those elements improve sooo slowly.

She is not concerned with winning. She loves this sport and becomes hysterical at the mention of moving to excel or worse, quitting. I can't help but feel like the coaches may be just trying to "weed" her out.

But as a mother of this child, I want my child to feel good about herself and I don't think that forever keeping her in compulsory is going to do that. I want her to love what she does and work hard to improve.
 

Kolabola29

Proud Parent
May 12, 2022
30
40
Our gym has a “36 to move up” policy without exceptions. If she’s allowed to do upskill training to prevent her from getting bored, then repeating level 5 doesn’t seem punitive or like a bad thing. Level 5 really does provide an excellent foundation for optionals, and improve bars and beam form in particular will help her once she makes it to optionals.
 
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Mompoul

Proud Parent
Dec 30, 2018
14
40
@Kolabola29, I know some gyms do have rules like that. But . . . our gym doesn't. Let me also mention that last year, they had multiple girls competing level 7 that didn't have giants, did cartwheel roundoff on the beam and were afraid to back-tumble on the floor. Seems silly to let those kids continue to move up without skils that our gym considers level 7 skills, but then force a child with all of the skills to stay in compulsory. How do you explain those mixed messages to a child?
 

gymgal

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Aug 22, 2008
4,548
@Kolabola29, I know some gyms do have rules like that. But . . . our gym doesn't. Let me also mention that last year, they had multiple girls competing level 7 that didn't have giants, did cartwheel roundoff on the beam and were afraid to back-tumble on the floor. Seems silly to let those kids continue to move up without skils that our gym considers level 7 skills, but then force a child with all of the skills to stay in compulsory. How do you explain those mixed messages to a child?
Have you shared your thoughts with the coaches? They may be thinking it is better for her to repeat to gain confidence but if your daughter will be happier in the next level, and can do it safely, that needs to be taken into consideration, especially if they are not a gym that requires a certain score or near perfect routines to move up.
 

Pirouette

Proud Parent
Oct 16, 2014
221
50
Has your daughter (with your help, of course) communicated her feelings to the coaches? Do they understand her goals?
If I were in your shoes, I would request a quick meeting at their convenience and share her feelings and ask some questions. If they say her form isn't where it needs to be, ask what she can work on (at gym or at home) to help. Is she getting emotional in front of coaches and teammates or just at home when you talk about it? Is she still working hard during conditioning to help with the hypermobility? Are there additional conditioning exercises she can safely do at home to help with this? I am not a coach, just a mom, so these are just some questions I would ask if I were to meet with coaches.
Good luck!
 

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