For Parents Pre team financials and decision for 5 year old

Kerleigh722

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Hey all,
New to this. My daughter will be 5 in a few days and we’ve only been at this gym for 2 months. They asked her to do pre team and it’s 2 days a week 2 hours each and $180/month.
This seems like a lot of commitment for someone not even in kindergarten and the price!! That is so expensive!!
She’s totally into it but I also feel like they are money signs on my head- she is a quick learning and good listener but she doesn’t have very many “skills” per se.
if we wait a year would we be missing some golden time to introduce her to gymnastics? I am not even sure or not if she wants to go competitive because she doesn’t know what that even means.
Someone help me sort my thoughts so I can decide!
 

raenndrops

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Hi. My younger gymmie wanted to be on team at 4 years old. We didn't have a "pre-team" though. If you made it to the last rec level and wanted more and would be 6 years old by November 1, you could "try out" ... meaning your coach would fill out a paper marking which skills you have, are working on, or are not ready for. Pretty much, if a child wanted to be on team and their parent was willing to let them, they could move to team after our season was over (because to be in the last level of rec, you were at least working on all of the skills required to move to team).
1. Yes, gymanstics CAN be very expensive. 4 hours a week x 52 weeks = 208 hours a year. $180 a month x 12 months = $2160 a year. $2160 / 208 = $10.39 (rounded up) an hour. Consider what you pay per hour for her rec class. If the $10.39 is less than per hour rec class, then this is a good deal. If you pay less than that per hour for rec, you may want to see if you could hold off and just add another rec class.
2. Not having a lot of "skills" is fine. For pre-team with young children, most gyms are looking for good listeners and quick learners. That way, they can teach them the shapes and skills the way they like them to be taught ... using their drills and pogressions. Some pre-teams focus on strength, flexibility, and shaping first (with a lot of conditioning). This isn't necessarily as fun as a rec class where they might be doing new skills regularly. You need to find out more about your gym's pre-team program. Ask questions. See if you can observe a pre-team practice. Ask if your daughter can "try" the pre-team before committing to it.
3. I know your daughter is young, but you should talk to her to see if she wants to move to pre-team. If they will let your daughter try it out first, tell her that she can go to one practice and then decide if she wants to keep doing it or go back to her other class.
4. It might be nice to start the 2 hour practices before she begins kindergarten if you decide to go the pre-team route. If you wait, she would have to adjust to more changes all at once.
 

PreciousJ

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Very solid advice from @raenndrops! Ask questions and try to do a trial class or two before committing. Also, I know fees vary across the country, but that *does* seem pretty expensive for pre-team, but it might be worth checking around other gyms in your area to gauge pricing (if that turns out to be a big factor in your decision). Also, I hope this is not something you're being approached with simply because you're new to the gym...are there any other more experienced parents there that you can talk to? Or, even get a sense of their experiences with pre-team?
 

Aussie_coach

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Pre team and competitive teams are not usually a money spinner in gymnastics. Quite the opposite!

Rec classes are where gyms make money. Kids doing 1-2 hours a week will pay a much higher rate.

Team kids do a lot more hours, and just simply could not be charged the same rate, as very few could afford it.

Team also tends to be a better deal with smaller classes, more experienced coaches, more access to all the equipment etc.
 

kendo348

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This is true. The pre-team and compulsory rates at our gym worked out to be about $6-8/hr, I believe, while we had been paying about $30/hr for rec. Given that on pre-team she began receiving technical training from experienced coaches invested in her future success (rather than from a college kid phoning it in), it felt like a screaming deal. Now, yes the price will continue to rise and there are many other costs besides tuition… But if she’s going to be in gymnastics either way (at one point we were paying for twice a week of rec to try to fill my daughter’s need to be in the gym), team is a better deal.
 
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Gymx2

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I think you are wise to ask these questions. So often is seems like parents new to gym are just so thrilled that their child has been invited to pre-team that they don't look very far down the road. If you do have concerns about costs and hours I would take a look at the schedule for the team and see if you can find out the costs for each level. It's much better to know what you, your child, and your family would be looking at in terms of a time and financial commitment if she does continue on to team, rather than dealing with sticker shock down the line once she's really hooked.
 

PeanutsMom

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Very solid advice from @raenndrops! Ask questions and try to do a trial class or two before committing. Also, I know fees vary across the country, but that *does* seem pretty expensive for pre-team, but it might be worth checking around other gyms in your area to gauge pricing (if that turns out to be a big factor in your decision). Also, I hope this is not something you're being approached with simply because you're new to the gym...are there any other more experienced parents there that you can talk to? Or, even get a sense of their experiences with pre-team?
I was going to say the same about price. My DD started level 3 at age 7 and was going 12 hours a week and $180 was about what we paid for that. Once we added in comp. fees for the year (they divide them into payments and add a little to each month) I want to say our level 3 tuition was $189.
 
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Cheryl

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It’s always good to look at both time commitment and financial commitment before starting team track.. while the hourly rate of rec classes might be higher than the team rate, you need to consider what additional expenses you will incur with team. Uniforms, meet entry fees, meet coaching fees, meet travel fees. While your kid is in elementary school this will turn into a 5 figure sport, along with practice hours that are the same as a part time job.

If you child really wants to go team, do it, but know the commitment. If your kid is on the fence I would recommend staying in rec and talk to a coach about doing privates to get the skills she needs to do team next year if she wants it.

Once competition starts most teams will have you pony up for meet and coaching fees for the upcoming season a few months in advance. This will be a couple thousand dollars and be on top of your monthly gym fee.
 

Pineapple_Lump

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The two main points to consider - does she enjoy it and is she excited to do more gymnastics?
Can you afford it? and if she does progress can you afford to pay more down the line?

Gyms look at kids and select them hoping they will be able to progress and move to the higher levels. As the customer I would take a year by year approach and take into consideration the first point about enjoyment and desire to do more.
Now if you know down the line finances are going to prevent her from progressing you may decide you don't want to pursue a path of potential heartache for her. Equally we know how quickly change can occur , you might proceed knowing full well she may be forced to alter her path at a certain point .
 
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gym_dad32608

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First, everybody's situation is unique so I caution in drawing conclusions from any of our comments since ultimately, they are our own opinions. My personal immediate response for someone first starting this journey is to go slow. I am very confident that you are not missing anything from a development standpoint by holding your daughter back a bit. Even till they are 7-8. I have been around the sport long enough now with my daughter to tell you that it is a very long and expensive journey. Do not get caught up in the "group think" of "those kids/parents are doing it, if I don't my daughter will be left behind...". I have seen too many coaches telling new parents "your daughter is really talented" and soon parents have visions of greatness running through their heads (I mean who hasn't had a good daydream about their child being a prodigy). A good gym will get your daughter up to speed in short order. Gymnastics takes a real toll on your child's body, there are soooo many uncontrollable variables on their development. I would just let her continue doing a lite schedule and having fun. In a year or two you can revisit, because one thing for sure, once you go the team route, there is no going back when that bug bites.
 

GymDadWA

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Regarding the costs, gymnastics is unfortunately a very expensive sport so if the pre-team cost is bothering you (regardless if the cost/hour is reasonable), you might not want to proceed further as it only gets a lot more expensive and time consuming as they progress through the levels. I'm sure you already figured that out but it's OK to say this sport isn't for my family based purely on how much of a commitment it requires.
 

raenndrops

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First, everybody's situation is unique so I caution in drawing conclusions from any of our comments since ultimately, they are our own opinions. My personal immediate response for someone first starting this journey is to go slow. I am very confident that you are not missing anything from a development standpoint by holding your daughter back a bit. Even till they are 7-8. I have been around the sport long enough now with my daughter to tell you that it is a very long and expensive journey. Do not get caught up in the "group think" of "those kids/parents are doing it, if I don't my daughter will be left behind...". I have seen too many coaches telling new parents "your daughter is really talented" and soon parents have visions of greatness running through their heads (I mean who hasn't had a good daydream about their child being a prodigy). A good gym will get your daughter up to speed in short order. Gymnastics takes a real toll on your child's body, there are soooo many uncontrollable variables on their development. I would just let her continue doing a lite schedule and having fun. In a year or two you can revisit, because one thing for sure, once you go the team route, there is no going back when that bug bites.
I agree, but with a caveat: WHILE going slow, it is important for a new parent to learn information about the gym they are at. If the gym is one with a tight window for pre-team (I have heard of gyms that limit pre-team to 4-6 year olds), then the parent needs to determine if there is an alternative pathway to competitive team AT THAT GYM if they choose to forego the invitation to pre-team, but decide later that their daughter would like to join the team.

Our team gets girls from clubs who want lower hours, lower costs, or something closer to home so they can participate in other activities. At least 75% of our team girls participate in other activities (cheer, lacrosse, track, softball, volleyball, 4-H, FFA, Girl Scouts, VEX, show choir, drama, dance, etc). We also get girls who start gymnastics later ... we even had a girl join the team her freshman year of High School with only a dance background and a month of weekly privates.
 

bookworm

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Regarding the costs, gymnastics is unfortunately a very expensive sport so if the pre-team cost is bothering you (regardless if the cost/hour is reasonable), you might not want to proceed further as it only gets a lot more expensive and time consuming as they progress through the levels. I'm sure you already figured that out but it's OK to say this sport isn't for my family based purely on how much of a commitment it requires.
I will echo this 1000 times ...if you are squeamish about the cost in pre team , it doesn't get any better. The cost per hour will be lower as she goes up in level but instead of 22 bucks an hour per week ($22/wk) for 1 rec class , you'll pay 7 bucks a hour for 20 hours a week ($140/wk) at least when she hits team levels.

I've said it multiple times, no family should go into financial hock or ruin for a kid's leisure sport... sure some kids get scholarships but it's not enough of an upswing risk to gamble family finances on. There are plenty of activities kids can learn to love that are cheaper.
 

Aussie_coach

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It’s very true that the cost will continue to increase as the levels do. But I wouldn’t reject the idea on that basis.

The amount we pay for things and The way we arrange our budgets change. When you child first starts a recreational activity, we see it as just that and we are prepared to spend a particular amount on it. When it comes time to step that up to something a little more serious, we can experience sticker shock, because we are used to seeing our budget in a certain way.

But as the value that thing has in our kids lives increases, then so might the financial value we place on it.

For example a parent of a 5 year old kid paying $20 an hour for one rec class a week, may be in shock at the idea of looking at what an elite pays. But when your child is younger it’s hard to really comprehend the comparison as the value of that activity has changed so much in their lives over that time.
 

Aussie_coach

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Obviously in agreement that a family should not go into financial ruin for anything.

But for so many, gymnastics is so much more than just a kids leisure activity. And those kids don’t need to get a scholarship to actually see an incredible return on the financial outlay.

Gymnastics can have value akin to any other aspect of a child’s education.

Speaking to adults, who grew up as gymnasts. Many say that it’s their gymnastics training that truly allowed them to develop into the successful adults they are today.

The skills they learned as a part of the competitive team, are used on a daily basis in their adult lives. Skills like goal setting, Perseverance, team work, work ethic, commitment, breaking down fear, breaking down self doubt etc are often much better learned in the gym than in the school.

Because the kids are passionate about gymnastics, the goals they set mean the world to them and the task of breaking them down, charging towards victory, moving past set backs and so on will often be so much better learned in the gym because the kids care so deeply for it.

Imagine the difficult skills the kids learn at the gym. The first time they see them they seem physically impossible and if they even tried to do them without the correct training the results would be disastrous. They learn to break it down, work through each step and master their fear until one day they can do it.

As adults if they can break down fear and master each step, then there is very little they cant achieve.

Might be money very well spent.
 

ldw4mlo

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Gymnastics is expensive. Most sports/activities are exppensive.

That said the last time I paid less then 180 dollars a month for gymnastics was her toddler class
 

Tmacs

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Pre team and competitive teams are not usually a money spinner in gymnastics. Quite the opposite!

Rec classes are where gyms make money. Kids doing 1-2 hours a week will pay a much higher rate.

Team kids do a lot more hours, and just simply could not be charged the same rate, as very few could afford it.

Team also tends to be a better deal with smaller classes, more experienced coaches, more access to all the equipment etc.
Yes. I paid $90 a month for one 1 hour rec class a week for my non-team daughter so that does not seem bad to me.
 

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