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GymDad9.9

Proud Parent
Feb 16, 2016
1,089
i miss the ability to take long (non-gymnastics related) family vacations....
We just took a three week vacation overseas and were able to do it partly because my daughter is transitioning from compulsory to optionals and was not competing this winter/spring. Next year, that trip is not gonna happen, although on the flip side, summer travel might be somewhat possible in shorter time frames given there is no run up to compulsory season any longer.
 

flipnastic

Proud Parent
Jan 4, 2016
248
39
i miss the ability to take long (non-gymnastics related) family vacations....
Ha! Neither my husband or I get paid time off so we are lucky to take a 3-4 day trip to our local beach!! (Hopefully that will change soon though!)

Thanks for the input everyone!!! It is VERY helpful!
 

munchkin3

Proud Parent
Jun 6, 2008
2,102
I'll try to keep it short....
DD is now training L8/9 skills....she is 12.
When she was 6, I registered her at the closest gym...she did AAU2 and was able to compete without crying and running off the floor to hide. She gained some interest in the whole competing thing......
Then, I asked to move her to my sons gym, a YMCA with some intense Russian coaches....at first they did not want to take her because she was little (small.....looked young) at 7.
Hours went from 6 to 9. The Y was where her older brother was, and I knew it was a bit more than the previous gym, but still small and low pressure.
At level 3/4 hours went up to 12......husband complained, and life was taken over.....older brother was level 7, and now DD L4..... (Middle child was not happy with the sport)
After L4, I asked DD if she wanted to do the big stuff.....she said yes! So we had to move yet again since the Y program for optional girls was not the best.
Went to an elite gym, where she trains 5 days a week (she is supposed to do 6, but we do 5)....
I have ramped her up little by little.....she still has room to go and potentially could train more......now that she is training L8/9 it makes more sense.
I can't imagine going all out when she was 6, but everyone is different.....what is good for us, might be too easy for others and vice versa.
 
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skschlag

Staff member
Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Jul 19, 2011
11,286
Region 9
I feel like I am wading knee deep into a warm pool of sarcasm...


We keep trying...have been for years :) My son is a L9 heading to L10. Summer vacays are hard. Usually just a weekend or 2 getaways. Between camps, work, trainings, etc. it gets hard. But I do know people who figure it out.

His new gym does shut down for 2 weeks, one at the beginning of summer, and one at the end. We are hoping to plan something for the end....
 
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gymnastics24.7

Proud Parent
Apr 23, 2017
37
45
OT, sorry, bad mod, How does your oldest deal with her younger sisters being a higher level?

You have an 8 year old level 7-8 and a 9 year old at 8-9 and a third optional. That's very impressive. May I have a cutting from your money tree please?

Oh, my oldest is definitely NOT able to deal with it. According to her i'm "a horrible mom" because I won't let her switch to a gym her sisters are at. I wish there was something I could to to help her, though, she is very athletic. My younger two, can't kick a ball!! My oldest started after her sisters, and has very bad mental blocks :/
 
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txgymfan

Staff member
Gold Membership
Coach
Fan
Sep 4, 2008
3,561
Houston
I would strongly encourage her to try other sports, but I'm guessing you are already doing that.

Some gymnasts could succeed at almost any sport, some would not be athletes without gym.
 
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gymyahoo

Proud Parent
Oct 26, 2011
40
I would look at balance between school, free time, and gymnastics. All of course are hard to manage but our deal with DD from level 4 to today has been about having enough time to keep good grades, progression of skills at each level, and having some time to be a "kid". Increasing training hours obviously affects many things but I would watch how she is dealing with it both mentally and physically. Some kids thrive with the high pace and are motivated to do it. Others not so much.

Don't worry so much in compulsory levels about being the next elite gymnast. Work on keeping your daughter learning to manage her schedule and taking corrections from coaches. Teach good eating habits and taking her conditioning seriously. When you get to higher level gymnastics in her teens years she'll need these skills to succeed. Help her develop good gymnast/coach relationships. The path is different for everyone but establishing good habits will get her there. You'll know if it's worth it if she is happy with her accomplishments and loves gymnastics and being with her teammates.
 

e'smum

Proud Parent
Sep 10, 2016
1,061
MA
well my kid is training for level 7 next year. she started similarly as yours, age 6 (but turned 7), training in level 3 but non compete that year (although she did end up competing) and she was in 1st grade. she did 9-12 hours (back then friday night was flexible). she mostly did 9 but once it was decided she would compete, she moved to 12 hours. she didn't have any issues.

she is now in 4th grade, doing about 19 hours/week at the gym. her long day takes her right from school to the gym where she is there until 8:30. then we have to come home and do homework. that can be overwhelming for her if she has a test that week. she is type A when it comes to school work and stresses about projects getting done even though she has plenty of time to get it done. i would say this has been her most overwhelming year thus far b/c of the stress she puts on herself for homework, not necessarily b/c of gymnastics.

honestly, the only thing she feels she is "missing" out on is her me/down time on the ipad. she has no interests in other sports. and she gets plenty of me time on her ipad. she could have more playdates but her friends have other activities as well and their schedules don't match up a lot. luckily she has made some good friends at gymnastics which i think is crucial.

where you are at, it's so early in the game. take it one season at a time and let your dd dictate her own path. you can not want this sport for them. not even a little bit.
 

gracyomalley

Proud Parent
Aug 5, 2013
944
my kids were homeschooled until 8th-9th grade. DD started team at age 7 (pre-team at 5) - training 12 hours a week - was up to 20 hours (level 7) by age 10. Did well with her schoolwork, did ballet 2 years, played violin in local youth orchestra, rode horses, etc....homeschooling really helped with the scheduling (we homeschooled for non-gym reasons). The boys switched from rec to team on a whim at ages 10 and 6 - and were training 16 hours a week a couple of years later, my older did one year of 20 hours but gym/music and high school were too much for him.

DD quit gym in 8th grade (and started brick and mortar school) after a year of on and off with new gym/puberty and fears...now trying to come back as a high school freshman with a very heavy academic load of AP and advanced coursework...its been really challenging for her to do even 12 hours a week and keep up...but her schedule was not planned with gym in mind. If she sticks with it she'll need to go 20 hours next year (L8/9) and will have to adjust her school schedule (she's already got 2 full years of credits and hasn't finished her freshman year, so she can do so).

We don't take big vacations - other than once every 4-5 years - between three kids/activities/work and finances, its just not in the cards. We do make some adjustments to meets and practice schedules due to finances - although there were only a few years with all three doing high hours.

Its all in your personal (as a parent) priorities - if you are fine with family time being taking an extra day to go to museums in whatever city the big travel meet is in, and can adjust to late night dinners, lots of driving etc. that works - and would be the case with any serious middle school/high school sport/activity - my older kiddos music stuff is way more expensive and time consuming for me than gym. But our house needs a lot of updating that will not be getting done until they are in college, we are frugal in many areas, and I have taken the controversial approach of telling the kids I will support their activities and academics to GET INTO college/conservatory, etc but I'm not saving money to pay for THEIR college education (it worked well for me through medical school, loans and all...I know many would disagree with me...).

In the end, I personally don't know tons of kids who got to high levels and had their parents pull the plug due to finances - most of the families that I have known who did that get to that decision while the kiddo is in elementary school and complusories...and after all, its how you frame it - kids will be disappointed, but in life its better to be happy for the years you did get than sad about those you didn't and as parents we disappoint our children regularly!

I really do think that there are so many variables, I don't think you have to decide if you could support a L10 now - but you should decide if you like the idea of supporting your DD as a compulsory and all that entails. There are huge pluses to a high school kid having an intense activity, and huge disadvantages, financial and otherwise. But its much more likely that your kid will guide you in that decision - and not all L9-10s do camps, college recruiters, private lessons, outside PT and strength training, etc...in fact, I personally think it is sort of "self-selecting" in that the families that are ready to do so will produce that kind of a high level gymnast...

what's more, having had a son who is quitting at L10 but did manage to do a sport through 2 years of high school and a DD who after taking what will be 3 years off competing , even if she doesn't run into issues again really can only hope for at best one year at L10 and no chance to do gym after high school (so no need to push with "extra financial stuff" and can be a laid back gym as long as she's happy and safe), and my youngest who just learns skills at his own pace...I'd say - if gym is fun and healthy for your daughter and you can afford competition at the next couple levels, I wouldn't worry beyond that...but don't promise the Olympics!
 

FromBoys2Girls

Proud Parent
Jan 19, 2017
1
53
I just want to say that when you start our with a gymnast and they get into the sport, if they love it, this might be their sport. During the early elementary years, it is when children first become dilettantes and try everything and do ok in whatever. When they solidify around a sport, it becomes what they learn to master. To have the feeling they are mastering their level of a sport by puberty is life changing. It definitely helps them through some of the toughest years in their lives. It is worth parental and some family sacrifice.

My son went all the way though level 10 and it did shape our lives for years. It almost became our lives for years. His little siblings took their first steps in the gym while he was at practice. They played with and grew up with other siblings of his gym team. As the mom, I spent a lot of time in this town where his gym was, did all my shopping there. We traveled FR meets. We became close with many team families.

No regrets. We still love our friends. My son was busy every day of his teen years and had no time to party and mess around. Both he and we are grateful. He is doing well at college and can get a job any time at any gym on breaks. He is strong and learned how to work hard for what he wants to achieve.Those 10 years were some of the best of our lives. (So we are starting again with our youngest, ha ha!)
 

skschlag

Staff member
Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Jul 19, 2011
11,286
Region 9
I just want to say that when you start our with a gymnast and they get into the sport, if they love it, this might be their sport. During the early elementary years, it is when children first become dilettantes and try everything and do ok in whatever. When they solidify around a sport, it becomes what they learn to master. To have the feeling they are mastering their level of a sport by puberty is life changing. It definitely helps them through some of the toughest years in their lives. It is worth parental and some family sacrifice.

My son went all the way though level 10 and it did shape our lives for years. It almost became our lives for years. His little siblings took their first steps in the gym while he was at practice. They played with and grew up with other siblings of his gym team. As the mom, I spent a lot of time in this town where his gym was, did all my shopping there. We traveled FR meets. We became close with many team families.

No regrets. We still love our friends. My son was busy every day of his teen years and had no time to party and mess around. Both he and we are grateful. He is doing well at college and can get a job any time at any gym on breaks. He is strong and learned how to work hard for what he wants to achieve.Those 10 years were some of the best of our lives. (So we are starting again with our youngest, ha ha!)

So nice to see a high-level boy parent here! My ds is a L9, heading to nationals this year and hoping to be 10 next year. He has been competing for 9 years. We have a few of us in that boat (L9/10 boys). Welcome to CB :)
 
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Gymmonkeymomma

Proud Parent
Mar 7, 2008
1,991
Region 7
My DD is now 16, 4th year level 10. She started rec when she turned 3 because older DD was in gym and she wanted to as well. At 5 she started pre-team and full day kindergarten. Pre-team was something like 6-9 hours (I don't really remember). She also did Daisies (girl scouts). She turned 6 at the end of July and that September started competing (old) level 4, training 12 hours.... now in 1st grade, still doing Girl Scouts. Sometime between ages 6-10, she moved up to 15 hours and did 2 years at level 5, then 6 and 7. At this point, we gave up Girl Scouts (I was one of the leaders).

Today is the anniversary of the day she changed gyms, and started training for level 8, 22 hrs...she did one year of 8, then one of 9 and moved up to 10. Training hours more or less the same. Started high school during this time where she does a few clubs and activities and maintains straight A's in honors classes. This weekend she will compete at her 3rd JO's and finish her 11th season. It's been a long road and she is looking forward to her NCAA career. Though she has missed some birthday parties with school friends over the years, I don't think she would trade the opportunities to travel, make new friends, etc for anything. I know it's been a fun ride for me.

We do have 2 other kids, one former gymnast (up to level 8) and a multi-sport kid. Our daily lives revolve around school, work, getting kids to/from practices. We have always done 2-3 non-gym vacations a year as a family, but not more than 1 week at a time once girls reached optional levels. They have also done camps and long weekend trips. I don't think any of our 3 kids would say they missed out on their childhood due to gymnastics being a huge part of our lives.

In the end, every family and every athlete is different. So you have to figure out what's right for your kid :)
 

FlippinLilysMom

Proud Parent
Jun 7, 2016
1,668
47
Region 4
June will be my daughter's 4 year gym anniversary. In that short time, she's gone from complete newb at 5 hours a week to training level 9 for 30 hours a week. o_O

Granted, 30 hours is high. On average, I think hours will max out in the 20-24 range. But, they do ramp up pretty quickly- especially if you're in a fairly competitive JO track.

I was clueless where we were headed for the first two years. I don't know if it would have changed anything, but I do wish I had at least some clue to the time and expense involved before she got so...well....obsessed.

Yours is only 6- I feel pretty sure she could be easily steered another direction. Of course, it may take a little tears and a little time, but nothing like it will after a couple more years.

So, yes, decide now!
Just have to say this sounds exactly like the route my DD took. She competed as a level 3 at age 5/6 and at age 10 completed her level 8 season and is now training level 9 and HOPES, will be training 30-35 hours per week during the summer, down to about 28-30 hours per week starting next school year (going to school 1/2 days). It's been a crazy ride but one I hope we will be on for awhile!!!
 

FlippinLilysMom

Proud Parent
Jun 7, 2016
1,668
47
Region 4
I have 3 dds in gymnastics. 11 yo usag 6, 9 yo usag 8-9 and TOPs, and a 7 year old (8 in July competing two level 7 meets and the rest 8 next season. My 9 yo started gym first and accelerated quickly. Our biggest change for her was going from level 4 to 5. Level 4 trained 12 hours and level 5 went quickly to 20. She goes 5 days a week for 4 hours each time. She is absolutely in LOVE with he sport. As long as she's happy with the sport we will keep on going with the sport! And if she doesn't like more hours she can always switch to a more low key gym or to xcel!
Oh my...3 in gymnastics?!?! You are a rockstar mama!!!
 
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