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dani4

Proud Parent
Feb 21, 2013
269
My older daughter is 6 years old and has been in gymnastics since 3 1/2. She's been in a "pre-pre-team" class of sorts since she was 4 1/2. It's self-selected (anyone can sign their daughter up if they are the right age) though I have seen coaches have conversations with parents that "maybe rec would be better."

The class my daughter is in, and has been in for the last 1.5 years, is a beginner level, once per week. The next level up meets twice per week, and is still pre-level 1 (level 1 is the "real" pre-team, the way my gym works). My daughter is the oldest in the class- it is listed for 4 & 5 year olds, but she has not yet been kicked out or moved up. I spoke to her coach one year ago who said that she would benefit from staying in the class for another year (new session registration & potential move-ups happen every ~4 months). But she was happy with my daughter's progress, and said she was doing fine.

I know that my daughter is not a natural at gymnastics. She's long and lanky. Less coordinated than average, and not super flexible. Some fear issues. But she is strong and has endurance, and she has HEART. She loves gym. She is not bothered by the fact that she towers over the other girls in her class, and that she's the oldest by a year. She listens to her coach and does her best to follow directions. She has a positive attitude and is friendly with everyone- I think she adds something just by being there, but that could just be my mama bias :).

I have noticed extremely positive changes over the last year and a half. When she first joined this class she was one of the youngest, and she was clearly not able to do everything... there was a lot of flopping around, and she was afraid to walk across the beam without holding her coach's hand. In fact, the first few times the coach practically had to support her whole body up there because she was shaking with fear!

But now she does everything, and I can see that's she's really trying! She has made so much progress, but I'm not sure if she's there yet, and I'm not sure if she'll ever be there. DD has been with the same coach now since December, and in the last few weeks her coach has been saying a lot of positive things. It all started when DD was in a jog-a-thon at school- she jogged every day at recess for the whole recess, for 2 weeks, and then did the second-most laps in the whole kindergarten at her jog-a-thon (not fast, she is not a fast runner, but the girl can keep going when she is motivated). That first Saturday at gymnastics class coach called out to me during the water break "DD got stronger this week- she really did!" And then later she said she got faster too... and it has carried through to the weeks since then. I think there was a bit of a reality-check for DD, like she realized what real effort feels like, and she suddenly figured out that it makes a difference and it is fun to do things better. Ever since then, it seems like DD is doing better.

Coaches will be making their recommendations for the next session soon, and I wonder what will happen. I would really like to see DD moved up. She wants to be on the team. At the last registration I checked in with her to see if she would rather do rec. That was before this sudden surge of energy & motivation, and I thought she might have more fun just learning skills without the constant conditioning & toe-pointing & body shaping. But she insisted that she loved her class- all the kids and the coach and the hard work, and she said she wants to be on team someday, so she wants to stay. I'm still not sure this is going to be possible, and I also believe it's possible that when/if she does move up she may realize it's not what she thought it would be and it's not what she really wants. She is not a competitive kid... I suspect she's after the camaraderie of being on a team rather than the actual sport. But whatever, different things motivate different people, right?

At the rate she's going, I think she might compete level 3 when she's 9. Maybe. Maybe never. And I am TOTALLY ok with that... I think it's awesome that she's doing gymnastics and learning so much about her body.

So the reason for my long-winded post: does this sound familiar to anyone? Has anyone had a kid start young (3-4 years old) and not show much promise but have tenacity and take FOREVER and then finally someday make the team? Is that possible? I don't feel that it matters if it is possible, because what matters is now and things are good now, and if she ends up in rec after this session she'll probably still love gymnastics. But me, I like to think ahead to the possible.

And on the opposite end of the spectrum, there is my 4 year old, a naturally gifted athlete who is finally back to saying "I want gymnastics every day" - I had posted a couple of months ago about how she was refusing to go to class. Kids!
 
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ldw4mlo

Proud Parent
Feb 13, 2015
6,534
62
ODAT. One day at a time.

You don't even know what the coaches are going to say.

She could go to team. She could not.
She be 9 level 3, or younger or older. Or not
She could get to Level 4 and realize this is not for her and head to rec. Or not
She could be on rec and loving it. Or not.

You are over thinking it.
 

dani4

Proud Parent
Feb 21, 2013
269
Yes, I over-think everything!

I meant to add that I am completely quiet about all this stuff to my daughter and everyone I know in real life. If I said any of this to DH he would want to put me on sedatives. This board allows me a place to be neurotic and no one gets hurt :).
 

ldw4mlo

Proud Parent
Feb 13, 2015
6,534
62
Yes, I over-think everything!

I meant to add that I am completely quiet about all this stuff to my daughter and everyone I know in real life. If I said any of this to DH he would want to put me on sedatives. This board allows me a place to be neurotic and no one gets hurt :).

Totally get this.
 
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Mrs. Puma

Staff member
Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Sep 23, 2014
2,896
46
Syracuse, NY
I'm an over thinker too, so I feel your pain :) There are so, so many factors in this crazy sport-injury/fear/lack of interest/vestibular issues...I am painfully aware that though gymnastics is Puma Jr's LIFE right now, that it could change. I'm trying to take everyone's advice to enjoy it and let happen what will happen, but I just wanted to let you know I GET IT! So yes, ODAT...you remind me, I'll remind you. :)
 
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gymcat

Coach
Proud Parent
May 9, 2014
60
Any chance you can have an honest conversation with the coaches? Are there any recreational competitive teams in your area where the bar might be set a little lower and she might get a chance to try competition? Honestly, I think I would want to know that my dd would likely never get selected for team because I wouldn't want her hoping/dreaming of it for years only for her to finally figure out that it's never going to happen.
 
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beachgirl

Proud Parent
Judge
Nov 7, 2013
1,288
56
I'm an overthinker too. I too drive my husband crazy with this. Luckily we have a great team manager who knows I'm neurotic and I know if I start with my overthinking and craziness I can tell her and she'll put me in my place.
 
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dani4

Proud Parent
Feb 21, 2013
269
I really should have a conversation with the coach, she is an honest broker. I just haven't wanted to take her time, and I don't want to seem pushy... I don't want to ask for anything other than information though- I trust the process.

And actually my gym's rec program does have an intramural team with a much lower bar. And they do something x-cel like but I don't really get how it works. So there are options, and they are all good. My daughter doesn't need to do JO. I have seen something written somewhere that the current class she's in leads to either JO or the other rec/competitive options... so she might just go where she goes. She's not going to feel bad about not doing JO, but if she can make the cut and she likes it I'll keep paying & driving.
 

gymdog

Coach
Jul 5, 2007
5,120
It is possible. You'll just have to see. It sounds like they would tell you if the class isn't a good fit (which, with the Xcel options nowadays, I feel pretty much anyone who wants to and tries hard can do team at SOME level). My guess is the kids who were asked to leave basically didn't try or want to be there.
 
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IreneKa

Proud Parent
Fan
Mar 18, 2013
1,687
Is there any way you could add another class for her? She would progress much faster if she went at least twice a week. Just any regular rec class in addition to the one she is in now? Also, are there any gymnastics day camps in the areas? DD's biggest jump in skills happened when she went to YMCA gymnastics camp for just 4 weeks when she was 5. It really sped things up for her.

I agree with others, that anyone who wants to make team eventually do one way or another. Your DD sounds like she really loves gymnastics, works hard, and keeps improving. I'm sure she'll move up soon. Good luck!
 
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gymhorsemom

Proud Parent
Jan 5, 2015
118
46
More hours makes such a difference -and I think it's particularly important for the kids who aren't naturals. My daughter is also not a natural but LOVES the sport. She wasn't really progressing much going just 1x per week. She switched to 2x per week and improved a lot more quickly and now on 3x per week is really making progress. I agree with the PP who suggested adding a second (or third!) class per week. Maybe you can try this for the summer and see how it goes?
 
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HoldThePhone

Proud Parent
Jul 12, 2012
917
Awhile back I heard a story from a coach about a gymnast who the pre-team coach really wanted on her team. I don't know if she just really liked the kid, or what made her want her there so badly. She was young, maybe 5 or 6 at the time I believe. Well the coach got her wish, and the girl was moved to pre-team. Apparently, the coach quickly found out the girl was not all that naturally gifted. She loved it, however. The coach kept coaching her and the girl kept going. That girl graduated last year as a multi-year level 10, and is competing at a D1 college now.

Just goes to show that you really never know. Sure you can see natural talent often times, but you can't see dedication, perseverance, and growth right away. Those things take time, and when all those other naturally talented girls were gone from the gym, she was still there.

Actually I think someone recently posted a video of another college gymnast (different girl) who had a rocky start but ended up a pretty great college gymnast as well.
 

SurpriseGymMom

Coach
Proud Parent
Sep 11, 2013
2,184
49
I agree, take it one day at a time right now. She's 6 and you don't appear to be panicking because you have visions of college gymnastics or the Olympics in your DDs immediate future.. ;) (of course said tongue in cheek!)

If your DD is happy and progressing at her own rate, let things be. What will be, will be. She sounds like she is doing fine, all kids progress at different rates and (I'm going to say it...) some kids, in the end, are just simply not going to be on the team. Not at all saying your DD shouldn't or won't, I don't know her at all and it sounds as if she is working hard and something has clicked for her this year which is always great to see as a coach. :)

So that kinda brings me to what someone said... "If my DD was never going to make team, I'd rather know".
At what point do we (or do we, at all???) as parents step in and gently try to guide our kids away from "impossible" dreams? If you have a young gymmie dreaming of team and you are told, in no uncertain terms, that it's just not in the cards for them... Then what? Do you push other activities? Play up the fun of rec classes? Or do we let them keep chasing their dream and watch them get crushed over and over?? Or, take them somewhere else where the answer may be different?

I wrote a whole thing about my DD who does dance and her struggles, and a comparison to another dancer whose dream has continued to be crushed, over and over and over, but I don't think it was relevant enough. My point of it was that the crushed dancers parent told me that she wishes that she had had the guts to pull her DD out several years ago rather than to watch her have her heart broken time and time and time again.
So do we have an obligation to our kids to try to "soften the blow" if we know the odds are going to be so incredibly stacked against them that we can see the heartache to come clearly....? Sure, it's great to hear the "against all odds" stories, but how often does that really end up happening? How much more common are the failure stories? Do the kids eventually end up getting it all by themselves, or do we try to get them interested in other things before they have a chance to look around, compare themselves and suddenly come to the realization that they are the worst gymnast/dancer/painter/whatever in their entire group and suffer a major blow to their feeling of self worth..?
 

MILgymFAM

Proud Parent
Fan
Feb 6, 2014
4,717
42
Twin Cities
Do the kids eventually end up getting it all by themselves, or do we try to get them interested in other things before they have a chance to look around, compare themselves and suddenly come to the realization that they are the worst gymnast/dancer/painter/whatever in their entire group and suffer a major blow to their feeling of self worth..?

I have talked to my DD and one of her ex coaches quite a bit about this and the conclusion is that my DD would genuinely rather be the last place gymnast in every competition than not a gymnast at all. Why does a realization that you aren't the best mean your self worth must be crushed? There is so much to be proud of in not giving up despite it all. I mean really it's not so hard to keep going when you are always on top. The girl that sticks it out from the bottom has my respect all the way. I know it's competition, so someone must win and someone must lose, but everyone who gets out there is pretty brave and awesome in my book.
 

xxStumpyxx

Proud Parent
Mar 15, 2015
394
49
More hours makes such a difference -and I think it's particularly important for the kids who aren't naturals. My daughter is also not a natural but LOVES the sport. She wasn't really progressing much going just 1x per week. She switched to 2x per week and improved a lot more quickly and now on 3x per week is really making progress. I agree with the PP who suggested adding a second (or third!) class per week. Maybe you can try this for the summer and see how it goes?

My daughter is also not a natural unless you count size lol, we started off in rec going twice a week (basically just the same class twice as she loved it so much), my daughter got moved up to a development class that was once a week for a few months, the coach added another class and my daughter improved quicker, not necessarally skill wise but strength and flexibility, my daughter has been going three time a week for the last 4 weeks and she is improving even more, getting stronger and working on new skills, she got a first squat on bar with two sessions in her new group and was struggling in her old group, she also working on, she is working on walkovers on beam, something she didn't get the chance to do in her old group due to the fact that they only went on beam once a week, same as wooden bars, they now do both twice a week.

Short story, more time in the gym means faster progress over all areas.
 

Mrs. Puma

Staff member
Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Sep 23, 2014
2,896
46
Syracuse, NY
Why does a realization that you aren't the best mean your self worth must be crushed?
Good point. Sometimes it's about the way you frame it. My DD did upper end Xcel Gold routines and got beat by kids doing easy ones, but we knew that going in. The plan wasn't to win the Xcel Gold Olympics (lol) , but to prepare for optionals. She was certainly heartbroken a few times, but I kept reminding her of the end goal. So I think, though it's tough, we can be honest with them AND positive. The vast majority of kids in this sport will not ever compete at a super high level, but can still have an amazing experience and strive for THEIR goals. It's all about what she wants out of it! Good luck! :)
 
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emorymom

Proud Parent
Oct 10, 2008
1,154
My daughter is an 11 year old just starting to train L4. She was not a late starter. It is a combination of needing to be more persistent to complete a level, and that we made gym choices based on proximity since she was in another sport. The close gym with high hours at which she could have done better faster would not take her because she did not fit their profile. The close gyms that have been happy to have her have had abysmally low hours. Even now training L4 she's still only getting 7 hours/week reliably.

She knows that most gymnasts pick up faster than she does but she also knows that she is a hard worker and persistent. I have zero problems with hard worker and persistent.

As I kinda warned the OP in a longer PM, you have to be willing to move if you realize the program you are in does not value your daughter's qualities.
 
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