For Parents Struggling Gymnast

GymMom2013

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My daughter is a 7yo Level 4 Gymnast. As a Level 3 last year, she was one of the lowest scorers on her team (depending on the meet) but she competed all around and scored in the 32-34 range. She was the last on the team to get her floor and bar skills. This year as a level 4, she was the last to get her vault and bar skills, and one of the last to get her last floor skill. She struggles with technique - when she makes a correction, she messes up on something else. She also has a fear element sometimes. She did her kip 5 times during one practice and hasn’t done it since. Ironically, that practice was after a mock meet where she wasn’t allowed to compete bars because she didn’t have the skill. No meets thus far due to COVID. Despite her struggle, she loves gymnastics. She does/has tried other activities and doesn’t like anything as much as gymnastics. I know there has to be one kid that’s last to get skills, but is there a reason for this or way I can support her? Do I keep her in a sport she loves but that she isn’t good at?
 

rd7

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A 7 year old that can kip has some talent. My advice would be to not compare your daughter to the other gymnasts and instead celebrate her individual achievements. If she loves gymnastics she will continue to progress and improve and will probably outlast several of her team mates. Messing up on something else when making a correction is normal, that's part of learning gymnastics. Just one question, why was she moved to level 4 without the skills she needed? At 7 she could have competed level 3 and uptrained?
 

GymMom2013

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She uptrained last year and they thought she would get all of her skills in time. She did her kip multiple times at that one practice and not again. I am not concerned, however, she is starting to notice she is the last to get skills, behind her team mates in scores, etc. She loves the sport but I just wonder how healthy it is for her if she notices this (she’s starting to say she loves it but is a terrible gymnast).
 

CuriousCate

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7 year old at level 4 is really young. My older DD was that age on level 4 and was literally one of only three 7-year olds at the state meet. THe rest of her team was 8-10 years old. I would certainly not judge her potential at this point - she is obviously a talented girl. Just let her repeat level 3 this year or do level 4 and repeat it again next year. She will be fine!
 

MuggleMom

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I always remind my kid not to compare herself to other kids but rather look how far she has come and how much she has improved. I will remind her of things she used to struggle with that are now easy for her (remember when you thought you would never get X skill? and look at you now kind of thing) I try and keep it light with her and remind her its ok to feel frustrated. Remind her too that she needs to be kind---even to herself! She would never say someone else is a terrible gymnast so why would she say that about herself? Just try and redirect (gently) the conversations in a positive direction if she starts with the negative thoughts. I have found that helpful.
 

pt coach

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My daughter was on a level 4 team with about 17 other kids. From that group there are still 2 or 3 doing gymnastics. One of those kids is the girl who was very last on the team to get a kip. She is now a level 10 and has a scholarship to a top Division I school. So it worked out for her.

My daughter was one of the first few to get a kip, but it took her about 3 years to really understand form! She did stick it out through high school because she enjoys gymnastics, but after level 8 decided that Diamond was a better fit. She will graduate this year. She never had the passion for the sport, but loved her friends, meets etc. She found another sport that she does love and her years as a gymnast expedited her growth in that sport.

If your daughter loves gymnastics just help her remember that everyone's journey will be different. Gymnastics is so much more fun if you learn to evaluate your own performance and growth without worrying about what anyone else is doing and without worrying about scores, placement and levels. It is definitely easy for me to say as I am looking back while at the end of this adventure, but it is the best advice that I received when my daughter was starting out.

I don't think my daughter could tell you anything about her placements or scores but she has a million stories abut meets, practices, friends etc.
 

katrid11

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Let her be. She loves the sport. Things like the kip are strength related. Some girls will get it quick and others will take time. I would not judge her ability to compete in the sport by L3 or even early L4. Just let her have fun. tell her this year is a bonus. Work hard, train hard, have fun. If she ends up repeating L4 next year (sounds likely) that is more than ok. If she wants to compete longer term, her goal is to have a strong set of foundation skills (RBH, kip, FH, FH vault, RBHBT) coming out of L4/L5.
 

LJL07

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Yes, 7 is pretty young for level 4. In our area, it is very rare for 7 year olds to be on level 4, so she must have some potential. I have told the story a bunch of times on CB about my older daughter who came in almost last place as a 6 year old on level 1. She is a level 9 now. Not one of the girls in her age group who placed ahead of her are still doing gymnastics.
 

Oopski

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She’s really young. Even if she does 2 years as a level 4, she would still be really young. Sounds like she’s doing great!
 
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M2Abi

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Agreeing with the others that she is very young. Don't judge her potential on what she is doing now. Encourage her to work hard and have fun.
 
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DonPerl

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My daughter came almost last place at every meet when she was 7. When she was 9 something clicked and now she is 11 years old training level 9 and placing in the top 4 at most meets. Every kid has a different path to success.
 

gymdivamom

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I feel the same way. This is my DD first year competing as a level 2 and they actually had meets and she usually scores pretty low and she is the lowest scorer on her team. She’s 11 and did recreational for 3 years before she tried out for the team. She seems to score the highest on beam with a 9.5 but the last 2 meets not so much and she fell off the beam the last meet. I honestly don’t think she’s a natural talent since she’s 11 but she loves gymnastics. She will be in junior high next school year and there will be other sports to try out. I have been encouraging her to try out for other sports like track or cheer. I think she could be good at track and I would even keep her in gymnastics but not compete so she can continue doing what she loves and not lose her skills. I do feel like gymnastics will definitely prepare her for other sports. I’m really glad I found this thread. It’s good to see other gym parents perceptions.
 
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GYM0M

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My DD’s absolute very best friend was very similar to your DD in terms of placements, skills, and scores in those early years. She never had the typical gymnast body type. Always tall for her age, lacking flexibility, sickled feet, slow twitched muscles, never the strongest. If you would have seen her back then, you probably would have picked her to be one of the first ones to ‘retire’ from the sport. But that kid has heart...and she loves the sport! She’s almost 16 now and is topping the podium at most of her L8 competitions this year. Other than my DD, everyone else that they started with has quit, with maybe one or two exceptions (they moved gyms and I haven’t really talked to their mom in a while.) She did take a break a few years ago, but it was short and she couldn’t stay away. All of that to say, if your DD loves it, let her stick with it. Her day will come!!
 

Jillybean1415

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I just wrote the post “sad for gymnast”. So I can relate so much to this post. I have a 6 yo who is the only one that can’t get her vault. I’ve even paid for 3 private lessons and skills do not come easy to her. However my daughter is really strong and can do 5 strict pull-ups and I see that she’s stronger in some other areas. I’m wondering if her mental readiness just needs to catch up with what her body strength can do. These boards help so much with perspective regarding scores and placements. I’ve decided to let my husband take my daughter to her next meet only one parent can attend and so I can just enjoy hearing how much fun she had and not compare her to the other girls. I also realized and am excited for her to repeat her level next year since she’s one of the youngest anyway.
I’m sure I’ll see amazing growth in her in a whole year and she can feel Confident repeating skills and cleaning them up! I also thought about the OP about should my daughter continue and the other day my daughter said to me “mom I love gymnastics” and it melted my heart. I feel like parents react to gymnastics very differently than to other sports. My daughter plays lacrosse and she’s not great but I don’t think should she quit bc she’s not good yet. For some reason gymnastics makes parents think their child has to be “great” or phenomenal to stay in the sport and I’m learning that even if my kid is average my daughter will gain so much more from staying in the sport!
 

CLgym

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For some reason gymnastics makes parents think their child has to be “great” or phenomenal to stay in the sport and I’m learning that even if my kid is average my daughter will gain so much more from staying in the sport!

^^ This is so true. I have never had this much angst or expectation with my other kids' sports -- all I cared about was that they were getting exercise and having fun! I will say that after two rough seasons at Level 8 (DD age 11-12) my perspective is slowly changing and I am enjoying the ride more. No more shaky hands when I record meet videos! I want this to be fun for both of us. But it took work on my part to drop the expectations. This board was a tremendous help -- folks here will keep it real for you. I also try to surround myself with similarly minded parents at meets (or just walk around on my own). And like you, I had my husband cover a couple of meets to help me detach.

With these little 6 and 7 year olds, it's way too early to predict their gymnastics future... and the journey will be filled with ups and downs along the way regardless. I recall one parent on this board whose daughter (fairly middle of the pack gymnast) was diagnosed with a gymnastics-ending injury saying that, if she had known it was her daughter's last meet season, she would have enjoyed it more and worried less. Words to live by!
 

Tigtimes

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There was compilation video a mom of retiring NCAA gymnast made few years ago showing progression from age 7 to NCAA. Can‘t remember who it was. maybe some else here can repost cause it was a good one.