I started gymnastics at 8 years old, and am currently 13 and level 8 gymnast (training for 9). In the 5 years, I have done gymnastics I have worked extremely hard to catch up. I started competing at 10 years old (level 4), skipped level 5, and then moved up to 6,7,8. Me and my coaches goal is to compete in college (hopefully D1). Sometimes I wish I started just a couple of years earlier so I would not have to rush through the levels as much but I believe everything worked out the way it was supposed to and I hope that my dream of competing in college comes true. Also, I think I know a couple of collegiate gymnasts who started gymnastics at 11 and still made D1! So anything is possible with enough hard work.
Although I started gymnastics when I was 5, it took me awhile to get into a good competitive program. I started pre team when I was eight, and stayed their until 11, turning 12 that year, when I transitioned to level 3. I actually repeated Level 3, but after that, I worked my butt off from there, and went through the rest of the levels in a matter of 3 years. 4, 5, 7, all in one year. I progressed a lot. Then Level 8, Level 9 and after those three years I reached Level 10, where I am now! In the Future International program at my gym currently.
And I don't ever plan on quitting. Adult classes, here I come! But I'm still not done with competitive yet. Worlds? Yes please!
All you need is hard work, passion, and determination, and you can get through. And eliminate mental blocks. How I did that was know my friend had fallen on her head and she said it didn't hurt too bad, so I just thought, well, now I'm safe!
My daughter did her first recreational class at 10 years old. She could not do a back bend when she started (and honestly is still not the most flexible gymnast). But she loved it, she's worked incredibly hard, and after a second year in a pre-competitive level she attended her first level 2 competition at 12 years old. Since then she's progressed steadily, skipping levels, and at 16 will be heading into level 8 (hopefully) this fall. She'd love to have a chance at a college team, but I'm not sure if that will happen. However, the plan is to go to our local university and keep training at her home club if she wants to continue and perhaps switch to another institution if a scholarship opportunity arises. I would say this is likely atypical, but I don't feel finding her passion later will have hurt her in the long run. She's gotten so much out of the sport beyond the outcomes of the competitions. And the journey continues!