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Moxie1028

New Member
Jul 27, 2022
6
44
LONG POST!

My oldest daughter had a bad injury at her gym (that she had been at recreationally for 5 years and competitively for 1 year on JO level 2) when she was 8, right after kids came back into the gym after being out for months due to the start of Covid. She attempted an aerial (which probably should not have been done since she was not conditioned and it was not a skill she had mastered prior to being out for 3 months- but kids are kids and she wanted to try) and she broke her radial neck and displaced the growth plate which required a rod and 2 surgeries. She was not allowed back in the gym for 8 months as per her surgeon. When she came back, she had gained weight, was out out gym shape, and felt very awkward/ excluded by her teammates. The coaches didn't do anything much to help her reintegrate and she felt pushed out. My mother and I watched a few practices and it was clear to her (without me saying anything) that no one was helping our daughter reconnect with peers or get back into the shape she needed to be in. After much thought, our daughter asked to change gyms for a fresh start. She also had really high anxiety (is on medication for this) and the gym reminded her of the arm trauma. We agreed it would be a good idea. We moved to another gym which was wonderful! They had Xcel (not JO) which was fine and she was placed on the "Bronze 2" team, a higher level Bronze, not quite silver. She made friends, enjoyed her competition season, and loved the coaches. Our younger daughter also made the change from the old gym to the the new one, found friends, and started on the pre-team. We were happy.

A month ago, the new placements came out. Our older daughter had been told (as had I) that she would move up to silver. We were excited about the increase in hours and had planned our summer accordingly. She was held back to Bronze 2 again, which was unexpected and frankly IMHO wrong. We were told her "skill level is at silver, but her stress levels are holding her back," because she would take multiple breaks during practices. We were never alerted that this was happening, she was not told this was not okay to do, and they are aware that she suffers from anxiety. It was a complete blow to her, and all of her friends moved up and she didn't. I had multiple conversations with coaches and they all said, "her skill level is there, but she isn't ready emotionally." Mind you, the silvers practice 12 hours a week and the head coach has said, she "runs it like a JO program." So...here we are again in a tough spot. I had no idea their Xcel program was this competitive otherwise I would have likely looked at different gyms when we first switched and our older daughter's confidence is crushed again and she even said, "maybe gymnastics is not my sport, maybe this is telling me I should quit." She LOVES gymnastics; it is her passion.

My older daughter rightly so, wants to make a change but is heart broken. My younger daughter does not (she is an entirely different kiddo- not anxious at all). My older daughter is also a travel soccer player and moving gyms to one where silvers practice 7 hours a week versus 12 is going to be better for her. However, she is frustrated and embarrassed and does not want to be the "gym switcher."

Has anyone switched gyms more than once? We trialed 2 gyms last week and she absolutely loved one of the gyms and felt happy after the 3 hours practice and made a friend!- smaller program, 7 hours per week, former level 10 and then D1 college gymnast as coach who is super knowledgeable, kind, made practice fun but challenging. My older daughter was placed on silver at both gyms she trialed and even told Gold was in the near future at the gym she liked better. My younger daughter will stay at the old gym as she loves it, and the gym is okay with this. Has anyone ever had their children at two gyms? We have several gyms in the area and they would not compete in same meets due to different gym sizes. Might be good for both kids to have their own "place" as they do all the same sports. I'm so torn and frustrated. I am a former gymnast myself and this whole situation makes me so sad. Need help/ advice. I do think we will move our older daughter to the new gym she likes and keep our younger at the old gym. Looking for any feedback from parents.
 
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B&M's mom

Proud Parent
Sep 4, 2010
436
I had two gymnasts in two separate gyms because one wanted to go elite and the other was just having fun. Both gyms were aware of the situation and supportive. However, it wasn't without challenges as I had to coordinate both schedules, meets were rarely the same and I sometimes missed one child's meets because the other had a meet farther away. We made it work and there were definitely benefits for my less competitive child as she didn't live in the shadow of her sister (well, not entirely as her sister also went to the same gym for a period of time and everyone knew what she was attempting.)
 

Coach Kate

Coach
Fan
Oct 13, 2021
163
31
We have had kids at different gyms, mostly because we cut our DP program and one sibling was really DP track and the other was very much suited for Xcel. I know you want to make both kids happy, but as an observer, I thought it was such a huge hassle. The families love our gym, which I understand ( I love it too!) but it seems like such a logistical nightmare. I suppose if they were different levels so you were going very different days and times, I could see it, but I think I would personally be inclined to simplify. Meet season is probably going to feel exhausting if you're working with two completely different comp schedules.

I will also throw in that if your first gym let your daughter throw skills she didn't really have immediately after three months off, you needed to switch anyway, regardless of injury. We spent the first month back conditioning and doing basics, using soft landings/resi/pit, and just working up to what they'd been competing before the closures happened.

I also think it is really unfair that the coaches told you one level and even said she is physically prepared, but would turn around and hold her back. It seems like not moving up is causing more stress than moving. We explicitly say we do not make final level determinations until the end of summer training. So a child may train in one group for summer and then compete that level, higher, or lower depending on how the summer goes.

Just my thoughts as a coach, former gymnast, and someone who has been thinking a lot about how we want our family to establish priorities (12.5 weeks pregnant and having lots of conversations about parenting and our family values).
 

JPC13

Proud Parent
Mar 25, 2022
185
A few random thoughts.

Anxiety is rough. If it were my daughter, I would have countered the current gym's suggestion that she repeat with the offer of having her move up while simultaneously seeing a sport's psychologist -- which she should probably do anyways if she has sport induced mental health issues. Alternately, I would have pushed for a mid-season reclassification after she demonstrated a lower level of stress.

Two kids in two gyms sounds like a logistical nightmare to me, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. I do think getting a handle on the anxiety is a more pressing issue than what level/gym your daughter goes to and I say that as a parent of a child whose anxiety is so profound that picking a t-shirt is sometimes a life or death struggle.
 

Moxie1028

New Member
Jul 27, 2022
6
44
Hi!

I failed to mention my younger daughter is 7 and on pre-team at least for one year and then will move to Bronze, so they are not at the same time anyhow. We would have to be doing two drop offs regardless, and my younger daughter has only 2 meets this year. We also have help from grandparents for driving so I am not so concerned about logistics, thankfully!



I had two gymnasts in two separate gyms because one wanted to go elite and the other was just having fun. Both gyms were aware of the situation and supportive. However, it wasn't without challenges as I had to coordinate both schedules, meets were rarely the same and I sometimes missed one child's meets because the other had a meet farther away. We made it work and there were definitely benefits for my less competitive child as she didn't live in the shadow of her sister (well, not entirely as her sister also went to the same gym for a period of time and everyone knew what she was attempting.)
 

Moxie1028

New Member
Jul 27, 2022
6
44
Hi!
My daughter is being seeing by a therapist and is on medication and gets help by a school counselor at school. Her anxiety is actually social anxiety, not so much performance anxiety and she has perfectionism/ just right OCD. We have been working with her for a few years on this, and the gym was aware of this. I always asked that they communicate with us about her breaks/ anxiety so we could monitor, but we never heard anything she needed to work on, only positive things. Thankfully, our younger daughter is only 7 and on the pre-team, and older daughter (the one who struggles with anxiety) is almost 11, so they will likely never be on the same level/ team so we have to drive at separate times and to separate meets anyhow, which we had to do this year. No different in that respect. We have help (my in laws are retired) so that is a lifesaver!

A few random thoughts.

Anxiety is rough. If it were my daughter, I would have countered the current gym's suggestion that she repeat with the offer of having her move up while simultaneously seeing a sport's psychologist -- which she should probably do anyways if she has sport induced mental health issues. Alternately, I would have pushed for a mid-season reclassification after she demonstrated a lower level of stress.

Two kids in two gyms sounds like a logistical nightmare to me, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. I do think getting a handle on the anxiety is a more pressing issue than what level/gym your daughter goes to and I say that as a parent of a child whose anxiety is so profound that picking a t-shirt is sometimes a life or death struggle.
 

Moxie1028

New Member
Jul 27, 2022
6
44
I begged for them to reconsider after the summer and while they told us initially that kids can "move" after the summer, they told me she would not. I asked about moving up half year, they said no. I had email and phone conversations with the manager, the head coach, and her old coach. It was so disappointing. It just feels like they have something against my older daughter, and it feels personal. It's youth sports, Xcel, and not JO. They should have been more flexible! I asked that they let her try the silver practices to see how it goes (our daughter even asked about this!) and then re-evaluate after summer, and they would not budge.

Logistically, our kids are 7 and almost 11, so would not be on the same team- even at the same gym they do different meets and have different practice times, which is tough. So we were running back and forth these past few years anyhow. Now we will just have to run to 2 different gyms.

I appreciate you validating my feelings about the injury and also the unfairness of it all. I feel like the poor kid has gone through 2 really cruddy experiences, and she has worked so hard to get back after her bad injury and battle with anxiety. She is an awesome person and the whole things just stinks.


We have had kids at different gyms, mostly because we cut our DP program and one sibling was really DP track and the other was very much suited for Xcel. I know you want to make both kids happy, but as an observer, I thought it was such a huge hassle. The families love our gym, which I understand ( I love it too!) but it seems like such a logistical nightmare. I suppose if they were different levels so you were going very different days and times, I could see it, but I think I would personally be inclined to simplify. Meet season is probably going to feel exhausting if you're working with two completely different comp schedules.

I will also throw in that if your first gym let your daughter throw skills she didn't really have immediately after three months off, you needed to switch anyway, regardless of injury. We spent the first month back conditioning and doing basics, using soft landings/resi/pit, and just working up to what they'd been competing before the closures happened.

I also think it is really unfair that the coaches told you one level and even said she is physically prepared, but would turn around and hold her back. It seems like not moving up is causing more stress than moving. We explicitly say we do not make final level determinations until the end of summer training. So a child may train in one group for summer and then compete that level, higher, or lower depending on how the summer goes.

Just my thoughts as a coach, former gymnast, and someone who has been thinking a lot about how we want our family to establish priorities (12.5 weeks pregnant and having lots of conversations about parenting and our family values).
 

cmg

Proud Parent
Jul 2, 2018
144
63
Maybe you should listen to the coaches and have your daughter repeat a level. It is not the end of the world although at first it is hard if friends move, and your daughter doesn't. If she already has anxiety perhaps the best thing is to repeat. My daughter repeated levels several times, and yes it was disappointing but in the long run it was best for her. She needed more confidence. Perhaps you could have her practice once a week with the higher level or add in a few privates for upgrades. Anxiety and gymnastics can be very dangerous as you have already found out. My advice is to wait and see how it goes. Let her figure out her anxiety issues at a lower level. Once she starts doing higher level skills and she still has a lot of anxiety she could quit or worse get injured again.
 
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rd7

Coach
Proud Parent
Aug 18, 2011
188
Your current gym has already told you what they think and it is in your daughter's best interest to switch to the gym she likes, in Silver, with the lower hours, especially as you can manage the logistics.
 
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skygirlpc

Proud Parent
Mar 3, 2016
140
I'm trying to organize my thoughts on this... so my reply may be slightly scattered.
I think emotional strength is very important in this sport and I can understand a child having skills but not being emotionally ready for a level.
I do think coaches need to be clear about plans though and it sounds like they were not or maybe there was a misunderstanding. Either way it sounds like there is some personal feelings towards the coaches and managment of the gym that may be clouding your thoughts slightly.
In a recent reply you say that you think the gym(or the management/coaches) has something against your older daughter and that it feels personal. I think that answers your question. I wouldn't want any of my children in a gym that the management/owners made decisions based off of personal reasons over safety. If you truly believe that the decision to hold your daughter back was personal then I wouldn't be comfortable with leaving my younger daughter there.
 

BusyMomof2

Member
Feb 2, 2022
57
44
I'm sorry you and your daughter are going through this! It's so, so hard when our kids are sad. That said, I think it's a little odd that you have one gym insisting on a 2nd year of Bronze another saying she's almost ready for Gold. It makes me wonder if the current gym has seen something (rooted in her emotional maturity) that is holding her back -- meaning, is it only a matter of time before those issues become apparent at a potential new gym and then you are back where you are today?

I don't think this sounds personal from what you've outlined. It actually sounds like they are truly looking out for your daughter. I know it's hard to capture every detail in a post so perhaps there is more, but from what you've said I would stay put. Maybe she can emerge as more of a leader in her 2nd year that would support her anxiety in a positive way? Lead stretching or demonstrate a skill she's mastered for the new girls? Either way, I hope you find a solution that makes your little girl happy (and you too!). Good luck.
 

Happyfeet

Proud Parent
Mar 2, 2021
13
I had a few thoughts:
1) If you and your daughter want to switch gyms; I don't really think it is anyone's business. You're a customer and if you want to switch yearly that is up to you.
2) From a mental health perspective (I'm a children's therapist) I would caution you regarding gymnastics and the difficulties you are already noticing. Gymnastics is a detail oriented sport and therefore people with perfectionistic tendencies can do quite well however treatment for anxiety, perfectionism and OCD as you have described is learning to be fine when things are not perfect. I would worry an environment where children are taught to be focused, detail oriented and essentially strive for perfection (or get deductions) would exacerbate your child's mental health struggles and work against the therapy she is receiving. I also worry about OCD and young people and gymnastics also due to a very high correlation of preteen females with OCD and early onset eating disorders (but maybe that's just me...). You may find other sports (ie soccer as you noted or a variety of other sports) to be more forgiving and support her mental health recovery in a better way. Alternatively, if she loves gymnastics I wonder about it in a different way recreational classes or advanced recreational classes that are focused on gaining skills with good but not perfect technique may be a better fit.
3) I also wonder about staying at the current level you said your child overall had a good year, liked the coaches and teammates. If the coaches are saying she is physically but not emotionally ready for the next level I might ask what the plan for her coaching is this year both physically and emotionally to prepare. Physically are they going to up train skills with her? Set goals with her re: taking less breaks etc?
4) I also wonder about what you said re: her broken arm and the impact of that. Someone above suggested a sports psychologist etc. I think at times it is important to take a step back if you are sending your 11yr old to a sports psychologist for therapy for a recreational activity it is likely the wrong recreational activity. There are way too many fun things for an 11yr old to explore in life to get stuck on one that isn't going well.

Best of luck. I hope you and your daughter can find something that works for her.
 

GymAir

Coach
Proud Parent
Gymnast
Aug 28, 2018
85
First, just know that I have a kid with anxiety (was on meds until just recently) and I get it - none of this is a criticism of your daughter. I wonder if the breaks during practice are okay on bronze, but would not be on silver because it is run like DP. As in, she can do the skills, but if it’s taking a toll on her to do them such that she needs breaks, how will she handle the increase in hours and intensity? Either way unless these breaks are new it was not right to tell her that she was moving up, and then take that away.

I think I would move her, but because of how a less intense program would be a better fit for her, esp with soccer, and not because of the level. I would also be upfront with the new gym about the anxiety/breaks to make sure it is culturally a fit for her. Are the breaks necessary, and if not why was she taking them? I’m not sure I understand what she was doing during these breaks - sitting down/going to the locker room/getting water/something else?
 
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Moxie1028

New Member
Jul 27, 2022
6
44
Maybe you should listen to the coaches and have your daughter repeat a level. It is not the end of the world although at first it is hard if friends move, and your daughter doesn't. If she already has anxiety perhaps the best thing is to repeat. My daughter repeated levels several times, and yes it was disappointing but in the long run it was best for her. She needed more confidence. Perhaps you could have her practice once a week with the higher level or add in a few privates for upgrades. Anxiety and gymnastics can be very dangerous as you have already found out. My advice is to wait and see how it goes. Let her figure out her anxiety issues at a lower level. Once she starts doing higher level skills and she still has a lot of anxiety she could quit or worse get injured again.
Thanks- but we did decide to go to another gym. She has a front handspring on vault, round off back tuck and a front tuck on floor, and all of the required beam and bars skills for silver- there is no way she should have repeated Bronze. However, the time commitment of 12 hours per week for our old gym's silver would have probably been too much for her, so this is a much better fit at 7 hours a week and competing the right level!
 

Gaby

New Member
Jun 18, 2022
30
48
I think repeating a level is not the end of the world . It is good for her to mentally get recovered from anxiety.
 
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Tammie

Member
Jul 22, 2022
90
44
Someone above suggested a sports psychologist etc. I think at times it is important to take a step back if you are sending your 11yr old to a sports psychologist for therapy for a recreational activity it is likely the wrong recreational activity.
Not on topic, but I have a question about this.

My daughter is 10, will be 11 in December(L4 fall/L6 in spring-but her coaches have big plans for her-like Worlds/Olympic plans), her coaches just recently suggested a sports psychologist, not because she needs it now, but in case she needs it later, she will have a pre-existing relationship and trust already built. For now, she would see this person once every month or 2-or even once a quarter, and then if something came up, she could go more often.

They're saying that things will start happening fast for her after this year and they just want to make sure she's always OK and has an extra person in her life to listen and help her if needed.

What is your opinion on that? Personally it sounded like a good idea, but after reading your opinion, maybe it isn't all that good of an idea.
 

Tammie

Member
Jul 22, 2022
90
44
Thanks- but we did decide to go to another gym. She has a front handspring on vault, round off back tuck and a front tuck on floor, and all of the required beam and bars skills for silver- there is no way she should have repeated Bronze. However, the time commitment of 12 hours per week for our old gym's silver would have probably been too much for her, so this is a much better fit at 7 hours a week and competing the right level!
It seemed like you had made your decision before you came here.

I can honestly see both sides of the argument.

I wish both you and your daughter much success this year in gym!!
 

katrid11

Proud Parent
Sep 1, 2020
69
47
Not on topic, but I have a question about this.

My daughter is 10, will be 11 in December(L4 fall/L6 in spring-but her coaches have big plans for her-like Worlds/Olympic plans), her coaches just recently suggested a sports psychologist, not because she needs it now, but in case she needs it later, she will have a pre-existing relationship and trust already built. For now, she would see this person once every month or 2-or even once a quarter, and then if something came up, she could go more often.

They're saying that things will start happening fast for her after this year and they just want to make sure she's always OK and has an extra person in her life to listen and help her if needed.

What is your opinion on that? Personally it sounded like a good idea, but after reading your opinion, maybe it isn't all that good of an idea.
You will probably get more responses if you post separately.
 

Tammie

Member
Jul 22, 2022
90
44
You will probably get more responses if you post separately.
Probably, but I really was just asking the one child psychologist who mentioned it was too young for such a thing.

The theory seemed sound, my kid is mildly autistic & will likely need some help sooner or later(especially if she receives the type of attention her coaches are saying she will-this kid was mute & stared at the floor for over a month when we arrived at this gym, so I feel like media attention at any level may crush her-but who knows, she's changed alot since she's been in this gym), so we will likely do it, unless there is a compelling, professional, reason not to, so really no point in asking the "group at large"-why ask the question if my mind is mostly made up?

However I truly appreciate the suggestion!! For most things it would be a great idea!!
 

Moxie1028

New Member
Jul 27, 2022
6
44
Not on topic, but I have a question about this.

My daughter is 10, will be 11 in December(L4 fall/L6 in spring-but her coaches have big plans for her-like Worlds/Olympic plans), her coaches just recently suggested a sports psychologist, not because she needs it now, but in case she needs it later, she will have a pre-existing relationship and trust already built. For now, she would see this person once every month or 2-or even once a quarter, and then if something came up, she could go more often.

They're saying that things will start happening fast for her after this year and they just want to make sure she's always OK and has an extra person in her life to listen and help her if needed.

What is your opinion on that? Personally it sounded like a good idea, but after reading your opinion, maybe it isn't all that good of an idea.
Hi! I am a counselor. Any kind of therapy and help is great for anyone. I don't think therapy is ever a bad idea, sports or otherwise. Children learning coping mechanisms early in life can only benefit the child. I think it's great.
 
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