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Dec 24, 2008
97
Marysville
25 hours a week is ALOT! Last year I actually did homeschool so that I could be on the homeschool team at my gym and we only trained 21 hours a week and after just a few months I hated gym. It could have been my coaches but it just gets boring and at 6 years old thats kinda crazy to say that she needs 25 to 30 hours a week.
 
Mar 5, 2008
2,233
North America
We are still talking about 20-25 hours of gym per week, but with built in flexibility.

Wow. That is still a lot of gym time for a 6 year old. But it sounds like you have (hopefully) read all of our advice that you had asked for and taken it into consideration in regards to your decision. I hope everything works out for her and your family with this change in lifestyle.

One final thought:

More is not necessarily better.

Good luck.
 

mariposa

Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Sep 25, 2007
3,528
In my opinion, 20 hours a week is still too much for a 6 year old. I really worry that your daughter could be on the road to burnout and injury if she starts training so many hours so young. I don't think the coaches have her best interest at heart or they wouldn't be asking her to homeschool for gym at age 6 and be at the gym 20-25 hours a week. And the whole "plateauing" idea is just crazy. More hours doesn't mean better.

Everyone here, coaches and experienced parents, seem to agree that it is too much and I think that you also questioned it on some level or you wouldn't have posed the question.

I know MANY very talented girls that don't go near that and are progressing VERY nicely. Have you had your daughter evaluated at other gyms in your area? I would definitely do that before considering putting your daughter at risk of burn out and injury. See what kind of hours they train, what their plan would be for your daughter. You may be surprised.

Here is a past CB thread similar to yours. There is a lot of information there. You are the only one that can research and make an informed decision. Read, research and read some more. Check out your areas other top gyms and see what they have to say.

http://www.chalkbucket.com/forums/parent-forum/18614-too-much-too-young.html

http://www.chalkbucket.com/forums/c....html?highlight=young+gymnast+hours+excessive (answers from Coaches)
 

gymdog

Coach
Jul 5, 2007
5,120
I don't think the coaches have her best interest at heart or they wouldn't be asking her to homeschool for gym at age 6 and be at the gym 20-25 hours a week.

They very well could, but that doesn't mean every idea is the best thing. Many coaches are not experts in childhood development either physically or psychologically. I'm certainly not. But on the basis of reason and casual observation, I would exclude the proposed training hours as among the appropriate progression paths at this age. Why do they think she is plateauing? Maybe she could add a couple hours of strength or flexibility a week. Why go from 12 hours to 25? This just doesn't make sense to me, and such an acceleration could be really hard on a growing body, before growth plates have stabilized and closed. This is really concerning. If anything, I would look for a pediatric orthopedic or sports/athletic training clinic and consult them first, and then plan to consult someone on a regular basis if she trains those hours.

Will other 6 year olds be training in these hours/groups?
 

bookworm

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
I think that this mom is in the "honeymoon" phase of "they want my daughter and I need to do whatever they say regardless of the effects on my kid" because the child is Level 4. If she's not a decent 4 with 12 hours a week, I don't think that doubling the hours will really help her. It is the quality of the coaching that seems to be lacking if the end result is that she "needs to be homeschooled and double the hours" to get results (which of course are not guaranteed). I guess I fear for what comes in the future with expectations if this is what is expected of a 6 yo....

I think a prior poster put it well that this mom has her mind made up and is going to go with it and have to live with the consequences.
 
Mar 5, 2008
2,233
North America
At this point I get the feeling no matter how much resonable advice we give her her mind is made up. I guess some people have to learn by making mistakes. I just hope for her daughters sake that is isn't too costly like getting a serious injury. But for some people I guess the risk of pushing their child is worth the risk. One last thought if you are one of those my kids is going to the Olympics people. Very few girls make it every 4 years, there is an age limit and reaching Elite at too young of an age will cause numerous injuries and may prevent the Olympic dream. Most girls drop out by level 7 anyways and that is just with the stress of normal training. Shawn Johnson who went to the last Olympics only trained about 25 hours a week as an elite. Food for thought though I can see it does not matter to you at this point.

I agree with this and sometimes people have to learn by experience, even though that experience may be not at all what they "expect" to happen. Live and learn, I guess :rolleyes:. Another interesting fact about the 2008 Beijing USA girls team--Alicia Sacramone didn't start gymnastics until she was 8 years old. And I am sure she didn't jump into 25 hrs a week. So, anything can happen. Also, I think the odds of wiinning a multi million dollar lottery are higher than making it on an olympic gymnastics team. So, I personally would rather spend that extra tuition money on lottery tickets--my chances of winning would be much higher!!!!!!!! LOL
 
S

Sammyd UK

al08506. I am the mother who wrote the "Too much too young?" post, which was my only post until now, although I read the forums regularly. So I will tell you about our experience since our own 20-25 hour incident for our 6 year old daughter.

At first like some have said I was blinded by the "ooohhh isn't she talented", lets drop everything so she can be the greatest gymnast ever, gymnastics will be her life, and we will bathe in the glory of such a talented daughter, just wait until she is in the Olympics!

Fortunately for me, my husband was a little more grounded (I won't go into it all you can read the thread if you like).

Anyway the upshot is our daughter now trains 8-10 hours a week, but she trains SMARTER not HARDER, she now goes to each session not with a resigned look on her face, but with enthusiasm and a smile, her coach has said in the last few months she has come on in "leaps and bounds", and I put this down to the fact she now LOVES her gym again, she has time to play with her friends, and she has time to recover and digest what she has learned, and most importantly she has time to sleep.

She ISN'T going to the gym tired and risking injury, or going in with no motivation anymore. I read somewhere that if you had the chance to eat just your favorite food all day everday it wouldn't be too long before you became sick of it, the same can be said of gymnastics or any sport.

But, in the end it is down to you and your concsience, is it really worth putting her through training 20-25 hours a week for the next 10 years, risking injury and permanent problems later on in life, do you honestly think your daughter would thank you for that?. I honestly can't think of a caring parent that would say "YES".

Even if she WANTS to do it, I see now it is OUR job as responsible parents to say "sorry, NO", at 6 years old she does not have the experience to make rational decisions about such things, thats why as parents we are called guardians, we are NOT here to offer our children up to the altar of gymnastics, sacrifice their childhoods, to hand them over to the coaches and say, "here is my daughter, do what you need to do too mould her into the great gymnast she can be".

These forums are here to help, to offer good sound advice, from people who have "been there" and "done that", when almost the entire board is telling you that something is wrong, then maybe you should step back and listen.

For us personally we consider we have our daughter back and she has her childhood back too, and ironically she has become a much better gymnast in the process.

Samantha
 

bookworm

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
I just went back and read SammyUK's prior post and boy , do they sound similar. Notice that it is occurring in very young (and hence, very new to gymnastics world parents) gymnasts. I think when I said no to homeschooling and all day gym for my 9 yo , the gym was stunned....their comment was "don't you want her to progress?" and my response was "yes, but I want her to be healthy and happy too"..and in the end, it all worked out..the gym realized her talent and worked her smart and she did stay healthy. As one poster said, more is not necessarily better.

I find it interesting that we have labor laws about how much a child can work (at a job) but no mention of how much they can work out per day? Just a thought...
 
Jan 31, 2009
410
Dear al08506,
Please listen to all of these people here on CB. You asked for advice, and received an astounding and sound response. Many, many of us have had similar experiences with talented young athletes - as parents or as coaches. Everyone here said "no way!" to those hours for a 6 yo. My own child jumped to @ 30 hours last season as an 11 yo. She understood what it meant to do those hours. She thought she knew what it would be like - her dreams coming true.
After not even a full year which included 3 overuse injuries affecting growth plates in her knees and elbows, as well as sadness from losing so much time with her family (she's been home-schooled since she was 8yo) and a lot of stress about pleasing her coaches (who are honestly some of the most supportive coaches ever), she's cut back her hours. She's injury free (knock on wood) and much, much happier!!
I can not imagine doing this to a 6yo. She can not know or understand what is being asked of her. I do not think you understand either.
I wish you all the best. I hope your dd can beat all of the statistics, the injuries, and the burn-out to make it where you want her to go because right now it is about what you and her coaches want - not her. I think I said that in my previous post on this thread, but it bears repeating.
 

mariposa

Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Sep 25, 2007
3,528
SammydUK,

So happy to hear such a great update on your daughter!!! I am glad that things have worked out for her and that her gym/coaches worked with you guys to find the best way to train her without burning her out!! That is really great news! Hope to hear from you now and then on how your daughter is doing!
 
G

gymnut1

I find it interesting that we have labor laws about how much a child can work (at a job) but no mention of how much they can work out per day? Just a thought...

In the UK there is. Sports training is supposed to be limited in the under 8s to 14 hours a week with no more than 2 hours on a school night. However I suspect this is not always followed. It seems quite a good guide though. 14 hours would still be quite steep for a 6 year old.

I think the OP knows in their heart 25 hours a week (does that mean up to 5 hours a day m-F SHOCKING - that is more than school time) for a 6 year old is way too much which is why they asked in the first place. They knew it didn't feel right.

I repeat - if your gym admits they cannot progress your 6 year old level 4 child on 12 hours a week run far away very fast. A good gym would be able to do that.

So many people on this board know so much about homeschooling and about young children training at a high level. Please please listen.
 
Aug 2, 2008
322
east coast
To me, this post isnt really about homeschooling, but the amt. of gymnastics training which is appropriate for a 6 yo. It is absurd that the coaches are expecting this amt. of training from a gymnast who I guarantee is in no way physically or emotionally prepared for the training demands. It also absurd that the coaches say a L4 is plateauing in 12 hours per week. That is riduculous-they are either feeding the parent a line to get them to do it, or are so unorganized and clueless they cant do the job in 12 hours-they should be able to do a GREAT job in that time frame! I'm cant write how irresponsible I think the parents are in this case if they go ahead w/ this (not the homeschooling part, the gymnastics part). Let's look at the BIG PICTURE-not just for the long term benefits of this child personally, but also in her gymnastics career- most likley she will be finished by the age of 12. How many hours will she need to if train when she's 12-50? She's doing 25 hours now as a 6 yo- do the math- thats 50 hours/week??!

I have trained numerous TOPs and elite National team members and they did not train for 25 hours per week at age 6. I wonder what gymnasts like Vanessa Atler, Ashley Priess or Krystal Uzelac (among others) would say to these coaches & parents. Or what their parents would say if they had known what they know now. They were pushed & peaked way too early, and fizzled out just as they got to the finish line (the olympics.) I bet they would have a lot to say. I am so sad for this child.
 

bookworm

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
I too have similar concerns as Gymch34...as I have posted before, my daughter is a Level 10 who has been to Nationals multiple times (and made the TOPS team) and she never trained like what is proposed for this 6 yo. She really needs her parents to advocate for HER BEST INTERESTS. Brass tacks, only 5 (I believe that's the new number for 2012) girls will go to the Olympics and it likely won't be her, even with the 25 hours a week.

I remember one time being chastized by her coach for letting her go to the Father/Daughter Dance at school and my response to him was "in 20 years, what do you want her to remember ...I went to a Friday nite practice and never got to go to the Father/Daughter Dance? or the great memories she has of the Father/daughter dance. I make no apologies for choosing the latter" . OP I implore you to think of the big picture and the long term impact...
 

jasmine196

Coach
Aug 29, 2007
101
I can tell you I coached in the gym that Ashley Priess worked out in when she was 7 years old. She was about a level 7 at the time (I don't believe she could compete yet because she was to young) but she was only working out about 15-16 hours a week. Maybe a bit more in the summer. Ashley's hours didn't really increase to crazy levels until she moved to Ohio to train when she was 11 or 12.

I've coached 6 year olds for years. The most they've ever gone was 15 hours in the Summer, and even that was pushing it. I don't think you can ever say that a 6 year old will plateau on that many hours. And I know that she will burn out if she is going 25 hours. Not to mention the injury risk, the damage her bones (growth plates) etc will happen. She really could come to hate the sport by the time she is 11 or 12.

Someone can correct me. But even at the best gyms in the country who are producing the best olympic gymnasts, their 6 year olds don't do more the 15-16 hours. I know we have some parents here who live in texas, they seem to work out more, I could be wrong. Can someone in Texas tell us what hours the level 4's work out.

I just don't see the point. Start her off low, and as she gets older slowly increase the hours by 1 or 2 a year. Don't let the coaches make you think that she won't improve, she will but let her do it at a safe pace.

To me, this post isnt really about homeschooling, but the amt. of gymnastics training which is appropriate for a 6 yo. It is absurd that the coaches are expecting this amt. of training from a gymnast who I guarantee is in no way physically or emotionally prepared for the training demands. It also absurd that the coaches say a L4 is plateauing in 12 hours per week. That is riduculous-they are either feeding the parent a line to get them to do it, or are so unorganized and clueless they cant do the job in 12 hours-they should be able to do a GREAT job in that time frame! I'm cant write how irresponsible I think the parents are in this case if they go ahead w/ this (not the homeschooling part, the gymnastics part). Let's look at the BIG PICTURE-not just for the long term benefits of this child personally, but also in her gymnastics career- most likley she will be finished by the age of 12. How many hours will she need to if train when she's 12-50? She's doing 25 hours now as a 6 yo- do the math- thats 50 hours/week??!

I have trained numerous TOPs and elite National team members and they did not train for 25 hours per week at age 6. I wonder what gymnasts like Vanessa Atler, Ashley Priess or Krystal Uzelac (among others) would say to these coaches & parents. Or what their parents would say if they had known what they know now. They were pushed & peaked way too early, and fizzled out just as they got to the finish line (the olympics.) I bet they would have a lot to say. I am so sad for this child.
 

gymjourneymom

Proud Parent
Mar 9, 2008
1,330
I question who's "dream" this is? A 6yr old really has no concept of time. To ask her if she wants to do 25hrs/wk of gymnastics, I'm sure she would enthusiatically nod her head yes!!! And you'd get the same nod if you said 12hrs or 50hrs/wk. Also, if you asked if she wanted to eat ice cream for breakfast, lunch & dinner I bet she'd also nod yes! But a parent needs to do research & then do what is in the best interest of the child. This whole plan sounds like the parent's "dream"(or coach's dream), but not what is best for a 6yr old child, JMHO.

But whom I question most here is the gym/coach who is feeding this whole idea to uninformed naive gym parents. This family needs to run not walk away from that gym, IMHO. Please take your talented DD to another gym for an evaluation. See what other gyms would plan for her. An informed consumer is a smart consumer. And this is your DD's whole childhood/ future we are talking about. There is no way you should go forward with this gym/ coaches plan without shopping around.

I don't want to scare the OP away from CB. I think they really need to feel welcome here. Back at the early stages of any of our DD's gym careers, we all tended to think the coaches were 'gods' & we couldn't/shouldn't question them. Many of our DD's had 'Olympic dreams' & we thought these coaches were the key to our DD's getting there. As time goes on we realize we as parents really do KNOW what is best for our child(not coaches). And we learn how slim a chance the 'Olympic dream' really is, b/c so many uncontrollable factors come into play.

I think the OP just needs time to let all of our advice sink in. Maybe they will try this homeschooling/25hrs gym training for a while. But I think this family will quickly realize that it's all just too much to ask of a 6yr old...even the most talented one.

I wish you the best of luck!
 
B

Billy

It occurs to me that I commented on the homeschooling for gym portion of the question but did not mention the hours in the gym issue. My daughter has been doing 16 hours a week for a year now, since just after her 7th birthday. When she first started with that many hours, it was an increase from 12 to 16 at level 5 and we were concerned that it would be too much for her. Turns out it wasn't and she adjusted to the increase just fine. However, she also wanted to add a fifth day of practice for a total of 20 hours. We said no, that was definitely too much. Now she's just turned eight and is a level 7 and is still training 16 hours a week. Even our level 9s and 10s only train 20 hours per week. I do not see the need for 25 hours a week for Boo anytime soon, if ever.
 

sheplaysinthechalk

Coach
Proud Parent
Judge
Jun 19, 2008
159
united states
I just can't even fathom that a 6yo level 4 has plateaued - and is training 12 hours a week.

There is a lot that can be accomplished in 12 hours. If they are telling you that your child has plateaued, they aren't being honest. It's impossible - gymnastics is a progressive sport and one skill leads to the next...certainly, if your child is attending class regularly, then she hasn't plateaued...If they are telling you the only way she is going to progress is to start training an insane amount of hours as a six year old, then THEY ARE FULL OF CRAP.:eek: That is, unless the child is 6, competing L4 and training L10...To me, sounds like her gym should revisit their training curriculum.

I would never in a million years let my dd train 36 hours a week. Currently, dd is signed up for 9 hours a week. We are lucky if we make it to all 9 hours, so she's usually only there maybe 7hrs/wk. She is not 6 years old yet...but she is training level 5. We are at a very small gym that competes and scores pretty well...I'm telling you, if the gym that we are at can train a 5 year old to the caliber gymnast that my dd is at this time, then it is ABSOLUTELY NOT NECESSARY FOR ANY 6 YEAR OLD TO TRAIN 30 HOURS A WEEK. RIDICULOUS.
 

gymjourneymom

Proud Parent
Mar 9, 2008
1,330
I just can't even fathom that a 6yo level 4 has plateaued - and is training 12 hours a week.

There is a lot that can be accomplished in 12 hours. If they are telling you that your child has plateaued, they aren't being honest. It's impossible - gymnastics is a progressive sport and one skill leads to the next...certainly, if your child is attending class regularly, then she hasn't plateaued...If they are telling you the only way she is going to progress is to start training an insane amount of hours as a six year old, then THEY ARE FULL OF CRAP.:eek: That is, unless the child is 6, competing L4 and training L10...To me, sounds like her gym should revisit their training curriculum.

I would never in a million years let my dd train 36 hours a week. Currently, dd is signed up for 9 hours a week. We are lucky if we make it to all 9 hours, so she's usually only there maybe 7hrs/wk. She is not 6 years old yet...but she is training level 5. We are at a very small gym that competes and scores pretty well...I'm telling you, if the gym that we are at can train a 5 year old to the caliber gymnast that my dd is at this time, then it is ABSOLUTELY NOT NECESSARY FOR ANY 6 YEAR OLD TO TRAIN 30 HOURS A WEEK. RIDICULOUS.
I totally agree with you. I think there is something MAJORLY wrong at a gym that feels they need to train a 6yr old at that many hours. They DO NOT have the child's best interest at heart; gymnastics wise, health wise, childhood wise, any wise(well you know what I mean;))! I'd like to know how many upper level gymnasts this gym has trained & how successful they have been??? Have they ever trained a 6yr old child at this many hours before & if so how did that work out for them & the child??? Oh, I'd have lots of questions for these coaches believe me! But my biggest one would be WHY so many hours??? If they cannot coach this child effectively in 12hrs/wk, there is something wrong with their program & training methods. This poor child deserves BETTER coaches and BETTER training techniques, not more hours. Just more effective use of the time she's already there. Dear OP...please check out other gyms in your area. This gym is not the end all & be all...no matter what line they are feeding you. Your child deserves BETTER!
 
Nov 11, 2009
6
I guess my question would be, what about your daughter. You mention what you and your husband think but what about her? This number of hours for a 6 year old seems insane. She must be prepared to give up her entire life, and I think at 6 no one is prepared for that decision!! Perhaps your coach has plateaued!!
 
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