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Ty’s Dad

Proud Parent
Aug 3, 2017
507
40
Yes this thread should be labeled popular unpopular opinions. Most of the opinions posted on this thread, are pretty much de rigueur for this message board. Such as girls training elite shouldn't compete with DP, girls should compete in shorts and no one should train more than 12 hours a week.
Elite girls don’t. You might see them in a small meet here and there, but you won’t see them at states, regionals, nationals
 

LJL07

Proud Parent
Jan 27, 2014
1,856
Ya, I know. That's why this complaint about elites competing with JO has always been a head scratcher to me. At the end of the day, its competition, and there will probably always be someone better than you.
And you two have now added your own "unpopular opinion" to the unpopular opinions thread. In my mind, my unpopular "popular" opinion is not a head scratcher at all. You guys both have the tone in your posts that elite kids are inherently superior (ie., there will probably always be someone better than you). There are plenty of talented children who may not have access to that type of training or they simply might not want to devote their entire lives to gymnastics. It is a completely different lifestyle and training path. I'm not angry about it. I just said it is competing/comparing apples and oranges against each other. I gave the analogy of the soccer and baseball teams having different tiers/leagues/divisions. The top tier soccer team plays the other kids on the same tier team because it is more evenly matched competition. I don't see why this is confusing or a head scratcher. Gymnastics is not structured like those team sports, and it would be a logistical nightmare to attempt to streamline all of that. None of this will ever change, and you win, so no need to rehash this argument again. At any rate, I think my other unpopular "popular" opinion about setting healthy parameters around training hours and the type of training on really young bodies is a better place to start with making changes in the sport.
 

JPC13

Proud Parent
Mar 25, 2022
306
At any rate, I think my other unpopular "popular" opinion about setting healthy parameters around training hours and the type of training on really young bodies is a better place to start with making changes in the sport.
Again, that is what a functional USAG would actually be doing -- identifying and disseminating best practices -- versus whatever it is they do now.
 

ldw4mlo

Proud Parent
Feb 13, 2015
6,432
62
Always going to be someone doing more. High level sports, be it gymnastics, football, soccer. USAG, travel teams, high school, college, pros……… only so many top spots, there are no participation trophies.

The stats are something like only 7 % of high school athletes go on to play in college, all college divisions. Only 2% play NCAA Div 1/2. The math is simple 93% of teen athletes don’t play in college. 98% don’t do D1 or 2.

What has always stunned me since we started team when she was 6, is how many people are shocked by this. Especially in gymnastics where, the Olympic team is mostly decided by committee.

Last year was our first year doing HS gymnastics There are girls barely doing Level 4 skills or less and L9/10 girls who are multi-year national kids. My kid was section champ, L8 with a small bit of 9, the other top 3 were a L8/9 and a L9s.

And they knew they were going to get beat at states. And they did. Gave their best effort. They had a great time. Got to know each other on the long bus ride. Hung out at the hotel. Rooted for each other. And continue to do so. Watched those L10/9 girls. My kid was like Mom, it was like being in a college meet. Every section submits their best. Including the boy. All judged by the same requirements And an Xcel/level 4 isn’t going to beat mine. And mine isn’t going to beat a multi year National L9/L10. It was not a surprise.

My kid is now playing varsity lacrosse. She pretty good at that too. Especially since she never picked up a stick until 2 years ago. And same thing in lacrosse, she is at a disadvantage compared to the kids who do the sport on travel teams year round. And they have been doing that since elemenary school. She is well aware Div1/2 schools aren’t going to be looking at her. Maybe a oh so remote shot at Div 3.

It is what it is. She doesn’t want sports to be her job, not gymnastics or lacrosse. She/we accepts her choices. All along the way we offered more if she was interested.

What ticks me off are the gyms that purposely compete down to win. And that’s more of a compulsory thing.
 

Pineapple_Lump

Coach
Judge
Jan 31, 2008
1,178
I agree with your unpopular opinions! There was a lot of debate in a lengthy thread about the elites and former elites competing against girls who are not in that type of training program. In my (unpopular) opinion, it is like competing (or comparing) apples and oranges against each other.
Unpopular opinion... Most of these kids are on an elite path because they are insanely talented. Yes they are doing more hours, but if they were not... on a good day they are likely to win anyway. They look different because they are genetically gifted when it comes to bodies that find gymnastics 'easier'.
 

LJL07

Proud Parent
Jan 27, 2014
1,856
Unpopular opinion... Most of these kids are on an elite path because they are insanely talented. Yes they are doing more hours, but if they were not... on a good day they are likely to win anyway. They look different because they are genetically gifted when it comes to bodies that find gymnastics 'easier'.
Yes, that’s true. Talked about a lot in another thread but there are insanely talented children where we live too but we don’t have the gyms and some kids don’t want to devote their whole lives to gymnastics bc that is what is required. Most kids making a state regional team are probably pretty talented to some degree. What I observed (and this is over several years) is kind of like the difference between USA Olympians compared to the other smaller countries: all of the athletes are good gymnasts but the top scoring ones at the state team comp at regionals were super well conditioned (I’m not talking about body type), extremely tight, and excellent technique—more of a difference in gyms and training. There is just no way to level out the competition in an individual sport with drastically different training and gyms. I guess xcel was kind of intended to do that at one time, but it’s all over the place now too.

I really like that SHIFT guys posts. There is no reason usag couldn’t put out best practice guidelines but they won’t. Insanely talented or not, there are some generally unhealthy training practices in place in this country for kids training elite, but people are so competitive that they are willing to go to extreme lengths.
 

JPC13

Proud Parent
Mar 25, 2022
306
Unpopular opinion... Most of these kids are on an elite path because they are insanely talented. Yes they are doing more hours, but if they were not... on a good day they are likely to win anyway. They look different because they are genetically gifted when it comes to bodies that find gymnastics 'easier'.
Taking it a bit farther. A major component of what makes an elite athlete what they are is superior physical durability. Yes, they're doing 30 hours a week and most kids aren't -- but most kids would end up with a career ending injury after less than 6 months of that level of over training.

Of course, elites aren't immune to destroying their bodies via over training. Just look at all the superstar junior elites who amounted to exactly nothing at the senior elite and NCAA levels.

You see this manifest in all sports. There are thousands of amazingly athletic people who just couldn't manage to stay healthy.
 

RTT2

Proud Parent
Oct 9, 2015
854
I thought of one. I doubt it's a particularly unpopular opinion here, but I think it would be on some of the Facebook groups. I can't take it seriously when a parent posts that their kid age 10 or under is really set on doing college gymnastics. I think at that age they have no true understanding of what competing in college would really mean and I think it's fairly silly for parents to make big decisions based on that dream. I remember when my daughter was little, she thought doing college gymnastics would be so cool-- based on seeing the gym signing ceremonies where there were balloons, streamers, and a cake for the girl who was signing. At that age college gymnastics = cake at practice. Or maybe they've been to a college meet and are excited about the big skills and pretty leos. I'm not saying parents should discourage kids from dreaming big, I just wouldn't put too much stock in that dream when the kid is still in elementary school. Once the kid is older and further along it's a different story.
 

CoachPow

Coach
May 22, 2020
32
40
I can't imagine that's unpopular with people whose kids aren't the team jerk.
No coach wants drama on their team. That being said, it's actually more difficult than it seems to police this. A) We need to know its happening, which, in the era of social media, isn't always apparent to coaches. B) Parents magnify the problem-on both ends. Parents can notify coaches of issues, but their children will insist there's no problem. Then, when you confront the offenders, their parents will throw a fit. Its a lose-lose situation for a coach dealing with jerks on the team, if you even know its happening! I've been coaching 19 years now, and I have always said that fighting team drama is ten times harder than coaching gymnastics.
 

ldw4mlo

Proud Parent
Feb 13, 2015
6,432
62
No coach wants drama on their team. That being said, it's actually more difficult than it seems to police this. A) We need to know its happening, which, in the era of social media, isn't always apparent to coaches. B) Parents magnify the problem-on both ends. Parents can notify coaches of issues, but their children will insist there's no problem. Then, when you confront the offenders, their parents will throw a fit. Its a lose-lose situation for a coach dealing with jerks on the team, if you even know its happening! I've been coaching 19 years now, and I have always said that fighting team drama is ten times harder than coaching gymnastics.
Fighting team drama is part of coaching.

And part of coaching is paying attention.

And creating a positive environment starts at the top, with the grown ups aka coaches
 

CoachPow

Coach
May 22, 2020
32
40
Fighting team drama is part of coaching.

And part of coaching is paying attention.

And creating a positive environment starts at the top, with the grown ups aka coaches
Most of the drama occurs on social media these days. Despite best efforts, we usually don't know its happening until it reaches critical mass and spills over into the gym. Parents are typically the better grown-ups to monitor social media to catch that type of stuff and head it off early... Unfortunately, parents often are hesitant to be the bad guy and leave it to us instead. This type of crap is exactly why I'd be pulling extra EMT shifts instead of working in the gym if I could find somebody else to spot the kids' skills safely...
 
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ReluctantGymMom

Proud Parent
May 11, 2020
311
32
I’m in agreement with the comment about kids crying.

Unless your injured, don’t cry. I can’t take you seriously if you cry over conditioning, and you make it harder for yourself if you cry over skills. My kid knows that coaches are more likely to take her seriously if she’s crying than some other kids because she’s not a crier - so they assume she’s really hurt.

She has cried standing on beam over skills and I told her to get it together or go home because it’s dangerous to be having a meltdown and throwing skills at the same time.

I know it’s an unpopular opinion, but it is what it is. She had a teammate who cried every single day since preteam, do the coaches pay any attention to her crying now? Obviously not.
 

drwho42

Proud Parent
Nov 25, 2018
45
49
This is a very interesting thread. I agree with a number of suggestions, concerns, and frustrations.

I think gyms should instill the importance having good grades and be understanding when there are tests or other academic requirements without putting additional pressure on the child. I am definitely not a fan of meets held when there is school like Fridays. For locations like Vegas and Disney I can see the need to have it over those days since there will be a significant number of athletes competing.

I think sit downs with the gymnasts and parents should be done at the beginning of the season and at the end. This helps with goal setting and ensures everyone is on the same page. The coaches should be transparent and supportive of the athlete to help foster a good relationship. Parents should not need to chase after the coach.

I am not a fan of children posting on wide open social media platforms. Even if there are monitored, the toxic nature of people and the risk to privacy are top of mind for me. We are in an age where platforms can be created tailored to facilitate the sharing of accomplishments and get coaches attention in a more secure platform. Team, club, and college coaches can also use the platform observe and share progression and accomplishments.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

Staff member
Gold Membership
Coach
Jan 21, 2007
4,500
Baltimore, MD
I think gyms should instill the importance having good grades and be understanding when there are tests or other academic requirements without putting additional pressure on the child. I am definitely not a fan of meets held when there is school like Fridays. For locations like Vegas and Disney I can see the need to have it over those days since there will be a significant number of athletes competing.

You know... for a long time I would have totally agreed with this, but honestly at this point I don't, for two reasons:
1) Kids are already under way too much academic pressure. They are overloaded with homework and tests, and I think by and large grades are not a reliable indicator of how much effort a kid is putting into school or how much they're learning.
2) Kids in the 21st century generally spend too much time sitting and studying and not enough time being physically active, and this is detrimental to their physical health, mental health, and even their academic performance. Making their participation in a physical outlet contingent on their academic performance will often do more harm than good; more academic pressure and less physical activity is the exact opposite of what most kids need.

So while I agree in the abstract that academics are more important than sports, I think the gym can and should act as a respite from the academic pressure that kids are overloaded with, not as an additional avenue for it.
 

drwho42

Proud Parent
Nov 25, 2018
45
49
You know... for a long time I would have totally agreed with this, but honestly at this point I don't, for two reasons:
1) Kids are already under way too much academic pressure. They are overloaded with homework and tests, and I think by and large grades are not a reliable indicator of how much effort a kid is putting into school or how much they're learning.
2) Kids in the 21st century generally spend too much time sitting and studying and not enough time being physically active, and this is detrimental to their physical health, mental health, and even their academic performance. Making their participation in a physical outlet contingent on their academic performance will often do more harm than good; more academic pressure and less physical activity is the exact opposite of what most kids need.

So while I agree in the abstract that academics are more important than sports, I think the gym can and should act as a respite from the academic pressure that kids are overloaded with, not as an additional avenue for it.
You do raise a valid viewpoint. I do think there is way too much testing and there should be a focus on learning without the pressure have a test or quiz hovering over their head every few days. There are other ways to demonstrate understanding or learning where students can write papers or do research assignments.

I am not super strict or demanding on the grades - Bs and 80s are fine with me (for example) and I am not going to freak out if there is a grade in the 70s if there was an effort put in to prepare/study. I do not want my child feeling or thinking that it is okay to fail tests when there is an opportunity to prepare - especially if she can leave practice a little early or miss a practice. I also prefer she not miss assignments such as projects, homework, or studying and ask for extra help if she does not get something.
 

gym_dad32608

Proud Parent
Aug 7, 2018
365
53
I think gyms should instill the importance having good grades and be understanding when there are tests or other academic requirements without putting additional pressure on the child. I am definitely not a fan of meets held when there is school like Fridays. For locations like Vegas and Disney I can see the need to have it over those days since there will be a significant number of athletes competing.

I agree in the sense that gyms should defer to academic responsibilities, but instilling the importance of good grades and such is the responsibility of parents in my opinion. We have deferred parenting to too many other parties.
 

drwho42

Proud Parent
Nov 25, 2018
45
49
I agree in the sense that gyms should defer to academic responsibilities, but instilling the importance of good grades and such is the responsibility of parents in my opinion. We have deferred parenting to too many other parties.
It is a responsibility of the parents - I agree - but I pointing out there atmosphere in the gym is fair in the treatment of an athlete if they need to take some time to complete and assignment or study. For example, if they arrive late or have to leave practice a little early for the sake of school the coach(es) should not single them out or sanction the athlete for missing time since there is valid reason. Coaches are looked up to in a lot of cases and they can help in the support of the athlete to do well on the floor and off.
 

Aussie_coach

Staff member
Gold Membership
Coach
Proud Parent
Gymnast
Club Owner / Manager
Jan 4, 2008
3,935
I agree in the sense that gyms should defer to academic responsibilities, but instilling the importance of good grades and such is the responsibility of parents in my opinion. We have deferred parenting to too many other parties.
My unpopular opinion is the opposite. I don’t think gyms should have anything to do with kids grades.

If a child is struggling at school, even if it’s not because they can’t do, but because they aren’t putting the effort in because they don’t enjoy it. It’s generally quite unhelpful to have pressure flying at them from all directions.

Kids need to experience success in life in some way. They need to do that to know they can be successful and motivate them in life. Kids who don’t get that success at school need to get it somewhere and for many of those kids that positive place is the gym.

Kids who are not feeling like they are doing well at school need a place where that is not over their head and they can do well.
 

tryagain

New Member
Feb 16, 2022
8
44
I am an academic and, over the course of my career/life, have come to the conclusion that academics is overrated. This is not to say that it is not important to take school seriously, and I agree that if a child is really struggling (as in close to failing a lot of the time), something needs to happen and gymnastics (or any other hobby, this isn't really a gym thing), needs to possibly scaled down, but this should only happen when really necessary. There is nothing wrong with being average, and whether or not you remembered the year of a certain battle in your history quiz is completely irrelevant to the rest of your life. I realise this is maybe simplistic for people living in countries where so much rides on school performance (I was lucky enough to grow up in a country where, as long as I passed my final exams, I was free to go to any of the (equivalent) universities to study pretty much anything - only things like biochemistry and medicine with very limited lab spaces had any entrance restrictions), but I don't believe putting academic pressure onto young children translates into more qualified adults. Instill a love of learning and those sufficiently academically gifted will do well, while those less academically gifted can follow their love of learning in a whole host of incredibly important, but less academic, careers (certainly, where I live, I wish there were more plumbers, electricians, etc - all jobs that, even though it pains me to say it, are far more important to society than anything I do in my research). I wish those careers had the same prestige as the more academic ones. I think this would prevent many students from feeling like failures and create a happier society.

Okay, this has gone a bit off topic, but I truly believe that while leaving gym early to finish a school project should be completely acceptable and not be questioned by coaches, the standards of commitment and striving applied to children (you have to work hard for school and do you absolute best there - you cannot miss gym because you are committed to team) have gone beyond the realm of anything even remotely reasonable. Work ethic is important, but expecting unrelenting work ethic in a 10year-old is crazy in my mind.

I grew up going to school (half-day in my country of birth), doing absolutely no work for that outside (did my homework during lessons to save time - granted, being academically gifted made that easy, otherwise I would have had to put some more work in, I guess), went to gym three times a week (which I loved more than anything, but was very very mediocre at, which was a really good balance for me, since I had no expectations riding on my performance there!), played an instrument that until age 14 I hardly practised on at all (my mum insisted I keep going), and spent my remaining time reading (child/YA fiction, not anything educational) and roaming the fields near where I lived. I still grew up into a responsible adult with a research career who, for the most part, manages to get on with things (not so great on household chores, but...). I am very happy that my childhood was not driven by the maxim to work hard at all times.