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May 28, 2010
214
Pacific NW
This evening I took dd to an open gym at a nearby gym. (Ours does not host open gyms due to, I believe, liability concerns.) DD has been to this gym 3 times now when Sunday evening comes and she is bouncing off the walls. While at the gym, I was approached and, I guess for lack of better terminology, my dd was recruited.

A bit of background: DD is 8 yo and a current level 4- moving to 5 in a month. She had a VERY successful 1st competitive season and, (granted I am biased,) is showing an aptitude for the sport and is incredibly motivated to "be done with compulsories." Our gym had a very successful optional program- but 2 optional HC changes in a year has taken its toll. We still have a decent compulsory program and are incredibly happy with those coaches. Interestingly, dd's current coach spoke with me about a month ago after dd's 2nd visit to the open gym to tell me that if my little one was truly interested in pursuing gymnastics at the higher levels, that the open gym facility was our best bet, as they are the only game in town to coach elites.

Now, before you preach to the choir, I know that the future is unwritten AND my only aspirations for my daughter are her continued health and happiness. This is her sport, and as long as she is happy and determined I will support her to my fullest extent. I know that injury, illness, social desires, and any other imaginable possibility could step between dd and a future in gymnastics. DD's only "long term" gym goals are finishing compulsories and learning how to do front layouts and giants.

I was told this evening that my dd should NOT be training level 5 at all. Based on observations of her during an "unstructured" open gym- the fact that she uses correct form and persists on (difficult to her) skills of her own volition instead of goofing off is indicative of "promise." I was told this gym would train her for 6 while uptraining 7 skills, teach her the 5 routines early fall to have her "score out," and then do 6 preparing to compete 7 next spring. (In an earlier post I mentioned DD wanted to do 5 in fall and 6 next spring.) I was given all sorts of info about their team hours, booster club commitments, financial commitments, and offers to put me in touch with other team parents if I had questions from a parental perspective. I was even given the coaches cell number! I was very appreciative, however I stated that dd was pleased with her teammates and coaches, but I would keep the info. I was told not to feel pressured at all. If dd wanted to spend a day training with the other girls to "get a feel" for the gym and coaches, she was welcome at any time, even if it was a month or a year down the road. The coach was familiar with dd's current gym and said he was aware of the optional coaching "limbo" status, and let me know their optional coaches are event coaches who have been with the gym for many years.

So... dd saw me chit chatting and asked in the car why I was talking to "that coach." I asked how she knew it was a coach, and he had apparently given her a suggestion/correction for a front tuck, so she just assumed. I was honest with her and told her that he thought she was a good gymnast and was curious if she might like to spend a day training with their team girls to see what their gym was like. I did NOT share any of the level details that were told to me. DD told me that she might like that, but could she think about it. I said absolutely, if she wants to try it, fine, if not, fine.

As I was tucking her in, she asked if she did try the gym out, would she be able to go to her own gym if she didn't like it. I told he I couldn't imagine why not. BUT THEN.... I got to thinking- I know coaches/owners can sometimes get "weird" when their gymmies visit other gyms. So.... If dd decides to try it out, should I let the current coach know before hand? As I mentioned, her 4 coach told me that for the higher levels, it was the best local gym, but that was told to me discreetly, and I am not sure if the owners/other coaches would appreciate or agree with that.

Any experiences/advice/insight appreciated!
 

emorymom

Proud Parent
Oct 10, 2008
1,154
My opinion, don't have her go "try" it. Go watch the practice group she would move to (wearing a wig and sunglasses LOL). Talk to some of the parents Figure out if the level of pressure / coaching atmosphere is on that your daughter will do well in . Figure out cost and mileage and practice hours now and down the road.

If you think it's best to move now, then move her and tell her all the reasons why.

Then see ...

If it turns out to be a horrible decision, if the first program allows kids to switch back at all, at least you can say "I puller her, it was not her idea, boy did I screw up."
 

Blackie6

Proud Parent
Mar 1, 2007
1,279
NJ
Seriously? Gymnastics community is very small, they probably already know she has been there, even for open gym. I'm thinking you are already unhappy w/current gym or coaching because even a L4 (going to 5) shouldn't require add'l open gym time. Good luck w/you decision.
 

MaryA

Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Jul 22, 2010
4,442
It doesn't sound like she "requires" open gym time. It sounds like it's a fun way for her to spend her Sunday evening. Our gym is the only one one in town with open gym, and I know that girls from both other gym programs in town (along with multiple cheer programs) attend. I think our HC would consider it unprofessional to recruit at them though. As for whether or not to switch, it sounds like your DD may be open to it and that it may be inevitable eventually. If you feel like you'll probably end up in this gym eventually, it's worth seriously considering. Switching gyms is gut-wrenching, but it won't get any easier the longer you wait.
 

gymmomtoo

Proud Parent
Sep 27, 2011
3,317
Region 4
I can see doing the open gym, if she likes having fun and your gym doesn't have one. And I can see the other coaches approaching you if they didn't know you were in a program already. I think it would be unprofessional if they knew you were with a team and still tried to recruit you though. That said, gymnastics is a small world and don't be surprised if your gym finds out about the recruitment and, if you go try-out, that as well. Some gyms will ask you to leave if you look around like that--I don't know if your gym will, but just be aware. I would do as someone suggested--go watch a practice yourself (if anyone asks, you can pretend a friend's daughter is there LOL!) and see if you like the style of coaching there. It sounds like the program they would put her in is pretty intensive--scoring out of two levels in one year and competing a third is a LOT of pressure. Keep that in mind when considering it.

As Mary said--if you are seriously interested in switching gyms eventually, I would do it now. It's much easier on girls when they grow up in the program and learn the skills the way those coaches want them taught, rather than having to relearn things when they move.

Oh--I know placements aren't everything, but I would look online at mymeetscores.com or similar and just check out how this gym does compared to your current gym. That kind of gives you an idea of whether they are good at teaching skills anyway (but not whether the coaches scream and yell, of course!)
 

bookworm

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Having been in this sport for over 10 years, I would say that if you are even thinking of a gym change, it's overdue...do NOT mention anything to your current gym until you are out the door. And as another poster said, if you are going to move her, you be the one who does the moving, and do it now and be done with it.
 

Maitland

Proud Parent
Sep 23, 2009
119
It seems a little unethical to approach you like this. I know most coaches will talk to parents who approach them, but not actively recruit kids from another gym. But I wish you luck no matter what you decide, moving gyms can be a great thing, or you could end up with an unhappy daughter...I'd really check this out (as stated earlier, watch some practices and see how they treat kids, class sizes, etc.)
 
May 28, 2010
214
Pacific NW
Thank you all for your replies. I am not unhappy with the current gym. The compulsory coaches are fabulous and the gym owners are wonderful people. I learned about the open gym from another team mom at current gym. MaryA is correct- dd goes to have fun, not because we do not get adequate training at current gym. Interestingly, last evening there were 2 other gymmies from current gym there- a level 9 and a level 6.

Our current gym has a great track record of sending girls to Westerns and Nationals, but a bit unsure of how the optional coaching situation will go from here. We lost several optional girls this season, some due to recent double turn-over of optional HC. The other gym has a great program, with their optionals scoring 37's & 38's regularly. They also have a much better equipped facility. The coasts would probably be about the same when all is said and done. (Other gym does NOT require $70/month booster dues.) Coaches/owners are Eastern European- so I am sure it would be a bit of a culture shock.

I am not going to bring this up to dd again- I will allow her to broach the subject if she so chooses. I was just curious if dd does want to try out a practice session, should I give current coaches a courtesy "heads up?" I think it would probably be the decent thing to do.

Thanks again.
 

GymBee97

Proud Parent
Feb 13, 2012
1,118
If you have been considering moving I see no problem with trying it. Remember you are the consumer of this training and you want the best for your child. If your current gym doesn't have (or will have) what your DD needs then moving isn't a bad thing. I wouldn't mention a thing to the current gym I agree with Bookworm if you have been thinking about the move then its probably time to take the plunge. I think if you have been to open gyms there already you know how the gym staff is and a little feel for how things are but it doesn't hurt to do a few practicies and see how it goes. Kids adjust quickly and your DD will have a whole new group of gym friends in no time.
 

JessLW

Proud Parent
Apr 30, 2011
271
Beijing
I think the fact that her own coaches have suggested a gym switch is a huge, I don't know if "red flag" is the right term, but it is a huge sign at the very least that you might want to seriously consider what they're saying. It isn't like your daughter is a 10 year old level 9 who has outgrown the program or something, at which point honesty about how far they can take your child would be appropriate and appreciated. When the coaches are telling the parents of level 5 kids that the other gym is the place to go if your child is "interested in pursuing gymnastics at the higher levels," I don't know, that doesn't exactly inspire confidence in their program.
 
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gym law mom

Proud Parent
Dec 23, 2006
2,525
As others have said it is a small world and if your dd goes for a trial practice at the other gym, most likely her current gym will know. I doubt you would get a positive response to any question about taking your dd for a tryout from your current gym. You might just go sit in and watch a compulsory level practice to get the big picture(I would not take dd). That is a good time to watch how the coaches interact with the girls, level of intensity etc. After that you may have a better idea if this program is one to consider for your dd right now or not.
 

iwannacoach

Coach
Proud Parent
Gymnast
Mar 25, 2012
2,877
region II
Interestingly, dd's current coach spoke with me about a month ago after dd's 2nd visit to the open gym to tell me that if my little one was truly interested in pursuing gymnastics at the higher levels, that the open gym facility was our best bet, as they are the only game in town to coach elites.

As I mentioned, her 4 coach told me that for the higher levels, it was the best local gym, but that was told to me discreetly, and I am not sure if the owners/other coaches would appreciate or agree with that.

Any experiences/advice/insight appreciated!

I used to H/C at a gym about two hours down the road from another that had a "stable" of thorough bred gymnasts from all over the country. They didn't recruit because their reputation was so good that kids and their parents were knocking on their door all year long. As you would guess a few of my gymnast's switched as soon as I'd get them to the point where their own parents saw enough potential to justify the hassle and expense of DD living away from home. So I know how it feels to have part of your heart and soul taken away in this manner. I did after all get them to the point they were at, and did it fairly well, so why take the kid and run?

What it boiled down to was the gym I coached at was owned by people who would never make the sacrifices needed to support a national team member. Getting a kid to elites was a posibility as long as it didn't become their problem. Even though I felt the pain from losing those kids, I never blamed them or their parents. I believed then and still do, that if you want to get to that level as a program, you need to be able to grow with the few gymnasts who may get to that level. So if you have some significant indications your daughter is advancing like a wildfire heading up a steep dry hill side, maybe a change is appropriate. Before doing that, and since the current owner is offering a product that supports J/O national caliber, I would try to gauge through any means available, just how far is the current owners are willing to go. You could talk to the owners and see what may be made available should your DD advance to the elite level. It may be they are willing, but haven't had that magical gymnast stay in their program long enough to prove it. I say it that way because I dont think it's practical to train an elite unless you have one in the gym. Really an elite gymnast will rise to that level in an age group program because you can't hold an elite back, they'll just become one in spite of all the obstacles. Once they get to that level they need qualified people if they hope to make it to national team status. Since your DD is only 8 and the current program has a "proven track record" you could hold off until your DD's pleadings to switch are driving you crazy.

Just my opinion....I'm sure you know what's right.......
 
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May 28, 2010
214
Pacific NW
Some great opinions and responses here. Thank you, again. I have no clue if dd will want to pursue elite level gymnastics at some point, or even if she would be capable. Granted, she does have talent, and she is tenacious- but I know that it takes a bit of luck, too. And... she is only 8 and only has a whopping 7 months competition experience under her belt.

If you were to meet her today and ask her what she wanted to be when she got older- she would skip right over the "peak" years of being a gymnast and tell you she wants to be a glass blower, dancer, artist, and coach gymnastics. She is not even expressing a desire to go that route, and I would not push it. What she is expressing is a desire to get to optional level gymnastics- and she is working hard toward achieving that goal. She enjoys going to open gym to work on skills she can not currently uptrain within her group at current gym, and she has arranged a private (using her own money) with current coach to work on fly-aways this week. DD has been a "goal setter" since age 4. Never encouraged by me- she just does it, and I appreciate it and respect it, but tend to guide her in more realistic/controllable routes from time to time.

To be completely honest- I had already speculated about the "what ifs" if she does to take this path to it's limits. There is a gym 2 or so hours south that has trained many Olympians and I would be willing to relocate in a couple years if she is still happily pursuing the sport and showing aptitude for it. The closer gym that has trained elites was never a consideration until very recently. I don't even know if I would even call it a whole hearted consideration- more a thought. I do know that if current gym is unable to get a bit more stability in their optional coaching situation that I would be uncomfortable having dd train there. I am assuming that if things progress as they have been that dd would be looking toward optionals at current gym in about a year.

I know anything can happen in this sport in a years time. Because we are happy with the compulsory program where we are at, I am thinking a change is not imminent. DD has not brought up the other gym's invitation, and as I said, I am not bringing it up either. I did let her coach know last night about the offer, however. I felt like the cat that ate the canary, didn't like the feeling, so was completely honest. Coach reiterated that they were a fantastic gym and that if dd "outgrows" current gym, it is a great option. Hopefully I wont have to think about this any more for a while. Optional season is almost over, and our gym should be able to get a new coach that will have a full year to settle in before dd gets to that level anyway. Here's to the power of positive thinking!
 

bookworm

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
... she is only 8 and only has a whopping 7 months competition experience under her belt.

There is a gym 2 or so hours south that has trained many Olympians and I would be willing to relocate in a couple years if she is still happily pursuing the sport and showing aptitude for it. The closer gym that has trained elites was never a consideration until very recently. I don't even know if I would even call it a whole hearted consideration- more a thought. I do know that if current gym is unable to get a bit more stability in their optional coaching situation that I would be uncomfortable having dd train there.

I am assuming that if things progress as they have been that dd would be looking toward optionals at current gym in about a year.

**********************************************************************************************

Ok I'm confused...DD is 8 yo and has been doing gym for 7 months but you think she'll be an optional next year? I guess if she's making that kind of progress I too would stay with your current gym.

And is the gym you'd be uncomfortable having her train at the one that she goes to Open Gym for? ...I'm thinking I missed something ..
 
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May 28, 2010
214
Pacific NW
Haha- it all made perfect sense to me as I was typing! DD started competing level 4 this past September. She had a successful season. Her goal is to compete 5 this fall and 6 next spring. At this time next year- assuming she meets goals and continues progressing and is still happily enthusiastic and injury free, she would be finished with her level 6 season and be preparing for optionals. Current gym has a wonderful compulsory program with attentive and knowledgeable coaches. Current gym has had a couple Optional HC turn overs in past year- most recently several weeks ago- mid-season. I am hopeful that prior to dd joining optional ranks that current gym will get situated again, especially because the owners are dedicated to their team and, to the best of my knowledge, are good people to work for. Prior to this past year, current gym optional team was very successful within our state and region and sent girls regularly to Westerns and Nationals.

However.... in the event that current gym has not found a stable HC for the optionals by the time dd gets to that level, I would consider looking at a gym with more stability that is also successful. Dd's current coach suggested the local gym dd goes to open gym at as a possibility for optional levels in the event current gym is still having coaching instability.

Currently dd has all level 5 skills and some level 6 skills. She did a year of Devo/pre-team and has been level 4 for almost a year. She took a few months of rec prior to moving to the pre-team.

The open gym gym seems like a great facility. They definitely have more "swag" than current gym. Regardless, I had not considered moving gyms in the immediate vicinity at all until I was approached on Sunday. I still have not "considered" it really- I am happy where we are, and more importantly, so is dd. What I did consider was the (remote) possibility of relocating a couple hours south in a few years if all the stars align for my dd and she continues to show aptitude and motivation to continue in the sport. I figure if I am able to provide her with the ability to have coaches/facilities experienced with and equipped to train the high level skills, that I probably should when and if it comes to that.

Current gym is a good place for now- just not entirely sure what might happen down the road. They have not ever trained higher than level 10, and to not have all the "bells and whistles" that some facilities have. The odds are, though, that this is all moot. I know this. But I always like to be prepared.

Sorry for any confusion. ;)
 

bookworm

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
^^^^well that makes more sense! But I'd hold off on any relocation plans because if the gym you're happy with "regularly gets kids to Westerns and Nationals", then you'll probably be ok because the overwhelming majority of gymnasts stay in the JO system ( and by this I mean they stay at Level 10 for a number of years and don't do elite) and if your gym is equipped for that, well, there you go...unless of course you were moving anyway...
 
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