what do you think?

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Sep 23, 2009
So I should give a little info about our gym to help you understand my problem.. Our gym is a big rec gym, not all that focused on team. We keep kids in our "preschool program" until age 5. Once they get to age 5, from there they go to the equivelent of level 1 for an hour week, level 2= 1.5 hrs a week, level 3= 2 hrs a week (even at the older age) The preschool program in my honest opinion is much to easy and I wish they would encourage harder skills. (On bars they only teach bell swings and tuck hangs, NOT pullovers), beam they will walk with someone holding their hand, but won't try candlesticks or forward roll on the wide beam etc.

I have a class of kids who have been in the program for a while and they won't try any of these new skills. One won't even do a forward roll! I am getting frustrated because I don't know how to improve their gymnastics if they won't even attempt it. The parents seem to get mad that I try to encourage these "harder" skills because in their eyes, I must be pushing them to hard. Am I?? I don't think a front support on the bar should freak a kid out, or learning to do a hurdle is too difficult.

Should I just follow the flow of what they are used to, knowing these kids will not be getting far in the sport? If I'm wrong please tell me!


I know what you're talking about! At my sisters old gym, they held the kids back a LOT.

I say you should try to help the kids want to advance. Maybe make it a 'reward' to the kids.

Like, if they do five forward rolls right after another, they *get* to try a FHC on the bar, or a forward roll on the wide beam.

Or after a hopping/skipping contest, they get to practice hurdles over a pool noodle.

You could find something they really like to do, then have them work up for it. Like, if they do 3 good candlesticks they get to use the springboard onto a mat.

As for the parents, I think if they see the kids enjoying the "hard" skills, they will be more supportive of them.

Good luck!! :D


Moderator/Proud Parent
Aug 25, 2007
North Carolina
We work our preschoolers on lots of different things. I have 3 preschool classes. One 2-3yr old class, one very mature(good listeners) 3yr old class and a 4-5yr old class. We are working straddle forward rolls and backward rolls on a wedge mat in all three. Forward, sideways, backwards walks, scales, bunny hops on low (6" for 2-3, 1ft for mature 3,4-5) on beam. The 3,4-5 also do forward rolls and sometimes handstands, with heavy spots. On bars all are working chin holds, front support, swinging, pull over (they lift their feet to me, I help them over the bar, front support) I have several that can front support and very small cast unassisted. Two in that 4-5 with a good kick up to handstand against a wedge mat.
With the 4-5's we will sometimes let them try to push to a bridge ( not often and we don't pull on them or anything. I have a 3 yr old that pushes to a beautiful bridge, just did itone day while watching her older sister in rec class. I don't have her do them but sometimes she just throws herself up there.
We will also do BHS (we are really doing everything here, but they get the feel of the jump). We do jump backs to a Resi, rope climbs, monkey bars.
On rings tuck, pike, straddle holds.

I don't think you are asking to much to add some skills to your program. Oh forgot, working cartwheels too.


Hi, I don't think you are asking too much either, but at the same time if the parents don't want their child to work on harder skills, you shouldn't go against their wishes. Is there any way you can put the kids into different groups-the ones who will and the ones who won't Maybe the more reluctant kids(and parents) would be able to see that it's fun and rewarding to try new things.
I am not sure what these parents want their children to get out of it if they won't allow progression, and the kids will probably get bored eventually. My J started in a preschool tumbling class when she was 3, and was working on handstands, cartwheels, swinging on bars, using wedges, forward rolls and lots of other things. She was doing a (sloppy) roundoff backhandspring by 6 like many kids who start young. Don't give up anyway, and try not to show frustration-it may seem like you are frustrated with the kids, and not the situation. Good Luck!
Sep 19, 2008
I understand the parents being scared, but gymnastics is an instructive environment as well as a social one and an energy outlet. Do you have evaluations? What is on those evaluation sheets? If there are skills they need to work on for those sheets that are being ignored, or kids that are moving up unprepared then the situation should be looked at. Gotta do 'A' and 'B' before starting 'C' after all progression is safety. Maybe the parents are simply unaware. I'd get with a program director and voice your concerns and share your plans. If they like it then maybe they can get a group together for you with kids who are looking to move up and parents that are on the same page. If not, maybe you or the program director can revisit the evaluations on paper with the parents and help them understand better how progression fits into the overall program.
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