Parents Changing gyms to advance levels?

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Hi, everyone. I posted this on the coaches forum but I'd really like to get the parents' perspective, too. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

My 6 y.o. daughter is currently competing AAU level 2 and doing very well (she scored a 36.325 at her first meet). Her current coach requires that the girls spend a full year at level 3 and a full year at level 4. However, DD already knows most of the level 3 skills and I'm afraid she'll get well and truly bored spending an entire year at that level.

We recently took her for an evaluation at another gym (with a very well-respected coach/owner). He said she should be training USAG level 4 to compete this fall and then move right into level 5 for next fall and level 6 for the following spring. He wants her to be a level 7 by the time she turns 9. This is obviously a much faster progression than at our current gym but I think my daughter would rise to the challenge.

DD wants to be an Olympian and a Gym Dog (UGA) and she loves gymnastics (practices frequently at home in addition to 5 hours of team practice and another hour of tumbling class- that she wanted to take- at the gym). We're going to have to change gyms eventually because where we are is not a USAG gym (apparently they only compete AAU and then only up to about prep-op 2). The gym we're looking at has a TOPs program, HOPES, pre-Elite, and Elite and they've had a lot of success with those programs.

So, the question is, do we keep her where she is and hope she doesn't quit from boredom or change gyms to get her moving more quickly to the higher levels?

Sorry for the long-winded thread but I really could use some advice. We want to do what's best for her to help her achieve her goals.

I would have to say if your gym is not fulfilling your daughters needs then you should look to other alternatives. It isn't personal you have to do what is best for your daughter.

I would possibly talk to the coaches at your gym or the gym owner to let them know your concerns and see what their take is. I know I value our gym owners opinion so I would feel confortable having that discussion with her. Best of luck finding what works for your gymnast.
Sounds like your little one is doing great! I think the decision depends on many different factors and you have to way the pro’s and con’s to figure out what fits best with your family.

Distance/affordability/training hours – current vs. new gym/other children and their activities, etc. etc. are only a part of what you have to figure out before making a big change…

Although, I would not recommend making a decision on what your 6 yr olds current goals are alone( as the parent of my own 6 yr old ( & 13 yr old & 15 yr old) I can say their long term goals frequently change. :D ), I think that 6 is a great age to get started competing the USAG jo program. As for TOPS, some gyms/coaches like to use TOPS as a side by side or alternative plan to the jo program, and some don't - one gym is not necessarily more effective then another based on this program alone. TOPS and/or HOPES are not necessary to train at a higher level.

**on another note, I would be a little leery of a gym that could so easily map out the next few years of your dd’s gymnastic career without actually training with her over a period of time... just food for thought. Set short term goals and keep the pressure off - it will help your dd become the best gymmie she can be:p - good luck!
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We don't have AAU here, but I would think that if there were a gym close to me that did USAG and my DDhad the option of going there, as long as other things all fit, I would rather have her do the USAG program.

I agree with Ingymmom that I would also be leery of looking that much into the future. There are many talented little gymnasts, not all make it. I would take one day, one season, one level at a time and not worry about the future. As long as she is challenged, safe and having fun!
Thanks for your comments. We actually talked with out daughter last night and she is not sure she wants to skip level 3. She's a little nervous about being able to do the level 4 skills (particularly the beam dismount). We don't have to make a decision for another three months so we're just going to wait and see. DD is learning the level 3 skills now while they finish competing level 2. Her confidence level may change over the next few months. Or maybe not.

Also, I hear what you're saying about the coach "mapping out" her next few years. I don't think he was saying that is what she'll do for sure. I think he was saying that he'd like to see her move at that pace. Our current coach requires one year at levels 3 and 4 and then kind of doubles up level 5/6 and levels 7/8 through the pre-op program (if I understand that correctly). Of course all of this is dependent on whether DD is ready to move. *sigh* Who knew gymnastics could be so hard? :D
My DD would do the same thing.She practiced alot at home.Although we had no idea about gymnastics and the programs.We were told that their is a program for talented kids,which was 40 miles away.DD tried it out and was excepted.We moved for several other reasons.The gym was owned by the same people.My DD is 10 now and will be competing Level 8.She started gym when she was 6.She still enjoys it.I can honestley say if she would have had to do Level 4,5 and 6 for a whole year she would have been bored and quit along time ago.

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