cheer and gymnastics-

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After going to a school sporting event last night my daughter keeps talking about joining her school cheerleading team. Last year they allowed the 4th graders to join. My daughter will be in 4th grade next year. She will also be competing as a level 5 in gymnastics and will be practicing 4 days a week for at least 13 hours plus doing about 10 meets. I told her she could try to fit in the cheerleading but gymnastics has to come first if she wants to remain on the team. I am paying over 3,000.00 a year for her to do competitive gymnastics and her gym is very strict about missing practices, plus she will be spending 5 days a week this summer in the gym. I feel bad being this way and I know she probally just wants to hang out with her friends from school. The cheerleading team is very low key it's a small Catholic school they do only a couple of competitions a year. Honestly I think she will be bored the cheer dance the team did was not very challenging and I think only one of the older girls is the only one who can do a roundoff backhandspring and it was not very good. My other concern is that they are parents and older kids who are coaching and I was woried that my daughter could get injured at least I know in the gym the coaches are professionally trained and saftey certified. How would you handle the situation and would you make your daughter miss a cheerleading competition for a gym meet ( we are talking about a local grade school cheerleading competition vs a USAG meet) Would it be fair for the other girls on the cheer team for my daughter to skip practices and competitions because her committment to gymnastics is more important? Any thoughts?
Tough situation. I actually will be in this same boat next year. The only difference is that dd's gymnastics and cheer team are at the same gym. So the coaches are working together to allow her to do both. The only thing about cheer is that it is a team sport and all kids are needed to make the stunt groups work. There will only be 6 gymnastics meets a year and 7 cheer comps so we will have to see if any coincide. Since the cheer team is a TEAM sport, she will have to miss the gymnastics meet if the cheer comp falls on the same day/time. DD fully understands this and is willing to give up a gymnasts meet (meets are individual and there are no team scores or awards). The cheer coaches are certified and experienced so this is not a concern for me.

For your dd's cheer team at school, I would find out exactly why she wants to do this--if it is ONLY to hang with friends then maybe some sleepovers or more friend get togthers are the answer. If she really wants to cheer then maybe find a low key cheer team WITH certified instructors just for safety's sake.

As for it being fair to the other kids on the cheer team who see that your dd skips practices for gymnastics practices, some may get upset. But if your dd picks up choreography quickly and can learn some of the dance and cheer at home this shouldn't be an issue. Find out as much info about the cheer as you can first and then see if it is worth it. I hope this helped!!!
Thanks for the advice MDgym mom. I think I will just wait and see what happens in the fall with the schedules. I also spoke with my daughter who has told me if she had to choose one over the other that it would definitely be gymnastics.
I would suggest speaking with the people in charge of the cheer program. Tell them about the commitment that your dd has at gym and see what their response is. It may not be a big deal to them, or they may think that it would really be a problem. Once you find out their requirements, you can make a decision.:)
If she really wants to do cheer, and it won't conflict with gym too much, it could be a good idea. It's fun for kids to try new things!
My DD is currently in 6th grade and in 5th grade they can join Cheer. She came home asking if she could do it. I asked her If she knew when the practices were and when she would have to cheer? She said she didn't know. So I made HER get the info to see how much she wanted to do this. She did get it and I showed her that some of the practices are on the same days as her gymnastics and the games are also on Saturdays when she has gym practice too. I then asked her If she wanted to give up gymnastics to do cheer. I explained that because there is a conflict in the schedules and she can only do one. I knew she wouldn't give up gym before I asked her and our rule is in September if she is going to do Gym team then she has to stick with it until May as she has made a commitment to the team. If she had wanted to give up gymnastics team I would have recommended she at least do the advanced rec class or the prep op classes as they have less commitment. I know after a few months she would have wanted to go back to gym and I didn't want her to loose her skills. She choose Gymnastics and never looked back. She is at the gym 20 hours a week plus any extra time she asks for. (they can come on the days they don't have gym and work on skills if they want once they get to L6)

I know as parents we have alot of time and money invested in team gymnastics and I think its sometimes harder for us to consider that our kids want to try something else and leave this behind but sometimes (especially as they get into Jr High/middle school or High School) they just want to be a "normal kid" what ever that is and have fun with their school friends.

My dd did do both gym and cheer this past year (Sept thru April) and we would definitely NOT do it again. She trains 20 hrs a week at gym and cheer was 5 1/2 hours a week. She found that she just did not have any down time (and this is a kid who likes to be busy!) - her only true day off was Sunday and on Saturdays she was at cheer from 9 - 12 and then to gym from 1 - 5........

While there weren't necessarily conflicts with competitions (we were lucky that way) - occasionally there were extra cheer practices that did conflict and occassionally her gym practice times would be altered slightly, which also caused conflict.

Her gym coaches were also not happy with her being coached tumbling by someone else who did not care as much about form as they did (and if you watch much cheerleading you will probably find this to be true, also).

Hope that helps :)
Once they do cheer, I'd say many coaches, including myself just write them off at progressing anywhere in WAG. As well, cheer also has a very high injury rate.

It might be fine at the compulsory levels. Again, it depends on the commitment of the kid and the mindset of the program. If they do it and realize that they it will probably hinder their progress as a gymnast getting to optionals and beyond, then I'm ok.

If it was a kid that probably wasn't gonna go very far in WAG, I probably wouldn't mind as much. Kinda again depends on the kid and program.
At the risk of sounding like a squeaky record, I agree completely with BlairBob.
Cheer and WAG simply do not meet anywhere in the middle, IMHO. I agree completely that WAG coaches find it hard to accept that an athlete who is also doing cheer is truly serious about gymnastics - be it right or wrong. And there is a HUGE (again, IMHO) discrepancy regarding tumbling from one genre to another. Not that one is better or worse, just simply quite different. I think that if you have a child who is not so competitive in gym (by their choice/personality, etc.) then cheer is probably a great second (or first! choice). If they are seriously committed (obsessed, LOL) with WAG, then, NO.

Again, just my opinion.
FYI- Based on previous posts, Blair Bob is very negative toward gymnasts doing cheerleading so I wouldn't put a whole lot of emphasis on what he is saying about coaches opinions on gymnasts that also want to cheer. Many coaches are fine with it and should know that kids at that age want to try other activities. There was a gymnast on my dd's team that was also on a very seriously competitive cheer squad. It worked out fine, just so the cheer coach knew that gymnastics came first. In fact, she is the only one on the gym team at that time that is still on the gym team; others have moved on so the cheer gig didn't affect her that much. My own dd tried cheerleading at a catholic school when she was also a level 5 (we're going way back!). First of all, catholic cheerleading is harmless; most schools have rules and regulations and don't allow stunting so I wouldn't worry about safety issues unless your school is different. Turns out my dd was simply bored with cheerleading. As a level 5 gymnast, the stuff she was learning in the gym excited her so much that cheerleading couldn't compare. Not all gymnasts are like this as some really like cheerleading. It probably depends on the program and how many of their friends are also involved. In my dd's case, all of her really good friends were at the gym. So, cheerleading might be worth a try if she is the least bit interested, and your dd might really enjoy it. If not, at least she will not go through the rest of her childhood wondering if she should have tried something different. Just be sure and let the coach know that gymnastics comes first and see if they can work around it. I hope this helps.
If the cheer squad really is that low key and she makes the team then I would say go for it! I am all about trying new things and being such a small school I am sure it would be fine. As someone else suggested when the time comes call the person in charge and tell them of your situation. This way if they don't feel it will work you aren't the bad guy!
Thanks for all the advice. I quess I will have to wait to the fall to find out her schedule. My daughter has not mentioned the cheer thing this week, right now she is focused on her dance recital. She is in 5 numbers and is having a good time. I am sure if it can down to it gymnastics would come first.
An update, I may have bit the bullet on the cheer thing. My daughter annouced the other day that she no longer wants to do cheerleading. She says she may try to fit in the swimteam which I would be much happier with that(her sister is on the swim team and she has to hang around alot of the practices anyway). It also would be less stress missing meets since it is more individual and they would not need her as much(there are alot of young kids on the team so her missing a couple of meets would not affect the team.) So anyway we are at swimclub while her older sister is in practice and I tell her show me how you swim I will time you. My daughter fidgets around then runs off to the playground to practice her kips on the monkey bars and then starts doing roundoff backhandsprings in the sandbox. So I quess we will see in the fall about the swimming!

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