Club vs. HS Gymnastics

DON'T LURK... Join The Discussion!

Members see FEWER ads



I know there are some big differences between High School and Club gymnastics.

I came across an old newspaper article about how some coaches have very different ideas about club gymnasts participating on their HS teams. Some club coaches don't want their gymnasts to participate in HS gymnastics because they would be spending time away from their club for HS practices and meets. This actually allows more inexperienced gymnasts to participate on the HS teams though since competition at tryouts isn't as bad. Other club coaches let their gymnasts compete on their HS teams since even though they are spending time away from the club they are still spending good chunks of time practicing their skills. Some of the HS coaches say they need the club gymnasts to try out and compete because they can't really develop gymnasts with lots of skills on their own because the season is so short. I can't find a link to the article otherwise I would post it for everyone.

What do all the gymnasts/coaches/parents on here think about this?
I head coach both club and HS gymnastics and because of this, I tend to understand both ends of the spectrum.

My club girls are good, but they are still too young for HS gymnastics. In a few years, a few of my older ones will be in HS and want to compete, and I am trying not to be too overprotective of them going to "another coach" for 3 months. But it's what happens and if they are ruined then I need to fix them when they come back.

On the other hand, as a HS coach, I absolutely need those club gymnasts because the majority of girls on my high school team have virtually never done gymnastics and I only have 4 weeks to practice them before our first meet.

But what I do now is hold "off season" HS practices that are open to all HS gymnasts that don't have a home club (In my state you cannot have off season practices with just your team), that way they have nine months to practice.
Another aspect that I can think of is that a club coach will not want their athletes competing in HS because their chance of obtaining a scholarship would be very slim. And to be honest if one of my upper level kids tried to do HS gymnastics I would absolutely flip out. This is a little different for guys though. Growing up in Illinois all the good club guys went to their HS teams and it was very competetive, but out here on the west coast I don't even know if there is a HS gym programs anywhere in the state.
Thanks for the replies :)

Most of the girls on the team at my HS are former club gymnasts but they only compete at the HS level now (and many of them do other sports too...especially ones that use gymnastics skills like cheerleading or pole vaulting with the track team).
Been there, done that, had an entire training group just end over the issue, which basically changed the direction of my gymnastics career but whatever. In the end the whole thing wasn't worth it from the club side of things (I kept doing club at another gym that was really different) but various events (a perfect storm, if you will) combined to escalate the situation, there was misunderstanding, etc. In retrospect I wouldn't have made the same decision, but I don't think the same decision would have been made from the other end either. I realize this is all vague but it's kind of hard to explain what happened.

But I don't regret doing high school either. Anyone can participate during most of the local meet season, and my team was majority beginners. The HS state meet is dominated by level 9s and 10s (and former 9s and 10s) and we all knew each other from club. However in states where club gymnasts can't do HS (WI comes to mind) the level at the state meet isn't much different, because the best HS teams work out like optional teams (a little less intensely but the skill level is certainly nowhere near beginner). In fact a beginner often can't get on these teams, is my understanding, because the nature of the program retains enough experienced girls (unlike some of the states that allow simultaneous participation, like my state, meaning club gymnasts don't attend all meets allowing space for others, or choose not to do some seasons, or choose to just do club).

Some of my best memories from high school are centered around HS gym and my best friends did it with me (beginners). Super competitive gymnastics can only take you so far anyway. On some level I think a lot of us were torn because you're trying to make sacrifices on either end and so much of high level gymnastics ends up seeming like life and death decisions all the time. But in the end all you're going to have is memories anyway. Once you've gotten that far, if you want to, why not have some fun with friends and get some recognition for the one thing you've worked on? We usually couldn't do other sports or activities because of the time, but with gymnastics you are practicing the skills anyway at club. Girls who have done high school gymnastics here, some for all four years, have gone to NCAA (with scholarships and as walk-ons) and had a lot of success. In fact, the 2006 USAG JO National Champion for Sr C, won our high school states just a couple months before, capping off her fourth consecutive win (and 4th year of participation in HS). If you're smart about it and can handle it, high school gymnastics isn't somehow going to "taint" you forever and ruin your life. Unless you're trying to be elite or go to the Olympics, it's reasonable to evaluate the individual situation and participate if it works out.
No high schools by me have gymnastics =[

Me either. I guess it's not something that's done here in Aus.

I could easily see both sides, though. High school gymnastics sounds like an awesome concept, but only because I can imagine I'd be doing it with friends from school. And it would just be another place I could be gymnastics crazy. But I think that if I was really trying to head toward one goal (ie. elites) then I think there would be too much of a confliction between the two.
I do gym at a YMCA, so it's a tad different, but last year we lost our sole level 9 to compete highschool. For us, highschool gym is a big deal. We just won our third consecutive state title. It does hurt our Y program though; we've been losing girls like crazy and we know we will lose some awesome younger gymnasts once they become freshman.
Yes, Tumblequeensmom, that's the one! I couldn't find it again after I read it and typed up the post.
I thought it was interesting how the article mentioned boys' gymnastics briefly. I know my HS used to have a program-a state championship worthy program-but it ended with title IX; girls had to have as many athletic positions available as boys, and gymnastics got cut.
I did high school gymnastics for two years, took a year off high school (and part of the year off club), and am considering doing both this season. My club coach was very nice and allowed me to to high school gymnastics, even though because of high school rules I could then only do 3 club meets that year (I know several other clubs near us made our gymnasts choose one or the other, and ended up losing their optional program because enough girls chose high school). I happened to like club better, because the equipment tended to be better (my high school home gym was nice, but many of the gyms we competed at didn't have a spring floor and used equipment that may have been around in the '70s), but also because it was really strange going from coaches I'd had since I was in pre-school to people who had no idea what motivated me, or what my limits are.

Another thing to consider is that high school gymnasts get A LOT of injuries. I thought this was maybe just my region, but I've spoken to other high school gymnasts in other states and they mentioned this too. It's mostly overuse injuries (tendonitis, severly pulled muscles, lots of sprained ankles, back problems), nothing really serious like broken bones, for the most part. I imagine this has something to do with the fact that there are only about four weeks before you have meets (once, we have four meets in one week), but I ended up with shin splints, two sprained ankles, and a mystery back pain over the course of my two years (compared to one severely pulled muscle and a jammed wrist over ten years in club).

For most club gymnasts, it is really easy to earn a varsity letter in gymnastics, though. It also tends to be much more social than club gymnastics. I found this strange, because I was used to just doing my work without much talking (and mostly with people who were either younger or older than me, not my age; in high school, everybody was pretty much the same age). Some people really flourished when they could goof off and chat more than they worked, but I didn't. I felt more like a part of a team, though, in high school than at club (where mostly we just tried to beat our previous scores).

Anyway, to recap, I liked club better.
However in states where club gymnasts can't do HS (WI comes to mind) the level at the state meet isn't much different, because the best HS teams work out like optional teams (a little less intensely but the skill level is certainly nowhere near beginner).

Where did you hear Wisconsin can't have club girls do highschool. The club close to us lets the girls do high-school and i know of lots of girls that do club but do highschool during there the highschool season. I thought it was the clubs choice.
Well i'm club gymnastics and private schools don't have highschool gymnastics. But a lot of my friends who are sophmores and juniors who didn't really like (club) gymnastics decided they were going to do highschool AND club. and after awhile they got tired of the conflicts so they ended up quitting and going to highschool because it wasn't as serious and you had more fun.
i 100% see where ToeTheLine is coming from talking about the injuries. my freshman year i went to a public school with a whole HS team of beginners. My coaches way of solving this problem of having so many beginners was to have practices mon-sat. every day. three hour practices. For the girls working hard to get their cartwheels and back bends, three hour practices weren't extremely strenuous. But me being around a L7 at the time, my coach pushed me all three hours mon-sat, to work on my hardest stuff. every practice ended in tears from shins, ankles and wrist being in so much pain.

sophomore year, i went to a private school where we didnt have a gymnastics team. I was able to go to a nearby public school to do gymnastics to compete as an individual team. I was now part of a small team of entire club optional gymnasts. so we were all practicing about the same skills now mon-thur. it wasn't as bad as freshman year because we had better equipment and more understanding, knowledgeable coaches. but still the 2 hour practices four days in a row killed my shins. and also, i killed myself these two years of HS practices trying to get my stuff done just go to to sectionals and get slaughtered by the L10 girls getting full rides to compete at state colleges next year! it wasn't even worth it!

basically what i'm trying to say is that i also prefer club gym. our optional practices are three days a week with a day off in between. with there not being psycho practices and my coaches knowing me a little better rather than just knowing the team, they're able to work me to my full potential without injuring me from overwork yet still getting progress and results. and then when i go to sectionals, i'm actually able to place and progress there too. it's nice to get rewarded for your hard work and i don't get that in high school gym...
My oldest is only 11 (5th grade) but she has been looking forward to competing both club and HS since last summer, after she attended camp at the HS and met the coach, who is a wonderful coach & person. If the optional level season here continues to be Jan-May, then we won't have conflicts as far as meets, however, I can forsee missing practices being a problem. The HS team currently has several club gymnasts so I'm sure they have a way of dealing w/this. Two of DD's former teammates from club are on the HS team now (having quit club).
there's no doubt that in exception to the injuries, i have a ton more fun in HS.
its just more like hanging out with friends. but it was hard for me because
the only time i saw the girls on my sophomore year team was at practice
because we went to different schools. we had sleepovers and gift exchanges
though which made us much closer than my club girls. i just think everyone
is pushed so hard to gain new skills extremely fast through a like 3 month
period that it's stressful not to mention sometimes painful. there's pro's
and con's like everything =/
I've never done high school gymnastics cuz im in 8th grade and no high schools around here have it but it seems like it would be fun. I don't think they give out individual places but just team? Like doing it just for the team is like awesome. Theres more pressure because you are like if i mess this up my team will be disappointed in me. the last meet we had my team was soo pumped and sooo hyper and we won yay! haha but all the other teams thought we were soo annoying but it was def worth it
^^Around here, we do individual; a girl from my school was state champ on vault last year.

DON'T LURK... Join The Discussion!

Members see FEWER ads

Gymnaverse :: Recent Activity

College Gym News