HELP!!! Need advice!!

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OK, my daughter is barely 8. Last year she competed as a level 4 and got good scores on everything but beam. Beam is her weak spot, she has ADHD and I think concentration is a definate problem. Anyway, our gym has a USAG team and a TAAF team. This year the gym hosted a TAAF meet in the Spring and had all of the USAG level 4's (except for my daughter) compete as level 5's. It was decided that since my daughter was the only level 4 doing an out of town meet in 6 weeks that it was better for her to compete as a 4 at the TAAF meet. I was OK with that decision.

We got back from the out of town meet and my daughter expected to be moved up immediately to level 5. We had already increased her workout hours to the level 5 hours before we went out of town. Much to her suprise, they told her that they were not going to make a decision on whether she would stay at 4 or move on to 5 until the summer.

I do know that up until summer workouts, she had made great strides on learning her skills. I work so I haven't been able to watch any of her summer work outs. She missed one week in June for vacation, the week of the 4th of July and a week when the coaches decided to unexpectedly take the week off.

I ask her everyday if she got anything new that day and what they did. The answer "the usual stuff". Not much on the details!!

So two weeks ago the meet schedule went out for the fall. I emailed the coaches and asked what she would be competing at. A week and a half went by, no response. So I went to the gym and asked. One of the coaches said level 5 but that it is going to be "rough".

I just discovered last week that she doesn't know the beam routine at all and knows some of the floor. I know that she has been inconsistent on vault but is strong on the bars. (Bars is her thing.) I know that she is missing some skills but I don't know what they are and even worse, I know nothing about gymnastics!!

I am concerned that she isn't going to be ready and will crash and burn the first meet. It is the 6th of September.

Shouldn't her coaches have her better prepared??? Shouldn't they be refining routines at this point and the girls KNOW the routines or is this normal?? Keeping in mind, the other 7 girls have already competed once as 5's and have known the routines since January.

I have emailed the coaches and asked if we could talk. I don't want to set my daughter up for a season of failure but I also don't want it to be a season of boredom either. The coach that I spoke with said that she feels there wasn't really anything left for her in level 4.

Any insight????
I was in the same position a few years ago. I wasn't sure whether I would do level 4 over again (it was my first year, and I didn't have a fantastic season), or whether I'd try 5. I wound up moving to 5. I didn't have a good year there either. I made it to sectionals, but couldn't get to state. Looking back on it now, it was a really good decision to move up and give 5 a whirl. It gave me learning experience for the next season and motivated me to go back to the gym over the summer and work my booty off so I could win next season! As it turns out, I stayed a level 5 the next season but went on to win almost every floor title of the season and beam at states! Maybe this is what the coaches are planning to do with your dd. I'd just trust them. If she did decent at level 4, I don't think there'd be much reason to stay there (besides maybe a psychological thing).

I hope I helped! Best of luck this next season. :D
You mentioned focus concerns, and since the L5 routines are more complicated than level 4, that could be why it's taking it her longer to pick up on them. I'm guessing by "rough" the coach means she has the skills but the "details" haven't been perfected, and since TX has a big field of pretty competitive compulsories, that could mean she might not place as well as she was used to in level 4.

If I were you I would do exactly what you did. Ask to talk to the coaches in person (privately). Try to get them to set up a time to do this. Not after practice. If there are parents, other gymnasts, siblings, the child in question around, I feel like I can't do anything other than hedge or be vague. So the end of practice when everyone is milling about won't be a good time to get info I don't think. Get them to commit to a sit down meeting. When you go, ask them about your daughter's progress and their expectations for her. As long as you keep it to "I" statements I think it will be productive and they won't get defensive (i.e. "I am interested in how Sally is progressing and I don't have a firm grasp of the expectations beyond level 4" rather than "you never tell me anything").

See where it goes. If they aren't specific say "I know you work with a lot of girls, but I am new to competitive gymnastics and I would appreciate if you could tell me specifically what my daughter needs to work on and where you feel the best level/group is for her." Don't give all of this information to your DD (and let them know you won't), only what she asks and only in positive terms like "the coaches think you should work with the level 5s because you have the skills, but they think you will do better and get more awards in level 4 competitions" (or whatever they say).

I think a lot of times coaches worry something will be misunderstood and everything reported to the child and possibly lower the child's confidence in the coaches and her own performance. Let them know you just don't understand and want to work with them for what is best for your DD, and that they can tell you things in confidence and you present realistic and mostly positive terms to your DD. I am not saying lie to her of course but I'm sure you know what I mean, and establishing that with the coaches could help them open up if they know you aren't trying to "manage a career" for your DD and just want to understand.
As far as not knowing the routines, could you maybe do a private lesson or two?

For me, my first year at each level was abysmal(excpet level 7 for whatever reason). The second year, I did really really well. I think it's good to get oyur feet wet; you're more motivated then to have a better year. I was also older when I was at your DD level, so it was easier for me to deal with. I was 10 my first year of 4, 12 my first of 5, and so on... I'll put it this way: my first year of level 5, I think I was 3 or 4 POINTS away from making state. My second year, there were no meets where I didn't get the qualifying score. Best of luck!
Hi crazygymom, i sent you a private message regarding your question about your daughter.

As far as not knowing the routines, could you maybe do a private lesson or two?

For me, my first year at each level was abysmal(excpet level 7 for whatever reason). The second year, I did really really well. I think it's good to get oyur feet wet; you're more motivated then to have a better year. I was also older when I was at your DD level, so it was easier for me to deal with. I was 10 my first year of 4, 12 my first of 5, and so on... I'll put it this way: my first year of level 5, I think I was 3 or 4 POINTS away from making state. My second year, there were no meets where I didn't get the qualifying score. Best of luck!
Interestingly enough, our gym is not big on privates. Last year she was having a situation with the leap on the beam. I think it was more that she was scared than anything. But she kept getting low scores on the beam so I asked if she could do a private. This was mid way through the season. The coaches kinda blew me off so I didn't persue it. As it turned out, her scores on beam remained low.

From my understanding, it's a big jump from the level 4 to level 5 beam routine. To me it seems that the routine is longer. She has the cartwheel but it's all the other stuff inbetween that scares me!!
Just a thought here.... is your dd a visual learner. I bought my dd the USGA DVD of the routines. They she can watch them at her pace and replay parts that are sketchy to her.

Just an idea!!
I did for level 5 and 6. I also got the CD with the verbal commands for the floor routine. I am hoping this will help!!
I would clarify with the coach about not being consistent with skills and where she is in learning routines. If there are some skills she is just not doing yet then that can be a big problem since there is no way for her to really learn the complete routine. If its learning the routines, then there still is work to do, but its not quite as bad. Our compulsory girls start the same weekend as your team does and they are all doing routine run throughs and polishing skills.

You are correct that L5 is more demanding and tougher than L4. Routines are longer, more dance and the judges expect to see better execution. Might want to discuss privates again with the coach and even the possibility of her missing a meet or 2 to make sure she has the skills and routines down solidly. While you do want her to be challenged and have something to work toward, you don't want a child feeling defeated after the 1st meet.

One other thought. When my gymmie was compulsory, there was a girl on the team who did have trouble focusing long enough to get routines down. The coach would put her on beam or floor behind my gymmie(who has a memory like an elephant) and she would "shadow" my daughter until she got comfortable with the routines. Sometimes kids learn better from each other.
My dd has ADHD also which is why she did 3 yrs as a level 4 and is just now moving to level 5. I think my dd learns it best from breaking the routines down into sections and shadowing someone doing the routines. I hope whatever level they put her in she does well. My dd does better in smaller practice groups and privates than in larger groups she gets too distracted and doesnt keep on task.
Learning the routines are not hard. All of the gross deductions are in the skills. There are some deductions for changing of text, but the athlete would have to be way way off the path of the routine to recieve those kind of deductions. I have the girls work the dance element or pose prior to the skill and the same after the skill in the workout. So when we start doing routines they are not so confused.

But over all trust your coach, he/she does not want your kid to fail of bomb, because that means he/she themselves have failed or bombed.
I would defintly be discussing your concerns with the hc and asking again about doing some privates .Can she skip the 1st meet and that way it will give her some more time to be prepared or do you have 2seperate seasons we have a fall starting in sept and a spring that starts in Jan if so maybe she can wait till the spring season to compete.My dd has a big problem with fully concentrating her eyes are always wondering her coaches are constantly telling her to look straight ahead .She has great balance so the beam has been her thing but she has trouble with the floor.
OK, I have been trying all week to get in touch with one of the coaches and apparently she has had something going on this week. I don't think she has been at the gym much. So it has been one coach with about 20 girls at various levels all week.

I sent an email to the two coaches (one of which is a co-owner) and the other co-owner telling them my concerns and that I am considering bumping her to level 4 or having her miss the first meet. And that I want to meet with them on Monday.

After I do this I recieve a phone call from one of the moms. She asks me if my daughter talked to me about what happened on Wednesday. Apparently the one coach that has been there this week (the co-owner) got frustrated with my daughter about arching her back and cursed at her in front of all the other girls and then walked off. I haven't had a chance to talk to my daughter yet but I have a feeling that this did happen.

I don't know what to do now. I really don't want to move my daughter again. This time last year, this gym was a perfect fit but obviously not anymore.
You certainly are right to have some concerns. Lack of communication seems to be a big one. Then there is the problem of a coach not being around(could have been an emergency) and left a 1:20 ratio. Not good at all especially with the 1st meet about 1 month away. My biggest concern would be the alleged cursing. Ask your dd if anyone said anything bad to her this week or yelled. Don't put words in her mouth---see what she says. Sometimes kids are very reluctant to come home and tell parents that something bad happened fearing you'll go to the coach, the coach was right, you'll pull her out of the gym etc. Did this mom actually hear the coach or is this what her dd is telling her? If the mom did hear the coach, then I would be more than a little upset. That is totally inappropriate behavior dealing with children and shouldn't be tolerated.
The mother didn't hear it, her daughter came home and told her. This girl is a little older than mine and I can't imagine her making up something like this. Apparently this coach has been yelling at them all summer. The little girl also said that he goes through their snacks and if they don't have anything healthy to eat, he throws it away. And that he has done this to one little girl.

I just found all of this out so I haven't had a chance to run it by my daughter. I do find all of this very disturbing though. I am all for discipline but this is a little much!!

I think part of the problem is that all the parents are at work and know one is there to really see what is or isn't going on. Unfortunately it is hard for me to get information out of my daughter. I think I am going to have to call in sick on Monday and go and sit at the gym all day.
:hug: I'm sorry if this is happening to your dd and the others.

Coaches just dont understand ADHD and tend to think they are just being difficult. But it sounds like this coach is WAY over the top and there is not the proper comunication.

The other day my dd got in trouble because her focus was not there of course she didnt sleep well so her meds didnt even touch her ADD and I felt like I shouldnt have even brought her to practice. Its hard enough being the parent of a gymnast much less a gymnast with ADHD and still letting the coach coach them but still being their advocate around people that have no clue.
I finally set down with the coaches today and we decided to let her compete the first two meets as a level 4. Our third meet is at our gym and she will compete level 5 for the first time at that meet. I feel this will help her tremedously!! Thanks everyone for all of your advice!! Good luck to everyone this compulsary season!!

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