Parents Looking for some help regarding preteam & privates

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Jkgg05

Proud Parent
My daughter has been doing the basic tumbling classes since she was 3, once a week type deal. The class was very basic and didn't really teach her all that much. She excelled on her own just watching others, youtube clips etc and began to mimic what she saw. She started doing Cartwheels, Round offs, back bends and kick overs like it was nothing. We moved to a new gym only because her current place didn't really seem to care much about what she was doing and we wanted a bit more challenge for her

After 2 classes at the new gym they offered her for preteam since she just turned 4. They said their team starts at level 2 and they need to be 5 to compete but this would get her ready for that. The issue I had is that many of the parents openly complain about the place, while in the place. They aren't happy with the routines, the coaching etc and many are looking to move to other gyms in the area. So it was making me cautious if it is the right place. This has also led me to wonder how do you tell if the gym you are at is a good gym, or has good coaching compared to other gyms in the area? Since my daughter is still very young I am mostly concerned with her getting proper training on form and technique so she doesn't develop bad habits young that are even harder to break when she ages.

To piggy back this, we are at a play date where another mom there happen to be a coach and said that she would be best off having privates done that the one on one would be great for her to learn the skills and form she needs to make it onto the competitive team. I get what she was saying and my old kids had private lessons in various things (swim, baseball, boxing etc) and it helped them to excel early on, but I wasn't sure if it is worth it compared to doing the pre-team or if doing it selectively can help?

I know this post feels very jumbled, that how I feel in my head with all this. I know nothing about gymnastics as a sport (trying to learn now!) but I know my daughter has some kind of raw talent for her age and I just want to make sure I am getting her into the right gym, with the right coaches and the right program to succeed, as long as she wants it. Which right now this girl has the fire of hades for this! any help or advice is appreciated
 
Your daughter doesn't need privates at the age of 4.

How to tell if it's a good gym? How many upper level gymnasts do they have (level/8/9/10), are they all strapped up or looking healthy, what are their competition results like?

In the lower levels are skilled being chucked with no form or do their gymnasts have straight legs and tight bodies? Do you see them doing regular conditioning?

Good luck to your daughter, at this age the main thing is that she's safe and having fun.
 
Your daughter doesn't need privates at the age of 4.

How to tell if it's a good gym? How many upper level gymnasts do they have (level/8/9/10), are they all strapped up or looking healthy, what are their competition results like?

In the lower levels are skilled being chucked with no form or do their gymnasts have straight legs and tight bodies? Do you see them doing regular conditioning?

Good luck to your daughter, at this age the main thing is that she's safe and having fun.
I appreciate the reply!

I am so new to this and this world is so foreign to me that I do not even know how to look up all that info about the level gymnasts they have or how to find competition results or even what competitions the gym has competed in?

We have at least 8-10 gyms in our area so our options are abundant. I really am not overly concerned about pushing to have her compete, I just want to find a place that has quality coaches that will teach her properly. I have heard stories and seen it with my own eye in other sports where coaches who are not trained and teach kids incorrect techniques lead them to getting injured or just poor habits that are hard to break.

I am pretty sure she doesn't need private sessions at her age, I was just wondering if we did do one here or there in conjunction with a pre-team type settings if it would be a benefit for her to learn how to perform these skills properly.
 
In general, the whole point of pre-team is to prepare gymnast for the rigors of competitive gymnastics. There should be no need for private lessons at this stage of the game because the pre-team curriculum will cover all of the essentials. If you believe that the pre-team is lacking in quality, its would be better to find a different program than to invest in private lessons.
 
This has also led me to wonder how do you tell if the gym you are at is a good gym, or has good coaching compared to other gyms in the area?
Does the gym have a successful upper level optional team? Are they sending level 10s to college? If the answer is yes, then I wouldn’t worry. I’d also avoid the lobby, mom gossip if you can. And I agree with everyone else, you absolutely don’t need privates at this age. I used to know a couple parents who started their kids in privates around age 4/5 all through team… and they ALL quit by level 7.
 
You can look up your gym at mymeetscores.com. That can give you an idea how they do in competition, but it's not the whole picture. Generally gyms that do well at the compulsory levels are teaching good form UNLESS they are keeping most girls there for several years (repeating) which could indicate that they sandbag to have high scores. And yes, having good optional gymnasts can indicate good basics too. But, the other thing is if they have good level 8-10s, but those girls all came from other gyms, it's hard to use that to tell if your gym teaches good basics or if those girls got those basics elsewhere. The other red flag I look for in upper levels is how many girls quit the sport mid-season. We have a gym near us where I see several girls in the upper levels who came from other gyms, compete through maybe February and then never come back. At first I thought injury, but then I met some of those girls and they just weren't happy so they didn't even finish the season and moved on to other things. One other thing I look for is injuries. While injuries happen, for example, if you see the optional team and 5 out of 20 girls are in a boot, that is not a good sign. Excessive injuries can indicate issues with overtraining or training methods that are not sound.

However, I agree that privates at 4yo are not needed. IMO, privates should be for girls struggling with a specific skill or fear that need just a little extra help. If they are expected regularly, then the gym is just milking you for money.
 
You can look up your gym at mymeetscores.com. That can give you an idea how they do in competition, but it's not the whole picture. Generally gyms that do well at the compulsory levels are teaching good form UNLESS they are keeping most girls there for several years (repeating) which could indicate that they sandbag to have high scores. And yes, having good optional gymnasts can indicate good basics too. But, the other thing is if they have good level 8-10s, but those girls all came from other gyms, it's hard to use that to tell if your gym teaches good basics or if those girls got those basics elsewhere. The other red flag I look for in upper levels is how many girls quit the sport mid-season. We have a gym near us where I see several girls in the upper levels who came from other gyms, compete through maybe February and then never come back. At first I thought injury, but then I met some of those girls and they just weren't happy so they didn't even finish the season and moved on to other things. One other thing I look for is injuries. While injuries happen, for example, if you see the optional team and 5 out of 20 girls are in a boot, that is not a good sign. Excessive injuries can indicate issues with overtraining or training methods that are not sound.

However, I agree that privates at 4yo are not needed. IMO, privates should be for girls struggling with a specific skill or fear that need just a little extra help. If they are expected regularly, then the gym is just milking you for money.
Thank you for that I appreciate your reply and I will certainly look up the gyms in my area at the website you provided.

The Gym we are at now in now way every said anything about private lessons. They just offered her pre-team after 2 classes as they can see she is so far ahead of the other 4yo girls in that class. I was concerned in the class atmosphere that sometimes a kid can get lost especially if the coaches are working more with other kids and not getting them to do the fundamentals correctly. I have seen it so many times in other sports kids just get forgotten and they start doing a skill wrong and are never corrected and just pushed through. When that mom had said she should do private lessons, she would benefit so much more than a class etc it all sounded logical and made sense but I am also always looking at the angles of who is trying to get a cash grab. MY daughter is hyper focused and she takes correction and learns super quick so I don't doubt the woman I just think everything you all said about $ to what she will get at this age might just not be worth it and just stick with the pre-team and see how she does!

I have zero idea how good my daughter is or could be, she may up and not want to do gymnastics next year, I have no idea. My only concern #1 is she is having fun and enjoying what she does but 1b is her getting the right coaching to do these things properly and not get injured. If she competes one day, awesome! if not awesome!
 
Thank you all for the replies and the advice. This has been super difficult to navigate because i know NOTHING about this sport and how things work. If this was something more in my wheel house like Football, or Baseball I'd have a bit more knowledge. Being a dad of a fierce young lady is awesome and I want to ensure she is getting the best of the best to excel!

I started to research the gyms in our area, seeing how they did at competitions and trying to make heads or tails out of what all these scores mean, how to use that information to evaluate the coaching at these gyms etc. I did find that 2 of the gyms in my area are usually near the top of these competitions, and one is a top 100 gym with regards to level 10 gymnasts. There are 2 other places I had been looking into seem to be just below those 2 teams in competitions but have respectable showings. I also didn't know there were different types of organizations like USAG and USAIGC and the whole number levels vs the copper-gold levels type stuff. All of this just makes it that much harder to decide where I should place my daughter for her to get the best quality coaching she can now.

Is there anything else I can do to get a feel for the quality of coaching at a place before I decided where to put her? Certain questions to ask the gym, or groups to research about the certain gyms? Would their hours the pre-team trains be a concern if one place is 1 hour or 1.5 or 2 hours 2x a week? I know quality over quantity but at this point I just want to research and choose 1 place and hope to stick it out there for the full year and see how she progresses, I hate to switch based on a poor choice. I know this is a lot and I feel like I am rambling but I really don't know anyone with experience to talk to about this and I just want to ensure my daughter is getting quality coaching so she has the best chance to develop.
 
As she is so young just choose a couple that you like the look of that have high level gymnasts, see if she can be evaluated for pre-team and see what they offer you. The main thing at this age is that she's enjoying it and that if fits in with your families lifestyle. A lot of these questions will answer themselves as you go along. If you do find you need to switch gyms in the future don't worry about it, you're not ruining your 4 year olds chances of being a top gymnast by choosing the "wrong" gym now.
 
I agree that it's not super important where she is at this stage, as long as she is having fun, is safe and is progressing, but a few things I would consider.
First of all, if you think she has potential to go far, I would start her in DP (Development Program), i.e. USAG levels. You can always switch to USAIGC or Xcel or whatever later, but it is harder to switch to DP (unless the gym uses Xcel in place of DP compulsories. You said she was invited to preteam for Level 2, and that would be the perfect place to start competing.
Next, when looking up the scores at mymeetscores.com or other places, yes it is good if a gym has a good number of higher level gymnasts (level 8-10) and they are successful, but you can also click on a few individual girls to see where they started. I think it's a good sign when a gym has a good record of brining up the athletes from the lower level all the way up to level 10. Yes, things happens and people transfer gyms all the time, but if every single level 10 came in from somewhere else, maybe this is not the best place for lower level gymnastics.
Next, when you narrow it down to 2-3 options, go do a tryout and observe the practice. Do the girls seem happy, are there any screaming\tears\etc., are there many girls injured, etc.
Finally, choose the place where your daughter is the most happy and comfortable. Good luck and enjoy the ride!
 
I know this is a lot and I feel like I am rambling but I really don't know anyone with experience to talk to about this and I just want to ensure my daughter is getting quality coaching so she has the best chance to develop
You are already asking all the right questions and you have definitely come to the right place! Your feelings of confusion and uncertainty are very normal for new gymnastics parents.

There is no universally “correct” path your daughter should take at this phase of her gymnastics career. If you want to set her up for long term success, I think the most important thing you should do right now is get her in a preteam program that feeds into the USAG Development Program (“DP”). DP is the most popular track in the U.S. for reaching upper level gymnastics. Different gyms have different feeder programs for DP, so they might not necessarily call it “preteam.” But when you are researching different gyms, make it clear that you are interested in getting your daughter on that track.

As long as your daughter is on the DP track, she will have a better chance of switching gyms later in her career if you find a gym that is a better fit for her. You will hear in this forum that gymnastics is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s important that you regularly check in with your daughter and her coaches if she is “on track” based on her stated goals. At young ages (5-7) I think a good cadence for check-ins is two times times per year. Afterwards, I recommend yearly check-ins. A common trap that parents fall into is that they forget to reevaluate their daughters gymnastics education as she progresses through the sport. Over the years, goals change, coaches change, facilities change. You should also feel empowered to change based on new information that comes in.
 

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