Anon Should we stay…or should we go?

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Anonymous (f635)

So, situation: My daughter is currently at a gym she loves but they would like for her to repeat Level 2.

Backstory: She has been doing gymnastics for 5 years (started at rec and spent 2 years on pre-team at another gym). She joined her current gym team this year at 7yrs old and competed Level 2 this season. This was her first year competing and upon joining the new gym her forms was really bad and it took a few months to get her to the level of the other girls in strength.

She just completed states and her coach just informed me that she would have to repeat level 2 due to her form on bars. Throughout the season, she’s placed above 9s in every event and was consistently around a 36/37 AA. To be fair, she is not perfect and has areas of opportunity with her shaping in all events. At every meet she was pretty middle of the crowd at awards (always between 5-6th place AA). Repeating is pretty common at her gym and the coach believes if she repeats L2 her form will improve and she will build more confidence from higher L2 scores. 3 girls on her current team have repeated and this has been the case. All of them typically placing 1st or 2nd with 38+ AA. She has been up training and already have a clean ROBHS and all level 3 requirements.

My concern is, she is in the second grade, has just turned 8yrs old and I fear she will be held back from progressing with her age group (She is currently one of the older girls on the L2 team and will be even older next year). The gym is known for putting “older girls” in Xcel and not being open to them ever moving to optional from there.
Her gym is the only gym within an hour drive that has a track record of producing college athletes but I am willing to travel to get my daughter the best training for her potential. I just don’t want to fail her by staying in a situation too long where she is not growing. (I did that at her last gym and truly regret it). i don’t want her goals of higher level gymnastics being shattered. I asked what she would like to do and she said “stay and show that she is good enough” but as a mom I’m not sure they haven’t wrote her off already. Her dad wants her to quit all together (but that’s another story lol)so he is no help …I am just so confused. She loves gymnastics and I just want to set her up for long term success.

Question: should I explore other gyms in the area to evaluate her skills and possibly move or should I allow her to repeat level 2?
 
So, situation: My daughter is currently at a gym she loves but they would like for her to repeat Level 2.

Backstory: She has been doing gymnastics for 5 years (started at rec and spent 2 years on pre-team at another gym). She joined her current gym team this year at 7yrs old and competed Level 2 this season. This was her first year competing and upon joining the new gym her forms was really bad and it took a few months to get her to the level of the other girls in strength.

She just completed states and her coach just informed me that she would have to repeat level 2 due to her form on bars. Throughout the season, she’s placed above 9s in every event and was consistently around a 36/37 AA. To be fair, she is not perfect and has areas of opportunity with her shaping in all events. At every meet she was pretty middle of the crowd at awards (always between 5-6th place AA). Repeating is pretty common at her gym and the coach believes if she repeats L2 her form will improve and she will build more confidence from higher L2 scores. 3 girls on her current team have repeated and this has been the case. All of them typically placing 1st or 2nd with 38+ AA. She has been up training and already have a clean ROBHS and all level 3 requirements.

My concern is, she is in the second grade, has just turned 8yrs old and I fear she will be held back from progressing with her age group (She is currently one of the older girls on the L2 team and will be even older next year). The gym is known for putting “older girls” in Xcel and not being open to them ever moving to optional from there.
Her gym is the only gym within an hour drive that has a track record of producing college athletes but I am willing to travel to get my daughter the best training for her potential. I just don’t want to fail her by staying in a situation too long where she is not growing. (I did that at her last gym and truly regret it). i don’t want her goals of higher level gymnastics being shattered. I asked what she would like to do and she said “stay and show that she is good enough” but as a mom I’m not sure they haven’t wrote her off already. Her dad wants her to quit all together (but that’s another story lol)so he is no help …I am just so confused. She loves gymnastics and I just want to set her up for long term success.

Question: should I explore other gyms in the area to evaluate her skills and possibly move or should I allow her to repeat level 2?
Explore other gyms in the area 100%. As a gymnast who has had to switch gyms multiple times to reach the level that I am currently at, it is totally worth it if she is serious about the sport. Gyms that have the girls repeat levels multiple times often have those girls repeat EACH level several times, so this is an issue that will likely continue to occur yearly. There are gyms out there with equally good coaching that allow the kids to progress much more quickly so that they can reach the higher levels faster and have extra years at those higher levels to perfect their skills which is in my opinion the better and less discouraging of the two methods.
 
Hi! I think that you should talk to her and see how she feels about it. Does she feel she is held back from progressing and that she is bored of being in level 2? Does she feel challenged by the skills she does at practice and or competition? At my gym I have noticed it seems the second the girls learn a round off BHS, they are moved up to level 3. She should be at a gym where she is challenged in her skills but also being able to perform her skills safely and able to score in low to mid 9s. From what it seems like, your gym is more focused on creating girls that win at comps than girls that are challenged to progress. Scoring a 36-37 is perfectly acceptable at a meet and especially considering nerves, I bet your dd flexed a extra foot or two during comp. I would try out another gym for at least a pratice/ week and go from there.
 
How about a really open and honest conversation with the gym. Explain what your DD’s goals are and and your concern about her age and being discouraged as a result of competing and being with younger girls.

You may hit a brick wall and they won’t help, they may be set in their ways and not happy to make any exceptions, in which case check out other gyms.
 
Evaluate the potential impact on her age group placement and long-term goals. If staying in Level 2 for another year would still allow her to progress appropriately within her age group, it might be acceptable. However, if it significantly hinders her ability to move forward with girls of similar age, you might need to weigh this against the benefits of repeating.
 
Personally, if a gym is having kids repeat level 2, I'm of the run away mindset. I don't even like competing level 2. It's a really inefficient use of time in my opinion, especially if she was already over a 9 average. If repeating level 2 is something that happens a lot, either those kids shouldn't be in DP or the gym has standards I don't agree with.
 
I would first communicate concerns expressed here to the gym, ask that she be moved to 3 and if they push back I would switch gyms. My daughter scored high 8’s in level 2 at 5 yrs old and moved on to 3 and scored all low to mid 9’s. Level 2 and 3 are not even necessary as you can enter the program at level 4 technically. It sounds like if you stay at the gym your daughter will be in xcel eventually due to her age if the hold her back. We switched gyms due to coaching issues in level 3 and I can’t say we regret it one bit. Go with your gut instinct.
 
You are if a bit of a pickle. I would not be happy having my dd repeat L2 after scoring 9s on all events. It's an intro level, meant to ease gymnasts into competition. If she needs to work on form, she can do that as she is training/competing L3. Having said that, I also would not be willing to drive 60+ minutes for compulsory gymnastics. If the gym routinely repeats level 2 but then the gymnasts progress yearly beyond that, I would probably stay the year and see what happens. If they are uptraining, then she should not be bored repeating the level.
 
OP here: Thank you all for your advice and suggestions. I took my daughter to another gym in the area to be evaluated and she had so much fun. I literally have not seen her smiling that much in so long. Her current gym does not up-train much and she was able to work on Kips and more advanced floor and vault at the new gym during practice. They put her with a training L3/L4 group to practice and she was fitting in perfectly with the girls. After the individual evaluation of her skills, the head coach for the new gym would like for her to start L3 while they work on correcting some form issues.

I am still on the fence regarding moving gyms (I really like her current coaches and the parents) but I have until after the holidays to decide. Her current gym is also well known and really top heavy with level 8-10s (mostly transfers) but the new gym not as much. I asked my daughter what she wants to do (I am worried about her missing her friends at her current gym). She said verbatim “I will make new friends, I want to go to the other one” lol. She is 7 (almost 8) and I think she is just on a high from the new skills she was able to practice during her visits. I just want to make the best decision for her in the long run. A plus is both gyms are same distance from our home and around same yearly cost.
 
OP here: Thank you all for your advice and suggestions. I took my daughter to another gym in the area to be evaluated and she had so much fun. I literally have not seen her smiling that much in so long. Her current gym does not up-train much and she was able to work on Kips and more advanced floor and vault at the new gym during practice. They put her with a training L3/L4 group to practice and she was fitting in perfectly with the girls. After the individual evaluation of her skills, the head coach for the new gym would like for her to start L3 while they work on correcting some form issues.

I am still on the fence regarding moving gyms (I really like her current coaches and the parents) but I have until after the holidays to decide. Her current gym is also well known and really top heavy with level 8-10s (mostly transfers) but the new gym not as much. I asked my daughter what she wants to do (I am worried about her missing her friends at her current gym). She said verbatim “I will make new friends, I want to go to the other one” lol. She is 7 (almost 8) and I think she is just on a high from the new skills she was able to practice during her visits. I just want to make the best decision for her in the long run. A plus is both gyms are same distance from our home and around same yearly cost.
I wouldn't be happy at all having my kid repeat a level that isn't considered necessary in the first place, but I agree with a previous poster on not being willing to drive an hour for compulsories either. I would look at the long-term, bigger picture. Sure, it's much more fun for her to move up faster now, but if this gym doesn't have much of an upper level team will you be in the position of wishing you'd stayed put in another few years? If a lot of girls transfer in to your current gym at the upper levels it speaks to their ability to coach to that level and produce recruitable gymnasts, which the new (much further away) gym may not be able to offer. Do the upper level girls generally seem happy? Do you like the coaches, and do you hear anything about how they treat their athletes? The overall culture and ability to grow with the program is more important that the level for one season. But I do think repeating l2 is silly.
 
The gym is using your gymnast and others to build up their trophy collection for future recruiting.

It's one thing to hold a gymnast back competition wise so that they can learn and uptrain new skills without having to compete them it's another thing entirely to focus on winning low level competitions while not providing a way to grow during practices.
 
If a lot of girls transfer in to your current gym at the upper levels it speaks to their ability to coach to that level and produce recruitable gymnasts, which the new (much further away) gym may not be able to offer. Do the upper level girls generally seem happy? Do you like the coaches, and do you hear anything about how they treat their athletes? The overall culture and ability to grow with the program is more important that the level for one season. But I do think repeating l2 is silly.
Yes. The upper level girls seem happy (about 80% of them are transfers start at L7). The coaches and owners are amazing and the gym culture overall is supportive.
However, with so many talented girls at the gym, it’s a major focus on winning and being top team at meets. My daughter typically averages around 9.0 in every event and is at the bottom of her group of girls of her team …even though she always hits the podium every meet, she is never number 1-3 AA. Which factored in her being held back. That and her form could be better. Most of the girls who repeat are typically top of podium. They also do not uptrain during the season. We current live in rural area and travel 45 mins to her current gym..the new gym is 50mins away in the other direction. So about the same distance. Nothing is really closer than that.
 
When does meet season start for the next season when they want her to do 2 again?
 
Compulsory starts in fall. So around Sept 2024
That's even more ridiculous then that they are already saying she should repeat 2. Our meet season is usually Nov/Dec to March/April. We find out the kids' levels mid August after they have many months of solely working on skills for the next level.
 
What?! Now that is absurd. They don’t think she’ll be ready for 3 in 9 months?? Do their coaches mainly focus on the upper levels and leave the younger ones to much less experienced coaches??
Exactly! She has 9 months to get her form and she already has the skills, it’s just cleaning it up. All of compulsory 1-4 has the same 4 coaches. They are a mix of high tenure coaches and 1 newer one. They each are over a specific event and make recommendations. She has to be recommended by all 4 coaches to move forward. Her bars coach feels she is not ready, so she is held back. All season her lowest bar score was 8.9 (her very first meet ever) and highest 9.5. However, I was told they “do not look at meet scores but what she does at practice” ….she is not the only one being held back, out of 15 girls about 6 are repeating.
 

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