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Old 09-28-2012, 07:01 AM   #3
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Re: Talk to me about competitive gymnastics

Originally Posted by z2akids View Post
Honestly, I think that there are a couple of girls in her current class who are more advanced than she is, although I think that some of them may have been attending for longer. I think part of what the coach sees is my daughter's desire and also the balance and technique that comes from her dance training. Part of me also wonders if they are simply looking to fill space in their pre-team and she fits some profile they are looking for.
First of all, disclaimer: I gymnastics!! But to the quoted, all of the above is correct. Although the naturally talented kids (I'm not saying your dd isn't one of them, I'm just responding to your statement that you think there are girls in her class more advanced than she is) will first stand out to the coach, that's not what they are always looking for. In competitive gymnastics, talent will only get you so far; it's the attitude and work ethic that will drive them. (Oh, one of my girls competed and I currently work at a gymnastics facility.) It's not straight across the board every time, but from what I have seen, the naturally talented kids end up quitting because frankly, it's hard as hell.

I do think 5 weeks is a little short to determine if your dd is ready for pre-team or not. Also, I'm not sure where you live and I know the competition season slightly varies from region to region (assuming you are in the U.S), but for us, it's way too late to be considering new kids for team at this point. Our kids will have their first competition in November. Season ends mid-March. The May timeframe is when we form our new teams and we do take some over the summer that have decided to leave their current gym and come to us, or have just moved into town, etc.

I do think the price they are charging is reasonable. Our facility charges $150/month for 3 hours for pre-team. I completely disagree with the pp about it being a money maker. At our gym, our money maker is the rec program. We honestly break even with team. We do it because we believe in the sport, not to make money. Our optional kids pay $325/month for about 20 hours a week. If you consider there are approx 4.5 weeks in a month, they are paying $3.61/hour for serious gymnastics training.

Our gym does not do Level 3s. They are just pre-team and they do not compete. For a few years, we did try the Level 3 thing since it seemed like just the regular pre-team worked so hard and never got to showcase it, but just this year we have gone back to just plain, old pre-team with no competitions for them. By the end of the year (like I said, March for us), our pre-team girls will have all their Level 4 skills down. When we had a competing Level 3 team, they spent the season concentrating on Level 3 competition skills and were less prepared for Level 4. When our pre-team learns Level 4 skills, we have a solid team at Level 4 (and during that season, they work Level 5 skills)...some kids (really only 1 or maybe 2) can even skip Level 4 and go to 5. Personally, I don't recommend skipping levels unless there is a solid reason behind it, like someone started gymnastics at an older age and is determined to compete in college.

Level 3 doesn't seem like a huge commitment to me (we are used to two-a-days and 24+ hours/week) but I know it is to a lot of families. You said you are used to juggling a lot of activities so that won't be a shock to you. But, it is a family commitment. During competition season, there will be a lot of traveling. I guess that depends on your gym, too. When we did a competing Level 3, we only took them to close meets. Regardless, it truly is a family commitment. Our younger 3 kids had to sacrifice so that our oldest could compete for as long as she did.

Let me know what you guys decide! If mine wanted to do it, I totally would. My 2nd daughter was a very talented recreational gymnast and I wanted her to compete like her big sister SO bad, but she didn't want to. (She did go the competitive dance route--I think that's even more craycray than gym!) I think a trial period is great for now, but if you decide to commit for the year, 4 hours a week is not that bad. It's not as fun as recreational gymnastics at times. These girls will have to condition and do strength training and it's not as fun as being on the equipment.
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