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Old 09-28-2012, 11:11 AM   #11
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Re: Talk to me about competitive gymnastics

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Originally Posted by Psychomom View Post
Reading the other responses, I just want to add that yes, it's true about the increase in commitment (both hours and fees) from year to year, but I wouldn't let that stop me from trying pre-team this year. You never know...your daughter may decide on her own in a couple of years that she doesn't want to continue. It doesn't mean the training she has put in was a waste. My daughter "retired" from gymnastics at 14 years old and is incredibly strong and could have picked up nearly any sport she wanted to. She opted for cross country and was the only freshman female to make the varsity team in high school, attributed to her gymnastics training.
I agree! I'm not trying to dissuade just giving info.

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Old 09-28-2012, 12:01 PM   #12
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Re: Talk to me about competitive gymnastics

Thanks everyone for all of the comments. What really amuses me is that I was wary to put her in gymnastics in the first place because I see it being something that goes from rec to serious really quickly. That's what I loved about her dancing for a studio that was performance rather than competition based. But, at 7 1/2 she was old enough to decide what she wanted to do. I will let her lead on this decision in terms of whether she is willing to make that commitment of time and effort. We are willing to financially support the kids when they make choices like this.

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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.
Thank you so much for all of the information. The pre-team has their meets in February - May, so there is a little more time to start working. I got a nice long email back this morning from the head coach. Apparently there are currently 11 girls on the pre-team and only 4 of them started before this fall session and all were pulled from the advanced beginner level.

We are going to go tonight and try out a session as well as both of them next week. I want to see how she handles a full week of school and coming home on Friday only to have to go straight to 2 hours at the gym. I think that will give me a decent idea of whether she wants it or not. I do think she will gain a lot from the extra gym time. Right now she spends time every evening in the play room begging to be spotted and praticing her hand stands, roundups and trying desperately to do a back walkover from a bridge. She always loved dance, but when she was home, she never practiced on her own, so I see a difference in her excitemet (at least at this point). DH and I are the kind of people to make the kids honor their committments to their choices, but also don't force the kids to continue something they don't like. So, if she does choose to do this, we would be in it for the year (barring good reasons), but she wouldn't be forced to continue through the years if she chose to stop.

Fortunately, at this stage the financial commitment isn't a burden. We have friends whose daughter is a level 5 or 6 - honestly I don't really know the differences at this point. Their fees are higher, but talking to her, it still wouldn't be unreasonable for us.

I didn't quite understand the differences between the pre-team and the team competitions from my brief conversation with the coach. Apparently at this level they are scored differently or not in competition with other girls, but against themselves.

I have watched the level 5 (I think) girls practicing while we are there for her classes. The coaches seem to push them hard, but I haven't heard any complaints or seen any sign that the girls are being pushed beyond reason. I see them working on the fine technique stuff on the floor (the pointed toes, and other stuff like that) and Abby just watches those girls and is amazed wanting to do what they are doing.

We started at a different gym because they had an amazing summer class groupon. But, Abby was commenting to me last night that she likes this gym better because she is learning more. She commented on a couple of technique things that this coach told her with her skills that the other gym didn't correct. The fact that she notices that sort of detail in the coaching tells me that she is really paying attention and gobbling up all of the learning she can.

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Originally Posted by sojomisa View Post
I'd be willing to bet they can see her prior training in the way she moves her body. Ballet is a great stepping stone to gymnastics as it teaches them how to manage their feet and use their core.

I would absolutely let her try pre-team if she wants to, your in the gym commitment and fees are very reasonable. Keep in mind the fees and commitment go up each year as she progresses.

My dd has been taking gymnastics for 4 years and is now a level 6. She moved from rec to level 3 in just a few months, and our in the gym commitment was about 2-3 hours a week. Level 4 was 10.5, level 5 was 11 and level 6 is 14. If I remember right next year, level 7 will be 20 hours per week.

As far as competing goes, we have about 7 meets a season including states. They are usually drivable on the day of the competition and take anywhere from 10 minutes to 1.5 hours to get to, and are an all day affair after it's all said and done. Last year our state meet was in Ocean City so we made a 3 day weekend out of it and hung out with the team. DH and I usually take turns taking her to meets due to having a baby and older boy who takes karate and plays soccer. We usually all go to the meet our gym actually hosts.

Good luck to her! Our season is starting later this year and a couple of months we have 2 meets a month so that will be new to juggle but she is excited to start competing again.
Thanks. It sounds like moving from rec to 3 after a summer and 1/2 a session may not be too unusual. I think what prompted this was last Saturday we went to an open gym session and Abby spent most of the time with the head coach working on back bend/back walk over with her spotting. So the head coach saw quite a bit of her that day and then yesterday she followed the class with a big binder making notes and then pulled us aside after class. lol

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Originally Posted by shortcake2386 View Post
i used to coach competitive gymnastics. imo if she isnt DYING to compete id stay where she is. if she really really wants to compete move her up. the price actually is good. keep in mind that the competitive coaches (should be) USAA/AAU certified and get paid more than the rec coaches. the skills are harder and the pace is faster, more work for the coaches. does preteam compete? if not i dont see the need for the $300 fees since she wont need team leos, competition fees, etc. definitely try it for a week or two before you commit.(btw we used to pull kids from rec classes but not to "fill a spot". only if they were good enough to do well on team)
Thanks for this. I just don't want to be the new sucker at the gym. lol She is a pretty competitive child in general and I think she will enjoy competing.



So, I will update tonight after she tries the first session.
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Old 09-28-2012, 12:06 PM   #13
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My sister was in competitive gymnastics until she was 9. She quit because it was taking over their lives. Seriously taking over. She was at the gym almost all waking hours of the day that she wasn't in school. If you do other activities I would highly suggest keeping it recreational.
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:10 PM   #14
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Re: Talk to me about competitive gymnastics

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It sounds like moving from rec to 3 after a summer and 1/2 a session may not be too unusual. I think what prompted this was last Saturday we went to an open gym session and Abby spent most of the time with the head coach working on back bend/back walk over with her spotting. So the head coach saw quite a bit of her that day and then yesterday she followed the class with a big binder making notes and then pulled us aside after class. lol
In our gym, it would be extremely unusual for someone to move to pre-team that quickly. We pick kids to try out for the competition teams from the Level 3 & 4 recreational classes. It can take a couple of years to go from a beginning Level 1 to a Level 3 or 4 in the rec program. From there, they do have to "audition" and some are chosen, some are not.

The exception to that is with the really young kids. When we have "tots" (3-4 years old) that really show a lot of talent, they are moved into Tots II and then Hot Shots classes with the intention of going straight to pre-team once they are old enough.

I'm willing to bet your dd's dance background and flexibility really stood out to the coach! I can't wait to hear what you and she thought!
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Old 09-28-2012, 10:10 PM   #15
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Re: Talk to me about competitive gymnastics

That's very kind of you.

She was exhausted tonight. But, she had an amazing time today. She wasn't particularly fond of the 20 minutes of warmups that they did, but I don't know many people who particularly love that aspect of sports.

I was very impressed with how much they taught in the short amount of time. They worked on floor skills, bars and beam. I was pretty amazed by how much she learned and was able to do by the end of the class. Just a couple of weeks ago she couldn't get onto the bar by herself and tonight she was doing a couple of different rolls around them. I was pleased to see that the coaches actively repositioned the girls to make sure that they were performing the skills properly. I would definitely say that she was in the middle in most of the activities today with a couple of areas being toward the lower end of skill and a couple where she was close to the top.

She said she likes it better than her rec class. We are definitely going to attend the Monday session and see how it goes. I am leaning toward allowing her to try it. I think that she will advance more quickly in this group than where she is. Even after 2 hours at the gym, she was still working on her handstands when she got home.

So, I guess my thoughts are -

It looks like it will be a great opportunity for her to really increase her skills. At her skill level there aren't classes that meet that often in the rec side. As quickly as she was picking things up tonight, I think perhaps sticking with the rec side will wind up holding her back.

On the other side. At this level competition is likely to be all about the participation ribbon sort of thing. I'm really not into feel good participation ribbons. So, I would prefer to wait to actually compete until the competition is a true competition, if that makes sense.

So, I'm going to talk to the head coach on Moday. I think we will ultimately decide to participate and perhaps only attend a couple of the meets to get a feel for them.
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Old 09-29-2012, 06:21 AM   #16
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Re: Talk to me about competitive gymnastics

Yay! I'm glad she liked it! My dd liked pre-team better than rec to because they did more. I hope she continues to enjoy it.
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Old 09-29-2012, 10:02 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by z2akids
On the other side. At this level competition is likely to be all about the participation ribbon sort of thing. I'm really not into feel good participation ribbons. So, I would prefer to wait to actually compete until the competition is a true competition, if that makes sense.
I hear you! But get some clarification first because at the meets our Level 3s did, they were scored and placed. It might have been smaller breakdowns so more kids could stand on the podium, but the actual team awards are earned.
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:44 AM   #18
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Re: Talk to me about competitive gymnastics

Just wanted to update and thank everyone for their help.

Abby officially starts as a Silver Star tomorrow night. I had an opportunity to talk with the other parents on Monday and everyone seems generally happy with the program. My daughter has already become fast friends with several of the girls and at this stage having fun while learning new skills is huge IMO. So, we add to our already busy schedule.
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Old 02-09-2013, 11:27 PM   #19
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Re: Talk to me about competitive gymnastics -- UPDATE post 19

We are 2 meets into her short season. She is having a BLAST. The first meet they didn't give out places. She was very happy to get 4 red (8.0-8.95) ribbons. The meet today included places. They did places by age for her level. There were 8 teams there. Abby did amazing. She placed 2nd in Floor and Beam and 3rd on Bars in the 7 year old age group. She placed 2nd overall in her age! She also got her first 9. A 9.1 on floor. Her team came in 2nd overall as well.

You should have seen her smile up on that podium.

DH and I knew she was doing well. But, we are both amazed at how well she is doing after less than 6 months in any gymnastics class. The head coach at her gym obviously saw something in her and I no longer worry that she was just looking to fill out a team. Sure, Abby could have continued in rec and done fine. But she is progressing so quickly with pre-team.

Anyway, I wanted to update and thank everyone for their thoughts. She is having a great time. She was a little stressed before her beam routine. It is her favorite and she REALLY wanted a 9. Her teammate got one and before her turn I could see he crossing her fingers. She got an 8.9. She was still happy, but I think it spurred a bit of her competitive nature. But, nothing too bad.

We are willing to help her continue as long as she is having fun. Is it terrible though that as a mom I saw little things I know she could have done better that would have made a difference between #2 and #1. A little bobble on her kickover. Too long holding the beam to steady herself on the beam after her handstand and an extra little step on her bar dismount. She was so close. I don't want to become that mom.
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Old 02-10-2013, 01:21 AM   #20
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I'm do glad she's doing well. I used to reach pre-team up through level 4. It is very exciting as a couch to see a little girl with the talent, drive and desire to get better. Glad she found something she loves!
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