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Old 05-13-2010, 09:40 PM   #1
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Gymnastics Question for Those with Experience

My 5 year old (will be 6 in July) got invited to join a competitive boys team. It will require a 1 year contract, so we can't change our minds once we sign up. Practice will be 6 hours a week and they will attend about 10 meets.
Do you think this is too much for a 6 year old? What are the benefits to doing it this young? I worry that he will hate it by the end of the year. At the same time I can't help but wish that my parents had helped push me a little into doing something. Long run we are talking possible college scholarship, help in life in general due to the discipline, and a minute chance at the Olympics.
What are your thoughts on this?

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Old 05-13-2010, 09:46 PM   #2
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Re: Gymnastics Question for Those with Experience

My 5 year old will be starting competitive next year. Although we dont sign a contract, you are pretty much dedicated with the $$ put in, team fund, registration fees, uniforms, traveling, etc. Our lowest level (level 4) starts out 10 hours a week for practices, split up into 3 days. It is a lot but we homeschool, so we'll see her most of the day. And 90% of all the higher level competitve gymnasts are homeschool because of the hours they put in at the gym. I would follow your instinct, ask your son. It is a big commitment whether you sign a contract or not.
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Old 05-13-2010, 09:51 PM   #3
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Re: Gymnastics Question for Those with Experience

i think he will love it 6 hours sounds like 2 afternoons a week so not too time consuming and the meets will be split up between 6-8 months usually so again not a bunch at once. we never made parents sign a contract but team fees, leo $$ and such was due up front and non refundable. the monthly costs were paid month to month and on the rare occasion when someone stopped halfway through a season(i remember one girl moved...) they were not made to keep paying the instructional fees(but nothing was refunded either). i say ask him and if he wants to go for it. My boys team was sooooooooooo much fun. I actually preferred to coach them over the girls(less drama lol)
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Old 05-13-2010, 09:55 PM   #4
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Re: Gymnastics Question for Those with Experience

DD started at 5 on the competitive team... the meets are generally within a season so within a few to 6 months you will travel to 8 or so meets including state and regional .. Now we* had the option(out) to skip or miss 3 meets. these I decided were to be the furtherest and most inconvenient. It was fun and the kids had a blast,but, it was constant and alot of juggling the other kid's activities and time. But we practiced 3 days a week for 3 hours a day sooo it was a teeny bit longer.
Now if I had known that the gyms out there vary as much as they do I would have then, taken the time to explore more gyms and ask about policies and find out more about how the different systems work a little more..
ATM we are in an AAU competitive team this year moving into USAG. We started in USAG and I feel that she lost alot of her edge due to overtraining. she lost the fun of it for awhile, so we found a new gym.... I love AAU gymnastics they are much more laid back for the younger kids while still getting them the experience and the training they need.
IMO I couldn't commit to a year of money if I didn't know my child was going to be happy there 3 days a week FOR SURE. Look around call some places ask about team regulations AAU or USAG and find out some of the differences between them.. you may get a couple of free gym classes out of it if they want you to come try
Also do they not have a PReteam that he could get into first to make sure he is up to the hard work they do for team? they tend to do a lot of conditioning for the first hour and its not all that fun...

anyway I could ramble all day gtg to bed...Good luck I'll sub if you have any questions I* can help with as a mom to a 7yr old team gymnast
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Old 05-13-2010, 09:56 PM   #5
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Re: Gymnastics Question for Those with Experience

Thanks we already homeschool so I am not worried about the time away or really physically. I worry about emotional toll. He is perfectionistic and gets upset if he can't do things right the first time. Being told to do a handstand 20 times in a row will drive him crazy. I don't know if he could push through that without breaking down and crying. I think it may be a good thing for him to have to do it anyways.
We tried baseball last fall and he missed the ball once, so he sat down in the middle of the diamond and refused to budge. The coach had to carry him off the field and we never went back.
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Old 05-13-2010, 10:05 PM   #6
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Re: Gymnastics Question for Those with Experience

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Originally Posted by Graceless1 View Post
DD started at 5 on the competitive team... the meets are generally within a season so within a few to 6 months you will travel to 8 or so meets including state and regional .. Now we* had the option(out) to skip or miss 3 meets. these I decided were to be the furtherest and most inconvenient. It was fun and the kids had a blast,but, it was constant and alot of juggling the other kid's activities and time. But we practiced 3 days a week for 3 hours a day sooo it was a teeny bit longer.
Now if I had known that the gyms out there vary as much as they do I would have then, taken the time to explore more gyms and ask about policies and find out more about how the different systems work a little more..
ATM we are in an AAU competitive team this year moving into USAG. We started in USAG and I feel that she lost alot of her edge due to overtraining. she lost the fun of it for awhile, so we found a new gym.... I love AAU gymnastics they are much more laid back for the younger kids while still getting them the experience and the training they need.
IMO I couldn't commit to a year of money if I didn't know my child was going to be happy there 3 days a week FOR SURE. Look around call some places ask about team regulations AAU or USAG and find out some of the differences between them.. you may get a couple of free gym classes out of it if they want you to come try
Also do they not have a PReteam that he could get into first to make sure he is up to the hard work they do for team? they tend to do a lot of conditioning for the first hour and its not all that fun...

anyway I could ramble all day gtg to bed...Good luck I'll sub if you have any questions I* can help with as a mom to a 7yr old team gymnast

Thanks for the info and thoughts. They are willing to offer me a 30 day trial. I have the month of June to decide, so I am going to do that. I do know that it is USAG. They are talking about setting up a pre-team and asked some boys to join that, but the coach said he feels my son is ready for the team. He said that they would not pick a child they didn't feel was ready or capable of performing at Level. He said there are some children in recreational classes that he would never offer a spot too. They prefer parents to drop off kids, so I am not worried about juggling time. I really like the people in the gym and feel comfortable and confident that they will care for my son. They are not harsh at all with the kids and my son has enjoyed going a lot.
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Old 05-14-2010, 07:16 AM   #7
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Re: Gymnastics Question for Those with Experience

I would take the trial and talk to the coach about your sons personality. This could be a very important opportunity to learn that being perfect isn't everything. I would have taken him back to baseball so he didn't get used quitting but I guess it's too late now. I would encourage teamwork, fun and effort and see if you can't get him to lighten up a bit. Having that personal drive is great but everything in moderation, you know?
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Old 05-14-2010, 08:08 AM   #8
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Re: Gymnastics Question for Those with Experience

Gym time and the number of meets sounds about right for a beginning gymnast. Our 7 year old is in her second year of competition and trains about 8 hours a week. We've found though that a lot of other gyms require sometimes twice that amount of practice for kids her age! So sometimes at the bigger meets she doesn't do as well, but I have to wonder if these little girls who are training everyday will still be interested when they are older.

I think the benifits of gymnastics are huge. They build strength, flexibility, endurance. Pretty much any sport they decide to do will be easy for them because they have this background. Also, it teaches discipline, perseverance, a great work ethic and teamwork. It teaches them to have an appreciation for their bodies and what they are capable of; and that they should be treated with care. I have no doubt that if DD continues doing well with gym that we will be able to avoid some of the problems teens and preteens run into by falling into 'bad crowds.'

I say, if he seems interested now, sign the contract. There may be a period of time where he resists practice, but that's normal too. Sometimes when my DD is struggling with a skill she will get frustrated and not want to practice, but other times all she wants to do is practice so she can get that skill. It's my job to direct her and maybe push just a bit, so she doesn't regret it one day. GL and have fun!
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Old 05-14-2010, 05:11 PM   #9
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Re: Gymnastics Question for Those with Experience

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Originally Posted by doodah View Post
I would take the trial and talk to the coach about your sons personality. This could be a very important opportunity to learn that being perfect isn't everything. I would have taken him back to baseball so he didn't get used quitting but I guess it's too late now. I would encourage teamwork, fun and effort and see if you can't get him to lighten up a bit. Having that personal drive is great but everything in moderation, you know?
The baseball coach asked us not to come back. He said it was a safety issue for my son and also too much distraction for the other boys.
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Old 05-14-2010, 05:42 PM   #10
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Re: Gymnastics Question for Those with Experience

As pp said, that is a reasonable requirement for training and meets.
I competed gymnastics from age 5 to age 15 ~ I gave it up at 15 when I started to excel more at volleyball. I received a volleyball scholarship, so quitting was worth it.

I have coached on and off since high school ~ it is still one my most favorite sports.
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