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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.

Originally Posted by Psychomom View Post
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.

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

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.

Last edited by z2akids; 09-28-2012 at 12:04 PM.
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