6 year old gymnast- some perspective please?

Discussion in 'Question & Answer' started by Faith, Aug 17, 2011.

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  1. Faith

    Faith Coach Coach Proud Parent Former Gymnast

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    Hi!

    First post, but I'm really stressing and need a bit of perspective on my daughters gymnastics.

    She's 6, coming up to 7 at the end of the year. She was taken out of recreational and put on the club squad back in January, and trains 3 hours once a week. I used to do artistic gymnastics until age 11, and was at good county/regional level. I also have some Acro coaching qualifications.

    She's not obviously talented to the laymans eye- she's not flexible by a gymnasts standard, but she's strong, fast twitch, and psychologically there- she'll try anything, and wants to work. Compared to some others in her age group, she's way behind. They're doing quality back walkovers, lever to handstand, back roll to handstand etc, and look like they are very talented. However she did win her age group at the club champs- she practiced very hard at home getting her less difficult moves exactly right, and it paid off :D

    So far as a parent I have taken a very back seat, asked her if she wants to do the extra training, let her initiate practice at home, and practice what she wants to. However part of me is now thinking if I could focus her on her flexibility, and get her shoulder mobility and splits, she'd make rapid improvement on her skills. As a coach, I know she needs to do more hours in the gym, or flexibility work at home. As a parent, and an ex-gymnast, I can see why she'd be reluctant as it can be painful, and isn't as much fun as swinging round a bar :p

    I am frustrated at the minute as a few of the other girls have been moved up into a competitive squad. I know she's not ready for it, but I can see that she could easily do it, and worry she's being left behind, and won't catch up, and I want to give her every opportunity to reach her potential.

    Sorry for the waffle, but it's been very cathartic :D

    I guess my question is do gymnasts like this catch up? I know you can never tell at this age but with the others getting the extra gym time and working apparatus skills (DD's squad is all about conditioning and flexibility) I can't see how she'll ever catch up to their level, but I don't want to give up as she really loves the sport and wants to compete 4 piece.

  2. Bobby

    Bobby Guest

    It's great that the group she's in is focusing on what you think she needs most - the flexibility and conditioning. If that's improving I think the skills will come easily enough.
    Once pw doesn't seem very much for conditioning to improve though. Is there no option for her to do a second class? I think stretching needs to be a bit more frequent than that or else progress might be really slow?
  3. cher062

    cher062 Guest

    Welcome to the Chalk Bucket. There are alot of great guys and gals here with lots of great insight.

    Congrats to your DD for making the team.

    Now take a deep breath in and a exhale - Relax!!

    She is only 6 years old and far from "behind". The first and most important thing to focus on - Is she having FUN?? If that is accomplished then the rest is gravy.

    You might want her to practice more, condition more or what ever but is that what she wants? You might be hoping she moves quickly but they will all move at their own pace and how fast they move up or when they move up shouldn't be compared to any other person. It's hard not to do that but really your DD will shine at her own pace and don't worry about any one else.

    Its impossible for her to be "left behind" or have a need to "catch up" if she is moving at her own pace, in here own time and you aren't comparing her to others and how they develop and move up.

    Gymnastics isn't about "rapid upward movement". It's so much better for them to go slow and get it right than to move quickly through the ranks. Keep in mind there are very few "Olympians" out there but there are alot of average kids enjoying this sport and even getting a trophy or two while they do it.

    Don't worry about scores or anything else. Trust her coaches and put your coaches hat in a draw just be Mom who is supportive of her just where she is at. Listen to your DD to see what she wants to get out of this sport.

    The coaching staff must have seen something in her to move her into the team track. If its once a week practice i would say it sounds more like a Pre-team program to get them ready for team competitions. If you are frustrated then have a meeting with the coach to see what the plan is for your DD or to get more information on the program so you can understand better where your DD is at. Listen to your DD she will let you know what is still fun and what is too much. Certainly offer her the opportunites to do things like open gyms, extra practice (if they offer that) and so on but don't make her feel like she is so far behind if she doesn't

    So take a deep breath, relax, and let DD have FUN at her own pace. Be her cheerleader and supporter.
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  4. jcs

    jcs New Member

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    Welcome to the CB! Would your DD be interested in more class time? My dd's pre-team practices 1.5 hrs 2x a week. Seems like most programs have shorter/more frequent classes as little ones can easily forget what happens from week to week. Maybe seeing about adding another day if it is something that your DD is interested in. Also, even though you have a gym background, maybe ask the coaches if there is anything specific you can work on with her at home...

  5. Faith

    Faith Coach Coach Proud Parent Former Gymnast

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    Thank you for your replies :)

    I think she would love more class time- thing is it's a small gym so training times are carefully managed, so as they move up the levels training time is increased, understandably the girls at higher levels get the opportunity to train more. I do agree with happyfacegrin though, because her flexibility isn't as natural as some once a week might not be enough.

    I think I have my answer as I've gently tried to persuade her to do some stuff today- she's spent 30 mins on the bar, but I only managed to get a couple of back kickovers. It's the school holidays here and I've seen her get her back circle up and cast back hip circle in a week at home. So we reached a deal- she knows to get a chance at the higher squad she needs to work flexibility, but she has to ask me if she wants to practice and I'll help her as best I can. My husband has the wise words- she has to want it, if she has to be pushed, she won't make it. I just get the feeling she'll come into her own when it gets to tumbling and the harder, more powerful stuff in a few years, so don't want her to be sidelined now and not get the opportunity.

    What I want her to get out of gymnastics is fun, self confidence, and to learn about her body and what it can do. Funnily enough I'm not actually bothered about what level she reaches, and I have no idea why I get so wound up :laughing: I suppose I want her to have the opportunity should she want to go elite at some point- so next questions would be are there late bloomers or slow starters that train recreationally or in a relaxed way in their early career, and still manage to reach elite or national levels? Or is it all about the ones doing the skills and gym time at a young age, or being talent ID'd and fast tracked?

    She's actually been nagging for diving lessons- I might consider it a) to give me something else to focus on :eek:, and b) the skills will crossover if she can't have gym time just yet. The rec classes are only half an hour so again something to enjoy.

    Thank you again for listening to my nutcase ramblings- I think I should point out that DD has no idea about any of this- she just gets praise for working hard:D
  6. TexasRose

    TexasRose New Member

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    We have a lot in common :). My dd is 6 and just started on the L3 team. They only practice one day a week for 3 hours. She would love to be in the gym more though and frequently asks to take more classes. I asked the coach about training more and she said they really don't have the time or coaches. She said we could do weekly privates instead, which is really expensive! I also get worked up sometimes and think she's "behind". We watch gym videos on Youtube sometimes and when I watch other girls her age doing amazing skills I start to think that my dd isn't training enough. It's kind of funny actually. :) She's training enough adn hopefully having the low hours will help prevent burn-out. We will probably do some privates, maybe 2 a month just to work on certain skills she has trouble with. She has trouble with beam so some privates would probably be helpful. Welcome to the CB!! :)
  7. Faith

    Faith Coach Coach Proud Parent Former Gymnast

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    Texasrose thank you! It's not just me then :D

    I think what I was looking for was some sort of confirmation that a 6 yo can start out like this and still have the opportunity to "make it". Every time I google it's "amazing" 3 year olds who can back handspring etc...:rolleyes:

    However I have just read that if they're level 5 at age 8 they have a chance at elite, if they so desire. Googling Level 5 (I'm in the UK) it seems like perfectly achievable skills in the timescale.

    So I'm a bit happier with that. I'll leave her where she is, continue letting her do what she wants at home until she gets the flexibility- which she will if she has our family's ligaments, stiff to start with, but easily stretchable with work and they stay stretched :D
  8. dunno

    dunno New Member CBBC Board Member Verified Coach Proud Parent Former Gymnast Club Owner

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    she's 6. lots of time. by time their 15 their all the same if gymnastics was meant to be.:)
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  9. Bella's Mom

    Bella's Mom Guest

    Dunno.....What is your take on this "statistic"? Surely this isn't a written in stone kinda thing......
  10. bogwoppit

    bogwoppit Administrator CBBC Board Member Proud Parent Former Gymnast

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    The OP is from the UK, their system is not like USAG and the levels are age specific.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2011
  11. lilgymmie7

    lilgymmie7 Guest

    I'd just like to say don't compare your DD to other little ones, big ones on youtube or at her gym. Each gymnast has his/her unique talents all their own. If your DD loves to be in the gym that is what is important. She will develop as a gymnast in her own time. Some of those talented gymmies you see on youtube are not guaranteed a spot anywhere. Hopefully they will reach their full potential but you never really know. Anything can, "get in the way".
    My DD loves every minute she spends in the gym. She often tells me what 'new' skill she gets to work on. At times, I have asked her who else was working on so and so skill, and her reply 9 times out of 10 is " I don't know." She doesn't stop to watch what others are doing because she is so concerned with herself. "Out of the mouths of babes" or so they say...We can learn a lot from these little people!:)
  12. gymcoach26

    gymcoach26 New Member

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    I think you've gotten some great advice from everyone already, but wanted to add an idea. Not sure if it's popular in your area or not, but around here they have tons of child yoga classes- must be the new trend :rolleyes:. My little niece takes a class and they make it really fun for the kids, not just boring like I find yoga haha. Anyways, it has really helped her flexibilty and maybe that would be an option for your DD.
  13. TexasRose

    TexasRose New Member

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    Thanks for the advice. :) I really try not to compare her to other kids because I know that everyone is different, has different strengths and weaknesses, etc. I just sometimes get caught up in the worry that she's behind. We just started! Lol. Sometimes all I can do is laugh at myself. She loves gym and has a blast and that's really all that matters. :)
  14. dunno

    dunno New Member CBBC Board Member Verified Coach Proud Parent Former Gymnast Club Owner

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    did i really type "their" and "their"...? OMG...
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  15. dunno

    dunno New Member CBBC Board Member Verified Coach Proud Parent Former Gymnast Club Owner

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    here's what i know. don't make or take bets on gymnastics statistics. you'll end up in the poor house...:)
  16. Faith

    Faith Coach Coach Proud Parent Former Gymnast

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    Thanks. I hadn't thought of that but there is a class up the road. It's expensive though-the same price as the diving lessons she wants and at the same time so she can't have both. More convenient though. I might suggest that til Christmas then diving if she wants. Good suggestion :D.

    Yep. I'm trying to have a "word with my head" as my old coach used to say :p.

    Yes :p

    I'm a scientist. I like statistics and some prediction of what may happen. The uncertainty freaks me out ;)

    Bogwoppit- yes I'm in the UK but I was referencing US level 5. I have no clue about the UK system, and there's very little info I can find. I think there's club grades (14-1?) and the elite grades 4,3,2. I know they're age specific but what happens if you don't reach a certain grade by a certain age? Does that leave you just in gymnastics for fun with no chance of reaching elite? Or can you do elite grade 2 at 15 rather than the standard 11? Can you swap between each path? I also can't find anywhere any idea of which skills are required for each grade.

    WHat about someone like Diaine dos santos, who didn't even start gymnastics til 11. Presumably she didn't walk into a gym at level 2 (UK) standard, so where does she start in competition?
  17. bogwoppit

    bogwoppit Administrator CBBC Board Member Proud Parent Former Gymnast

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    Their are a few few UK coaches on here, make a specific post with UK coach question in the title and they will help. What I do know is that girls need to compete national grade 6 in their 8th year to begin on the path. But as to whether they can join the path other ways, I have no idea.As you are under the UK system there is no point comparing as the USAG is nothing like it, just like all the other systems in the world. The UK produces some great gymnasts with it's system.
  18. Coach.Simon

    Coach.Simon Coach Coach Judge

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    I do that two sometimes, its ok.
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  19. dunno

    dunno New Member CBBC Board Member Verified Coach Proud Parent Former Gymnast Club Owner

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    lol^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^:)
  20. jago

    jago New Member Proud Parent

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    A scientist ... likes statistics ... goes by the name Faith.

    Very Cute!!

    I do love the humor that pops up unexpectedly!!
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011
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