Welcome to our Gymnastics Discussion Community
554,231 messages... 44,365 topics... and 6,612 members
Join for FREE!
Thank you for supporting our sponsors Energym Music & Norberts & High 5 Meets!

For Parents 4yr old seems to have stopped progressing

BellesMommy

New Member
Proud Parent
Oct 23, 2020
1
37
Country
USA
4yr old DD started gymnastics in June, and quickly learned her cartwheel, back bend, chin up pull over, back roll and a decent handstand.
She has been working on back kickover and back kip circle for a couple months, and just doesn’t seem to be getting any closer to getting these skills, despite being very strong. She also decent seem to understand vault timing. Will run super fast and then slow down before she jumps so she has non momentum to get into a handstand.
She is in advanced preschool class with mostly 6yr olds and she just doesn’t seem to be keeping up. Is this a maturity thing? Developmental? Or was her catching on to those skills early a fluke?
 

Tmacs

Member
Proud Parent
Feb 19, 2019
98
Country
USA
No worries! 4 years is super young. Most kids don’t have body awareness to do any of those skills until 6 or 7. Let her just have fun and if she’s not having fun because it’s too skill based, get her in a fun class!
 

Aussie_coach

Moderator/Coach
Staff member
Gold Membership
Coach
Proud Parent
Gymnast
Club Owner
Jan 4, 2008
3,415
Country
Australia
You will see this all through her gymnastics career. There will be times when she gets a number of new skills and there will be in between times when she is building her understanding and doesn’t learn anything new for a while.

A talented kid may come in and pick up the basics quickly, but the next lot of skills are harder and will take longer to learn.

There are plenty of kids who have been doing gymnastics for years and are much older than your daughter who would not have learned as many skills as her.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

Former Admin
Gold Membership
Coach
Former Gymnast
Jan 21, 2007
4,079
Baltimore, MD
Country
USA
Gymnastics progress is not linear. She'll progress, stall, explode, regress, over and over as long as she's in the sport.

And she's 4; the skills that are most important for her to learn and practice at this stage have absolutely nothing to do with gymnastics. Paying attention, navigating social dynamics, learning to communicate with the coach, learning behavioral expectations in the gym, developing awareness of what her own body and mind are doing -- all of these are much more crucial at this stage.
 

LJL07

Active Member
Proud Parent
Jan 27, 2014
1,608
Country
USA
Please. She is 4. I understand getting caught up in what’s happening in the moment because I’ve been there myself. If you’re expecting your child to stick with the sport long term, you will drive yourself nuts overanalyzing progress at age 4. For what it’s worth, one of my daughters came in bottom third at the level 1 state meet. I thought she was doomed. Years later, she is the only kid in the entire age group still doing gymnastics as a level 9. What they are doing at 4 years old doesn’t mean much.
 

gymgal

Well-Known Member
Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Aug 22, 2008
4,037
Country
USA
She is doing great! One thing that you will learn quickly is that gymnastics is an individual sport. They develop at their own pace and as others have said, it rarely is linear. Sometimes you can point to why a gymnast is having trouble with a skill (strength, timing, fear) but often, it is a combination of factors and only time will bring it all together. You don't mention that your child is getting frustrated yet but there will come a time when she does and the best word of advice to give her is "it will come when your mind and body are ready. You cannot force/will it." This will take some of the stress off of her/you and the skill.

One word of caution, backbends, kickovers, bridges are not recommended for children under 5, generally, due to the developing spine. She is in a class of older children and the coach may not realize her age or the recommendations. There is quite a bit written about this if you do a search in this community as well as a general "google" search. Is the risk small? Yes, but it is still there and for those gymnasts who make it to the upper levels, the cumulative time spent in these positions from a very early age really adds up.
 

gymjunkie

Coach
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Parent
Judge
Sep 9, 2013
633
Country
USA
One word of caution, backbends, kickovers, bridges are not recommended for children under 5, generally, due to the developing spine. She is in a class of older children and the coach may not realize her age or the recommendations. There is quite a bit written about this if you do a search in this community as well as a general "google" search. Is the risk small? Yes, but it is still there and for those gymnasts who make it to the upper levels, the cumulative time spent in these positions from a very early age really adds up.
Can you please share references for this? When I was a young coach, this was new information that we all learned, understood and adhered to. It seems to be abandoned by younger coaches today who can't find references for this info. I can't find it either. It seems that it was published in older additions of technique (which I no longer have!).
 
  • Like
Reactions: sce

gymgal

Well-Known Member
Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Aug 22, 2008
4,037
Country
USA
Can you please share references for this? When I was a young coach, this was new information that we all learned, understood and adhered to. It seems to be abandoned by younger coaches today who can't find references for this info. I can't find it either. It seems that it was published in older additions of technique (which I no longer have!).
I am not a coach. It is just what I have learned along the way. But it comes from how/when the spine and skull develop. Toddlers/preschoolers are head big/heavy, which increases the likelihood of injury as well. Also, from those who have BTDT for years on years with their daughters, we see how much workout the back gets and inevitably, it will begin to hurt. The less that is done in the younger years to cause precursor damage, the better.

I tried to do a search for you and you are right, there is not much out there now. There certainly was 10+ years ago. Here are a few I found that reference it. Also, CB used to have more threads on it as well and they come up on google searches but the urls don't work anymore because the platform changed their use of forums.

The first url is from CB from several years ago. Be forewarned, Nassar is mentioned several times as he was well respected back then. Also, another member, Dunno, who has since been banned from CB for siding with Nassar and others is also prominent in the thread. Doesn't discount the info. Just warning ahead of time to be sensitive to anyone who may not want to read due to their presence.



https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct...esCourse.pdf&usg=AOvVaw0ySu1yQDAS-JEd_tTx6XuX (page 8, or search for bridge - it states that bridging is not recommended for under 5 but it just a one liner at the top of the right column)

This next one is anecdotal but highlights a real life consequence, however rare it might be... Frankly, I am inclined to believe there was an underlying condition that was brought to light from the incident but we will never know. I have followed this little girl since the incident and while she continues to make strides, she still is not able to walk unassisted.
 

skygirlpc

New Member
Proud Relative
Proud Parent
Mar 3, 2016
13
41
Country
USA
I am not a coach. It is just what I have learned along the way. But it comes from how/when the spine and skull develop. Toddlers/preschoolers are head big/heavy, which increases the likelihood of injury as well. Also, from those who have BTDT for years on years with their daughters, we see how much workout the back gets and inevitably, it will begin to hurt. The less that is done in the younger years to cause precursor damage, the better.

I tried to do a search for you and you are right, there is not much out there now. There certainly was 10+ years ago. Here are a few I found that reference it. Also, CB used to have more threads on it as well and they come up on google searches but the urls don't work anymore because the platform changed their use of forums.

The first url is from CB from several years ago. Be forewarned, Nassar is mentioned several times as he was well respected back then. Also, another member, Dunno, who has since been banned from CB for siding with Nassar and others is also prominent in the thread. Doesn't discount the info. Just warning ahead of time to be sensitive to anyone who may not want to read due to their presence.



https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwj26rv95NDsAhXHxVkKHY0nDH4QFjABegQIBBAC&url=https://usagym.org/PDFs/Member%20Services/Education/USAGU-DevCoachesCourse.pdf&usg=AOvVaw0ySu1yQDAS-JEd_tTx6XuX (page 8, or search for bridge - it states that bridging is not recommended for under 5 but it just a one liner at the top of the right column)

This next one is anecdotal but highlights a real life consequence, however rare it might be... Frankly, I am inclined to believe there was an underlying condition that was brought to light from the incident but we will never know. I have followed this little girl since the incident and while she continues to make strides, she still is not able to walk unassisted.
I thought that backbends were not recommended for under 4. I thought it was like the rule that you should keep a child's car seat rear facing until at least 4 because at 4 years old their spine becomes more fused together and therefore it is safer at that point.
 

GYM0M

Active Member
Proud Parent
Jul 23, 2013
1,287
I disagree with the notion that what happens at 4 years old is not important. I believe that the foundation built in those early years undoubtedly plays a role in the longevity of their gymnastics career; however, the misconception is that the best foundation for gymnastics is skills, technique, talent, or ability. It is, instead, a deeply seeded, true LOVE for the sport, which is about the only thing a 4 year old should be working towards. It’s this love that will push them through the tough times, and there will be tough times, disasters even. OP, the best thing to do right now is enjoy the little moments that these early years bring. Gymnastics has been a part of our family for almost 12 years with so many ups and downs. I can’t recall all the competitions, medals, places, or even accomplishments, but I remember like it was yesterday her little legs at 4 jumping down the tumble trak into the pit until she was so out of breath that her side began to ache, and with a large, somewhat confused grin, holding her side, she announced to her instructor that her ankle hurt. Cutest thing I ever heard, lol!
 

gymgal

Well-Known Member
Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Aug 22, 2008
4,037
Country
USA
I thought that backbends were not recommended for under 4. I thought it was like the rule that you should keep a child's car seat rear facing until at least 4 because at 4 years old their spine becomes more fused together and therefore it is safer at that point.
I have not heard of this but things do change, so possibly?

I had to go look up the car seat recommendations as I have older children, and the recommendation is the upper limit for height/weight of the convertible seat, which for most kids will be somewhere between 3-4 years but that is because of the limitations of the seat, not because a child's spine/neck/head now can handle the crash forces on them. If seats could be built for higher weights/heights, the recommendations would be even older.
 

ldw4mlo

Well-Known Member
Proud Parent
Feb 13, 2015
5,799
60
Country
USA
I have not heard of this but things do change, so possibly?

I had to go look up the car seat recommendations as I have older children, and the recommendation is the upper limit for height/weight of the convertible seat, which for most kids will be somewhere between 3-4 years but that is because of the limitations of the seat, not because a child's spine/neck/head now can handle the crash forces on them. If seats could be built for higher weights/heights, the recommendations would be even older.
Rear facing is about the spine And spinal chord.

Young children die forward facing because their bones don’t “stretch” As much as their spinal chord. It doesn’t end well.


 

LJL07

Active Member
Proud Parent
Jan 27, 2014
1,608
Country
USA
I disagree with the notion that what happens at 4 years old is not important. I believe that the foundation built in those early years undoubtedly plays a role in the longevity of their gymnastics career; however, the misconception is that the best foundation for gymnastics is skills, technique, talent, or ability. It is, instead, a deeply seeded, true LOVE for the sport, which is about the only thing a 4 year old should be working towards. It’s this love that will push them through the tough times, and there will be tough times, disasters even. OP, the best thing to do right now is enjoy the little moments that these early years bring. Gymnastics has been a part of our family for almost 12 years with so many ups and downs. I can’t recall all the competitions, medals, places, or even accomplishments, but I remember like it was yesterday her little legs at 4 jumping down the tumble trak into the pit until she was so out of breath that her side began to ache, and with a large, somewhat confused grin, holding her side, she announced to her instructor that her ankle hurt. Cutest thing I ever heard, lol!
I don’t see where anyone on this thread said that what happens at 4 is not important. I said it doesn’t mean much in terms of predicting how far a kid will go in the sport, and that is true. there are way too many star struck parents pushing extremely young children at an absurdly fast pace and doing private lessons and very high hours. So many parents think they have a future Olympian and go completely overboard. Not all, but most kids will be burned out or hurt by the time they are 10 years old if the push is coming from the parents. It should be zero pressure and fun at 4 years old. And yes, the child has to truly love the sport. There will definitely be tough times ahead, which is all the more reason why no parent should be stressing too much over a 4 year old.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ldw4mlo

GYM0M

Active Member
Proud Parent
Jul 23, 2013
1,287
I don’t see where anyone on this thread said that what happens at 4 is not important. I said it doesn’t mean much in terms of predicting how far a kid will go in the sport, and that is true. there are way too many star struck parents pushing extremely young children at an absurdly fast pace and doing private lessons and very high hours. So many parents think they have a future Olympian and go completely overboard. Not all, but most kids will be burned out or hurt by the time they are 10 years old if the push is coming from the parents. It should be zero pressure and fun at 4 years old. And yes, the child has to truly love the sport. There will definitely be tough times ahead, which is all the more reason why no parent should be stressing too much over a 4 year old.
I’m sorry if you thought I was calling you out, but I wasn’t talking just about this thread which is why I said ‘general’ notion. I don’t typically make assumptions about how far a child will go in the sport or their ability. Quite frankly, it’s none of my business. I do offer my opinion from time to time based on my experiences with gymnastics. Have I met some crazy star struck parents of 4 year olds? Yep!! Have I met some that were just as lost as I once was and trying to navigate completely new territory that just needed to hear someone say, “it’ll be fine” or “it’ll work itself out”? Absolutely!! I don’t assume that every parent that comes on here with a question about a 4-6 year old is a crazy gym parent. Not saying that you do either. Some of the parents of 4 year olds right now will have gymnasts that reach high levels and one day they will be the ones answering these questions, and it’s my hope that they are able to recall the encouraging advice they got when their kiddo first started.
 
  • Like
Reactions: FlippinLilysMom

gymgal

Well-Known Member
Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Aug 22, 2008
4,037
Country
USA
Rear facing is about the spine And spinal chord.

Young children die forward facing because their bones don’t “stretch” As much as their spinal chord. It doesn’t end well.
Yes, that was my point. If the car seat manufacturers would increase the height/weight limits of the seats, then the recommendations would still be to max out those limits, as well. As it stands right now in industry standards, most 3 year olds max out the limits so forward facing the only option, even though it is not the best option.

It is also about the head because their heads are larger and therefore can cause more damage to the neck/spine when jerked (another reason for being careful in gymnastics)
 
  • Like
Reactions: ldw4mlo

skygirlpc

New Member
Proud Relative
Proud Parent
Mar 3, 2016
13
41
Country
USA
I have not heard of this but things do change, so possibly?

I had to go look up the car seat recommendations as I have older children, and the recommendation is the upper limit for height/weight of the convertible seat, which for most kids will be somewhere between 3-4 years but that is because of the limitations of the seat, not because a child's spine/neck/head now can handle the crash forces on them. If seats could be built for higher weights/heights, the recommendations would be even older.
My daughter is 6, so it has been a couple of years since we switched her from rear facing to forward facing and a quick bit of research looks like they may have gone from 4-5 on the reccommendations. With that it would make sense to me to wait until at least 5 to do back bends.
 

3cats

Member
Proud Parent
Nov 5, 2018
78
41
Country
USA
For the rest of her gymnastics career it will be two steps forward one step back,
Or hurry up and wait, or feast or famine.

Any of those, all those (?) apply.

The littles are so darn cute in their leotards with the skirts attached. And giggling with their friends in line. And jumping up and down after trying something new. And waving at their parents from the gym.

This is the age where the spark for the sport will be lit. So sit back and watch it light up their eyes and spirits.

And never, not once, worry about where it will take them, or if they are behind. Or ahead. Or if they stalled. Or if they are exceptional.

Its a long journey. So savor it.
 

KSLaura

Coach
Coach
Proud Parent
Dec 30, 2012
154
Colorado
Country
USA
I wish I had a 4 year old in one of my classes with those skills. She sounds quite talented. I don’t ever teach backbends or kick overs to 4YOs though. The youngest I’ve seen a kid learn a back hip circle is about 5. Even very talented, hard working kids will take a while (months, sometimes years) to get skills after L1/2. Enjoy it while it lasts. My oldest gymnast is now an optional gymnast and coaching preschool classes