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Advice Needed :)

gymmomtotwo

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Jun 21, 2011
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Thanks for your input! I don't know if it is just "perceived" lack of focus. She truly is less focused than the other girls - though the other young ones have their moments as well. She also has her share of strong moments. I guess I just feel like she's being penalized for acting like a 6yo during a 4 hour practice. I kind of feel like they think she's young, what's the rush, let's move her down so we don't have to deal with her this year when we have an older L3 team. I know they have to make decisions for the good of the group, but it's hard when you're the casualty.
 

moogacat

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It sounds like your little one (and you) have been going through a tough time with a lot of changes. Changes are hard, especially at 6, and it looks like the gym was a hoped constant for her and you. Given all she's going through, even if it's a disappointment, check out pre-team programs elsewhere. If everyone locally isn't competing until L4 she's not going to be competing anyway, so she's not doing L2 or L3 either way. Once you take a look around, if the current gym still fits, don't hesitate to stay there if that ends up providing the most consistency for her.

Also, she may have a lot better focus -- even at 6 -- once she gets her apnea treated. My husband has mild ADHD that was sent off the charts by untreated apnea for years. If you're tired you can't focus, even if you're neurotypical. Once he got his apnea treated his focus increased exponentially. She might be able to handle all the life changes and disappointments a lot better if she simply feels more rested. Best of luck! I hope you find a good fit. It's so hard seeing your 6 year old struggling.
 

gymmomtotwo

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If this was what they were doing, I would say stay the course, they know what they are doing giving her another year with solid preteam training. But they are not. I work at our gym' s front desk a couple of days a week, and this is the sort of thing they do to keep the tuition dollars from running out the door. They have created a "special" class to keep you coming back 3 hours a week hoping you stick around. I know it sounds cynical, but gyms are for profit businesses and you are a customer they don't want to lose. You didn't hesitate changing schools for her knowing what was best. This is really no different. It really is a good time to change since she is being removed from the group any way.
 

bookworm

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If she's already competed , albeit at a lower level, and been successful , I would take a hard pass on being demoted to the "new and exciting pre pre team group" ...you either coach my kid in the way she needs to be coached , and place her accordingly( and if the new coaches deem her to be pre pre team , see ya) , or we move on. It just doesn't sound like the coaches of her group want to be bothered with her and her fellow pre pre teamers.

You could market it to your daughter as "new school, new gym" this year.
 

mommyof1

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she's very excited to be adding this pre-pre-team level to their program, that it will allow for individual attention and for gymnasts to progress at their own ability, that it is similar to pre-team, but that the kids are a little younger and the group is smaller. She said "the sky's the limit" because they will be focused on shaping, strength, flexibility, and skills and that my DD's focus issues can be more efficiently addressed in this group.
"We are so excited to give your daughter this wonderful new opportunity to do many fewer hours with less intensity! It will give her exactly the chance she needs to really flourish!"

This is a load of nonsense. The gym is really telling you that they don't want your daughter for team, but they want you to stay so they can keep making money off of you. They are just trying to make it sound positive. Even if you were to argue her way back onto preteam or team, there is nothing you or your daughter could ever do to erase the perception that she's not really team material. Without necessarily realizing it, the coaches will always perceive and treat your daughter differently, and there will be negative effects. If she wants to be on team, ever, you need to move her now.

I heard exactly the same thing from my daughter's gym. After she has been training 12 hours a week, competing JO for four years, owning a team season high event score, contributing to the team score in every meet, and regularly standing near the top of the podium on multiple events, we are going to give her the exciting opportunity to train XCel for 6 hours a week with no conditioning and second-rate coaching! This is exactly what she needs to realize her full potential! I picked up her grips the next day and within the week she was training a higher JO level at a new gym.
 

duyetanh

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Thanks for your input! The funny thing is I got an e-mail from the owner tonight. Either it was a pre-planned communication or someone alerted her to my post on here. (I knew this before I posted, but if you happen to go to our gym, it is very obvious who I am.) I appreciate her communication. After reading some stories on here, I am thankful that my gym seems to communicate well!

She said she knew my husband spoke with the coach about our concerns and that she's very excited to be adding this pre-pre-team level to their program, that it will allow for individual attention and for gymnasts to progress at their own ability, that it is similar to pre-team, but that the kids are a little younger and the group is smaller. She said "the sky's the limit" because they will be focused on shaping, strength, flexibility, and skills and that my DD's focus issues can be more efficiently addressed in this group. I truly believe that they put time and thought into this decision, but knowing my DD's personality and expectations, I just don't think this is the best thing for her and I don't see how she'll progress that much with 3 hours/week.

At this point, I don't even know what I would ask for. I believe my daughter can learn the L3 routines, but I'm pretty sure that L3 is not on the table anymore. It is not so much that I want her to compete L3 as it is that I want her to have the opportunity to compete something (but still train JO). I guess at this point my ideal would be for her to train 6 hours per week with the pre-team and then possibly pay for some privates for her to learn some basic Xcel Bronze routines that she could compete this season (our Bronze team does three local, low key meets). I don't know if they would even entertain something like that as I know gym owners don't want to open the floodgates to parents asking for all kinds of special arrangements, but I really feel like we're in a unique (bad) situation here. For lack of a better term, it just kind of feels like a mind screw for a 6yo and that breaks my heart.
I will speak harshly. You do not need her to have private’s for xcel bronze!!!
What you need to do is move her to a different gym, where she has different opportunities, and if you do it ASAP, there is still a chance she could actually compete level 3. And even if she doesn’t compete for a season, or does level 2 again, it’s ok. But I highly doubt your kid is going to buy this pre pre team approach, mine would have called bull crap even at age five. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for! And if you are being sucked in now to stay because of how nice it was the owner got in touch with you...well let’s just say it gets harder and harder to leave the longer you stay....
Good luck. And I am sorry to be so harsh. But it’s time for a different gym, even if she repeats a level or doesn’t compete at all.
 

Scream4IceCream

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Let me say first that she really doesn't need to compete at age 6. I know it feels like she does right now, I totally understand where you are coming from. I can feel your worry and concern, and 8 years into this, believe me, I have had my sleepless nights. What she does need is a new gym that can meet her where she is and has a plan for her going forward. Your current gym has written her off. I would not say that at all if she was being placed on preteam this year and practicing at least 6 hours per week and getting ready for Level 3 next year. It can take years to be properly ready for JO gymnastics. My DDs progression was preteam at age 5 for 6 hours, 9 hours at age 6 and 12 at 7. She began current Level 4 competition shortly before her 8th birthday. Our gym doesn't even do Level 3. She was always in a very small 8 and under age group at meets. Most JO 4s are 9 and 10. Your DD could easily do a year of preteam at a new gym, and be ready for Level 3 at age 7 and be completely on track age wise in JO. Right now she is being placed in with rejected XCEL Bronzes st recreational hours. She is not on the track for anything at that gym. In my honest opinion, she needs a year of preteam at a new gym with new fresh coaches and kids her own age. Kids really adjust quickly if the situation is right for them. I hope I am not being too blunt but time is a terrible thing to waste, and this situation is not a good one for your DD.
I completely agree with you. If she was being placed on pre-team it wouldn't be such an issue with me. (It would still be a huge issue with her, but I could see the logic in it and the path forward and help her work through her disappointment.) I do feel she is being written off and labeled despite their numerous assurances to the contrary.
 

Scream4IceCream

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It sounds like your little one (and you) have been going through a tough time with a lot of changes. Changes are hard, especially at 6, and it looks like the gym was a hoped constant for her and you. Given all she's going through, even if it's a disappointment, check out pre-team programs elsewhere. If everyone locally isn't competing until L4 she's not going to be competing anyway, so she's not doing L2 or L3 either way. Once you take a look around, if the current gym still fits, don't hesitate to stay there if that ends up providing the most consistency for her.

Also, she may have a lot better focus -- even at 6 -- once she gets her apnea treated. My husband has mild ADHD that was sent off the charts by untreated apnea for years. If you're tired you can't focus, even if you're neurotypical. Once he got his apnea treated his focus increased exponentially. She might be able to handle all the life changes and disappointments a lot better if she simply feels more rested. Best of luck! I hope you find a good fit. It's so hard seeing your 6 year old struggling.
Thanks for your support! I wish her sleep apnea was an easy fix. The doctor says her tonsils are small, her adenoids are not enlarged, and she's not overweight, so he doesn't believe surgery will necessarily help. He wants us to try Flonase (though even if it helps she can't stay on it long term). If it doesn't, he's willing to remove her adenoids, but there's no guarantee it will improve anything. Even though it is classified as "mild" I really believe resolving it would greatly help her!
 

Scream4IceCream

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If this was what they were doing, I would say stay the course, they know what they are doing giving her another year with solid preteam training. But they are not. I work at our gym' s front desk a couple of days a week, and this is the sort of thing they do to keep the tuition dollars from running out the door. They have created a "special" class to keep you coming back 3 hours a week hoping you stick around. I know it sounds cynical, but gyms are for profit businesses and you are a customer they don't want to lose. You didn't hesitate changing schools for her knowing what was best. This is really no different. It really is a good time to change since she is being removed from the group any way.
Thanks for your feedback! In the meeting the owner said that this pre-pre-team group would be a financial loss for her because it will be so small (5 girls), but that she's willing to do it because she believes in these girls and wants to make sure the gym is addressing their needs. Does that sound reasonable or like they're just stringing us along? You make a very good point about the school switch. It was hard, but I really do believe the new school is a much better fit for her (whereas I don't believe this pre-pre-team thing is the best fit for her). Plus, the old school was very nice and said the door is always open for her, which made it easier to take the plunge. It don't get the feeling that gyms are the same way though. It seems like once you leave for a competitor, you're usually not welcome back. That scares me.
 
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Scream4IceCream

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If she's already competed , albeit at a lower level, and been successful , I would take a hard pass on being demoted to the "new and exciting pre pre team group" ...you either coach my kid in the way she needs to be coached , and place her accordingly( and if the new coaches deem her to be pre pre team , see ya) , or we move on. It just doesn't sound like the coaches of her group want to be bothered with her and her fellow pre pre teamers.

You could market it to your daughter as "new school, new gym" this year.
I appreciate your advice. I know you've been involved with the sport a long time. It does kind of feel that way. I feel like there are things that could be tweaked to make her successful at L3, but they just don't want to bother with it since the other girls are older. I've definitely thought about just changing everything all at once (new school, new gym). As someone else said, she is going to have to deal with getting to know new kids and a new coach either way.
 

Freddy's Fred

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Thanks for your feedback! In the meeting the owner said that this pre-pre-team group would be a financial loss for her because it will be so small (5 girls), but that she's willing to do it because she believes in these girls and wants to make sure the gym is addressing their needs. Does that sound reasonable or like they're just stringing us along? You make a very good point about the school switch. It was hard, but I really do believe the new school is a much better fit for her (whereas I don't believe this pre-pre-team thing is the best fit for her). Plus, the old school was very nice and said the door is always open for her, which made it easier to take the plunge. It don't get the feeling that gyms are the same way though. It seems like once you leave for a competitor, you're usually not welcome back. That scares me.
Yes, you are being strung along. This gym owner is not being honest and it sounds so familiar. We desperately want to trust people. I would strongly suggest that you find a new gym. It is just ridiculous the load of BS that you are being fed.
 

Sk8ermaiden

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I don't know. I definitely get the "they're just not that into you" thing that people are picking up, but what I hear is that you guys are generally happy here. If the coaching is positive and healthy here, I would not be quick to leave. The more I learn about more and more gyms, the more I feel that healthy coaching is worth it's weight in gold. It could be that they're just not that into you, but it truly does happen some times that systems reorganize and someone gets lost in the shuffle. If you talked to them, are they willing to add some more hours?

How often does Xcel practice? Because I think, if I was in your position and willing to try to make this work, I would ask if my child could do this new practice, and practice with the Xcel team one day a week or something. Xcel routines are easy to learn (they have less skills per routine and no text errors) and she will already have the skills to be successful, with room for new skills if she gets any. I would say that I understand that they can't make exceptions for everyone, but your child is literally the only child falling through the cracks here - that you really like this gym and are trying what you can to make it work. If I had the money to do so, I would also pay for privates once in a while just for uptraining. I know for my kid, that feels really rewarding. I would only do this if the coach/owner was able to tell me their plan for next year. Where is she going next year and the year after that? If they hem and haw or can't tell you, then you know it won't get better.

That all assumes that you really like the coaching. We've been through some things and I will do a LOT to stay where the coaches are good.
 

Cheryl

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Sometimes the coach and gym just don't want to coach your child, for whatever reason, and it won't change no matter how well your kid does. We went through a similar situation, kid had always placed and sometimes won AA at locals, placed at invitationals, placed at regionals, and had all his bonuses for Level 6. Nonetheless, the coach said he wasn't good enough to do Level 7. What is really was, was the coach only wanted to coach 2 of the boys in my son's group. The other boys were younger and ended up repeating Level 6 (they didn't have all the bonuses), So we switched gyms. When we went to try out, the head coach already knew who my son was - mens gymnastics is a really small world- and said he could definitely do Level 7, but it was actually better for him to do JD, because on some events, he could already do a Level 8 routine and it made no sense to keep him in compulsory. Fast forward, kid did 2 years at JD, and will compete Level 9 this year against the same kids who were so much "better" than him. I imagine he will do just fine, but now he has a coach who supports him and wants to develop him, rather than one who would just make him do endless back handsprings and mushroom work in the corner while he coached the boys he deemed worthy of his attention.
 

NutterButter

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I'm with @Sk8ermaiden on this. While I definitely see red flags, I'm not 100% ready to write off the gym. She will get a lot of personalized attention in a class of 4 which potentially could set her up very nicely in the long run. If you like the overall philosophy and coaching at the gym, I'd be inclined to try it out with both eyes open. It sounds like the other gyms in the area don't compete L3 anyways so she's not necessarily losing anything (though it does suck that she's had a taste of competing already and knows what she's missing out on). You may find that with the school change, having fewer hours is a blessing. 10-12 hours / week is a lot for a 6 year old and she just turned 6.
 

moogacat

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I'm with @Sk8ermaiden on this. While I definitely see red flags, I'm not 100% ready to write off the gym. She will get a lot of personalized attention in a class of 4 which potentially could set her up very nicely in the long run. If you like the overall philosophy and coaching at the gym, I'd be inclined to try it out with both eyes open. It sounds like the other gyms in the area don't compete L3 anyways so she's not necessarily losing anything (though it does suck that she's had a taste of competing already and knows what she's missing out on). You may find that with the school change, having fewer hours is a blessing. 10-12 hours / week is a lot for a 6 year old and she just turned 6.
Agreed wholeheartedly. While there seem to be red flags, a "lower level" group is not always bad. As a not-perfect example, my daughter came to her gym at 10 to specifically join the Xcel team after 6 years of rec. She had all the skills for Gold, so she had hoped to come in as a Silver and perhaps move up during the year. The gym asked us to start as a Bronze, saying the smaller group her first year would help her even though she couldn't compete all the skills she had. They said in subsequent years, if she was ready, they would score her out of levels. But for her early competitive years, they felt slow was right. It was a great decision. She excelled, got confidence competing, did a year of Silver, last year scored out of Gold and did Platinum, and is now competing Xcel Diamond this year. Obviously they let her do a lot of uptraining along the way. Keep asking questions and investigate options at other gyms, but don't necessarily count out the benefit of a perceived step back, even if there's short term disappointment in it.
 

CLgym

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Our first gym did a 'bait and switch' on us too -- JO3 offer given and then inexplicably rescinded (with inconsistent and implausible excuses as to why). I posted on CB and received advice similar to what you have here. But for a variety of reasons I wasn't in a position to make an immediate gym change, so I swallowed my pride and accepted the demotion on behalf of my DD. (In our case it was an unexplained switch to Xcel Bronze before JO3 practices had even officially begun which meant many fewer hours/less experienced coaches, but an opportunity to compete at least). Obviously I talked up the change to my DD as much as a could. But I let the HC know I was not happy with how the situation had been handled. (These are real live children, not pawns on your team chessboard!!) As a bit of a concession they offered some weekly, additional/optional hours for Xcel (at a cost, of course). My DD was age 6-7 at the time.

The advice I received on CB suggested the gym had written off my DD for whatever reason -- and this turned out to be 100% accurate. We ended up changing gyms a year later. But I do not regret taking one year to wait and see how things went. My DD was young and I wasn't totally sure how much or for how long she would love gymnastics. And fewer gym hours gave us a chance to explore other interests (ice skating, baseball, etc.) and play more with school friends. Plus there was always a chance that things would have worked out at a gym we were otherwise happy with at the time.

I shared all of this as a way of saying it's OK if you want to stay put right now. I think that it will become apparent over the course of this year exactly where things are headed with this new group....
 

Scream4IceCream

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Have you observed practices? Do you feel your DD has the appropriate focus for a 6 yr old? I would not be happy with what seems like a demotion for what is likely normal 6 yr old behavior. At the same time though, you've gotten consistent feedback that her lack of focus is a concern (going back to her original coach who is no longer there). It's hard to know from what you've shared if her lack of focus is problematic for this gym in particular or your DD falls outside of normal limits for what is to be expected of 6 yr olds. Either way - the gym may not be equipped to work with her. Have you observed practices?
Very astute comment. That's something I have been trying to determine for awhile. When she was younger I thought her focus was pretty good. Then last year (Kindergarten) I started getting comments from her teacher saying although she is very intelligent, she wasn't as focused on her work as the teacher thought she should be. DD was one of nine students in the class (all girls) and the majority of them turned 6 between July and September (whereas DD had just turned 5 in June). The remaining two had birthdays in January and March, so DD was an outlier in terms of age at a point in their development where a few months can make a big difference. Plus, this school has high expectations for behavior and maturity, and the teacher described herself as having "strong classroom management" skills. I was a room parent, so I was in the class a fair amount and, although subtle, the older ones seemed to get a lot of positive reinforcement while my DD and the girl with the March birthday seemed to get a lot of comments that began "What have I told you about..." and "You know that..." In discussing her new school, DD recently said she wanted to "be one of the mature ones that all the teachers like." :(

DD did a session of group swim lessons this spring as a tune up for swim team and the coach loved her personality (said she hopes her 1yo is just like DD when she's older), but did mention DD could be more focused during the stroke instruction (DD was so excited to be back in the pool and would sometimes flip around underwater while the coach was talking). Because she's a good swimmer, she was again the youngest (5yo in a group of 7-9yo), so it's hard to know what to take from that.

On the other hand, she was in a K-3 ballet class last year with 18 girls and one teacher and did great. The class was only 50 minutes though and I feel like the studio is pretty laid back.

Bottom line, I don't believe her focus is outside of the norm for a 6yo. In her admissions testing for her new school, she scored significantly ahead of her chronological age in terms of both skills and development. I do believe her focus would improve if we could resolve her sleep issues. In addition, I think she is feeling a little discouraged by all the "lack of focus" talk coming from coaches and school.

I do recognize that she is very strong-willed and has somewhat of a unique personality. I readily admit that she is not always the easiest to work with. I think coaches see DD's strong-willed personality and think they have to preemptively come at that with an authoritarian attitude which does not work with her. She does much better when someone builds a warm, personal connection with her. I will say that I think the L3 coach has done a much better job with this than the L2 coach, but now DD will be starting over with a new coach (who is someone DD knows in passing, but not as a coach).
 

NutterButter

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The other reasons why I'm hesitant to call this a 'bait and switch' by the current gym is that the gym from the very beginning brought up concerns about the OP's DD and the ability to focus but they were willing to try it anyways. At this point we have no reason to believe that the DD is anything other than a normal 6 year old (with the usual expectation of focus) but there are clues that more may be going on with the OP's DD. A change in schools is coming up (we don't know why but the family will have kids at different schools), the OP alluded to a summer of conflict with the DD and the sleep apnea. That's a lot for a just turned 6 year old! It also sounds like that the gym is going through a period of change in eliminating L2 and L3 so it's conceivable that there are some kiddos caught in the middle of this. It's unfortunate, but organizations sometimes do change. It honestly sounds like this gym has been mindful in their actions so far. And we all know that the 4 kid training group that has been proposed will not be a money maker for the gym. There's also a big difference between L2 and L3 and a big jump between L3 and L4. It could be that the gym recognizes that the child may not be developmentally ready for the jump to L3.

I agree that there are red flags but it may not be quite as dire as it seems for the family to leave the gym now.
 

NutterButter

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@Scream4IceCream - our posts crossed at the same time and you addressed some of what I was getting at. I'm even more convinced given what you've shared that now is not the time to switch gyms. I was already suspecting your DD's temperament is exactly what you described - especially that she's strong willed (based on your earlier comment of the summer conflict). Your gym may be onto something by putting her in a smaller class where she can build up her confidence. In the bigger scheme of things competing L2 and L3 is not important. Also, success in one level is not at all indicative of continued success in the next levels. I've seen plenty of kids go from state podium finishes in one level to not having the same success in the next level and sometimes unfortunately this perceived lack of success drives kids (or their parents) out of the sport.

The hard part at this point may be selling it to her so that she doesn't think it's a demotion. If you decide to stay, I would focus on how awesome it is that she basically has a small group lesson every week. I would also focus on how the gym is changing and moving away from competing L3 and that other gyms don't compete L3 either. And emphasize that although it's a bummer that this new class doesn't let her compete, that she will be very well prepared and learning new skills in the meantime. I would also build up the fact that she has more time and encourage her to try another activity in addition to gymnastics. She sounds smart and I think she will eventually understand all this if presented to her as a positive.
 

GymDadWA

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I don't think they wrote her off at all, but for how that gym wants to structure things a 6 year old need to have the focus of an 8 year old. She has the physical skills but mentally checks out. The swim instruction example seems to be proof of that. And when a single girl checks out from instruction it can be a distraction for the entire group. The gym sounds like they recognize how great of an athlete she is but can't have the entire group distracted on a regular basis.

If competing is the most important thing and Xcel is still an option maybe that is the middle ground you are looking for. If staying on the JO track is the most important thing than take the small group offer and know that she will need to work on focus as much as physical skills for the next year then I'm sure she'll just fly up the JO track, plus she is only six she does have a lot of time.
 

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