For Parents ...and now...i'm almost speechless. thoughts?

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sheplaysinthechalk

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...what would you think if the gym owner and coach came to you and said:

"we really enjoy having your daughter on our team. we enjoy having you in our gym and appreciate your commitment and loyalty, but we'd like to discuss your daughter's training."

...and then let's say they go on to explain:

"we just don't really know how much we can really do for her long term. we feel like (currently, in our efforts to grow our facility) our gym can't offer 'enough' to support her talents and gifts as a gymnast. we aren't necessarily suggesting that you explore other options, but we feel that she would benefit from training in a more updated facility and with coaches who are more able to train her to her potential. We just wanted to let you know where we are at with this. You just think about what you want to do, and we'll get back together and discuss options."


:eek:


I'm thinking that I am NOT flattered. I'm thinking that it's completely weird. I don't know that their "intention" was flattery, but...

Things going through my head:

  • this is completely ridiculous.

  • they cannot be serious.

  • is this seriously an issue?

  • what in the world prompted this whole thing?

  • why would they come to me with this?

  • i'm not sure what they mean by "how much we can do 'long term'"

  • she's 5.

  • she loves it there.

  • doesn't know any differently.

  • WHY is this an issue in the first place?

  • did this REALLY need to be brought to my attention?

I have never insinuated that we were unhappy in ANY way with what my daughter does in the gym. She's happy right now. She's having fun and learning...so what's the big deal? We are supportive of our gym and donate money from time to time, and volunteer time for fundraisers, carpool to class, etc...

After having been approached with all of this craziness, my first thought is WHY? It also makes me feel like they aren't confident in their program...or in themselves...

but for what all of this is worth, currently, my dd trains with the kids who are training the same skills - only she is the three years (or more) younger than the rest. if they can train the other kids, then what's the big deal with training my kid?

I'm actually getting a little ticked off, now that i think of it.

Honestly, I'm looking for some advice here.

What do I say to these people? I really don't understand why this has to be an issue, and am a bit embarrassed by all of this.
 
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Linsul

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Sep 19, 2008
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I see what you're saying, but before you get angry think on this for a sec! What they see in your daughter from a professional institution and coaching standpoint is not the same as what you see as a parent. If you think about it, it's their job as professionals to let you know if they see a future in the sport for her, and pretty considerate to let you know that she could train beyond what they are capable of teaching!

I would surely not look at it as them trying to kick her out or make you feel bad. Just let them know that for now your goal is enjoyment, fun, etc. Reiterate you and your daughters purpose for being there. I know she's young, but if she has potential then letting you know early is a heads up so that you have the jump on training options.

As far as confidence in their program goes, there is a possibility they are just being realistic. If they objectively look at themselves and have a grasp of what is within their means, that could be a very good thing. You don't have to be an internationally competitive gym to recognize talent when you see it. Being up front about your DD's possibilities (even if it meant losing a customer) says to me as an outsider that they care about their gymnasts as individuals and want the best for them. Even if it's not at their gym.

Think of it as a compliment to your daughters ability, and a testament to what sounds like a good relationship between you and them. If they were comfortable letting you know of a future with high aspirations elsewhere for your daughter then thats about as open and honest as it gets! Doubtless they'll be fine if your goals don't include reaching for those goals just yet or ever. Sounds like they were just informing you so that you could make a solid decision with the big picture in mind.
 
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TeamDad

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What do I say to these people? I really don't understand why this has to be an issue, and am a bit embarrassed by all of this.

If I had to guess...and I do....I'd say it boils down to two words....

---insurance risk----

You mention that your DD is 5 years old and two to three years younger than the girls she trains with. I think you also posted a thread not long ago about her eating it pretty badly on beam and her fearlessness (which is remarkable btw). Guessing here, but they might feel that this is a liability and they aren't equipped to deal with it and may not want the risk involved.

To answer your question - whatever the say, just smile and respond - 'thank you, but we like it here and we don't want to leave'. Just my dos centavos.
 

MeetDirector

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Good Afternoon -

Both of the previous replies to your dilema are quite possible. One thing I have learned over the years with DD's gymnastics is that communication with the coach is the key to success. Whatever you do, don't reach any final conclusions without sitting down and having a face-to-face (not e-mail, not phone) conversation with the coach/owner. Don't try and do this while practice is going on; schedule some time when the coach/owner is not trying to coach. I have had the most success by taking time out of my day and going to the gym and sitting down when the gym is quiet; its amazing how a conversation can happen when there aren't 50 or more girls running about.

In my opinion, I would lean to taking the comments as positive; the coach/owner is seeing something in your daughter and doesn't want her to miss out on an opportunity that he can't help her to attain. If this is in fact what he is doing, I would most certainly ask him for other gym recommendations as well as maybe his getting involved in helping your DD to make the move.

5 years old is young and young minds are very subject to change; but if gymnastics is her passion don't close a door before at least taking a peak to see what's on the other side.

Good Luck.
 

ellabella

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May 26, 2008
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I think it's a little strange because as someone who's been around gymnastics for a long time and I'm sure some other coaches/parents can give you even more insight, talented 5 year olds are a dime a dozen. Unless your gym is just a rec program I can't imagine any gym not being able to handle coaching a 5 year old.

Is it possible they see you as a stage mom and don't want to deal with you? I don't at all mean that you are, but I'm asking because of a situation I recently encountered. At the gym my DD goes to I know the owner quite well so we talk quite frequently. There was a kid in my DD's class who totally has stage parents. The owner knows that if the parent is like that on developmental team the future isn't going to be good. They told her parents that the gym wasn't a good fit for her with their ambitions in hopes to get rid of them. Unfortunately it didn't work.
 
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Blackie6

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Just a mom interpretation but I didn't take those comments as negative at all. As a matter of fact if that was said about my DD I would be flattered. It sounds like they think she has a lot of potential. I'm sorry I can't remember what program she is in, you mentioned "team" so is that USAG Level 4? We got a new L4 last year that came over from another gym. She had been at a gym that did not have a USAG team, they had an USAICG team. She picked up things so quickly the coaches there told her parents to find a USAG team as she had quite a talent & gift. This past year she enjoyed 36's as a brand new L4 and went right to L5 and will probably score out of that and go right into L7 this Summer. They recognized that another gym could train her more to her potential.

Maybe this is what your coaches are seeing in your daughter? Maybe they feel she is young, and given the right atmosphere in another gym & coaching, she will go further. Here in NJ some gyms are just better than others. Some have better upper level teams and elite programs. Some are known to produce talented gymnast or have girls qualify to the TOPS team. Not that your current gym is a bad gym, but maybe they see something bigger and better for your DD! Maybe they think she should be fast tracked.

If you are so upset and confused though I think the best thing is to sit down with the coach or owner so you can hear it all for yourself and ask questions or even suggestions.. Maybe because you weren't expecting that kind of conversation you are not digesting the info.

Keep us posted and try not to worry, it doesn't sound bad at all.
 

Panda-girl's Mom

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Jan 9, 2008
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It does sound alittle weird. Does the gym have a USAG competitve team and what levels do they have? Will she be able to compete as a level 4 next year ?If they do wouldn't they want your daughter who is talented to be a part of their team. Or maybe they are just a recreational gym with low level competition. One of the girls on my daughters team was in a city recreational program she was 8 and was told the same thing and she was referred to our gym where now she is doing great. It just seem kind of young to tell you this about your daughter unless this is strictly a recreational gym. I quess you also have to ask yourself is she happy where she is at, you could always move her to a more competitive gym when she is older.
 

Aussie_coach

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This isn't strange it is common practise in the gymnastics world. Not all gyms are as well equipped as other gyms as far as equipment, coaching ability and so on. They are not ashmaed of that fact because every gyum has different goals. Some gyms have the goal of producing olympic athletes, others for producing college gymnasts. And many gyms have a more laid back approach and are more interested in recreational programs and low level competition. These gyms cant and wont compete with the more competitive gyms.

If they spot a child with outstanding talent, they know they cant allow her to go as far as her potential. If they don't reccomend she attend another program then they are doing her a serious disservice.

It isn important that if she has the potenial to go far they cultivate that now. If they wait until she is 9 or 10 it will be too late.
 
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gymgramma

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Aren't you in MO and your little one is Nastia and she takes a 45 min private lesson each week? I think your gym is telling you that you have a very talented DD and that they are not equipped to train her to her full potential. I would ask them what they would reccommend, be open and talk w/them. Your DD is 5 - she will have fun in any gym since she loves gym so much.
 

bogwoppit

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Aren't you in MO and your little one is Nastia and she takes a 45 min private lesson each week? I think your gym is telling you that you have a very talented DD and that they are not equipped to train her to her full potential. I would ask them what they would reccommend, be open and talk w/them. Your DD is 5 - she will have fun in any gym since she loves gym so much.

No that's not her, thats another member. WHo I am sure will love this!!!
 
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gymjourneymom

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I think this gym is being honest & open, two wonderful things! I wouldn't be mad at them for it. They are letting you know that your DD is very talented & that they may not be able to provide her with all the oppurtunities, that she could benefit from. Just b/c they are telling you this, doesn't mean that following a 'gymnasts track' is neccesarily what is right for your DD or your family. But I think it's great that this gym is letting you know, that your DD has potential now...in case you would want to pursue this option. My DD started out in a combo ballet/gymnastics class, when she was 3yrs old & loved it. That teacher noted DD's natural gymnastic talent & recommended a well known & local gym to us. But what if she hadn't??? I think she was trying to help my DD...not get her out of her class. DD loved gymnastics then & still does. But what we have learned is, gymnastics has never been the only thing DD wanted to do. She is talented in gymnastics & loves it, but she has many other interests too. Back then she also did t-ball & pee-wee soccer, swimming, piano lessons. Now as a L7, she wants to do track & sings in honors chorus. It is getting more difficult to balance everything, as her gym hours increase. I think your gym is just giving you helpful info. Letting you know that your DD has potential...and that if you wish to pursue it...they may not be the best fit for her. I give them credit for that! They are giving you a heads up to explore your options & what is right for your DD & family. Also, not to scare you...but my DD was fearless at that age too. She was known on her team for her fearlessness, until she turned 10yrs old. She's had constant fear issues since then. Some gyms like to push the girls onto more difficult skills at a young age, before fear sets in. I'm not saying your DD will become fearful...I'm just saying I never thought mine would. And here we are, fear is a constant struggle now. My DD is doing well on team & pursuing her other interest & going to public school. It's all about what is right for your DD. What is the right 'fit' & balance for her. I think your gym is just trying to be helpful...giving you a heads up to explore all options for her. JMHO.
 
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Aug 7, 2008
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I dont think I would be offended either. It sounds like the gym your dd is currently in is not as competitive as some gyms are and Im sure the coaches realize this and know that you dd would be better off in a gym that can train and compete at higher levels. Is your dd level 3 yet? If so I would look into all the gyms in the area that compete level 3 and have your dd meet with the staff and some of the kids. See which one would be a good fit for her and I am sure she will do great! :)
 

sheplaysinthechalk

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this might be a world-record LONG post...let me know if I get a medal!!!


okay.

yes, i've totally chilled out about this. I'm not upset about it anymore...I do have many people to reply to, so forgive me if this seems here and there and everywhere.......

About the 'stage mom' thing...I wouldn't consider myself a 'stage mom,' and I don't think that the coaches or anyone else considers me one either. My husband and I are active socially with many local business owners, and so we regularly find ourselves out to dinner. It's not at all uncommon that the gym owner would be there - as we network in the same social atmosphere...honestly, we get along famously and we think very highly of their family. But when we had this conversation about dd's training, i couldn't understand what would make them think or feel like we would want anything different right now.


About the insurance risk thing......yes, i can understand that a big fall like that is a liability from an owner's perspective, but...enough for them to ask us to leave? I don't think so. As the owner, I'm sure that they are aware of all insurance risks and take as many precautions as they can. I don't feel like my dd is training in an "unsafe" environment. Could the equipment be updated? yes. But as far as the liability thing, i'm not really getting it. I don't understand the difference between my 5 y/o dd and someone else's 13 y/o dd falling in the middle of a back walkover? Or a kid twisting an ankle on a roundoff? Or jumping short on a handspring and breaking a finger? Or say a kid trips and goes flying face first into a balance beam...I think that with all skills in gymnastics, there is risk. I can see that it would be a huge liability if they were asking dd to a skill that she wasn't able to safely do herself, but this hasn't ever been the case. They don't allow children to attempt a skill solo unless it is safe.


Yes, we are at a gym that competes. They do AAU sanctions, and another non-sanctioned league. They are not currently involved with USA Gymnastics (which I find appalling and completely irritating) but have their certifications and teach by the usag book. (the owner and i just agree to disagree on the usag thing for now)

I now hear what you are all saying about talent, and that some gyms can provide more than others. Yes, I get it, but my dd is 5. Like new 5...has only been 5 for a couple of months. Not even in kindergarten.

I just don't know what they mean by "how much we can do for her long term"...I mean, I understand what they are saying, but what does that mean, really.....? Why do they feel that it would be more beneficial for her to train elsewhere? If it's that they think she'd be better off training for optionals or on an elite track or whatever, what are they basing their decision on? My dd's skills and work ethic? AT 5 YEARS OLD? Honestly, maybe this would be easier for me to understand if she were a little older.

Here's some of the things i'm thinking of:
Let's say we change gyms. The closest place to us that teaches gymnastics is 40 miles away. They are a rec program only. We could go north, but i have NO CLUE what is up that way as far as training in or around Chicago...Chicago is more than 3 hours from here. If we go east or west, we are looking at St. Louis or Indianapolis? Those are both more than 2 1/2 hours interstate drive time. I'll put it like this: we would have to move, and there's no getting around it.

Also, currently, I'm paying 75 dollars a month for dd to spend 6 hours of team time and 1 hour of a preschool/play class per week. I've read where people are paying OUT THE WAHZOO for crazy amounts of gym time - 20 to 35 hours a week??? That's like a bajillion dollars a month. I'm sure for some families it's worth it, and I'm not knocking that part at all. I'm just saying that I think it's a little crazy to jump the gun on this right now, (considering her age, and that she's never been evalutated by any other gymnastics coach other than the ones that she has).

I think that the end result is really the whole issue I'm having with all of this. And the compete and total uncertainty...What I'm saying is that her future cannot be certain as far as gymnastics goes: I feel like it's not completely ridiculous of me to consider that she might eventually get burnt out, or injured, or whatever else that can get in the way of training to higher levels.

Let's say we move, and then 5 years from now is either burnt out or gets injured. At that point, we have invested tons of $ and moved away from family, friends, and our lives here - all to pursue what (I feel) is sort of unlikely in the first place. Let's be real for a minute: how many kids make the olympic team? And there is only one olympic team every how many years? The likelihood of my kid securing a spot in the 2000-whatever olympic games is VERY slim and something that never crossed my mind to begin with.:rolleyes:

And then there's the fact that I've never even thought about her ever making it really past level 5 or 6? I've just never sat down and really thought about her talent. Of course I think she's talented, she's my baby! :p But i don't really think that she's THAT much different from any other kid. Yes, i see the other kids her age struggling to do rolls and limbers and cartwheels, but I just don't know that she's really THAT talented...I know that there are many many other gymmies who are dd's age and just as strong in gymnastics as dd...And I assume that there are many many more who are even more advanced!

I'm not out to make an olympic champion out of my dd. Currently, we are pretty happy where we are. Yes, i think it would be awesome to be able to be involved with a more updated facility, but is that REALLY (in the grand scheme of things) what we need? Right now, I think it's most important that dd is having fun doing gymnastics. I also think it's important that she's learning about her body, and exercise, nutrition and wellness, social stuff...

I just think that 5 years old is a bit premature to be thinking about this....
 

mbphoto

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Jan 27, 2009
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OK She,
I think you are exactly correct. To make big family altering decisions based on a 5yr olds gymnastics career seem a little extreme to me as wekk. I bet there is a completely logical explanation for this and I for one can't wait for you to post what it is once you have talked to to coaches. Good luck!
 

gymjourneymom

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I understand what you are saying. You want your 5yr old, to be a kid who does what she enjoys...gymnastics. You are not apparently looking to lead a totally 'gymnastic life style', possibly chosing homeschool or gym schooling & fast track training. It is your choice to do what is best for your DD & family. Some parents might chose to fast track under the same circumstances(I wouldn't, but I think some other CB's might). I think it's nice that the gym gave you this heads up, so you could think about it at least. Just b/c your DD has talent, doesn't mean you have to go whole hog & train for the Olympics. She can be a talented gymnast & do other things too. Did they tell you, you HAD to move her from their gym? On the other hand, I don't think you have the right to tell them how to run their business. If they don't want to have USAG teams, that is their choice. Maybe that is why they are suggesting you move to a different gym? Just my 2 cents.
 
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TeamDad

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I really don't get it. The owner thinks that you should change gyms because they 'feel that she would benefit from training in a more updated facility and with coaches who are more able to train her to her potential', but there isn't another gym with a competitive program within reasonable driving distance or even in the same state?

Now I'm really confused:confused:
 

sheplaysinthechalk

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yes, there are other training facilities within driving distance, i suppose...we live in the middle no where...the closest gym to us that trains gymnastics is 40 miles and they are only recreational. The closest competitive gym is about an hour drive to get there. Every other gym within an hour of here does power tumbling and cheer - not gymnastics. There really are no other options within a reasonable distance, honestly...I guess i could do some research, but i don't know of anything close that has a decent program past level 7 or 8....




and about the usag thing...it's really not a big deal to me, really. so, if they don't want to do usag, i think it's completely up to them - not me. i just feel like usag is pretty awesome and would enjoy the chance to get my child involved at some point. i don't feel like i'm telling them how to run their business at all. we agreed to disagree in the context of:

they showed me an invitation (or something like it) to Chicago Style. i said i thought it would be really fun to go. they told me that it was a usag meet and that they stopped competing usag 2 years ago and didn't want to be involved for now. i said that i thought that meets like that would be an awesome experience for the kids - they agreed but said that they feel that usag is overly political and then mentioned dollar signs. they insinuated that since we don't have a very big competitive team, that our gym was (and will continue to be) looked at as a big joke...i disagree with that theory. This is why we agree to disagree...and i haven't mentioned a word about it since..no big deal.
 
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TeamDad

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yes, there are other training facilities within driving distance, i suppose...we live in the middle no where...the closest gym to us that trains gymnastics is 40 miles and they are only recreational. The closest competitive gym is about an hour drive to get there. Every other gym within an hour of here does power tumbling and cheer - not gymnastics. There really are no other options within a reasonable distance, honestly...I guess i could do some research, but i don't know of anything close that has a decent program past level 7 or 8....
So in the long run, he feels that your DD will be much better off if she spends 2 hours a day in the car??? Sounds like he's a little out of touch and hasn't thought this through before making this recommendation to you. If you do the drop and leave like we do, that's alot of time in the car.
 
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luv2watchgym

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It sounds to me like you may not want to move right now, but keep in mind that later on, it may seem realistic to change gyms. We have many girls whose parents drive an hour or more to our gym, even though there are several gyms much closer to them, but that's because our gym is known as an outstanding optional gym, and those girls don't usually transfer here until level 8 or higher. At age five, if your daughter is happy, and you are happy with the training she's getting, then there's no reason to move. However, if she still loves gymnastics in several years, when she has the skills to become an optional USAG gymnast, then it becomes realistic to drive an hour each way so she can get the training she needs. Just keep one thing in mind -- our coach has refused girls who want to transfer to our team, if she feels the gymnast has been badly trained in the basics. So if you leave it too long, and she has not been properly trained, then she may not be able to get into a really good program down the line.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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Erm... here's what I'm seeing here:

1) Coaches say your daughter is very talented
2) You're perfectly happy to keep her at the gym she's at now. She's having fun, and you don't feel the need to push her faster or farther than what this gym is already doing.


Forgive me if I'm being obtuse, but I fail to see any problems with this situation. Sounds like everything's going great for you!

If you'd rather stay at this gym, tell them that. If you want to discuss all of this with her coach, tell them that too.
 
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