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Anyone heard of girls competing against boys?

Madden3

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For our boys, the sex segregation is generally one of the things they love the most. When parents enrol their sons they often ask nervously "Are their many boys"? Wondering if their son will be the only boy in a sea of girls.

When they find out their son will be in a boys only class, they are very excited. They report back on how much the boys love having a boys only class. Their kids have male role models in the gym, make close friends with the other boys and don't feel lost in a sea of girls.
Yes, this is our experience as well. My younger son especially, who started gymnastics in kiddie rec when he was 3, started thriving in the sport after they started offering an all boys class taught by the gym's MAG team coaches. Offering such options I think increase the likelihood a boy will stay in gymnastics. (Or start in the first place.)
 

fuzi

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Peachy88

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For our boys, the sex segregation is generally one of the things they love the most. When parents enrol their sons they often ask nervously "Are their many boys"? Wondering if their son will be the only boy in a sea of girls.

When they find out their son will be in a boys only class, they are very excited. They report back on how much the boys love having a boys only class. Their kids have male role models in the gym, make close friends with the other boys and don't feel lost in a sea of girls.
When I watch my daughter enter the gym with the boys on her team I feel like she is with her people. She appears to identify very much as a girl, but her personality and somewhat adhdness seems to match the boys Moreno than the girls. It is fun to watch her navigate th performance of each gender in both mag and wag. She loves the game I think.
 

Madden3

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It does not surprise me in the least that a girl would feel comfortable- or even more comfortable- practicing with the boys. I cannot speak for Aussie coach but what I have observed is that some (many?) boys feel uncomfortable working gymnastics with groups of girls. An individual or two here and there of a different sex is probably not going to matter, especially if they are very young. It is more a question of critical mass.

Gymnastics is a tricky sport for boys in a whole host of ways. It is hardly considered a super masculine sport. (Obviously this is absurd, but let's face it, it is true as far as how the sport is perceived in the greater culture.) This can be quite difficult for some boys. Being on an all boy team helps IMO.

Also, I think that even a girl who hated WAG, refused to do it, thought it was stupid, and only wanted to do MAG (or football or wrestling or whatever) could still identify entirely as a girl! I think there is far too much stock being placed in this oppressive idea that we are somehow not able to identify entirely as one "gender" if we do not adhere to some strict stereotyped straightjacketed version of that gender! No. Women can be very "fem" and very "butch" and most are something in between. And sometimes both in the same lifetime. (Or even the same day.) And the same is true of men. I don't know. This was clear way back in the 70s & 80's when I was growing up and most of the boys and girls dressed basically the same! I do not know what has happened but it is very sad that kids are made to feel somehow not entirely their own sex because they prefer activities or dress or behavior someone has degreed as belonging to the opposite sex. Who the heck is making these new rules? I find them very damaging.
 

nsharpe

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Just going to chime in for a slightly different perspective. I started competing MAG 6 years ago at age 24. I added the WAG events two years ago when the NAIGC started offering the decathlon (
), alongside my wife Julia (video of whom was already posted earlier in the thread) who had been a high level WAG gymnast for some time. From both my own experience and that of watching a handful of gymnasts across the country start training and competing the decathlon in the NAIGC, I can say the following:
  1. Guys can definitely do beam. I find this assertion particularly absurd given the myriad videos of people doing crazy parkour stunts (which seems nearly identical to the aspect of beam that is being worried about, ie. acro+dangerous environment), 99.9% of which are men.
  2. Grown men with a bit of gymnastics experience can pick up the WAG events much faster than grown women with extensive gymnastics experience can pick up the MAG events. However, I would expect this difference to disappear in a prepubescent environment where both groups start with similar levels of athletic exposure/experience, training the opposite events from the start.
  3. There are definitely hurt feelings when men displace women in WAG in terms of qualifying spots and/or podium spots. The same is not true for women in MAG (Julia placed 10th on high bar at nationals a few years ago and got a standing ovation, with no complaints that we know of). I think this is warranted given the average strength advantage of men, but wouldn't actually be warranted with prepubescent gymnasts, where the relevant physical differences are nonexistent (https://theconversation.com/when-it-comes-to-sport-boys-play-like-a-girl-80328).
  4. It's really great to have the option to compete any of the 9 different apparatuses (vault being exactly the same for each), making an already fun sport even moreso, and I wish more people did it!
 

John

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I watch practice from time to time and the boys at our gym know many of the girls' routines and actually stop at the appropriate time to participate in each girls signature dance move. It is very amusing to watch. Occasionally boys and girls work on tumble track together, that is also fun to watch, for many reasons, but the two that I appreciate the most are watching them interact and watching them try to compete with each other. I think more should experiment with the decathlon meet idea.
 
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raenndrops

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It does not surprise me in the least that a girl would feel comfortable- or even more comfortable- practicing with the boys. I cannot speak for Aussie coach but what I have observed is that some (many?) boys feel uncomfortable working gymnastics with groups of girls. An individual or two here and there of a different sex is probably not going to matter, especially if they are very young. It is more a question of critical mass.

Gymnastics is a tricky sport for boys in a whole host of ways. It is hardly considered a super masculine sport. (Obviously this is absurd, but let's face it, it is true as far as how the sport is perceived in the greater culture.) This can be quite difficult for some boys. Being on an all boy team helps IMO.

Also, I think that even a girl who hated WAG, refused to do it, thought it was stupid, and only wanted to do MAG (or football or wrestling or whatever) could still identify entirely as a girl! I think there is far too much stock being placed in this oppressive idea that we are somehow not able to identify entirely as one "gender" if we do not adhere to some strict stereotyped straightjacketed version of that gender! No. Women can be very "fem" and very "butch" and most are something in between. And sometimes both in the same lifetime. (Or even the same day.) And the same is true of men. I don't know. This was clear way back in the 70s & 80's when I was growing up and most of the boys and girls dressed basically the same! I do not know what has happened but it is very sad that kids are made to feel somehow not entirely their own sex because they prefer activities or dress or behavior someone has degreed as belonging to the opposite sex. Who the heck is making these new rules? I find them very damaging.
I agree the rules on how to dress behave and choose activities can be damaging. I am lucky to have been raised for the most part in small towns (except for having to be a mostly self-taught gymnast with a little real coaching along the way because there was no gymnastics close enough).
As a girl growing up in the 70s and 80s (who played football and baseball), there was some pushback because I was a girl... moreso in football than baseball. I was the ONLY girl in the entire football league. I was also the youngest in the league, technically 17 days too young but the coach saw me working with my older brother before the first practice and after talking to my dad and then me and seeing what I could do with an ACTUAL receiver (I was doing timing patterns with my brother).
When I was with my brother, he didn't realize I was a girl. He asked my dad which one was on team because he didn't have any siblings on his roster. Dad told him my brother. He asked Dad if I could do "that" with anybody or just with brother. Dad said he didnt know and called me over. My name clued him in that I was a girl, lol. He asked ME if I could do timing patterns with just anybody or just my brother. I said I don't know, I would have to see the person run. His son was a receiver and he told me to do whatever I had to. His son and I went over to where I had been and I told him that I needed to see him run flat out. He did and I called him back. Told him to run something like a 10 yard post pattern. I hit him 10/10. The coach asked why I wasnt on the team and dad told him my birthdate as an explanation. He said he didn't care if I WAS a girl, he was going to petition me onto the team.
When we moved to another town a couple years later, there was a park through my back yard and some trees. It came out at the baseball field. Within a week, I was on a baseball team (coach pitch). There were some girls on the teams because the town didn't have softball. So I wasn't the only girl. Pushback in baseball only happened if a girl wanted to go past coach pitch to Little League. The year AFTER I finished playing baseball (I was too old for both coach pitch and Little League), they allowed 1 girl on the Little League team because of a protest the coach pitch girls did (in the form of an All Star, all girl team - My dad's idea... specifically to challenge the Little League team). It worked. 2 girls tried out that next year, and out of the 24 kids at tryouts, 1 was good enough for the team of 15. Lol, and the year after that, they started girls softball teams.
 
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Hollowarchkick

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I think one of the things I love most about this sport is the creativity it allows athletes and coaches. Of course women could do men’s events and vice versa. There’s nothing that says that rules can’t be made to develop their strengths. On the other hand, I like that there is the difference in the sport. In many sports, you don’t get to see the women excel in traditional ways. For example, professional basketball games for men have several dunks and there are few women that do it in games. The public likes that and the women’s leagues suffer. Many would say that the female professional basketball player is fundamentally stronger. But the popularity isn’t there for a number of reasons including the lack of that aspect. So if they competed rings minus the incredible strength moves, would they be looked at in a way that gave the impression they weren’t as good? I guess there’s no way to say but as it stands, it seems that most are able to display their best talents.
 

GymMominOK

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We are new to gymnastics, but my son is taking rec and loving it. We live in a small town and only have one very small gym with no equipment for boys. So my son is learning all the others. He cruises across a beam better than I can walk across the floor. I would like to take him 30 min to a gym that does offer boys gymnastics just for the exposure, then let his interest dictate where he goes from there. It is nice to know that may be an option for him. Right now he is the only boy at our gym and it doesn't bother him one bit. He actually kind of likes it.
 

reluctant

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Yes, we had a girl who competed against boys in Level 4 and 5 (not on our team) . She wore the boys uniform and did the same routines. Her hair was in a very short bun thing (like several of the boys as well). Thought she was a boy until the announced awards, and her name was something unambiguously female like Isabelle. Didn't see her after Level 5.

I think eventually, the girls would have trouble with the strength events like rings and pommel, although their floor and vault skills seem to be the same as the boys. I can't imagine the boys being able to do beam. In Level 5, the boys had to learn some sort of kick/twist/land in an arabesque move. and none of them could do it well for a while. I asked my son why it was so hard and he said "You try it" and I could do it right away. I think PBars, the girls would be fine on,
I think you are wrong about the girls not having the strength for rings and pommel. Girls are beast! If they trained for it they could do it.
 
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reluctant

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There certainly are safety concerns on both sides of the coin. Boys splitting the beam is a concern. A lot of the bigger strength moves on rings are also not safe for females due to the way the shoulders and chest are shaped.
This is silly. There's nothing about girls' shoulders that is different from boys.
 
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reluctant

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I am talking much higher level skills, ie the iron cross has great potential to snap a females sternum. MAG apparatus rely heavily on upper body strength. Males in general have wider shoulders and the potential to develop significantly more upper body strength. Pre,puberty the differences are not so great, but post puberty, the game tends to change.
This is simply not true. Think of how much stronger the average woman gymnast is -- even in the upper body -- than the average non-athlete man.
 
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sce

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This is simply not true. Think of how much stronger the average woman gymnast is -- even in the upper body -- than the average non-athlete man.
There are some studies differences in men's and women's muscles. Baseline they have the same muscles, but type of muscle, how quickly they build muscle etc does vary by gender partly due to different hormones. Since men build muscle faster because of testosterone they are often stronegr than women. I agree that comparing girls ad boys, ie pre-puberty there is little difference And most female gymnasts are stronger than most male non-gymnasts. But post-puberty their muscles develop differently. Some skills in men's gymnastics are generally not achievable by men until after puberty, because they need the muscle that comes with the testosterone. That being said, girls/women have competed in men's gymnastics. I don't know how high a level they have gone, but it is done.
 

2G1B

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There are some studies differences in men's and women's muscles. Baseline they have the same muscles, but type of muscle, how quickly they build muscle etc does vary by gender partly due to different hormones. Since men build muscle faster because of testosterone they are often stronegr than women. I agree that comparing girls ad boys, ie pre-puberty there is little difference And most female gymnasts are stronger than most male non-gymnasts. But post-puberty their muscles develop differently. Some skills in men's gymnastics are generally not achievable by men until after puberty, because they need the muscle that comes with the testosterone. That being said, girls/women have competed in men's gymnastics. I don't know how high a level they have gone, but it is done.
I will say, I have b/g twins. They are both gymnasts. They chugged along with DD being about as strong and sometimes stronger than DS. And then he hit puberty. Suddenly there was no comparison. She was doing way more hours and conditioning than him, but he was building way, way more muscle. Now, about 2 years later, they do comparable hours and I don't think that there is any chance that strength wise DD will ever catch up to DS unless he totally quits sports and exercising (and she continues).
 

Cheryl

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I have a question about the Puberty Fairy (which has not arrived at our house for boy). I’ve talked to the Dr, I’ve read some studies, but it seems, just anecdotally from meets that the boy gymnasts reach puberty later than the general boy population. I only have 1 son, who is 13, but all of his teammates look like they are about 11. At school most of his friends are taller/hairier. Then around 15-16 the boy gymnasts all look very manly. I know they all get there eventually, but is there a correlation between boys being good at gymnastics developing later?
 
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skschlag

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I have a question about the Puberty Fairy (which has not arrived at our house for boy). I’ve talked to the Dr, I’ve read some studies, but it seems, just anecdotally from meets that the boy gymnasts reach puberty later than the general boy population. I only have 1 son, who is 13, but all of his teammates look like they are about 11. At school most of his friends are taller/hairier. Then around 15-16 the boy gymnasts all look very manly. I know they all get there eventually, but is there a correlation between boys being good at gymnastics developing later?
I think it is variable. My son went thru puberty at 12-13 and is doing ok at gym right now. It just depends on how they learn to use their body.
 

sce

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I have a question about the Puberty Fairy (which has not arrived at our house for boy). I’ve talked to the Dr, I’ve read some studies, but it seems, just anecdotally from meets that the boy gymnasts reach puberty later than the general boy population. I only have 1 son, who is 13, but all of his teammates look like they are about 11. At school most of his friends are taller/hairier. Then around 15-16 the boy gymnasts all look very manly. I know they all get there eventually, but is there a correlation between boys being good at gymnastics developing later?
My son started at age 12, pretty early. Grew 10 inches over the next three years. His teammates have varied in age
 

Cheryl

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They all are just small on my son's team then. They are all between 11-13 and not one out of 8 has started to grow. The 14 and up group looks like it has some smaller kids (but still bigger than our group), and some kids that are 6 feet. I had asked the pediatrician and he said late blooming was pretty genetic, although neither my husband and I were late, or are small people, and his cousin that's a year older is about 5'10" and taller than his dad, When I asked the orthopedist, he said that calorie usage and impact might mean that he would grow slower and for longer, but not affect his final height. They just get embarrassed when we go out for dinners or treats and all them get the "kids" menu.
 
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