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Junior Olympic Are vacations really not okay??

Daphne Banks

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I hear of Olympians taking a year off and coming back for Worlds, JO athletes quitting level 9 for a year and coming back to level 9. Then I hear our coaches saying don't take a vacation for more than 1-2 weeks. I met a parent at Regionals who said they don't take ANY vacations anymore.

We have always taken a 3-4 week holiday over the summer and our DD has progressed through the levels more or less on par with others. She also seems to have evaded overuse injuries. She is now training level 9 and will be out again this summer for a month. Is it time to curtail the holidays? Would love opinions. She is in the US, 7th grade, would like to compete in college.

I'm just struggling to reconcile the anecdotes in my first paragraph.
 

my4buffaloes

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Hmm, our gym and gymnasts do just fine when the gym closes for a week (twice a year, partial weeks 3 times a year). So I imagine taking a vacation for a week doesn't hurt and it certainly has never hurt my girls. Even 2 weeks off hasn't really hurt anything. My dd was actually out for a year with an injury at the end of level 8, came back and moved up to level 9. Biggest issue was rebuilding her strength and it was HARD! But she did it. I think missing gym time can put them at a disadvantage, but it doesn't have to. Depends on the gymnast and the work ethic IMHO.
 
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gymgal

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In the lower levels, it is not as much an issue. In the upper levels - 9/10, elite - it does make a difference. Even a week or two affects my dd in terms of her timing, flexibility, fears, etc. She gets it back fairly easily but it stresses her out in those first week or two back. I think a lot also depends on timing of the vacations. Is it at the beginning of off season training? Plenty of time to get back in the groove. Right before comp season or in the middle of it? much harder. I think injuries are a little different in that most girls are still int he gym during the recovery phase, working on what they can so they don't lose as much as they would if they were completely out of the gym. It's important to remember that every child is different too. If your child is used to this, doesn't stress out about taking that much time off, and doesn't have the issues others might have with extended breaks, then I would say go for it! You are right, the rest helps heal those overuse mini injuries.
 

kimute

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We have taken a three-week bike trip through Europe every other summer and plan one again this year. Our DD seems to come back to skills quickly. I think it helps that she is bicycling 35-50 miles a day in her "time off"! We take an additional summer week off where we just chill with extended family. DD just finished Level 8. I am following responses here as we head into the higher levels...
 

txgymfan

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Everyone needs a break once in a while. I do think it helps to be active instead of laying on the couch. If she struggles with flexibility, then suggest she stretch.

Three to four weeks is a long time in gymnastics so see how she does this summer and take it from there. Keep in mind, I do not have a high level gymnast but I know about burnout and kids.
 

Muddlethru

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Personally, I believe rest is certainly good for the young bodies. However, when you daughter returns, if you are gone for 3+ weeks, try to have her slowly work her way up to the regular gym hours. My daughter has suffered many overuse injuries because she jumped right in after being gone for over 3 weeks.

We’ve always taken extended vacations (usually 3 1/2 weeks) from Level 4 all through 5 years in level 10. Up until Level 9 and 10, extended vacation don’t really affect progress in my opinion. If you need to go on a 3-4 week vacation, I would take it as early in the summer as possible. We always started our vacations right as school ends or a few days earlier, right after their last final. If you take vacations in the middle of summer, your daughter may miss skill upgrade training and/or strength training in preparation for skill progression.

My daughter kept up with her teammates despite her long vacations. But I wonder too if she could have done better if we didn’t take such vacations.
 

Jard.the.gymnast

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Our gym closes for the entire 6 weeks our summer break is long. The kids who keep up with their strength/flexibility and are not as fearful usually have no problem coming back. If any of those are missing, it is usually a bit harder but still doable. Even our ‘elite stream’ (the oldest usually compete level 9/10 skills) dont have a lot of trouble with it. However the coaches understand that you are not at your old level immidiately, they let you ease back into it
 

Freddy's Fred

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I hear of Olympians taking a year off and coming back for Worlds, JO athletes quitting level 9 for a year and coming back to level 9. Then I hear our coaches saying don't take a vacation for more than 1-2 weeks. I met a parent at Regionals who said they don't take ANY vacations anymore.

We have always taken a 3-4 week holiday over the summer and our DD has progressed through the levels more or less on par with others. She also seems to have evaded overuse injuries. She is now training level 9 and will be out again this summer for a month. Is it time to curtail the holidays? Would love opinions. She is in the US, 7th grade, would like to compete in college.

I'm just struggling to reconcile the anecdotes in my first paragraph.
We take many weeks off in the summer and I have upper level optionals. There's more to life than this. I refuse to create an environment where all my kids remember about their childhood is the gym. Go on that trip, send them to camp.
 

Sk8ermaiden

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We take many weeks off in the summer and I have upper level optionals. There's more to life than this. I refuse to create an environment where all my kids remember about their childhood is the gym. Go on that trip, send them to camp.
This is my feeling too. One day she will be done with gym, and I don't want it to have been the only thing in her life. We're taking a three-week trip right after summer. And maybe it will impact her gymnastics and maybe it won't, but I think the trip is worthwhile, so we're going.
 

CuriousCate

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We have sacrificed vacations the past two summers for gym only to have my older DD become a miserable stress case. We learned our lesson the hard way when she quit this winter (ended up going back to another gym after some time away). Now with both our gymmies, we will go on vacations, long weekend trips, etc. And as @Sk8ermaiden notes, maybe it will impact her gym and maybe it won't, but I want them to have memories that are not completely clouded by chalk.

I think that if your daughter has made it this far this young with you all having taken longer trips, then obviously it is working for her mental and physical health and recovery and I'd carry on!
 

ldw4mlo

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She has made it to L9, with vacations.

She can make it to L10 with vacations.

I will never get the "no vacation or time off" school of thought.

If heaven forbid they get injured they will likely need time off. And a lot of it depending on the type of injury.

No one tells them (or shouldn't tell them) they can't have time off because they are injured. No one says well that's it if the injury is more then a few days you have to quit because its just impossible to start up again.

Time off recharges, mentally and physically.

We don't take more than 2 weeks but that is because of my husbands schedule. We do take a couple weeks off though.

Long weekends, a mental health day.

And she has been out weeks with an injury.

Its all good.
 
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Freddy's Fred

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She has made it to L9, with vacations.

She can make it to L10 with vacations.

I will never get the "no vacation or time off" school of thought.

If heaven forbid they get injured they will likely need time off. And a lot of it depending on the type of injury.

No one tells them (or shouldn't tell them) they can't have time off because they are injured. No one says well that's it if the injury is more then a few days you have to quit because its just impossible to start up again.

Time off recharges, mentally and physically.

We don't take more than 2 weeks but that is because of my husbands schedule. We do take a couple weeks off though.

Long weekends, a mental health day.

And she has been out weeks with an injury.

Its all good.
Yes, it's true. People say you'll never come back after taking half a year off, and yet people do it ALL THE TIME after injuries.
 
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rjb123

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We take vacations every single year. Usually a couple of weeks, though generally they are spread out a week at the start and a week at the end of summer. She is a level ten so it has worked out just fine. :). Take the vacation. Enjoy your children- cherish this time. It goes so fast!!
 

kecks

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nearly all sports do three week or so breaks in off season even on the elite level, at least in germany. it is a very good chance to heal those tiny injuries, to let the mind rest (!), to just relax. work out several times per week of course, but do stuff you like to do and no gym specific stuff. have fun, enjoy being active, try something new perhaps... (but please do not get injured - so no crazy stuff). i get that gymnastics requires much more different movement patterns than other sports but the patterns lost through no gym or very limited gym for three weeks make you gain a healthier body, new motivation, new chances to start a new - like really new - training cycle after the active rest period.

so i would go on those trips even if i considered gym to be the most important part of my kid's life (which is an unhealthy idea imo anyway).
 

rebcoola

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Hopefully not we are taking a 3 week long trip this summer. DD struggles with flexibility so stretching will need to happen. She is repeating this year so she should solidly have all her skills. We've always been liberal about taking days off but never taken a long stretch like this before.
 
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SurpriseGymMom

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I agree that taking vacations/family time etc is important.
As a coach, I will never discourage it but may give stretching homework, lol!

That said.... all gymnasts are different. Some go on vacay, come back refreshed and bounce right back to where they were at. Some go away for a week and spend the next 6wks working their way back to where they were before they left. Totally individual, and my final answer would depend a whole lot on which kind of gymmie you have and what she/he is training for.
 

profmom

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I agree that taking vacations/family time etc is important.
As a coach, I will never discourage it but may give stretching homework, lol!

That said.... all gymnasts are different. Some go on vacay, come back refreshed and bounce right back to where they were at. Some go away for a week and spend the next 6wks working their way back to where they were before they left. Totally individual, and my final answer would depend a whole lot on which kind of gymmie you have and what she/he is training for.
Yes, exactly. My DD is one of those who's slow to come back from breaks. Over the years, she has learned that she must keep up an aggressive strength and conditioning routine to stay in shape and avoid injury upon return to gym. Completely her choice and her responsibility, though I have enjoyed the company in the occasional hotel workout room while I'm churning away on the treadmill.
 

coachp

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I hear of Olympians taking a year off and coming back for Worlds, JO athletes quitting level 9 for a year and coming back to level 9. Then I hear our coaches saying don't take a vacation for more than 1-2 weeks. I met a parent at Regionals who said they don't take ANY vacations anymore.

We have always taken a 3-4 week holiday over the summer and our DD has progressed through the levels more or less on par with others. She also seems to have evaded overuse injuries. She is now training level 9 and will be out again this summer for a month. Is it time to curtail the holidays? Would love opinions. She is in the US, 7th grade, would like to compete in college.

I'm just struggling to reconcile the anecdotes in my first paragraph.
Most kids cannot do that . And since we are not able to predict that we set rules. That being said , the elite athletes are elite because they retain skill better than most.
 
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