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Debating a gym change...

emiloots

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Feb 3, 2019
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We are debating whether or not to change gyms and I'm torn as to what we should do. Our current gym has a beautiful facility, but the coaching staff varies greatly - the coach my DD will have through L5 (she just finished L3, age 7) is meh, rarely spots, almost never actually touches a gymnast to correct form or give body awareness for how correct form should feel. Never gives feedback or specifics on how to improve and polish skills and dance elements. I can probably count on one hand the number of times in the entire season she has touched my daughter. I get the vibe that she really doesn't want to be there most of the time. The complicating factor is we have a new coach since November, she won't be her JO coach but she will be her TOPS coach. She's extremely hands on, emphasizing form and proper execution of skills, she was an elite and is quite adamant that she wants to provide a positive, safe atmosphere and not subject her gymnasts to the toxic coaching she endured. All the girls love her because they know she's invested in them and the sport and will literally go the extra mile for them. She's invested so much time in my daughter that I have so much guilt about even pondering leaving.

Our option for the gym move is a well established program, lots of level 10s but strictly JO, no TOPS or Elites. Produces some amazing JO athletes and has anywhere from 1-3 scholarships a year. I went and watched a practice and it didn't seem much different than ours, I should probably go watch a few more. Facility is not as nice but they come highly recommended from a family member who is at a large elite gym.

Does anyone have a gym that does not uptrain yet has TOPS, how do girls learning skills well beyond their level reconcile the two? We do not score out either, so it's a full year at 4 and 5, the only level they will skip is 6 (most girls don't though).

I know we're early on in this craziness, I'm torn between sticking it out through L5 and see where TOPS training gets her - then making the move if things haven't improved on the JO coaching side or just making the move now knowing she will be in a solid JO program with no TOPS.
 

Gymnast734

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Mar 11, 2018
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1st of all do not be alarmed about the not spotting thing, one of my gyms that was very successful didn’t spot at all, the only thing they would spot is bails and paks. They focused a lot on basics and conditioning and shaping so skills would come easy and not require spotting . They also didn’t up train that much for the same reason. But if you get the vibe that she never verbally tells your daughter corrections or she looks like she doesn’t want to be there that is a different story. Also doing a full season of level 5 is such a good thing in my opinion. Level 5 has a lot of important skills, especially on bars, that will make optionals much easier if you master those skills. I would see if you are currently at a successful gym, do they prouduce elites, NCAA gymnasts, or successful level 10s? Is your daughter happy or does she feel she needs a change too? Does she like her JO coach?
 
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Aussie_coach

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Coaching has changed, you see a lot less spotting in gyms now in general, and I believe this trend will continue, and in general spotting will be used far less to teach skills. It’s often not the best and most effective way to teach. You tend to see kids get more success from a lot of drill work, as emphasis can be placed of different shapes and aspects of the skill, you can get a lot more done in every session as it is not always reliant on a coach being available to spot every gymnast and coaches are more available to see and correct shapes. Also drilling is a way of the gymnasts proving to themselves they can do a skill before they do it, so they are less reliant on coaches. This is all a results of the incredible upgrades in the equipment available. Not spotting and touching a gymnast does not mean it’s not an amazing gym.

Obviously as Gymnast734 says, the fact that the coach rarely gives feedback and doesn’t seem to care is more of a concern.

The big question is, what are your DD’s goals? Does she want to go for elite? How old is she?
 
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emiloots

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Feb 3, 2019
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She's only 7, so who knows what the future will bring. She wants to continue TOPS since it's the only place where she learns new skills - but I think a gym with a different training approach might fit her better and ease some of her boredom. We're in a relatively high density area for gyms so the option to travel further etc is there down the road if she stays in the sport and her goals or training needs evolve. The gym we would move to also is closer to our house, has a better schedule and has the option of day training at L7 and above; they also tend to go to larger more established meets and less of the small local filler meets where there is really not much competition. I feel like I've answered my own question - there's so much pressure in this sport to make the right choices so early! Thank you for the feedback and 'listening' to my concerns.