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For Parents Difficult decisions

ciderswiller

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Jul 23, 2019
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Our 7 year old daughter who is first year gymnastics has lost her competitive coach. This means if we want to continue we need to travel an hour each way to another gym. I am torn, this feels like a ton of money and time for a kids activity. But at the same time shes passionate about gymnastics and there is very little (to nothing) sports wise in our small town that can offer the level of sports she enjoys. At what stage do you decide that kind of commitment is good? Both parents work full time, we have great family support, but not for that kind of time and petrol, it would basically all rest on me.
 

TumbleTimes4

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Sep 13, 2016
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When I was in middle school, I did competitive dance at a studio a little over an hour away from my home. My mom had to make that drive 3-4 nights a week. It lasted for 3 years before we both just couldn’t do the drive anymore. It was a lot of eating in the car, homework in the car, and late nights and early mornings with school. The drive gets old fast. And it’s a big sacrifice on the whole family, particularly if you have other children as its too far of a drive to go back home in between. So they either have to go with you or you have to find babysitters.

It may not be bad in the beginning, but the hours and practices days will only increase the longer she is in it. Honestly, I’m not sure that I would do it personally because of what it would require my other children to sacrifice. But you have to decide what works for your family.
 

bogwoppit

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Feb 26, 2007
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How will you manage when her hours increase and the cost increases? I did that commute for 10 years for two girls. Finding things to do whilst they were in the gym was equally hard, think about that time too, because you cannot drive home and back easily.

Honestly the day they stopped gymnastics I felt free at last, though they both still love gymnastics.

Think long and hard about a commitment like that, especially if you have other kids who do not do gymnastics.
 

LJL07

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Jan 27, 2014
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I’m the wrong person to ask right now, but we have another an hour commute each way. My girls are upper optionals so not a lot of gym options where we live either. I don’t even make the full drive that often. We have a complicated carpool arrangement. I actually like the gym a lot, but I am about done with the commute. It’s not just the drive—it’s the logistics. I have two girls doing the sport, and they both got hurt within a few weeks of each other which has proven to be a logistical nightmare on top of school and my husband’s and my job. I’m kind of at the end of my rope with the whole thing. Between Covid, life in general, the injuriesm etc, it’s just not worth it. We’re just in over our heads at this point. Sorry if I’ve painted an overly negative picture.
 
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LJL07

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Jan 27, 2014
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How will you manage when her hours increase and the cost increases? I did that commute for 10 years for two girls. Finding things to do whilst they were in the gym was equally hard, think about that time too, because you cannot drive home and back easily.

Honestly the day they stopped gymnastics I felt free at last, though they both still love gymnastics.

Think long and hard about a commitment like that, especially if you have other kids who do not do gymnastics.
10 years?!! Year 3 of this commute, and I’m exhausted!
 
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Canadian Gym Mom

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Jun 22, 2018
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I've seen many families move closer to the gym so that their children could continue the sport without the draining experience of commuting hours a day. It just becomes too much, too fast. If you are able to work from the gym with a portable computer, that could perhaps work too, for a little while at least. If none of these options are possible, my opinion is that it is not worth it. You or your daughter will eventually become burnt-out. Think of all that accumulated time lost in a car! And when the hours start stacking up, it's just impossible to do it on your own...
 
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Gigi

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Apr 20, 2016
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Is there any carpooling option? If you can convince other families in your current program to go with you, maybe you can switch off the driving. Or if here are kids in the other gym that is half way between maybe you can drop off there and they drive her the rest of the way. The coaches in new gym may know of carpooling opportunities and connect you with other families. It's worth exploring.
 
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alattejavatoo

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Oct 6, 2020
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I was in that situation my last three years co petting and I was doing split sessions, but both parents and an older sister shared the driving. I would contact the gym and see if there are any other gymnasts near by that you could car pool with.

while I was training my parents would bring work with them or my mom would do things like meal planning and shop for groceries close to the gym, pay bills...

Could she stay at the local gym and just do rec? Would she be willing to do that?
 

ciderswiller

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Jul 23, 2019
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Thank you for all the thoughts and advice, we are going to go to the two possible gyms and see what we think. But I really need to see that its going to really give her a worthwhile experience and I am hopeful that others might be able to car pool.

I really appreciate those who have been there and done that and said in the end it really was too much. I get the feeling we will have to say a sad goodbye to gymnastics.
 

doublestrike

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Jun 16, 2018
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No way for a 7 year old. Either move closer or find another sport. I drove over an hour (3 hours sometimes RT)for a level 10 for four years and still not over the lost time, hours my other kids were without me, missed events. I rarely drive now, it may be another year before I’m over it. At 7, you have no idea if it’s worth it, try soccer or dance.
 

LJL07

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No way for a 7 year old. Either move closer or find another sport. I drove over an hour (3 hours sometimes RT)for a level 10 for four years and still not over the lost time, hours my other kids were without me, missed events. I rarely drive now, it may be another year before I’m over it. At 7, you have no idea if it’s worth it, try soccer or dance.
YES, and what @Canadian Gym Mom said about the accumulated time lost in the car. I have been in actual tears about this commute recently because of the logistical difficulties--for what it is worth, I have a level 8 and level 9. The level 8 could get could by at a closer gym, but imagine trying to juggle two gyms! Past level 8, the commute became necessary. And I never see my child who doesn't do gymnastics. Only thing I will add is that a long time CB member advised me when my daughter was 8 to find a different sport that was more "accessible" given where we live. Of course, I wanted to make my daughters happy and have moved heaven and earth. I really, really wish I had listened to that person's advice. Gymnastics is an awesome sport, but it is not the most important thing in the world. F
 

ReluctantGymMom

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May 11, 2020
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I have 1 child and I always work flexibly, we drive 40 minutes to get home, thankfully it’s only 20 minutes from her school, but that 40 minute drive there and back is tiring. If I had other children she’d have to go to a closer gym, hands down
 

gymisforeveryone

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So you still have a gym, but not a coach that is able to coach competitive gymnastics? Have you asked the gym if they are trying to hire a replacement? If they are working on it, I would wait and see.

Or could they try to offer coaching education to some of the rec coaches (I guess they still have rec classes though?) who is willing to learn? Maybe talk to other parents who also want to do competitive gymnastics, maybe you could offer to pay for the education if that is the problem? I guess it would still be more affordable than the expenses of the commute to another gym.

I don't think it would be that hard to find an eager rec coach who wants to coach beginner compulsory levels. The jump is not that high. Your daughter (and some other kids hopefully) would be able to continue to do gymnastics and compete and if it still is her passion at the age of 11 or so, I would consider moving gyms then.
 

CuriousCate

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Jul 12, 2016
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My older kid is a level 8 (10.5 years old) , going on 5 years of competing. My younger is level 4/5 going (8.5 years old) on 3 years of competing. My kids love this sport and I want to support them, but not at the cost of my sanity and our family life. No way could we make an hour drive each way work with out two full time jobs. I would consider it for level 10 if they had college prospects and they were already in high school where I knew they'd be close to being able to drive themselves and close to the end of their club career, but definitely not at a younger age than that.

If she can get some level of coaching locally for a bit and see if your gym will plan to hire a new coach, I'd go that route. If not, I'd likely start looking for a different sport. Two hours a day in the car is a lot for both you and your kiddo.
 

ciderswiller

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Jul 23, 2019
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So you still have a gym, but not a coach that is able to coach competitive gymnastics? Have you asked the gym if they are trying to hire a replacement? If they are working on it, I would wait and see.

Or could they try to offer coaching education to some of the rec coaches (I guess they still have rec classes though?) who is willing to learn? Maybe talk to other parents who also want to do competitive gymnastics, maybe you could offer to pay for the education if that is the problem? I guess it would still be more affordable than the expenses of the commute to another gym.

I don't think it would be that hard to find an eager rec coach who wants to coach beginner compulsory levels. The jump is not that high. Your daughter (and some other kids hopefully) would be able to continue to do gymnastics and compete and if it still is her passion at the age of 11 or so, I would consider moving gyms then.
Bit of a long story to this. I have a friend whose brother runs an incredibly successful gymnasium in another part of our country. He was offering to help and source potential coaches and discussed what you mentioned. They flat out refused help and told us that gymnastics new zealand told them just to offer rec now. I was shocked they wouldnt even consider getting free help. This was all done in a very nice way, I was by no means being pushy at all, just saying, hey I wonder if I could help.
 

bookworm

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I guess my first question would be , what level is she? We did at least an hour each way commute for 5 years in the sport, and for the last 9 years it was 2.5 hours each way...we were at a local gym for the first 2 years and she outgrew it and we were advised to move so we did. "Better coaching" was not available closer. When we moved she was an 8 yo level 8 , so starting upper level optionals... I'm not sure I would have done it for compulsories.

For the early years , we had a carpool and that was pretty good but when it became necessary to move to the gym further away, some of our fellow carpoolers had decided to call it a day so it was just us, or more specifically, me. I fortunately have a job that was very flexible with me in making this commute possible... so we left the house at 1:30 pm to get to practice for 4 pm and we weren't back home until 10:30 PM at night (usually less traffic so we could sometimes make it in 2 hours) ...they ate in the car, did their homework in the car, I read in the car (although I hung out at the local library for the majority of the time).

I will stress that this is a huge committment and if you don't think you can do it or want to do it, pull the plug now and have her move on to other things before she gets more invested. She's 7 so she'll find other things she likes. But it would be a kindness to her to either go all in or all out from the get go...to do it for a year or two and then stop would be kinda cruel so I would think long and hard before I proceed with this. Was it worth it? For my girls, it was but I agree with Bog, when they went away to college and it stopped, I felt freer than I've felt in a decade.
 

GYM0M

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Jul 23, 2013
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I won’t lie. I don’t have a long commute. It’s just across town so about 20 minutes with traffic. After 10 years, I get sick of making that short trip.
 
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