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Experienced Parents.. Id love your advice! San Diego area a plus!

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CAKE

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Both of my daughters participate in gymnastics. We unfortunately have lived in an area where it has been hard to get experienced coaching, but they have been training for their first competitive season at our current gym and were on preteam before that.. My oldest turned 9 at the end of Jan. We took a break from gymnastics for almost a year while she decided if she loved it before making the commitment to go preteam>team. Such a huge mistake I wish I could take back. We should have changed gyms when she lost interest with the trajectory she was on.. not let her try a different sport!

Ive been all over the US at this point, visiting gyms from PA to Dallas, Norcal and socal as we evaluated a move. We have decided that the best place for our family as a whole is North San Diego county.

Oldest DD is between level 3 and level 4 but in the level 3 group for now.. At her current gym they dont even work on skills past the level they are training. During our gym search so many gyms had level 3s that had kips and other higher level skills.. she had never even done drills for a kip!!! She also struggled with her front hip circle till I found a flo gymnastics drill and made her do it. Paid hundreds of dollars in private lessons to have her rip her hands open and get so frustrated.. and then 10 minutes after watching the a video she has it??? I knew we had to seek other coaching. I started driving her an hour away and now, in 6 weeks, she has perfected her mill circle, front hip circle and gotten her kip. Prior to that she had never even worked on a kip and was scolded at Open gym any time she would try to do one for working above her training level. Bars and vault are her weakest events for level 4 mastery. Vault because she has only been allowed to try FHS on the vault a couple times now. Our gym was a cheer gym until 3 years ago and it killed our JO program this year in favor of xcel because point blank they do not want to coach to the rigor of the JO program.

Short story long, with proper coaching she shines.


My youngest turned 6 last week. She has a lot of potential. Coaches seem interested in her. She has no fear, a lot of strength and gumby like flexibility ;) She is also barely 6. She is currently on preteam working out with girls up to 12 years old and her coaches love her. Yes, occasionally she needs a little more explanation, or she will forget what to do from station to station, but we havent had anything but postive feedback and lots of very upbeat and patient coaches. Those coaches bring out good things in her.

Phew.. so there is our background.

At every gym we tried out (even before my oldest got her kip and perfected her mc and fhc) the girls were offered team (9 yr old) preteam (6, then 5 yo) placements.

Until we got to the area we have decided to live in. My oldest is too old.. she was extended team placement but would be the oldest in the training group and and my youngest acts too young for this particular gym so she would only be allowed to go to invitationals.

This devastated my youngest and made her honestly want to quit gymnastics. It was like one eval sucked all the joy out of gymnastics for her. We went all over the country where people seemed very pleased with her..

She said "Mommy, the coach never even smiled, they hated me!"

My oldest thrived on the coaching style (she has begged for a more rigorous coach ) She was the youngest on her preteam and would have been the youngest level 4 at her current team (coaches were already talking about moving her up before competitions started). She is now completely anxious.. Whereas gymnastics used to be very confidence boosting. She is not excited about being the oldest by 2 years. Im hoping now that she has her kip maybe the coach will let her move into the level 4 training group, which I do think she will succeed at.. but I have no idea what they require because most of their girls have a kip by level 3.. so they obviously work way ahead level. Who knows what they will allow!

This gym has dozens of girls in the top 100 every single year. They are obviously doing something right, but I dont know if we are a good fit for them and what Im so scared of is killing my girl's love of gymnastics by feeling like they are behind before they even start. Its hard to go from feeling a head, to feeling almost impossibly behind!

On the other hand. there is another gym that wouldnt be as far of a drive, but only a handful of top 100 scores, the scores are definitely getting better the last few years and the coaching team has great experience, MUCH more positive. They are way better than the gym we are currently so it's a move up either way. This gym also has much better hours and drive time for us.

What would you do?

Would you go to team at a gym that cranked out elites.. or keep it fun for a couple more years.

I dont want to make another mistake
 

ldw4mlo

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Gym is not all about TOP 100 scores.

Gym is not all about Level.

Gym is about learning to do gymnastics, work hard and patience.

You don't say how long you have been at the new gym. Or what your kids want. So I have no perspective regarding that. But you have kids tracking or on team. And they seem to up train.

Perhaps you need to give it time? Your daughter was placed based on her skills, not her age.

JMO for us, its about do the hours fit for us as a family and do we like their coaching. We have had better years for scores and placements and worse ones. We like that they up-train, are serious, are serious about conditioning and uptrain. And they let us do hours that work for us.

You also don't say what levels all these Top 100 scores are................ 3, 4, 5. Are there optionals? And to what level?
 

e'smum

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It was a little hard to follow but my take is this - you are over thinking this. I wouldn't base anything on scores. I would base a gym move on where your kids are going to be happy. honestly, if your kids aren't happy doing gymnastics, they are going to quit. it's a tough sport and they need to be happy and enjoy doing it. no matter how much you want it, if they aren't happy, they won't be successful.

also, your kids may not be elite material. and that's ok. but you have no idea b/c they are so young and haven't started competing yet. kids can struggle thru compulsories and then excel at optionals or they can peak in compulsories and struggle in optionals and eventually quit.

personally, i'm all about what is easiest for me. our gym is right around the corner from us. happily dd is thriving there b/c if i had to drive an hour each way, we wouldn't be doing this b/c i have 2 other kids and neither one is in gymnastics. so if you say there is a good gym that is closer to you with better hours, positive coaches, easier drive - my advice is go there. seems like a no brainer. i would not worry about age. only about skills. although i find it weird that a gym would have 12yo's on pre team.
 

CAKE

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idwm4lo,
This is no doubt an amazing gym. Top 100s were all over the board from level 3 to 10. And the coach wasnt by any means a mean coach, he just wasnt the warm fuzzy my girls are used to and they arent used to male coaches period. Things they need to adjust to and maybe that is just the norm, competitive gymnastics isnt playtime.. my oldest had no problem with it.. my youngest.. well she is used to being doted on and she had no idea what to do with a coach that was impervious to her cuteness... but more concerning is:

Has anyone went from being top of their training group at gym and them moved to a place where they were bottom of their training group and had it go well?

esmum.
Sorry that it was hard to follow. I had no idea what to include or not include and it ended up rambly and unfocused. I was trying to explain a little about who my children are and their personalities so that those of you further along may have some advice for how to handle this transition. Thanks for wading through my ramble! Im sure Im overthinking it but Id rather do that than underthink it like I did last time when I let her quit and was just relieved because Im not crazy about competitive gymnastics. If I had my druthers this would not be the sport Id pick for either of them. It's focus on perfection is a challenge for me.

We arent at either gym yet. We are at a very small town gym where they let 12 year olds on preteam because they have talent and they didnt get into the sport until later.. our preteams feed xcel and jo.

We are moving in a couple weeks (for the final time, God willing)....and we will be committing to a season at whatever gym we pick, so I want to make the right decision. I feel like my not taking this as seriously as my daughter caused me to miss her talent and stall out her progress for a couple years. By the time I realized that, I tried to pay for coaching at our current gym but the coaching experience just is not there.


We were moving so we looked at a ton of gyms as we did a search for where we wanted to live.

Because she is dedicated to it but feels our moving has really messed with her training and coaching I want to make the right decision this time. After returning to the sport it has been all she thinks about, talks about...

I dont want to just make the easiest decision. Ive made a lot of decisions based on what is easiest and feel like Ive missed what is best for her. All I keep hearing is "gymnastics is a young sport" and a year is a long time. We wasted 2 years at our current gym because we moved to a rural area and I didnt want to drive. Obviously the kid will get over it and we will do what is best.. but, I want to educate myself on what it takes to help her accomplish her dreams since they dont seem to be going away.

Maybe she isnt elite material... but she wants to be... and Im going to do my best to help her get the best resources I can to accomplish that.

I just dont know if in gymnastics what "best" means.

If it isnt scores, I have no idea how to pick a good gym. When we picked their current gym, we chose a gym that was easy, right near my house and my kids have lost form on some skills, lol. I had a coach in texas tell me they would rather me stop going to my gym during the move and train at home so they stopped learning bad technique because it was a shame that kids with so much talent had such bad technique..I spent so much money on private lessons and so much time at the closest option.
 

CAKE

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Also, there are no gyms just around the corner from us. Ill be driving 30 minutes minimum no matter what.
 

ldw4mlo

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Cake change is hard. Any change, all change................ is hard.

Some points. And JMO.

Huggy coaching is great for littles and at some point you need to get more serious. And serious is not abusive. Again, I don't know the gyms.

Where do you kids seem to like? Fit?

The reality is whatever you decide, even if it the greatest gym and coach on the planet, things can change for any number of reasons. You make the best decision you can with the information you have in the moment.

Then you see how it goes. And because no one is dead (which is truly the only point change is not possible) you adjust accordingly.

I hope you find a gym you are all happy with for many years. And maybe you will change at some point.

You need to take a deep breath. And realize no matter what you choose, you can change it.

Signed another over thinker....................... who loves her daughters gym but would change it if she had to.
LDW
 

CAKE

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I do want to say, The gym as not abusive. . It just was very serious at every level, including 5 year olds. My littlest had made it on atleast preteam everywhere else and we had never had a comment on her behavior before.. our current gym let her skip jr preteam and go straight to preteam so they think she is mature enough for that....

Having her have such a sober experience and being told she was immature for the first time....

It gave me pause.

So educate me.. I get to a gym and commit to a season, under my understanding Im committing to a year regardless of if I move, the girls get injured, whatever... every contract Ive seen seems to say that. Yet you say you would change. Im looking at thousands of dollars in contract commitments no matter what gym we pick so I dont understand the thought that it is easy to just move.

It doesnt seem that easy..lol!
 

MeetDirector

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... I get to a gym and commit to a season, under my understanding Im committing to a year regardless of if I move, the girls get injured, whatever... every contract Ive seen seems to say that. Yet you say you would change. Im looking at thousands of dollars in contract commitments no matter what gym we pick so I dont understand the thought that it is easy to just move.
Wait a minute - you are considering a gym that wants to make you sign some kind of contract for one dd at Lvl 3 and the other dd on pre-team?? Is that what you are being told?

If that gym is doing that I would be out of there so fast and never look back. If they want you to sign a contract, what's in it for you? There have to be other clubs in the vicinity.

Good luck.
 
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amiandjim

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DD has been at 3 gyms and she is now 8 so that's a few changes for that age. But, her first 2 gyms were far inferior to her current gym. But, we have NEVER signed a contract. Ever. Now, when we switched in August of last year, we did lose a little but in booster fees but we got most of it back and also our meet fees.

As far as which gym to pick, I think it's just what is a good fit. At previous gym, DD was very mediocre, laughed at when asked to do TOPS. At new (much more competitive gym), DD became state champ on bars, beam, and AA and was recently invited to the "invite only" training group. I honestly thought she had potential all along, but her old coaches didn't. At the new tougher gym, she had absolutely flourished and works so hard!! It isn't about top 100 placements (although our smallish gym had several national champs at level 9/10 this year), it's about the right gym for each girl.
 

CAKE

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Okay okay, Im using the wrong words again. I know that upper level girls have to sign "Contracts" that they stay in the gym.. Im talking about the whole commitment to paying the team fees, coaching fees for the season.
Im talking about 3 different gyms here so I want to make sure to correctly portray each one.

Our current gym's (not in sd or socal) contract says that regardless of if we move or what we are contractually obligated to pay the rest of the seasons coaching fees and they pay all competition fees when you sign up, so those are gone as well.

I looked at moving to another gym in this area before we decided to just completely move out of the area and they had the same policy..

I didnt go in super detail with the new possible gym about it because I just thought that was competitive gymnastics. I have welcome packet and basic financial information, but we havent done the move yet so we havent filled out all the paperwork.

Are you guys saying you are able to be on teams and just pay as you go? Not receive some type of financial contract with installment billing stating you are obligated for the entire season no matter what?

Like I said, oh experienced parents educate me! Im obviously getting freaked out over nothing if that isnt the norm! That would help me feel a lot better.
 

CLgym

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Let me make sure I understand... New Gym Option #1 has very high scores and strict coaching, slightly further drive. At this gym, your oldest DD would be on the L3 team (would be the oldest by 2 years) but your youngest was not offered any team or pre team placement because coach felt she was not mature enough. Did they indicate if your younger DD could move to team track in the future?

Then there is New Gym Option #2 which has slightly lower scores (but still better than old/current gym), more positive coaching, and is closer to home. Were both girls invited to team (or pre team) at New Gym Option #2?

As others have said, I wouldn't focus too much on scores. A high-scoring gym that makes your girls unhappy is never going to be the best choice (and you made several comments that suggested they left the try-out discouraged). Did you have a chance to watch practices at both gyms? Do both have good coaching? How did the coaches handle a situation when a girl struggled or wasn't paying attention? Is there one gym (i.e., Gym Option #2) that would immediately put both of your girls on the team track?? Is there one schedule that works better than another? Did you have a chance to talk to any parents?

Regarding your concern about going from the "top" to the "bottom" -- I really think it depends on the girl and coaches. It might really bother some kids, while others won't mind. But I'm not gonna lie -- in my limited experience, gyms/coaches tend to focus on the high achievers or those on a fast track (i.e., who are picking up skills quickly). Yet good coaches will adjust for those who are struggling too. On countless occasions I have seen my DD's coach set up a special drill for one girl who was struggling with a skill, and he never seems to get frustrated.

Good luck with your decision.

PS -- I have never had to sign a contract at either of the two gyms we were at. At both you could either pay upfront to receive a discount, or pay on a quarterly basis. If you left mid-season, I suspect you would forfeit whatever you paid upfront although I know of one girl who was reimbursed by our first gym when she decided to leave at the end of the summer. Truthfully it probably would be hard to leave mid-season (money issues aside), but not a problem to leave after one season if you didn't get it right the first time.
 

wandrewsjr

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Committing to competition fees for the season is pretty normal. Keep in mind she is talking about SoCal, where compulsory season is Aug to Nov so would be expected to commit to paying competition fees now.
 
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CAKE

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Oh my gosh, CLgym can you just edit my posts for me for clarity?!?!

YES! your first two paragraphs perfectly sum up my ramble.

Except, They girls have not been invited to team yet at gym #2.. I just found them. But Ive talked with the coaching and explained the issues and concerns and they have a jr preteam that they feel she might be a good fit for. I cant say for sure it will all work out, but Im hopeful the oldest would make team and youngest would be in jr preteam.

They did leave the try out discouraged, but I also dont want to be a parent who thinks my kids are so awesome and I fail to see the places they need improvement. I also dont want to set them up for an illusion of gymnastics. At the end of the day it is a sport that requires perfection and a level of dedication few sports require. If my oldest wants it as bad as she said she does, then she needs to be willing to be the oldest on the team and just be glad to have been given the opportunity. She is used to being one of the best at her gym in her age range and she is used to her little sister getting alot of attention so her not even making preteam makes her feel like this is a really tough gym.

We havent worked out at the gym yet because we did a scouting mission, put an offer in but haven closed escrow yet. However, since it is the end of may and the team season is being planned, both gyms have made comments that they are wanting to get their teams in place by the end of may.. but will give us that first week of june to try out both gyms and decide. I feel like we need to make a decision quickly upon getting there, we wont get to try either one for more then a couple classes.

My kids like young female coaches. Gym 2 is a mostly female coaching staff. I know that will sway them. I dont just want them to scared of gym 1 because the coach doesnt act like bubbly babysitter and has challenged them. What is "good coaching"? Im not a gymnast so I have no clue. Im going to assume both have good coaching. If you are cranking out elites dont you to have good coaching? Id guess you had the best coaching!


Im worried if i take them to gym 2 right now my oldest will pick it out of fear of not being good enough. I dont want to let her psych herself out, but I also dont want to break her love of gymastics because she feels behind.

I want to be educated enough that I help guide them in the decision, not just leave it up to their feelings or whatever is closest.

I think if we knew that if she absolutely hated it it wouldnt be the end of the world and we could move to another less competitive gym it wouldnt feel like this was such a big decision! Im going to call and get a copy of their financial policy.

Everyone, Thanks for tipping me off that my current gym's team policy does not seem to be the norm! It has never seemed fair or right, but I just chalked it up to another part of competitive gymnastics that seemed extreme, lol.
 

andarc

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My DD (11) was one of the better ones in her small team of 6. We moved out of state and I let her pick the gym where she felt most comfortable. Her new team has 20+. She was the furthest behind on all her skills. It was a little tough on her at first but she caught up to her her teammates by the end of summer. Her new coaches and teammates were/are awesome and supportive and I think that made everything better. She loved the challenge and worked hard and had a great season. (She even contributed to her team scores at most meet on bars.) The big thing for me was to let her pick the gym. She chose a good one. (And of course I would have steered her away from a gym I didn't think was safe or that was abusive.)
 
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GymDad9.9

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I do not believe gymnastics requires perfection. The development and refinement of skills is more like it. Perfection in the sport is elusive, attained by an infinitesimal few.
 
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CLgym

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A few trial days at both gyms might help clarify everything. When we switched gyms last May, my DD was very reluctant at first. She actually asked to do a one week trial at new gym... after the week she was ready to change gyms and one year later is happy she made the switch.
 
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CAKE

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Committing to competition fees for the season is pretty normal. Keep in mind she is talking about SoCal, where compulsory season is Aug to Nov so would be expected to commit to paying competition fees now.
What about the coaching fees?

At our current gym Ive got monthly team tuition, coaching fees and competition fees (and attire package).

Is it normal to have to pay all the coaching fees for the season if for some reason it doesnt work out? This seems normal in my area!

We had a gym here where their team coach quit halfway through the season and they brought in a coach that was not working out. Nobody could leave. Well they could, I know a couple who did but they had signed up for autopay and the gym kept charging them. It went to dispute and the gym's contract was the winner. nobody got their money back. It was horrible for those girls and families caught in the middle.
 
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