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Fish out of water and our new teammates are awful girls.

Eat/Sleep/Gym...Repeat

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Oct 26, 2019
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My 14 yo had a late start to gymnastics, but fell in love and excelled as a fast and vey dedicated learner. Started out in Xcel program, competed through Platinum last year, and then was invited to transition to JO this year (she’s definitely lvl 6, but one coach is saying she could even compete lvl 7 this year). But she’s been miserable for the last few months. because of the other optional girls and at least one of her new coaches. The girls are awful, we are actually just finding out about it now because she has been trying to deal with it and “make nice” all this time. What they have been saying and putting her through goes beyond “mean girls”, and apparently was never (noticed?)(adressed?)(corrected?) by her coaches. But it’s gotten so bad that she actually said she will now do anything to get away from them. My heart is breaking. She even said she would take a year off rather than have to stay in her current environment. When she told us about the most serious thing they had done just this week, we did go to gym director the next day. She made one coach aware and said on Monda they will have a “general team meeting” to remind girls what they are there for and behavioral expectation. I don’t have much hope it will have any effect because when I gave them a couple names, she was like “yeah, I know they are difficult girls"
Truth... we had already started thinking about switching gyms because our daughter has a goal of competing in college. Whether or not that could be a reality is not so clear. But we’ve been really getting the feeling over the last year that this gym might be more about the cash flow than training quality gymnasts and fostering a serious and dedicated environment and work ethic. ..... so here’s my question.... what should we be expecting from a gym and coaches at this point? There is literally no communication, not with us or even with her. She doesn’t even know what level she’s going to compete and it’s almost November. I know this started as a rant, but it’s a cry for help. We are clueless at this. We are not socially involved with other parents. Our one “gym friends family" got relocated this summer. We just want to make sure we are doing all we can to foster the opportunity that she could really succeed at this if she wants to (and has the physical ability). I can’t accept that her goals would be squandered because we were in a bad environment, but didn’t know any better. So if this is the way JO optionals goes, educate me, but if this sounds like something that isn’t the common experience, any advise you could share would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks!
 
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gymgal

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I would wait to see what comes about from the discussion with the girls. If it doesn't get better, then I would look to move. You could do the preliminary work now. Make some phone calls with basic information - never specifics as you don't want to out yourself in your own gym that you are looking to move b/c yes, the gyms talk to each other. What area of the country are you in? This will make a difference in your success of finding serious gyms that may be able to get her to her goals and will accept her as an older gymnast who came up through the xcel program. In some parts of the country, this would not be as big an issue but in others, not many gyms would accept her.
 
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Sk8ermaiden

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OK, you didn't include this information in your other post. Your kid is miserable and would rather quit the sport than see her teammates every day. Between this and the other things you mentioned, these are coaches with no control over their team whatsoever. It's time to go. I mean - you could give it a week and see if their "talk" does anything, but in my experience, if they're not correcting this behavior in practice, they're not going to start now. They spend too much time together for her to be miserable while she's there. Find a new gym - stay and watch a practice or two before committing so you can see the dynamics and gym culture.
 

curlygirls

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This is not typical of JO optionals. I would start looking for a new gym. In my experience, a toxic gym culture will not be changed by a general team meeting. If a team is not willing to suspend or expel gymnasts from practice for the type of behavior you are alluding to, then nothing will change. Your daughter’s mental health is the most important consideration. I would recommend observing practices at any potential new gyms. Look for a supportive environment, both coach to gymnast, and gymnast to gymnast. Listen for positive affirmations, and look carefully at body language. Good luck to you. I hope you are able to find an effective and supportive gym environment.
 

bookworm

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A couple of things....your daughter is 14, and a level 6 in JO , wants to "do gymnastics in college" , is miserable enough at her current gym to consider taking a year out of the gym (which essentially would make her a 15/16 yo level 6) ....where to start?

1. No it is not "normal" to be tormented by teammates to compete in JO...I suspect these girls have been at it for years unchecked by their parents and coaches so THEY think their behavior is completely normal for them . You said you don't have many gym mom friends ... I have found that mean girls grow up to be mean moms that have mean girls and they embrace it like it's their job ...not saying it's right or shouldn't be called out but I avoided those folks like the plague...and if it's been making your kid miserable and the coaches are already aware , it's a culture there and unfortunately, even with "a team meeting", it will not change. I would run as fast as I could and not look back...if you can find another gym , great , but if you can't, I would still leave because I wouldn't subject my kid to that on my nickle. She's already said she'd rather take a year off than train with them so your daughter seems to see the handwriting on the wall...

2. College gym: as a 14 yo level 6, without a supportive coaching environment, and heck even with a supportive coaching environment, your daughter is extremely unlikely to compete for a college team , except maybe a Rhode Island College type team that tends to have even compulsory level kids on their teams in the past. Not to say she can't do college gym though as there are club teams in college and they tend to welcome all comers and that would seem to be her most feasible route. Even if she stops training this year due to the horrible gym situation she's in now, she could still opt for a club team once she got to college. Recruiting is not going to be on the horizon so I wouldn't worry about getting her to some powerhouse gym in part as someone said earlier, her age and Xcel history would make her an unlikely candidate for aggressive coaching...so don't waste your time and money going after that. I would try to get her even into a YMCA gymnastics program or another gym where she could train without dreading it.

Sorry to be a Debbie Downer but that's my take on it...
 

GAgymmom

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Listen to the wise Bookworm. But seriously, I have a 9-yr-old level 4, and i have already looked ahead and feel it’s very likely she isn’t on track for college since she won’t be a level 10 till she’s in tenth grade, and that’s IF she sticks with it and IF she does 1 level per year with no serious injuries or having to repeat. If there are other options, you maybe should check them out.
 

GymDadWA

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If you can't find another gym in time for meet season would she be happier going back to xcel? Does she have friends still in xcel?

I know it derails her dream but like bookworm mentions the deck was already stacked against her and wouldn't it be better to enjoy the sport than to endure the sport just to keep alive the tiny chance that she could make a college team? There are also other ways to do gymnastics in college without being on a team such as coaching and choreography, so even if she doesn't make a college team doesn't mean her gymnastics journey has to be over.
 
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Eat/Sleep/Gym...Repeat

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OK, you didn't include this information in your other post.
Thank you. You’re right, I didn’t. I realized this post was an emotional near-rant, and when I realized there were other places I could post, I wanted to be more rational - or at least try to be;). That night was the first time I found this forum. Thank you so very much for your thoughtful consideration and reply. We’re still in the process of sorting all this out. Kiddo is still going every day (very reluctantly), she is very strong, but we are seeing a breaking point right around the corner; and we are encouraging her, but my husband and I are in the background scrambling to investigate what our options might be. Thanks again!!
 
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Eat/Sleep/Gym...Repeat

New Member
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Oct 26, 2019
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I would wait to see what comes about from the discussion with the girls. If it doesn't get better, then I would look to move. You could do the preliminary work now. Make some phone calls with basic information - never specifics as you don't want to out yourself in your own gym that you are looking to move b/c yes, the gyms talk to each other. What area of the country are you in? This will make a difference in your success of finding serious gyms that may be able to get her to her goals and will accept her as an older gymnast who came up through the xcel program. In some parts of the country, this would not be as big an issue but in others, not many gyms would accept her.
Thank you for your thoughtful consideration and reply. The advice about “gyms talk” was heard loud and clear. We are beginning process of exploring other immediate options and will use caution to protect her standing at her current gym in the meantime. Thanks again!!
 

Eat/Sleep/Gym...Repeat

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Oct 26, 2019
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This is not typical of JO optionals. I would start looking for a new gym. In my experience, a toxic gym culture will not be changed by a general team meeting. If a team is not willing to suspend or expel gymnasts from practice for the type of behavior you are alluding to, then nothing will change. Your daughter’s mental health is the most important consideration. I would recommend observing practices at any potential new gyms. Look for a supportive environment, both coach to gymnast, and gymnast to gymnast. Listen for positive affirmations, and look carefully at body language. Good luck to you. I hope you are able to find an effective and supportive gym environment.
Thank you for affirming that this is not a “normal” environment. At least we can move forward with the expectation of a more healthily environment. We have been reasearching other gyms in our area. Next step is as you mention... scouting them out (maybe in disguise ... trying to lighten my own mood here). Thanks again!! What a wonderful community!
 

Eat/Sleep/Gym...Repeat

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Oct 26, 2019
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A couple of things....your daughter is 14, and a level 6 in JO , wants to "do gymnastics in college" , is miserable enough at her current gym to consider taking a year out of the gym (which essentially would make her a 15/16 yo level 6) ....where to start?

1. No it is not "normal" to be tormented by teammates to compete in JO...I suspect these girls have been at it for years unchecked by their parents and coaches so THEY think their behavior is completely normal for them . You said you don't have many gym mom friends ... I have found that mean girls grow up to be mean moms that have mean girls and they embrace it like it's their job ...not saying it's right or shouldn't be called out but I avoided those folks like the plague...and if it's been making your kid miserable and the coaches are already aware , it's a culture there and unfortunately, even with "a team meeting", it will not change. I would run as fast as I could and not look back...if you can find another gym , great , but if you can't, I would still leave because I wouldn't subject my kid to that on my nickle. She's already said she'd rather take a year off than train with them so your daughter seems to see the handwriting on the wall...

2. College gym: as a 14 yo level 6, without a supportive coaching environment, and heck even with a supportive coaching environment, your daughter is extremely unlikely to compete for a college team , except maybe a Rhode Island College type team that tends to have even compulsory level kids on their teams in the past. Not to say she can't do college gym though as there are club teams in college and they tend to welcome all comers and that would seem to be her most feasible route. Even if she stops training this year due to the horrible gym situation she's in now, she could still opt for a club team once she got to college. Recruiting is not going to be on the horizon so I wouldn't worry about getting her to some powerhouse gym in part as someone said earlier, her age and Xcel history would make her an unlikely candidate for aggressive coaching...so don't waste your time and money going after that. I would try to get her even into a YMCA gymnastics program or another gym where she could train without dreading it.

Sorry to be a Debbie Downer but that's my take on it...
Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I think we know that her path has not been typical, but as long as she wants to keep working as hard as a 14 yo can and pouring her heart into it, we’ll support her. It’s her dream, not ours. Heck, when I was a freshman in high school I was convinced I was going to play volleyball for Pepperdine Univ , all 5’6” of me. My goals and expectations made a natural course correction, and I did even get to play a little ball as a walk-on Div 3 for a year. It was a great experience. I mean, we’re not talking about moving to Texas or Iowa, but I think if we made a decision to “downgrade" her training environment, that would send a clear defeatist message. As GymDadWA mentions, there are lots of ways to be involved with college gymnastics and beyond.

Thank you for confirming our own hearts that this is just toxic and likely a gym-culture issue that won’t change. We had seen some of this in Xcel, but naively felt that if she got to “the big leagues” the coaches and gymnasts would be much more focused and on task. But after a few months in JO it’s is painfully obvious this was a false expectation. And even worse, as you said, mean girls can grow up to be mean moms... well it is becoming apparent they can grow into mean coaches too. Heartbreaking to say the least, but we are so thankful for the comments and support from this community as we look on how to fix this situation moving forward. Thanks again.
 

Eat/Sleep/Gym...Repeat

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Listen to the wise Bookworm. But seriously, I have a 9-yr-old level 4, and i have already looked ahead and feel it’s very likely she isn’t on track for college since she won’t be a level 10 till she’s in tenth grade, and that’s IF she sticks with it and IF she does 1 level per year with no serious injuries or having to repeat. If there are other options, you maybe should check them out.
Thank you. With the help and encouragement from this forum and others, we are actively looking into alternative options. Kiddo still putting on a brave face and going back to the lions den everyday. We are trying to have her focus on the pure joy in the moment doing what she loves. My girl loves to “fly”.
 

Eat/Sleep/Gym...Repeat

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If you can't find another gym in time for meet season would she be happier going back to xcel? Does she have friends still in xcel?

I know it derails her dream but like bookworm mentions the deck was already stacked against her and wouldn't it be better to enjoy the sport than to endure the sport just to keep alive the tiny chance that she could make a college team? There are also other ways to do gymnastics in college without being on a team such as coaching and choreography, so even if she doesn't make a college team doesn't mean her gymnastics journey has to be over.
Thanks for helping us brainstorm. We thought about Xcel again, but it certainly lower down on the potential options. Your encouragement about other option as far as college gymnastics is well received. As far as “what do I want to be when I grow up?” — gymnastics fits into the picture one way or another ... girl has already memorized the code of points and watches videos on you tube constantly, D-scoring routines to see if she matches what the judges post. She is in love!! For now at least... so we’ll work towards providing doorways for her. Thanks again!
 

gymgal

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Thanks for helping us brainstorm. We thought about Xcel again, but it certainly lower down on the potential options. Your encouragement about other option as far as college gymnastics is well received. As far as “what do I want to be when I grow up?” — gymnastics fits into the picture one way or another ... girl has already memorized the code of points and watches videos on you tube constantly, D-scoring routines to see if she matches what the judges post. She is in love!! For now at least... so we’ll work towards providing doorways for her. Thanks again!
There are many options for continuing some form of gymnastics in college. No, it likely won't be a D1 or 2 school but depending on how far she goes and whether she has a really strong event, D3 may be possible. Club gymnastics would certainly be an option. Acrobatics and Tumbling is also increasing in popularity in college so that's an option as well. Let her follow her path until it leads to its own natural ending, whenever that is.
 

Flicfliclay

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My advice is to get her out of that environment asap. I would not even have her return if it is that bad. I would make it very clear to the coaches and owners as to why you are out the door! I am not going to tell you her college gym dreams are not a possibility, but i will say they are NOT as long as she is in that environment. MOVE NOW...
 

Eat/Sleep/Gym...Repeat

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Here's the update... the coaches/coordinators never had the "team meeting" tonight. So I'd say that's a pretty definitive, explicative indication of how much effort they plan to put into rectifying this. And not even a word or comment to me or my husband who both visited the gym at different times during her 4 hour practice. So decision is definite to pull her ASAP. But next wrinkle is our contractual obligation ($$) to this gym and would the gym's inability to maintain a respectful and professional environment constitute a breach of contract on their part. I put up another post in the general forum for advice on this [https://www.chalkbucket.com/forums/threads/help-breaking-a-gym-contract-to-change-gyms.65562/] --- so if anyone has advice on this next step that would also be greatly appreciated. I can't say thank you enough for this community and show of support. I have enjoyed also browsing some of the other posts, rejuvenating my hopes that gymnastics can still be a positive experience for our daughter. Sweet dreams and blessings!
 

twinmomma

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Here's the update... the coaches/coordinators never had the "team meeting" tonight. So I'd say that's a pretty definitive, explicative indication of how much effort they plan to put into rectifying this. And not even a word or comment to me or my husband who both visited the gym at different times during her 4 hour practice. So decision is definite to pull her ASAP. But next wrinkle is our contractual obligation ($$) to this gym and would the gym's inability to maintain a respectful and professional environment constitute a breach of contract on their part. I put up another post in the general forum for advice on this [https://www.chalkbucket.com/forums/threads/help-breaking-a-gym-contract-to-change-gyms.65562/] --- so if anyone has advice on this next step that would also be greatly appreciated. I can't say thank you enough for this community and show of support. I have enjoyed also browsing some of the other posts, rejuvenating my hopes that gymnastics can still be a positive experience for our daughter. Sweet dreams and blessings!
I have become a bit of broken record on this forum for the older kids, but consider looking around your area for a T&T program or an Acro program. Both are FANTASTIC options for older, motivated gymnasts, and AcroTumbling is now a legit college option. There are options nationwide for both disciplines and as the mom of a former artistic gymnast who was never going to get to that college point I can say without fail making the switch was the best thing for her. Just a thought. Happy to answer any questions if you have them.
 

Eat/Sleep/Gym...Repeat

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I have become a bit of broken record on this forum for the older kids, but consider looking around your area for a T&T program or an Acro program. Both are FANTASTIC options for older, motivated gymnasts, and AcroTumbling is now a legit college option. There are options nationwide for both disciplines and as the mom of a former artistic gymnast who was never going to get to that college point I can say without fail making the switch was the best thing for her. Just a thought. Happy to answer any questions if you have them.
Thank you! I had just starting noticing the college AcroTumbling programs. We will definitely keep it in consideration. Glad to hear that this option was so positive for your gymnast!!
 

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