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Monkeygirlsmom

Active Member
Proud Parent
Feb 10, 2007
764
my youngest is 5 and in rec type gymnastics.
She wants to be a Olympic gymnast someday and has said this for a year now!!
anyhow The gymnastics club we are at they go by levels of Beg 1, Beg 2(wich both my 7 year old and 5 year old are in) my 5 year old has been at this level for a year now and has been the youngest in her group!! the first to be moved up so fast!! anyhow
The next level is Advanced beg!!
the ? I was wondering is what is the best way to get her there!! (well fo rnow the goal is to get where she can compete) I think she has to be 6 am I right? are there things at home we can do!! plus she only goes 1 hour a week!! this summer she will go more but I wanted to wait till we were at a slower pace!!
anyhow She has been in gymnastics since she was just shy of 2!!
(Ok I hope im making sense as I think im not!!! )
 
Feb 15, 2007
222
Hey MGM :) ,

I can answer with what I believe is to be true... I am very new to this whole thing as well, but I think I am catching on:D

What are your club options in your area? Is your gym strictly a rec gym or do they offer a USAG (level 4 - 10) system in place as well? The minimum age for level 4 competition is 6 years old... but that is by no means a cut off age. When she is ready to make the step toward comp. gym she would need to get involved in "the system" by perhaps joining a pre-team and then advancing to team, etc., some clubs start at level 4 (min. comp age 6 yrs), some at level 5 (min. comp. age is 7)... and so it begins. Most clubs will start the girls on a pre-team 1st to work on proper conditioning, strength, flexibility and perfecting the basics to make them strong and then introduce the more difficult skills for the level you are getting involved in... my dd came from a rec level a few months ago (1 hr per week) as well and the transition was great for us, although it is a lot different, more structure, more training/conditioning = more hours (it started at 6 at the time and is now 8 per week). Coming from that background I would say to help her at home practice handstands, handstands, handstands... she can even learn pushups, sit ups and work up to handstand push-ups and if she wants, practice splits too... the hysterical part is that the little ones actually think the stuff is fun:p . Chances are she would not just be able to join a team and just compete, so keep in my mind it takes time even after they join club to get to that point, my dd can't compete until 7 yrs old and is now 5 and a half - long way to go... but she is having a blast in the meantime.

It sounds like your little one really enjoys her gymnastics - whis is GREAT because it is what its all about! I hope this helps somewhat in helping her reach her dream:)

LGCM
 
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Megley

Guest
I agree 100% with what LGCM wrote. If you are in rec gym now, check and see if they have teams competing USAG. If not, you may want to look for a gym in your area that competes USAG. I also have a 5 year old and our experience is probably a pretty typical progression at a gym that competes USAG: My DD started about a year ago in Rec beginner classes going an hour a week, she then moved to what they call developmental, which is a class for kids they think show some potential for team in the future. That was 3 hours a week. She was then moved to Preteam at 6 hours a week, again for kids that are hopefully going to make it to Level 4 (where our gym starts competing). Each of these moves resulted in longer practices and more structure. Preteam is where they really have been working on getting all the skills that go into the routines, as well as an increased emphasis on conditioning. Just Tuesday, I was asked to have my DD come an additional 3 hours a week for 9 total hours as she is being moved to Level 4 team. She will be 6 in time to compete starting in January.

In short, assess what is available at your gym now. If there are teams, then see about getting your daughter into a developmental or preteam program. If they do not compete, look for a gym that does and see where she would fit in there. As LGCM mentions, at home you can do lots of different conditioning stuff as well as practice splits and bridges and handstands. We bought a 4 x 8 mat and the kids use that to practice handstands, handstand bridge kickovers, back walkovers, front and back limbers, cartwheels, roundoffs, backward rolls, etc.

Good luck to your daughter and I hope she makes it to the Olympics! :)

Meg
 
Feb 15, 2007
222
Hey Meg:)

I agree, those are all great things to practice at home, we always thought about investing in a mat, but never took the step - but it does make for a more comfortable practice area lol...

how is the xtra training time going for your dd? does she keep the same coaches or do they have different coaches that work on seperate skills/excercises. I wonder because our program is a little difficult to understand and I think different from a lot of gyms as far as training goes - mostly because it is a new gym, new coaches, new program etc... our pre-team girls are from 5 - 12 yrs and they all work on the same skills, they progress to new skills together and then I guess, ( I still have no clue:confused: ) they pull certain girls to team when they decide they are ready.... now our coaches train our pre-team AND they train the team girls which are levels 5 - 10 (ages range from 6 yrs.(she turns 7 in apr) to 18 yrs.). Those girls all warm up together and then split between the 2 coaches when they work on bars/beam/vault... I know the 6 year old does not come every day to practice with the rest of the girls... but it seems like they can train all the way up to 30 hours a week if they want and the older girls do... even for level 5. I was just curious to kow how they structure and if they have a set system in place for hours etc. at your gym... I have no clue how our gym will move our girls up and then start a new pre-team - which I have heard there is a waiting list for - especially for only 2 coaches - , but I am curious to see how it all comes together... nic
 

Monkeygirlsmom

Active Member
Proud Parent
Feb 10, 2007
764
Thanks for your answers!(I wasnt sure If I was clear or not!! ) I knew it in my head but then writing it to me it sounded wierd but you hit it on the nail what I was lookijng for!!

I have seen Comp leos for a goup higher! but not sure where they compete!
One of hte coaches last year brought it up to me about How my dd has Ability and listens better than most kids her age!! thats how she got put up so high!!

the coaches Tell us when they can move up a level and we sign up for the days we want (there are certain times for certain levels Since we use the local Highschool gym wich in the winter Can be a ton of fun cause they see the Highschool girls work out!! WE actually have both the Towns highschools work out at this one since the other has a team but no gym)

My kids do not want to change gyms since they LOVE there coaches and they are soo close (we could actually walk there).
I def know this summer she will go more often !! for one no preschool classes to pay for anymore so that will help!!! (Money is an issue for us!!)
Plus during the year she is in DAnce as well!! Wich she has fun at!! But her first love is Gymnastics!! (I do like them learning about other sports and have a chance to try them out!!)
 
M

Megley

Guest
our pre-team girls are from 5 - 12 yrs and they all work on the same skills, they progress to new skills together and then I guess, ( I still have no clue ) they pull certain girls to team when they decide they are ready.... now our coaches train our pre-team AND they train the team girls which are levels 5 - 10 (ages range from 6 yrs.(she turns 7 in apr) to 18 yrs.). Those girls all warm up together and then split between the 2 coaches when they work on bars/beam/vault... I know the 6 year old does not come every day to practice with the rest of the girls... but it seems like they can train all the way up to 30 hours a week if they want and the older girls do... even for level 5. I was just curious to kow how they structure and if they have a set system in place for hours etc. at your gym... I have no clue how our gym will move our girls up and then start a new pre-team - which I have heard there is a waiting list for - especially for only 2 coaches - , but I am curious to see how it all comes together... nic
Nic, she actually starts April 6th with the extra hours so I'm not sure how it will go. If I had to guess, I would say that it won't be a problem because she seems to have plenty of energy for more gymnastics. Our system works differently from your gym in that they work more on a season by season basis. In other words, kids are moved from preteam to team around this time of year. I think the reason for adding an extra 3 hours now is to get them ready for 12 hours a week over the summer. Our Level 4s go 12-14 hours, Level 5s go 16-18 hours, Level 6s go 20-24 hours. After Level 6, I am not sure but I think it levels off at around 24 hours during the school season with more time available in the summers. There are options to do a range of hours but you couldn't go 30 hours at Level 4 even if you wanted to.

The rationale for the season to season thing, as I understand it, is to have a set group of girls as Level 4s (or whatever Level) for particular competition season. I don't think they don't move anyone up mid-season unless some super talented kid walks into the gym. The move-ups are done around this time of year so that the kids can work over the summer getting all the skills and learning the routines and then spend the fall fine tuning to get ready for competition season, which starts in January. There are different coaches for different levels so the preteam coaches are generally different from the Level 4 coaches, Level 5 coaches, etc. There are two coaches for each Level. Now there are some exceptions to that. One of the preteam coaches is also one of the Level 4 coaches, probably because he needs to be able to work with the girls day to day to see who should be moved up.

As far as criteria for moveups, I am not 100% sure on that but I believe that as the preteam works out together (they do move kids as necessary into preteam at any time from either rec or developmental) and learns the Level 4/5 skills, the coaches try to gauge which girls are acquiring skills and progressing and which are not. The age range is 5-9. Frankly, even I can see that some of the girls progress faster than others. There are also some parents/girls who are using preteam as another activity, along with dance and soccer or whatever, but don't ever plan to compete. I don't believe move ups are dependent on there being a set number of slots to move into. This year's Level 4 team is quite large - 20 girls. Next year's is likely to be smaller because most of the Level 4 team is going to Level 5 and there aren't that many being moved up.

All that being said, where we are currently is not an elite level gym. They have a few Level 10s, including the current Virginia state HS champ, but no elites. If you want to train elite, the gym across town is the place to be. They do TOPS and Hopes and Junior Elite and have produced at least one gymnast who wound up with the Karolyis, they home school the girls at the gym, and train up to push talented girls to optionals quickly. I am not sure of the wisdom of this approach, but I guess it all depends on what you want out of gymnastics. We will cross that bridge if we have to, I guess.

Good grief, I just wrote a novel! LOL! Sorry about that being so long. I think the idea at our gym is to continually cycle kids from developmental to preteam to team and up the ladder on team on a yearly basis so that you are hopefully always moving up those kids that have potential. :)

Meg
 
Feb 15, 2007
222
meg, your gym sounds a little more like the norm... thanks for the info. I am curious to see how our gym handles switching and then handling the schedule. The coaches would have to be in the gym around the clock... crazy. The craziness is worth it though, our coaches are fabulous as far as providing really strong basics - which is key IMO. That is one thing that I know we will walk away with, no matter which direction my dd goes.

btw we have some girls on pre-team that don't know whether they will compete or not either... when they joined they could not even cartwheel, but the parents figured it would be less expensive then doing years of gymnastics and they would get more out of it, at the time I think anyone could join because the program was brand new... it was actually smart thinking, a year later they can do a lot more than girls I have seen that have been in the gym for 5 years... now it would be different if the program had been around a while, and not fair - because I am sure that the spot could be taken up by a girl that really wanted to compete etc., but in this case it worked out okay.
 
Feb 15, 2007
222
Thanks for your answers!(I wasnt sure If I was clear or not!! ) I knew it in my head but then writing it to me it sounded wierd but you hit it on the nail what I was lookijng for!!

I have seen Comp leos for a goup higher! but not sure where they compete!
One of hte coaches last year brought it up to me about How my dd has Ability and listens better than most kids her age!! thats how she got put up so high!!

the coaches Tell us when they can move up a level and we sign up for the days we want (there are certain times for certain levels Since we use the local Highschool gym wich in the winter Can be a ton of fun cause they see the Highschool girls work out!! WE actually have both the Towns highschools work out at this one since the other has a team but no gym)

My kids do not want to change gyms since they LOVE there coaches and they are soo close (we could actually walk there).
I def know this summer she will go more often !! for one no preschool classes to pay for anymore so that will help!!! (Money is an issue for us!!)
Plus during the year she is in DAnce as well!! Wich she has fun at!! But her first love is Gymnastics!! (I do like them learning about other sports and have a chance to try them out!!)
It sounds like your girls are having fun and very happy where they are.. I would feel the same way about switching under those circumstances... our gym is close too, which is great. Some of the girls on team in our gym travel an hour each way - yikes! all because they have had our coaches since they were little... the coaches can and do make a difference:)
 

Tumblequeensmom

Active Member
Proud Parent
Feb 19, 2007
1,453
Hi Meg... I thought Gymstrada was an elite level gym! Isn't it funny the perceptions from one end of the state to another? Just out of curiosity, which gym down there IS an elite level gym?

My daughter just had her second sectional just this past weekend... she did a fantastic job... finally got above a 9 on her floor routine - whoo hoo!!! She was so excited to bring home two blue ribbins and two red. Another mom and I looked at each other, laughed and joked "since when is getting an 8 point something NOT a good score???" That puts it in perspective, doesn't it?

Anyway, we did notice that most of the gyms down in the southern part fo the state seem to practice their level 4's more than our 7 1/2 hours per week (I think we practice the least amount of any of the teams I've looked at online). I even found one last night that practices for 12 hours a week. That seems to me an awful lot for these girls just starting out on team. Oh well... now my post is running too long too!
 
M

Megley

Guest
Tumblequeensmom, I am a newbie parent but as far as I know we don't have any elites at Gymstrada. There are a few good Level 10s, though, including the girl who just won the Virginia state HS championship. Excalibur is the gym here that produces elites and participates in all those USAG programs like TOPs and Hopes, etc. Our Level 4 team goes 12 hours a week, which is what L will be doing this summer. It does seem like a lot of hours for a 5 year old and I'm a bit anxious about it, but they all seem to take it in stride. Congratulations to your daughter on this weekend's meet! :applause:

Meg
 
Feb 15, 2007
222
Meg,

I do hear a great deal of parents/non-parents expressing concern about children spending so much time in the gym - and at times I have questioned/struggled myself - just saying the hours sounds so long - in fact I rarely tell anyone because I have seen the jaw dropping reaction so often... I am finally beginning to realize the why and put it into a new perspective... It is difficult/confusing being the parent of a gymnast that is young, I think we spend too much time beating ourselves up needlessly. I know children that spend 20 hours a week or more playing video games, watching tv etc... you said it best in one of your other e-mails about exercise habits and sports and how they go hand in hand... maybe that is really all we are creating for our children, a great healthy attitude/lifestyle. We just used their God given talents to channel it:D
 
M

Megley

Guest
Thanks LGCM! I have such mixed feelings about all the hours involved at such a young age and I have gotten reactions similar to those you describe whenever I mention how much time L is going to be spending in the gym. My friend's daughter is finishing up her Level 4 season as a 6 yr old this year and she has been a great resource for me. She said her daughter has been fine with the hours last summer and over the past year. Her friends are gymnasts so going to gymnastics is going to see friends. I try to look at it that way and know that L is having fun. :)
 
M

Megley

Guest
Tumblequeensmom, just a quick note - I checked and found that Excalibur has two International Elites right now - Randy Stageberg and Morgan Evans. Anyway, I guess we are lucky to live right near an elite gym if it ever became something L wanted to do and if she had the talent (both huge ginormous ifs! LOL!). :D
 

Tumblequeensmom

Active Member
Proud Parent
Feb 19, 2007
1,453
Hmmm... well I DO notice that the girls who spend longer times in the gym each week DO have the better scores at the meets. I think I already said that our Level 4's only practice 7 1/2 hours per week. Next year as a level 5 they practice 12 hours each week... still not a lot compared to other gyms!
 

gym law mom

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Proud Parent
Dec 23, 2006
2,527
Country
USA
I think it is a very broad statement to make that kids who spend more hours in the gym score higher. Alot depends what they do with the time in the gym. Are they playing games, fooling around or actually doing gymnastics? There is a gym we compete against every year. They offer an option for their compulsory girls to train up to 20 hours/week--have an arrangement with the local school system to let their kids come in late/leave early several days/week. What is the result? Well, this year at Level 5 states, they came in 25th out of 25 gyms. At Level 6, they were 10th or 11th out of 21. Not exactly posting huge scores. Our Level 5s who train a measley 10.5 hrs/week have taken 2nd at states for the last 2 yrs.

Alot can be accomplished with the right atmosphere in the gym without trying to see who can be there the longest.
 

Mac

Member
Mar 7, 2007
65
Agreed, gym law mom. Comparing hours, thinking that you have either an advantage or disadvantage as a result of that, is misleading. A much better predictor of results is the quality of the coaching. Bad coaching with lots of hours just means bad skills and bad routines thoroughly learned. Good coaching, even with fewer hours, can do wonders for the children and the results they get.

This can be a big controversy. We know some gyms doing <8 hrs for Level 4's and some doing >20. What's the goal? Is it results now at level 4 or long term results? And do lots of hours at a young age/level have an effect on longevity? What is too much, too young?
 
Feb 15, 2007
222
I did not get the impression anyone was comparing hours vs. results as much as just trying to figure out what works best for their own situation and what they see out there... I can speak for myself as a newbie mom :p ; I just want to be as aware as I can be... I really don’t want to take a judgmental approach, because every child, every gym, every coach, every goal is different. I Keep an open mind and try to listen. I have seen better results w/more hours & I have seen better results w/less... I am sure it depends on many different factors. If we did not have comp. gyms w/less hours then perhaps not as many children would enjoy getting to know this sport... and if we did not have gym's w/more hours then perhaps many elite gymnasts would feel unfulfilled in their accomplishments or perhaps we would not have as many elite gymnasts. What I like about sharing our info is that it provides knowledge, which leads to better decision making which leads to peace of mind, which is a blessing to me… The one thing I can tell here, is that all of these parents - myself inc. - just want the very best for our children:D



 

rebeccapaige!

New Member
Jan 1, 2007
15
Hi, to answer the op. if your daughter wants to go to they olympics you need to find that type of gym, like others have mentioned gyms that train elites. My daughter will be 5 years old in 3 weeks. she had to try out for the developmental team, AFTER she was recommended by 2 different coaches. this was when she was just shy of age 4. She has been in a class for potential. Her group is phenomenal though so they should all be moving on to "preteam" for her age, at our gym they have a preteam for the younger kids 5-7 years, typically they are 5 years moving up from the 4 year old class. at our gym there is also preteam for those ages 7-12 years, they train there for a year then prepare to train level 4. Anyhow in the fall my soon to 5 year old will move up to train for level 4 as about half her group are doing all level 4 floor skills, and nearly there with the other events. they are kind of skipping the the preteam with this one particular group. although i will tell you she will not be competing level 4 until the following fall, our gym only competes level 4-6 in the fall. and she needs to be 6 to compete it. I know the question of gym hours came up too, right now she trains 3 hours per week, which isn't going to change yet, I'm anticipating more hours come this summer though. I know the level 4's train 9 hours per week. Good luck original poster, seek out an evaluation soon move ups are traditionally done in the spring. at least by us:)
Becky
 

Tumblequeensmom

Active Member
Proud Parent
Feb 19, 2007
1,453
Ooops... I guess I stepped on some toes w/o meaning to! Let me back up.... these other teams I was referring to (who practice more hours) really looked FANTASTIC at this past weekend's meet. Not just the basic skills, but the "polished effect" of their routines as well.

Soooo, me in my inexperience, assumed that they got that wasy (1) b/c they're talented and have great coaches AND (2) b/c they spend more hours in the gym per week than our girls do. THat HAS to make a difference in the quality of performance?

Trust me, I'm thrilled with our coaches and w/the level 4 girls' schedule for their first year of competition!
 
Feb 15, 2007
222
I am sure no toes got stepped on TQM :) . I am not sure why this subject is as touchy as it is, but it really seems to cause craziness. no harm, just opinions and info is GREAT... I have learned so much from the veterans and the newbies that post here - it is all good:D The meets should be fun for the girls regardless of how many hours are spent training and no matter where they place... it is amazing you can practice great, train hard and then have one bad day, you just never know...

one of our level 9 gymnast, that trains about 30 hours a week recently placed 1st in her age division at a recent larger meet... and she did not have a great day on bars...

likewise, a level 5 gymnast from another comp. gym where they only train 9 hours per week took 1st place at state in her age division!
 
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