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? for you all !!

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Feb 15, 2007
222
GLM & Mac,

you made a couple of very great points... I am sure some coaches and or gymnasts are much better at utilizing their time than others :D

"This can be a big controversy."

I just wish that I understood why this is. Every child, coach, goal, family, home, gym is so different....
 

Mac

Member
Mar 7, 2007
65
...and just like some of you child's school teachers have been more effective than others, so are some coaches. Some have more experience, some have more training, some have their hearts in it more than others, or some simply have a style that better suits one child or another.

As for controversy...it's a competitive sport, and that can bring out all sorts of emotions, positive and less positive. If another child does well at a meet and ours doesn't, there's gotta be a reason, right? [That's rhetorical and facetious.] The obsessive brain will search high and low for a reason. It's the judges showing favoritism, it's the "home team advantage", the sun got in her eyes! :) Too often I've seen hours used as the excuse...I mean...explanation, as in, "oh, no wonder, they do X hours a week and we do half that." Heck, we see the same thing when the newspaper reports test scores in another country exceed our own--well of course, they spend 250 days in school and go Saturdays, too, while we're stuck at 180, right? :rolleyes:

And it's our kids, and we care deeply about them, and we want the best for them. We seek out the best neighborhoods, the best schools, the best gyms, right? And no one complains about too few hours if they're winning. But it's an easy target if someone else is doing better. [I'm not speaking of anything I read here, btw, but rather stuff I've heard over some number of years hanging around gyms.] This sport can be a tremendously positive experience for the children, and the vast majority of families are friendly and supportive. But it IS a competitive sport...
 
M

Megley

Guest
I just wish that I understood why this is. Every child, coach, goal, family, home, gym is so different....
This is what we all need to keep in mind I think. We are all at one gym or another, either by happenstance, choice, or for lack of other alternatives. Those gyms, for the most part, require a certain number of hours for certain levels. Ours requires 12 for Level 4s so that is what my daughter will do if she wants to compete Level 4 here. I am not going to pull her out and away from her friends just on the basis of hours alone (whether I think they are too many or too few) without seeing how she handles the hours and how she progresses.

This discussion is interesting, though, and I suspect there are parallels in many other sports. I am a competitive runner and I can tell you that there is a lot of controversy in running over how many miles a runner should run on a weekly basis to optimize performance. Some are on the side of the more miles the better. Others will tell you that it isn't the number of miles but the quality. Some people can run 100 miles a week without injury. Others break down at 50 miles a week. You have to trust your coach and listen to your body. Ultimately, as LGCM notes, it all comes down to what works for each individual athlete.

I think what makes the gymnastics issue so much more controversial is that it is us parents who have to make the ultimate decision about training hours and we are talking about kids, not adults. They have to rely on us to make the right decision for them. Luckily, we all seem to very responsible and conerned parents here! :)
 

Monkeygirlsmom

Active Member
Proud Parent
Feb 10, 2007
764
Great points from everyone!! yes we are all diff and each child is different and as parents we are the ones who need to watch out for our kids and protect them as best as we can!! and we know them better than anyone else!!!
 
B

bpatient

Guest
  • Tumblequeensmom wrote: "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."
  • gym law mom wrote: "I think it is a very broad statement to make that kids who spend more hours in the gym score higher."
  • Mac wrote: "Too often I've seen hours used as the excuse...I mean...explanation, as in, 'oh, no wonder, they do X hours a week and we do half that.'"
  • It's clear that there are many factors in achieving expert performance, but it's absolutely clear that the time invested in deliberate practice is the most important predictor of success. The key is that "deliberate practice" is precisely defined as effortful individualized training performed with full attention on tasks suggested by a qualified teacher. It may be possible to spend long hours in a gym while devoting only a few minutes to the deliberate practice that will lead--after many years--to expert performance. However, excepting that increased gymnastics training increases exposure to injury, more hours with a good coach should beat fewer hours--up to the point when it is not possible to sustain the concentrated effort required for improvement. An accessible introduction to the research in this area can be found in "The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance" in Psychological Review 1993;100:363-406; an author of that paper also edited "Expert Performance in Sports: Advances in Research on Sport Expertise" JL Starkes and KA Ericsson, editors; Human Kinetics Publishers; 2003.
 
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K

krazykidzmom

Guest
Believe me I understand what you are going through, trying to figure out what is best for our daughters. I would like to point a few things out and I don't mean this in a bad way at all.
1) The Olympics were almost 3 years ago, how does a 5 year old know she wants to go to the Olympics? Be careful parents, when someone says, "is she going to the Olympics someday".....respond "we have to get through the Mighty Might class first"!
2) It is so easy to get wrapped up in all of the movement of the kids between levels....the fact of the matter is if your daughter is going to be an elite gymnast they will be skipping those.
3)It is important to note that the best 5 year old does NOT mean 100% she will be great at 10 or 11.
4) This is such a difficult exciting sport and some days I wish my dd would quit....but she loves it and we have only been in it close to 3 years. But we have seen alot and there are things I see that I just want to mention to save some heartache out there.

About the practice time.....in 3 years from 14 to 35 now back to 20.....a little difference competition wise, but worth her going to regular school for now:) :D
 

Mac

Member
Mar 7, 2007
65
rbw, we completely agree on "deliberate practice". There was an article on that recently in the NYTimes. Which puts it right back in the coach's corner, be/c some can provide that effectively and some seem to not.

I recall being at a restaurant after a meet at which our girls did especially well. Another team was there, also. First and only question one parent asked was, "How many hours a week do you practice?" Followed by, "We only do X." It's part of people's mindset, like a magic elixir. The unasked question is, what makes those hours effective or not? Also, would that coach know how to use additional hours effectively?

Along with the deliberate practice is the notion that was stepped around, namely, at what point does extra time take a disproportionate toll on the body? Also, at what point, for wont of a better way to word it, does the fun go out of it? Seeing kids you get to know throughout the state injure-out and burn-out makes one wary.

###

krazykidzmom, feel free to share your experiences further. What lead to the switch from 35 to 20 (I can guess the 14 to 35)? What are some of the lessons you learned?
 
Feb 15, 2007
222
krazykidsmom, I realize you have been around the sport for a few years so I appreciate your experience... I mean no disrespect at all and hope this does not sound that way... but Olympics? did I miss something? :eek: If you are referring to the little girl that the thread was originally about well, if it is her dream - even at 5 years old ( I have had a 5 yr old tell me some pretty amazing things:D ), then you really can't knock it. I personally tell my children on a daily basis that whatever they want in life, they can make it happen - anything IS possible... that's what is great about life.... now for my 5 yr old? right now she wants to be a firefighter - and that can change tomorrow (last week she wanted to be in the circus:p ) ... I have no idea what the future holds for my young gymnast... but, if she told me she wanted to be an olympic gymnast - I would tell her anything is possible... fyi, her brother asked her that a couple of weeks ago - she responded "what's an olympic?" lol

now, I don't know if she will be in the sport a year from now let alone at 10 or 11 yrs old... for now we are here and I just feel better "talking" about these issues that help educate and help to reach the best decisions for our little babies... and big babies:) .
 
B

bpatient

Guest
  • Mac asked. "...[A]t what point does extra time take a disproportionate toll on the body?"
  • That's a tough question, isn't it?
  • Yesterday I happened to read another ‘expert performance’ paper by Ericsson in which he stated that the violinists he studied who were destined for careers as soloists had by age 20 accumulated about 2,500 more hours of dedicated practice than had the next most accomplished group of expert violinists--that's about five extra hours of intense practice each week over a ten year period. Expert gymnasts, too, should benefit from increased time spent in deliberate practice; unfortunately, because it’s difficult to achieve and sustain the necessary level of concentration, gymnasts may have to spend long hours in the gym to secure those relatively few extra hours of deliberate practice.
  • Those extra hours will come with a cost. I commented in another thread (Hours in the gym?): “Medical experts who study gymnastic injuries recommend limiting the number of repetitions, training periodization with defined rest periods to avoid progressive stress, and reducing training loads during the adolescent growth spurt. [Br J Sports Med. 2006 Sep;40(9):749-60]." Given the prevalence of overuse injury in the sport, it’s quite clear that the time gymnasts now spend in training already takes a disproportionate toll on their young bodies.
  • A logical solution could be to increase the quality of the repetitions but limit or decrease their number. I think clever and innovative coaches can do that.
 
M

Megley

Guest
she responded "what's an olympic
LGCM, this is exactly what my daughter said! LOL! She has no idea what the Olympics even is but says she wants to do what those big girls do on TV.

I think Krazykidsmom makes some very good points. You cannot tell what is going to happen to a child's body in the coming years. A kid that seems to have a lot of talent at age 5 may wind up struggling at age 9 or 10. My friends' daughter has gone through this. And even if your 5 year old turns out to be good enough for the coaches to rush her through and skip levels, there is the whole question of whether this is ultimately a road you want to send your child down.

I have read some accounts from parents whose children went down the elite road and most of them seem to regret that they did it. Their daughters wound up injured and faced surgeries at young ages, the hours were killer, the politics a nightmare, etc. Clearly, it's something to think long and hard about if you ever have to make the choice. Right now, I am grateful to able to just take it day by day. In all likelihood, we will never have to make a decision about elite but it's good have some knowledge about what it's all about so you can make an informed decision if you ever have to. The thing that gets to me about it is that our daughters will be too young to really know what they are getting into - no matter how much they say they want to go to the Olympics. We are the ones who have the ultimate decision to make.

Meg
 
Feb 15, 2007
222
Hi Meg,

the things that the little ones think of is positively precious... my dd is obsessed with the team girls in our gym, I think that is really the extent of what she knows for now:p

yes, KKM did make great points, but again it all comes down to what our options are in the area we live in - gym/coaches/finances - and where our wonderful dd's lead us as well... funny, but until I "came" here, I did not even know these were things I would have to think about... personally, I am so happy that many have posted so much info/experience/opinion on the subject ( I can't thank everyone enough), because it really did get me thinking about team and what that may really mean if we decide to go that route... my dd would love to be on team, but we joined this gym because we would not have to compete right away yet she could still get her energy out, learn new skills and overall do what she loves and spend more time in the gym... nic

PS - I know you really understand, because you have a talented 5 year old - it is difficult w/the kids that are in pre-school, yet too advanced for pre-school gym and not quite ready for 20 hours a week in the gym... if you don't take the competetive route what do you do? our choices unfortunately are pretty limited in our area..... sorry, if I am rambling lol
 
M

medic3188

Guest
The gym where we go the level 4's go 6 hours a week and the 5-6 go between 12-20 and then the 7's go 20-24. I think this is adequate. The other gyms in our area practice more. Does this hurt them I don't think so..My daughter is a level 3, they practice 2 hours a week. This is just a preteam level. My daughter added a second class but could only add a rec class because they only have two level three classes both one after the other. Three hours a week is great for her. She would do more if I let her, but I do not want her to burn out at 6.
 
M

Megley

Guest
I know you really understand, because you have a talented 5 year old - it is difficult w/the kids that are in pre-school, yet too advanced for pre-school gym and not quite ready for 20 hours a week in the gym... if you don't take the competetive route what do you do? our choices unfortunately are pretty limited in our area..... sorry, if I am rambling lol
LOL! You aren't rambling, though I have to say I often feel as though I am when I post. We have been dealing with that difficulty for a year now. L has always been in an odd spot because she was quickly too advanced for the class with kids her age but the youngest in the next group up. I will hand it to her for fitting in well with girls who are as much as 4 years older, though she still lacks a lot of the maturity that the older girls have. There really isn't any route except competition for kids like your daughter and mine. Fortunately, it seems relatively low key at the beginning levels. It's this whole rushing them through and getting them to Level 10 when they are 10 or 11 years old that has me concerned.

It's a mixed blessing to be in an area with so many gyms. We do have an elite gym right here in our city and I could move L there if I wanted to, though I wouldn't do it now because she has her friends and our gym is the only one with the good boys' program that my son needs. I've basically decided to wait until after her Level 5 season and see how things are going. That buys me at least a couple of years!

Meg
 

Monkeygirlsmom

Active Member
Proud Parent
Feb 10, 2007
764
HEllo!! yes I do agree with they can change at 9 and to me if she does change then she can!! I will never force my child to stay in Gymnastics!! but I do want to help her get her gaol if it is possible!!

She knows about Olympics cause she wants to get Gymnastic books all the time and they all have bios of the Gymnasts!! plus The kids have a bood on Nadia Comenece (Ok I cannot Think if the sp? at the moment plus I am a Horrible typer LOL)
She has asked what that is and I have told her!! so thatis how she knows!!
I do think kids know what they want things can change as they learn more!! my goal is to listen to my kids what there needs and wants are and go with the flow!!!
 

audra

Coach & Mom
CB Booster Club
Verified Coach
Proud Parent
Feb 5, 2006
203
Wisconsin
It's great to hear that you are listening to your daughter, and helping her achieve her goals. Gymnastics is a tough sport and many times young girls are put into it because its what their mom's did, and they are following "mom's" dream and not their own. Everybody thinks that Justin and I will push our girls to do gymnastics and become high level gymnasts-without a choice. What they forget is that we both did other sports as well, and if our girls want to do gymnastics we will of course support that but it is not what they HAVE to do, because its what we love. Of course we will start them in gymnastics and keep them in it as long as they still love it.

As long as they love what they are doing regardless of the long term goal keep encouraging them!!
 
Feb 15, 2007
222
Audra,

Your attitude about your girl(s) is positively wonderful... I am sure that they will do wonderful no matter what they choose to do:) we have always asked the kids to try new sports so that they can get a feel for what they love to do... unfortunately they love EVERYTHING they have tried lol.
 
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