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For Parents Gymnastics decisions

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Lidance78

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Oct 4, 2020
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My daughter is 6 and is on the level 2 team. She only started gymnastics a year ago. She practices 4 hours a week. She seems to really like it and never once complains about going. She does get tired after practicing understandable after 2 hours. She has all the level 2 skills (except the mill circle) as she is still working on that. She is currently learning the routines, etc. She even has a couple level 3 skills (handstand forward roll, handstand to bridge kick over). They aren’t perfect by any means. She is not a prodigy not to put her down but she struggles with back flexibility and backbends and kickovers don’t come easy for her. Her coach said she is still young and will get there and just will need to stretch a lot more. Anyway, my point is that I only put her in gymnastics last year because we knew someone else doing it and she was only doing dance one day a week so it was like an extra fun activity. This year she started at another gym for rec (we only switched gyms due to covid regulations with the other one). She was bored in the rec class and wanted to learn more skills. So we wound up finding a gym that has preteam and here we are. She said she loves it and wants to compete. The problem is she also dances. She has been dancing since she was 3 and this year she is on the mini competition team. She is doing 3 hours a week of dance. She said she wants to continue with that as well. I told her she could do both this year because it works our schedule wise but next year she will have to pick one if she wants to compete with both. If she picks gymnastics she could take a dance class on the rec level and vice versa. It’s just way too much time and money and we also have a 4 year old girl doing both on the rec level as well. Anyway- she goes back and forth on what she likes better. I honestly thought that she would have picked dance but she seems to really enjoy gymnastics. I told her gymnastics is a big time commitment as she moves up which I’m not sure she understands. Of course I want her to pick what she enjoys but I also don’t want her to get burnt out from an activity. I told my husband the hours if she moves up to Level 3 and he was like Absolutely no way. He thinks it’s eventually going to fizzle out. I just feel like if it was going to fizzle out she would say she wouldn’t want to go to gymnastics and that hasn’t happened. I guess my point is to ask if anyone else had to have their child at a young age decide or eventually decide for them what the right choice is?
 

raenndrops

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Oct 24, 2009
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We got OG and YG into the gym when they were 4-1/2 and 17 months old. They started in preschool class and baby class.

OG was moved from the preschool class to the 2nd level of rec before she turned 5. She was invited to team at 6 years old. The year she was 6, she did soccer, cheer, basketball, softball, and baseball ... and gymnastics. Soccer season was in the fall, cheer and basketball were in the winter, softball was late spring through June, and baseball was mid-July to August. She continued with soccer and basketball for a few years, but preferred gymnastics. She made her own choices, even if she regretted them later (like retiring from gym the first time - she came out of retirement 3 months later).

YG moved from the baby class to the preschool class before she was 3 years old. When her sister was invited to team, she wanted to be on team too. The HC told her that you had to be 6 to be on the team. Less than a week later, the child (age 2 years 10 months) was in a lot of pain and we didn't know what was going on. She was spiking high fevers, even with alternating tylenol and motrin. Everything hurt. It was Labor Day Weekend. We took her to the ER. They drew blood for tests, got x-rays and an ultrasound. Everything came back normal. The next day, we realized that she was teething ... but she already had ALL of her baby teeth. Turns out, she was trying to cut her 6 year molars (all 4 of them) - and her mouth was obviously too small for them at the time. I called the dentist office on Tuesday to schedule an appointment. The receptionist was a little snotty and told me there is no way a 2 year old could be cutting her 6-year molars. THAT is why she needed to see the dentist. By the time we could get her into the dentist 2 WEEKS later, they had receded. We went through this teething process every 6-8 months until they finally came through. We still joke that she tried cutting the teeth on purpose to get on the team, lol.
She moved to the 1st level of rec before she was 5 (she had the skills for the 2nd level but ADHD issues and class size made level 1 the better choice). She was invited to team at 6 (coincidentally, 3 weeks after her 6 year molars came in). She also tried soccer, cheer, and basketball. She didn't really like any of them. She wanted to be in the gym. She would have been willing to take 2 classes a day 3 days a week if we let her from the very beginning.
 

CuriousCate

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Jul 12, 2016
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When I look back, truth is that MOST kids on team quit by the end of their second season competing. I recall my kiddo doing level 3 and having 24 kids on her team and by level 4, they were down to 14, by level 5/7 down to 8. I think most kids end up not loving it enough to keep going when the hours hit double digits...and it happens fast in this sport. I always say that if my kids had anything else that they had truly loved even close to as much as gym, that is the route we'd have gone instead.
 

Carly

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Jan 3, 2016
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When I look back, truth is that MOST kids on team quit by the end of their second season competing. I recall my kiddo doing level 3 and having 24 kids on her team and by level 4, they were down to 14, by level 5/7 down to 8. I think most kids end up not loving it enough to keep going when the hours hit double digits...and it happens fast in this sport. I always say that if my kids had anything else that they had truly loved even close to as much as gym, that is the route we'd have gone instead.
My dd started competing at level 3 and there were 17 girls in the group. There are 5 left that are still competing at levels 8/9 currently.

Does your gym have an Xcel program? It might be possible for her to do both dance and Xcel for a couple years in order to give her more time to decide on one over the other. Typically Xcel programs are much lower hours than JO.
 
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Carly

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Jan 3, 2016
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We have usaigc which I think is similar to xcel?
I don't know anything about usaigc. But if it is a lower hours program, maybe she could still compete gymnastics and have time to take a dance class.

Good luck with everything. It's tough to make these decisions when they're young. My dd competed JO for 4 years and the hours/stress/injuries were just too much so she made the switch to Xcel and is very happy. She has more time for friends, school clubs and volunteering.
 

Lidance78

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Oct 4, 2020
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I don't know anything about usaigc. But if it is a lower hours program, maybe she could still compete gymnastics and have time to take a dance class.

Good luck with everything. It's tough to make these decisions when they're young. My dd competed JO for 4 years and the hours/stress/injuries were just too much so she made the switch to Xcel and is very happy. She has more time for friends, school clubs and volunteering.
Yes it is a lower hours program. I think it’s pretty similar to xcel from my understanding. I think we we are going to finish the year out in level 2 and if she wants to continue next year competitively she can go the Usaigc route instead. Xcel sounds like a great program as well and it’s nice to have a balance of everything. Good luck to your daughter!
 
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doublestrike

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Jun 16, 2018
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I kept my gymnast in dance and gym until high school. She did competitive dance, JO gymnastics and club soccer through those years. She had to drop club soccer after one year, not enough time but continued with AYSO. She was able to dance fully through level 6 and then had to modify her dance schedule once she reached optionals since the competition seasons were the same. She prioritized gymnastics, it helped her dance instructor was a former gymnast. Once she was in high school and second year level 10 she had to drop dance, also due to the 2 hour plus RT drive. It’s doable and she benefitted from all the activities.
 
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GYM0M

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Jul 23, 2013
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My DD had to choose. She started gym and dance at 3. Started mini dance team at 4. Started TOPS track at a competitive gym at 5. At 7, gym coaches asked for sole commitment if she wanted to continue on the TOPS/HOPES/Elite path. They told her she could do both comp dance and comp gym, just not TOPS/HOPES. The only thing she was upset about was not getting her 5th year trophy the upcoming year and not getting toe shoes.
 

TumbleTimes4

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The most important thing is that you and your husband are in agreement about the decision. Competitive gymnast is a commitment and at times a sacrifice for the entire family and if he isn’t on board with it like you said, then it will never work. The hours, cost, and commitment will only go up.

My DD started competing Xcel bronze 4 years ago. Only one of her teammates is still competing Xcel. She then moved to JO a year later and only half of them are still competing and starting their first year of optionals. For some kids, the time commitment is too much and for others, the repetitiveness of the compulsory levels becomes too tedious. For my own DD, level 5 was very trying and at one point I thought she might be done. But she’s found excitement again in 6.
 
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Akl597

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Oct 16, 2014
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Maybe I'm the outlier, but I would leave it up to her to make the decision. If she changes her mind after a year, she's young enough that you could go back to dance or gymnastics (whichever one she didn't choose to focus on). My YDD had to choose between dance and gymnastics at 4 (the hours weren't an issue, but the times overlapped) - she picked gymnastics. The next year my ODD chose gymnastics over dance and moved to pre-team from rec. They've taken dance classes over the years and despite me pushing, they've never wanted to go back. They've also done swim team, tennis lessons, and cross country. But the only thing they've stuck with is gymnastics. They were on the same level 3 team and out of 14 girls, 12 of them are still in gymnastics over 4 years later. One girl left the team after level 3 because she wanted to do dance and the second girl left after competing another 2 years (and moving to a different gym). The rest are anywhere from Xcel Platinum through level 9. I never thought my ODD would stick with it. She joined the team at age 7 and we agreed to try it for the summer. Over 6 years later and she's still going strong. Sometimes they surprise you.
 

katrid11

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Sep 1, 2020
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There is no easy answer and no right answer. My DD loves soccer and gymnastics - she's working Level 4. To the point where both fit in her schedule AND she wants to do both, we will let her. However she's at 9hrs a week in the gym. Soccer this year was 1 practice and 1 game a week. This spring she will do soccer travel but only b/c COVID killed off the gymnastics season primarily (2 inhouse meets is nothing compared to what was scheduled 10 meets).

Our DD is 8 and knows that she has to choose what she does and it impacts her free time. If she wants time to hang with friends, she can't play travel soccer next fall and push for L6. Just isn't an option due to time.

The more you put it as her choice, the better off - provided that you can make the schedule work.
 

Ty’s Dad

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My daughter had to make a decision at age 8 Boxing or gymnastics. We tried to make them both work because she was on the verge of fighting in competitions, until my daughter hours went from 10-30, then it was no way she could do anything else. She’s 11 and as of now she says she doesn’t regret it one bit.
 
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