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Help me understand

LTmom

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Feb 7, 2018
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I’m a reforming CGM but not completely reformed as you’ll soon see. One thing I’m doing much better is watching just my own kid during practice. It has done wonders for my mental state. However, there is a lot going on at the gym so I naturally find myself casually watching other groups/classes while my DD is waiting her turn in line or whatever.

Something has been driving me crazy and I can’t stop wondering about it. Please help me understand. Why is it that in every class, there is 1 girl who is shockingly out of place? If everyone is doing back tucks, That One Girl can’t do it. At all. If everyone else is doing giants, That One Girl can’t do it. In another class, while everyone is conditioning, That One Girl is cheating and watching the coach to make sure she doesnt get caught. I know everyone works at their own pace, but she’s always super out of place, even dangerously so. I happened to meet a mom from a different gym who told me that a girl in her daughter’s class can’t even do a cartwheel and they are level 2s. What on earth??

In DD’s class, That One Girl doesn’t just miss or fall, she collapses spectacularly like a stunt woman. The coach always has a look of shock, surprise, and today, laughter. To me, it’s dangerous. If I were her mother, I’d be extremely worried that my daughter will get hurt because she just can’t do it. It’s not a high level yet, so nothing life threatening, but if this girl is falling regularly onto her head DURING WARM UPS, isn’t it dangerous for her to attempt any skills when she’s constantly collapsing with all 4 limbs going in different directions? She has no strength so she chucks herself into a handstand, but her support leg is shaking the entire time.

Why do they allow this??? Why does it go on???
 

Jard.the.gymnast

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So many reasons. It could be there isn’t a fitting class, it could be injury related, it could have to do with the mindset of the girl.

The opposite is also true. There is often that kid that goes above and beyond, and it miles ahead of the rest.

Really you are going to make yourself crazy if you keep worrying. As a coach, I don’t even understand the level descisions of other coaches, simply because I do not share the same philosophy
 
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Aussie_coach

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I don’t think that really is typical in most gyms. Perhaps just in your gym, maybe they have a learning difficulty, or your gym has a policy of moving up kids in a certain way. But we don’t run our classes like that, kids need to meet a certain testing criteria to move up, no exceptions. I think most gyms would not allow a child without the required strength to do any skill, for which they don’t meet the prerequisites.
 
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NutterButter

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Jan 24, 2013
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My DD has been That One Girl plenty of times. My DD was the very last one in her group to get her giant. Everyone in her group got their giant over the summer but not my DD, she waited until early December for her big giant debut. Maybe if you saw her during the summer it would appear to you she didn't belong but you would not have known she struggles with fears and she was terrified of the giant for some time. Don't worry though...once she got it, she went on to become one of the top scoring bar workers in her group for the season.

In another group at DDs gym you would see a girl significantly 'behind' on bars relative to her teammates. What you wouldn't know is that she came back from elbow surgery for OCD two years ago and needs to take it very slow. She adds bars skills well into competition season. Just the fact that she is still able to compete is pretty amazing! She went on to compete in Regionals.

In another group there is the girl who cheats on strength. The girls know it. Half the coaches know it. She is *that* athletic though and has been able to reach a high level of gymnastics and still get away with it. It makes the girls mad but mostly because they are a little jealous because they know they can't cheat like their teammate.

Then scattered through out the gym, both in rec and pre-team/compulsory there are kids who appear to not listen or as you describe the stunt woman falls. The child may have a condition that makes it harder for her to pay attention (ADHD or an auditory processing problem). She may just be a silly girl who enjoys making people laugh. She may have anxiety and reacts by doing the opposite of what she needs to be doing. Or as you surmise, she may be placed in the wrong level and the coaches are stuck having to work with her until the class ends in a few months and they are doing the best they can with a difficult situation.

My point is that you can't possibly know the situation of every child in the gym. What appears to be a problem to you may not actually be a problem.
 

profmom

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Yeah. On pre-team and at (old) L5, my DD was That One Girl who had a crappy BHS and an ugly muscled kip. At (old) L6, my DD was That One Girl who didn't have a reliable front tuck and fell on that skill at more than one meet. That One Girl got her giants at the last possible moment to secure her move up to L7.

That One Girl made it to L8, eventually left JO but stayed with XCel, graduates this month, and will continue with gymnastics in college. In the years that have passed, many of her super talented teammates who were often or always on the podium at meets have left the sport.

Why does this bother you? It's probably safe to presume that experienced coaches have a better idea of any given child's possible trajectory in the sport than the average parent.
 

gymmomx2

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My DD was also that One Girl once upon a time. She did a gym switch and was put in a L3 group while she couldn't do a front walkover or back walkover or even a back bend. The coach saw something in her and that's why she was slotted with this particular group. She stayed "behind" the girls from that group for about 1.5 years and needed extra spotting/help from the coach but eventually she caught up. 5 years later she's L9.

You may not know all the reasons why a girl looks out of place in a group. Potential, injuries, lack of space in other groups could all be reasons. It shouldn't affect your daughter though so best to let it go and focus on your own daughter's journey :)
 

4theloveofsports

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Forgive my ignorance and I apologize in advance if my post may appear snarky but I truly do not understand why this bothers you and why you’ve seemed to zero in on this gymnast? I almost feel offended by your post and my daughter was not even one of those gymnasts. However, if my daughter happen to be one of those gymnasts, it wouldn’t sit well with me if a mother was judging my daughter as such.
 

Eleven sol

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My younger daughter was the one who couldn’t do the cartwheel, lol. She was however super lean and strong and could climb the rope easily at age 5 and that was without any gymnastics training. She got tired of girls cutting in line and shoved a classmate who was continually doing so and she flew quite a distance. At that point I took her out. I think the gym saw her athleticism and hoped the rest would develop. She is now a premier level soccer player and the opposing goalkeeper hits the ground when she kicks. Gymnastics just wasn’t her sport, but they were 100% correct on her athleticism and spatial awareness.
 

mommyof1

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This thread reminds me of an episode that occurred shortly after my daughter started preteam at her very first gym. A dad told me it wasn't fair that my daughter had been allowed to join the group because she was holding his daughter back. His daughter didn't want to be there in the first place, ran to her parents (yes, they both watched) crying multiple times per practice, and quit shortly thereafter. Seven years later, That One Kid who didn't deserve to be there loves the sport more than ever and has even won quite a few medals. Which all goes to show, you never can tell.
 

beachgirl

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Just stop watching and it won't bother you. Every time I arrive early and watch practice I'm annoyed by something. If your daughter is happy, safe and progressing, you should be satisfied.
 

FlippinPrincess

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you’ll soon see. One thing I’m doing much better is watching just my own kid during practice. It has done wonders for my mental state. However, there is a lot going on at the gym so I naturally find myself casually watching other groups/classes while my DD is waiting her turn in line or whatever.
Find a good book to read instead of watching all of the others. Remember how good you said you felt when you only watched your daughter? Yeah, do that again. Get back on the wagon to non-CGM town and never look back. ;)
 

gymgal

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Stop watching practice. Seriously. Just go to the local library and do work, read some books, start stitch work, take a nap. Anything to stop watching practice. It will drive you crazy.
 

Cmumgym

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This is the reason why I just drop my dd off for practice and pick up. If my dd wants me to watch I will ask the coaches if i can come into the gym for an hour which they always allow. I absolutely hate sitting in the viewing area with the other parents who seem to spend 4 hours there watching their kids watching other people’s kids and commenting on the coaches coaching the children’s training and nit picking at things that they have no idea about. It infuriates me. I can’t imagine the number of emails and phone calls the coaches have to put up with. With this situation there has been many great responses on why this may occur in some gyms Certainly not all. But gymnastics is a serious sport where children can get injured. We trust the coaches in our gym because they are trained to take care of our little ones.
 
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Racpp

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My “That Girl”s have long outlasted others who were much more gymnastics inclined. They aren’t the first to get skills and they probably looked very out of place for the first several years, but they are very coachable. They listened, they tried, they failed - a lot, and they tried again.

All those girls who were more naturally talented, quicker learners have left gymnastics. Most of them had parents who watched practices and were overly invested. Most of them spent time comparing gymnasts and analyzing who should be in what level. Most of them didn’t last a season after their first L4 season. And we’re are at low hours, low pressure Y program. The crazies tend to weed themselves and their daughters out within the first 2-3 years of competing.

I never intended to have gymnasts. I thought a few classes to learn body awareness and work off some energy during the winter months would be good. It’s their sport. The gym is their happy place, even during conditioning, even though my oldest’s college athletic recruiting is in another sport. The gym is where they want to be.

They no longer stand out as That Girl and I’m glad they weathered the That Girl comments they (and I) overheard other parents made about them. That made them great teammates, and the oldest is an awesome coach for the newest rec classes because of it. She’s looking out for the underdogs that might be seen as That Girl.

*proud mom stepping off of her pet peeve soapbox*
 

mls529

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They no longer stand out as That Girl and I’m glad they weathered the That Girl comments they (and I) overheard other parents made about them. That made them great teammates, and the oldest is an awesome coach for the newest rec classes because of it. She’s looking out for the underdogs that might be seen as That Girl.
My gymnast daughter was never That Girl, but years ago, she has overheard a mom once making a comment about her not ideal scores her first few meets of level 4. More recently, my other DD who plays softball overheard a snarky, overly-invested dad comment about her batting skills. It takes all my energy not to tell these parents these parents off. It is hard enough for kids to navigate mean girls but it is particularly difficult to hear an adult comment on athletic skill. And maybe you don't think the kid is hearing it, but trust me, someone is hearing it, or seeing it. Maybe the kid you perceive as not-up-to-par has skills/strength/a great attitude that you can't see but the coaches love. Or maybe she is the daughter of the owner's best friend and totally doesn't deserve to be there. Who cares? In either case, my heart goes out to those kids who have haters. I hope they rise above as Racpp's kid did.
 

ldw4mlo

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My daughter at a meet this year, coming off and injury had a bar performance that was dismal. I stopped counting and watch at 4 falls.

And the only thing I could think at the time was OMG, anyone watching this would think who in their right mind would let her do gymnastics.

We also had a gymmie at our gym who had ADD. And yeah, at the end of the day focus was a problem as her meds wore off. Her gymnastics were scattered. Some days she would just be focused on color and pattern organizing the cubes in the pit....
She was a great teammate and loved competing. She didn’t win but she loved it.
She has since moved on, matured quite a bit, off meds and quite the equestrian horse whisper.

Please don’t judge.

And FWIW, a fall that looks like an absolute horror might really not be bad up close.

Really it’s time to stop watching practice.
 

raenndrops

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My “That Girl”s have long outlasted others who were much more gymnastics inclined. They aren’t the first to get skills and they probably looked very out of place for the first several years, but they are very coachable. They listened, they tried, they failed - a lot, and they tried again.

All those girls who were more naturally talented, quicker learners have left gymnastics. Most of them had parents who watched practices and were overly invested. Most of them spent time comparing gymnasts and analyzing who should be in what level. Most of them didn’t last a season after their first L4 season. And we’re are at low hours, low pressure Y program. The crazies tend to weed themselves and their daughters out within the first 2-3 years of competing.

I never intended to have gymnasts. I thought a few classes to learn body awareness and work off some energy during the winter months would be good. It’s their sport. The gym is their happy place, even during conditioning, even though my oldest’s college athletic recruiting is in another sport. The gym is where they want to be.

They no longer stand out as That Girl and I’m glad they weathered the That Girl comments they (and I) overheard other parents made about them. That made them great teammates, and the oldest is an awesome coach for the newest rec classes because of it. She’s looking out for the underdogs that might be seen as That Girl.

*proud mom stepping off of her pet peeve soapbox*
We are also at a Y program. We love the low hours, low pressure. YG was (and still is, in some aspects) That Girl. She competes Xcel Platinum, but often trains bars with the L6-L8s and vaults with the L8s. She doesn't have a low bar kip 99% of the time and her high bar kip is 50/50 or less lately, lol. There are some who don't understand why she is Platinum (and this is her 2nd year at Platinum). The coach knows what she is doing. YG is exactly where SHE needs to be.
 

profmom

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One of the things I really like about my kids' gym is that, when That Girl or That Boy on the team makes a skill that's been bedeviling them for months or even years, all the athletes cheer like crazy. When it happens at a meet, I'm sure a few parents wonder why anyone would cheer that shaky beam series, perilous pommel/mushroom routine, or not beautiful kip, but I do love to see it.

Yes, even at L10.
 

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