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hoping to start out right...

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supercrunch

New Member
Sep 1, 2008
10
Hi! I'm new here :)

I stumbled upon this board while looking for information on gymnastics for preschool age boys.

My son is 4, and like many of the children I've been reading about here, started cartwheeling all over the house at the age of 3. This past spring, he somehow figured out how to do handstands (not even against anything, but in the middle of the floor...which scares me to death!!) and has improved to where he can hold one for quite a while.

We signed him up for the summer session at a local gym, and after the 6 week session ended, the instructor pulled us aside and mentioned that he was far beyond what they are able to offer for his age, and we might want to look at the local national training center (where they have boys teams, etc) for further training for him.

I am not quite sure what to do so far...so I have signed him up for another 3 months where he was before while we try to decide.

As for my son...he has fallen completely in love with gymnastics, and apparently letting him watch some of the mens events on the Olympics was not one of my best judgment calls. He went through a phase of trying things that he saw the gymnasts do, and ended up with a few new moves of his own that I am not quite so sure a 4 year old should be doing (headstand- then push up into a handstand, etc.)
I try to keep him from trying new things at home, but after all...he's a 4 year old boy, and he'd just rather be upside down most of the time.

I know very little about gymnastics,
especially boys/mens gymnastics and the aspect of training and competing from an early age on upward.

I would love to know everything I need to know to make sure I make the best decisions now to avoid injury, heartache, and burn out in the future.

Thanks for your help!
 

FlipsLeos

Member
Jul 26, 2008
111
First of all - welcome!!

I really don't know much other than I think MY primary concern would be to make sure my son was having fun in a safe manner. I don't know how far I would want him pushed at 4 - that's really young - but at the same time, why hold him back??

WHY does your current gym not think they can teach him at this point? I didn't know if maybe they weren't competitive and they think he should be competitive, or if their skill set is just based on basic tumbling or what. Might be worth a few phone calls around to other gyms in your area to see what they can offer you.

I know boys are far & few at ours.
 
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flippymonkeysmom

Guest
Your story sounds very similar to one of the boys at our gym. His mom said he would flip around all over the place on the soccer field. Two gyms told his parents they could no longer meet his needs and referred him on until he ended up where he is now. Oh, and btw, he just qualified this year at the VISA championships and is now on the Junior National Team. Welcome and good luck to your ds whatever you decide.
 

supercrunch

New Member
Sep 1, 2008
10
Thanks for the welcome!

Our current gym only has girls teams...while the training center they referred us to has a great boys program and a history of producing USA team members and Olympians.
 

gymdog

Well-Known Member
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Relative
Jul 5, 2007
5,121
I would keep him where he is for now because most of the programs I know with boys classes can keep them in for a few years, just don't have preteam/team. But if he can push from headstand to handstand at 4 I'm not surprised with the assessment that he might benefit from a program with a competitive team. The benefit to moving sooner rather than later would probably be in the grouping, since if he moves at grade school age he will be in a group of boys that may have been together a few years in pre-team. Also the competitive gym might want to hit certain requirements the other gym does not have, so he may have to repeat levels you thought he passed out of.

For now, just let him be the guide (and of course try to limit any attempts that get too crazy at home). If you read some of the threads in this forum, there is good info about the care that needs to be taken in preschool gymnastics to prevent long term injury. If he is still enthusiastic about going and having a good time, then those are good signs.
 
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BlairBob

Guest
National training center? Isn't that up in Colorado? Honestly, I'd see how he does in his current gym. Maybe go 2x a week. If he is getting bored and being held back then I would have him do a tryout there. Actually, I think you and your spouse might want to take a look at that gym first and get to know it before bringing him there.

Hmm, HeSPU to HS. That's impressive at 4. Most boys don't get introduced to the apparatus till about 5, but we would for some 4yo.

Sometimes, certain boys just need to be in a boy's only class, especially if they are beyond the girl's in his class ( which isn't usual if there are one of those uber wonder girls in there at 5 [ unless they are in another class ]).

Some lil guys like being with boy's only and playing on the boy's equipment. Some would rather be in the co-ed class and don't really the men's equipment as much.

Just depends.
 

supercrunch

New Member
Sep 1, 2008
10
no, not the one in Colorado...just a local training center

I think I will take the advice to spend some time observing there this fall and see if we think it's a good match for our little man.

When he is old enough, I think he would definitely enjoy learning the men's events since most of his strength is in his arms and shoulders right now.

But I have gained some reassurance that, since he's only 4, spending another few months tiptoeing on the beam and bunny hopping down the tumbletrack isn't going to set him back too much.

Thanks again!
 
Aug 7, 2008
118
I dont have any advice but I just wanted to say that it sounds like your little boy is very talented!! Good luck with whatever choice you decide to do. :)
 

Linsul

Active Member
Sep 19, 2008
876
Pripyat
Hey, I have a teeny bit to add to the already great advice you've gotten!

It's so cool that your son is so enthusiastic about the sport, and seems to have natural aptitude from what your post says! His coach may be thinking of gymnastics beyond preschool level. At the 3 gyms I've worked at, 2 did not have boys teams. The boys still took classes with the girls from age 3-5, but there was no mens equipment in the gym for them to train further aside from p-bars and vault! Your coach may be suggesting that your sons skill and enthusiasm will carry him beyond what they can offer equipment-wise? Take a look around the gym and see if they're equipped to teach the mens events once he's ready to progress is my advice!

The bottom of your post asked for advice on how to avoid injury, and as a fellow parent and a coach I have 2 big things!! My 5yr old daughter loves to tumble around the house, but we have no mats to speak of, and it makes things very dangerous when she comes home with a new skill to show off. I had a talk with her about safety, and how the gym is the only safe place to do any of her skills. She tests me sometimes still, but she's getting it. The other thing is to always, always, always tell his coach if he's hurt himself at home!!! It really helps to have a heads up if a child is experiencing pain or soreness no matter how small an issue it may seem to be.
 
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