For Parents How much time does your young athlete spend training?

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Tim_Dad

Member
Nov 3, 2008
414
Region IV (Missouri)
As many of you know, I'm fairly new to the gymnastics game. To be a supportive and enthusiastic parent, I'm spending a great deal of my time learning more about the sport.

In my virtual travels, here in Parents, upstairs in the Gymnasts board, as well as many other Internet gymnastic sources and articles, I'm seeing young athletes aged 8-12, who claim to be training 20+ hours a week - and are in L4-7.

I can understand that much time being needed for L8 and up, but L4-7??? Something doesn't sound right to me.

To my under-educated mind, this much time ‘training’ sends up red flags that there may be either a quality, or efficiency issue with the coach or gym itself. How much of that time is devoted to actual training vs. downtime or "waiting" time?

When I combine these training claims with the USAG stats that most kids stop training (i.e. quit) around 12-13 yo; I'm wondering if this rapid decline in "interest" is really due to sheer burnout more then the more popular excuses of hormones, other school interests, boys, etc. After all... how many of you could train 20 hours a week - and carry a full or part-time job? I certainly couldnt.

So that all said, I have to ask:
How much time does your gymnast train, how old are they, and what level are they?

Also, for those that do train many hours a week -- When do they do homework? Play? Relax?

Again, please don’t take this post the wrong way. I'm not complaining, I'm just trying to get a better understand of what's truly normal and typical.

I'd also be interested in contrasting sports that require a large time commitment-- such as school Football, etc. I know they train quite a bit too. How does that compare to Gymnastics?
 
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mariposa

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Sep 25, 2007
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My daughter turned 6 in July. She does 10 hours a week as a L4, which I think is okay. Next step at our gym currently is training L5 (but competing 4 still) and that is 12 hours over 3 days. L5s and L6s go 16 hours a week. Optionals go 20-23 hours a week.

We homeschool (for reasons not related to gymnastics) so for me, the time right now isn't concerning. I would feel differently if she was in school. I do think kids need time to just play and relax. I do like that our gym does no Saturdays, so they at least have weekends free except for on meet weekends.

I definitely wish less hours were involved. I know if varies hugely. You have L4s training 6 hours, some doing 12 hours. I think the smaller programs can get away with less hours.

I am sure all our current posters will answer, but here is an old thread that discussed the topic as well. http://www.chalkbucket.com/forums/parent-forum/121-hours-gym.html
 

midwestgymmom

Active Member
Aug 27, 2006
661
midwest
My dd is going to be 11 in January and is a level 5. She has the option of 2 or 3 days a wk but only does 2 because of the travel time and gas consumption. So she does about 5 hrs a week ( if she goes 3 times a week it is about 6 hrs). She's happy with that I would rather have he wanting more gym time than wishing she didnt have so much. But thats just us.

My dds 10 yr old teammate switched to our gym and was a level 5 at another gym and they had her coming 4 days a wk for 4 hrs a day. She was starting to have pain, hate gym, and was struggling with skills. A lot of that time was spent in a class where she would stand around a lot between skills and not get corrections. At our gym she has smaller, shorter classes, less days a week, and gets more time to work on things and get corrections. She is thriving, loves gym, has gotten all sorts of new skills, finally is doing the skills she had before the right way, and has noticed less pain. I think she may do one meet as a 5 this yr and skip to level 7 and she is doing about 6 hrs a wk now. She definitely doesnt miss her old gym or her schedule.
 
G

GymmomOR1127

Guest
My dd just turned 10 and is level 4 (2nd year). She trains 3 days a week for a total of 9 hours. She will be moving to level 5, which will be 3 days a week for a total of 12 hours. Our optional levels train 16 hours a week (4 days @ 4 hrs each). In our area, we seem to be in the middle as far as training time goes.

My dd is in 4th grade, and it is a challenge to get homework, etc. done. Her teacher this year gives homework every night, so it is really hard on the gym nights. She definitely has to be on the ball at all times! She knows that she is not being forced to do this, and can stop at any time, but she loves it too much:)!
 
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flippersmom

Guest
My DD is 10 and a 2nd year L5. At her old gym, levels 4-6 trained 11 hours a week/3 days. At new gym, she trains 12 hours a week/4 days, but Saturdays are considered optional, although all girls go. My DD did skip a week when they were learning routines, since she has already competed them. I know one gym around me that their L6 girls do 20 hours. My husband would never go for her being gone that long. Our team is kept small so their is not a lot of waiting around. The will go the same schedule when they are L6.

Even though it is 4 days now, the advantage is that we don't start until 5:30 and she is home from school (6th grade) by 3:00 most days, unless she does afterschool activities, then she's home around 4:20. We only have a 10 minute ride to the gym. She has time to do homework and eat dinner. If she doesn't have homework, so sometimes plays in the neighborhood for a little while. Saturdays are 11-2, so she sleeps in, reads, eats a big breakfast and goes. She has all afternoon and all day Sunday to hang out, plus Tuesdays and Thursdays afterschool.
 

ZJsMom

Active Member
Former Gymnast
Proud Parent
May 11, 2007
998
Pacific NW
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dd level 6-- 12 hrs per week
ds level 4/5-- 9 hrs per week

Our gym is on the lower end in terms of training hours, but still has done well. The one thing I notice that's missing is there's not much time spent training up skills for the next levels. We had a group of girls last year who did level 6 and 7 back to back. It seemed to be a pretty stressful experience for them because they didn't really spend time training level 7 during the level 6 season and really had to master a lot of new skills in short order.
 

gym law mom

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Dec 23, 2006
2,527
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USA
Training hours for our gym:
L5--12 hours/week(no weekend practices)
L6--15 hours/week
L7--16 hours/week
L8 and up--20 hours/week.
These hours are basically in line with the other gyms in the area.

My gymmie is on her last month of the L7 schedule even though she is now a L8. I don't know if this will effect her too much or not---it does take away 1 weeknight when she would normally do homework. She is 12 and in 7th grade. Her middle school has a block schedule so she alternates days for her her core academics. The only classes she has everyday(besides 2 electives) are Literacy(aka reading)---usually no homework and Spanish(varies). She does homework in class when given some extra time(and sometimes when not!!), does it when she gets home from practice(about 8pm) and on weekends. This is my child that learned to work ahead probably in 4th grade so as soon as a project is assigned, she's working on it to have it done well before its due.
As for a social life, she claims nothing at school(clubs/sports etc) interests her---her passion is gymnastics. I do let her take a practice off here/there for a party or sleepover. Of course, there is the cell phone and texting!!!! She actually does homework with the tv on(yeah---I know all the arguments against this), but how can you argue with a kid that gets straight As?

I honestly don't know how she gets it all done. Alot is time management and really wanting to be involved in this sport. We do keep our eyes on her for signs of fatigue etc.
 
T

TeamDad

Guest
"I'm seeing young athletes aged 8-12, who claim to be training 20+ hours a week - and are in L4-7"

You can get your training schedule from your gym either on line, if they have a website, or in person. If it's not posted on a bulletin board, then you can ask either your coach or your director for a copy. It will tell you what days/times each team level practices at your gym.

That said, DD is 10 y.o. L6 and trains 16 hrs (4hr./4days) per wk. It's her thing and if she's tired and wants to stay home, then it's up to her. If she's injured or sore, then it's our call. She's a self motivated fierce competitor.

DS is 5 y.o and is in Hot Shots. He trains 1 day per week for 1+1/2 hrs.
 
S

Smile :)

Guest
As many of you know, I'm fairly new to the gymnastics game. To be a supportive and enthusiastic parent, I'm spending a great deal of my time learning more about the sport.

In my virtual travels, here in Parents, upstairs in the Gymnasts board, as well as many other Internet gymnastic sources and articles, I'm seeing young athletes aged 8-12, who claim to be training 20+ hours a week - and are in L4-7.

I can understand that much time being needed for L8 and up, but L4-7??? Something doesn't sound right to me.

To my under-educated mind, this much time ‘training’ sends up red flags that there may be either a quality, or efficiency issue with the coach or gym itself. How much of that time is devoted to actual training vs. downtime or "waiting" time?

When I combine these training claims with the USAG stats that most kids stop training (i.e. quit) around 12-13 yo; I'm wondering if this rapid decline in "interest" is really due to sheer burnout more then the more popular excuses of hormones, other school interests, boys, etc. After all... how many of you could train 20 hours a week - and carry a full or part-time job? I certainly couldnt.

So that all said, I have to ask:
How much time does your gymnast train, how old are they, and what level are they?

Also, for those that do train many hours a week -- When do they do homework? Play? Relax?

Again, please don’t take this post the wrong way. I'm not complaining, I'm just trying to get a better understand of what's truly normal and typical.

I'd also be interested in contrasting sports that require a large time commitment-- such as school Football, etc. I know they train quite a bit too. How does that compare to Gymnastics?

I admit when this first came up the hours seemed insane to me. My little sister (who we adopted) is 14 and an open elite training with a L10 program. They are in the gym roughly 22 hours a week during the school year and do more hours during the summer. Basically she has practice 3 hours a day after school M-F, and they double on T,R with morning practice. Saturday hours are variable but usually 2-3 hours. Sundays are off/meets/conditioning only.

The school she attends is a block schedule university model. So it is possible for her to come in late on T,R and she does have some down time between classes that she uses for homework. Our rule is she needs to be consistently getting at least 8-9 hours of sleep a night and doing well in school or something will need to change. So far things have actually gone well.

If you want contrast: one of her best friends (who is a year younger at 13) has swim practice/training for about 3 hours every day before school and every weekend morning. (I guess no one sleeps in, in her family. At least morning gymnastics practice is from 7-9 not 430-730.)
 

momof5

Member
Proud Parent
Oct 26, 2007
375
Our L4 train 6hrs 3hrs/2x a week and the level5 are 10.5 hrs 3.5 hrs/3x's a week. I agree with the other poster who said due to the limited training time uptraining is affected. The 4 and 5 do have the option of doing an addtional Fri evening workout for 3 hrs. Even with this little training I always feel like I am trying to help her maximze of hours. She usually has about an hour in the morning before school that she plays with her sibling and if needed we have finished up homework then. Before daylight saving time she did homework in the car on the way to the gym since its about and 30 min drive. On a typical gym days she gets off the bus and home at 3:52 and we have to leave the house at 4 for gym. Its just enough time for changing and having her hair fixed. She eats her snack in the car and we catch up on her day in the car. Practice is over at 7:30 and we get home at 8:00 and she eats dinner and then on gym nights I let her stay up until 9pm so she has downtime to either work on homework or watch TV. On non gym nights she has to be in bed at 8:30.

Hubby is a college swim coach and most kids start swimming twice a day in jr high with a 2 hr work out in the mornings and 2 hrs after school and saturdays too. In high school swimmers often train up to 25 hrs a week.
 
So that all said, I have to ask:


How much time does your gymnast train, how old are they, and what level are they?

~~DD is 8 years old, Level 5 (until States on 11/23) training Level 6/7 and just started training 18 hours per week, including TOPs.

Also, for those that do train many hours a week -- When do they do homework? Play? Relax?

~~DD does her homework right after school at 2:40pm. Practice starts at 4:00pm. If she has a report or special project to do, she tries to get most of it done on Tuesdays, Saturdays or Sundays. Coaches will make arrangements for homework during practice, if needed. Play time, family time and relaxation usually falls on Saturday afternoons and all day Sunday, unless there is a meet.

If DD had her way, she would have a room at the gym and only come home for family time and food. She gets really mad if she has to miss gym for ANY reason.:p


 
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flippymonkeysmom

Guest
My dd trained 9-12 hours as a level 4 (8yo), 16 hours as a level 5 (9 yo), 16 hours as a level 6 (10 yo), then 20 hours as a level 7 (11yo) (although over the summer they did 24 hours since there was no school. Do I think that is a lot on a young body - yep - especially since she ended up with overuse injuries and now does cheerleading :cool:
 

mom2kazkids

Member
Proud Parent
Feb 16, 2008
452
At our gym:

Level 3 2 hours twice a week (4 hours total)
Level 4 3 hours twice a week (6 hours total) OR
Level 4 3 hours three times a week (9 hours total)
Level 5/6 4.5 hours twice a week, and 3 hours once a week (12 hours total)
optionals 4.5 hours 4 times a week and 3 hours once a week.


We also have the option of going for 3 hours on Saturday mornings for optional practice.

DD is 7 (second grade) and trains 9 hours a week as a level 4.


Barb
 

bogwoppit

Former Admin
Gold Membership
Former Gymnast
Feb 26, 2007
16,715
Country
Canada
DD, 12 years, is a L6-7 trains 11 hours a week. That is the most any one trains in our club. She competes against girls who do train way more. She will not aquire skills or go up levels as fast. That's fine with us, she has had issues with injury already, we have no college dreams as we are in Canada, all for the fun of it.
 

Tim_Dad

Member
Nov 3, 2008
414
Region IV (Missouri)
Interesting.
Are schools with the least amount of hours more efficient at training it's athletes?

In competitive sports, one would think that a ridiculous statement. The more practice, the better, right?

I did a little online comparison today with local clubs that have published meet results. It seems that the schools in the MO area that have a high number of training hours perform equally as well as those with the schools that have a lower number of hours.

Since were talking about competitive levels - the resulting scores ARE the litmus test of success. Where am I going wrong?
 
B

Billy

Guest
One thing to consider in comparing gyms based on scores is the variance of gymnasts and coaches. For example, a gym that does really great at meets can have really great gymnasts and/or really great coaches but not necessarily both.

As for our practice schedule, DD goes 4 hrs/day, 3 days per week, though she wants to add a 4th day in December. We homeschool and the practice group is a home school group so it's all daytime weekday hours. DD gets plenty of down time in the evenings and on weekends. She's currently a L5 but her group includes up to levels 8 and 9. She will also have the option of going 5 days a week at those higher levels.
 

fruitcake

New Member
Aug 1, 2007
30
midwest
No, the scores are not necessarily the litmus test. You can have clubs "hold" girls back and repeat levels to be perfect compulsaries yet those girls may never move on to optional levels. Other clubs may be doing one year at each level and not going for perfection at the compulsary level--those girls may end up making it into the optional levels. Most clubs are more of a mix but scores will not necessarily tell you which club is better.
 

dadingym

Member
Oct 10, 2008
111
Our dd is a level 7/8 and is 9 yrs old. She is in the gym 24 hrs a week. She is homeschooled, so schooling is done at lunch break (they have an hour and half), in evenings and on weekends. Yes, weekends too. She has chosen the elite track (on national tops team) so this is what we have all adjusted to. She still has plenty of time to hang with friends and chill. She sleeps 9 hrs a nite. My dh and I like to think we r doing a good job maintaining a balanced life;)
 
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