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How to prepare my 4.5 year old for pre-competitive tryouts?

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Rolyat aleakim

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Hello! I’m new to this forum. I apologize if this has been covered in the past.

My daughter is 4 years old (5 in sept). She had been taking recreational gymnastics classes since 1yo. Recently the club held tryouts for the competitive program which my daughter attended. It was pretty obvious her flexibility, strength and aggression wasn’t at the level compared to some of the other contestants. Some were able to do the splits, full pancake/pike, bridge and hold themselves up with their legs parallel to the ground.


My daughter loves gymnastics and we want to be ready if she gets the opportunity to attend the tryouts again.


Any tips or comments on how to promote patience and encourage my daughter to stretch and work on her strength at such a young age while still having fun with the process?


I’ve played competitive sports growing up (Martial arts, hockey, lacrosse etc..).. competitive tryouts usually begin at 7-8yo.. which was at that age kids more easily understand patience in practice and competition. I can’t personally relate to this. So I hope you guys can help me out.
 

Flyaway

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How often is she in the gym? What is the gym's pathway to team?

At 4.5 it really should be about having fun for the kiddos. The goal of a program should be to help little ones gain strength, flexibility and coach-ability without them even realizing it. I would simply encourage her to listen, work hard and have fun! There's not much you can have her do outside of gym that won't become work. If she plays around doing cartwheels and splits at home, that's fine, but don't coach her. If the gym program is any good, they should have a progression that will eventually get her to the point where she's ready for team.

It also doesn't hurt to have a conversation with whomever is appropriate at your gym (her coach, front office, team developer, pre-team coach, etc.) and express her interest in preparing for team.

Good luck to your dd!
 

Rolyat aleakim

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Thanks for the response Flyaway,

My daughter is in the gym once a week for an hour session. The preteam leads to JO team at 6 or 7 yo.

I am a bit nervous about this because growing up playing rep (competitive level) sports.. I was aware that kids that don’t make the team from the start typically have a hard time catching up moving from a rec team in the later years.

I understand that the preteams goal is to help build a base of flexibility/strength for the athletes. Would this be a catch 22 situation if Flexibility, power and endurance is the criteria in order to be chosen to attend the preteam.

Really appreciate the comment. I will continue to encourage my daughter and let her have fun!
 

gymisforeveryone

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Ask her to listen to the coach and watch him/her in the eyes when he/she is talking to her.

You can take her to the park to swing on the monkey bars and climb up and down the jungle gym and it's climbing walls. Challenge her to do crab walk race around the house or to hold her body up by her arms on dinner table when she's waiting for her food. Little kids love this kind of stuff, but of course you should not overdo it, because it would not be exciting anymore.

You can stretch with her when you watch TV if she's willing to, challenge her to compete with you (who can tickle the toes in the pike stretch longest, who can walk hands further on the pancake stretch etc). Don't do bridges yet, they are not good for 4 year olds.

Oh, and make sure that she's active, every day! Encourage her to play outside, go swimming, ride bike, play games, throw and kick a ball, dance, walk a and run a lot.

That's about it :)
 

triplethreat+1

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My girls love to work out and stretch with me. We sometimes have contests for handstands, pull ups, planks, or splits. They also like to follow along with my (fairly short) workout app.
It's fun and totally up to them, and now my non-gymmie DD (6) is by far the strongest in her martial arts class.
 

Madden3

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My daughter is in the gym once a week for an hour session. The preteam leads to JO team at 6 or 7 yo.
If she likes gym a lot, what about going twice a week to her rec class? That seems to have helped my daughter improve a bit more quickly.

Also, if JO starts at 6 or 7, maybe she is fine where she is? I used to be under the impression that pre-team was required to get on team, but when I asked about it at our gym, I was told that the pre team was for those kids who were really precocious in both their physical abilities and their ability to focus- in other words the kids who are "ready" for team-like training but still too young for team. But also that lots of kids come straight onto team from rec, skipping pre-team. And this is a big, successful team with lots of "home grown" Level 10s.
 

Rolyat aleakim

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Thank you for the comments!
Really appreciate it.


When she turns 5 in the fall, there will be more classes available for us to sign up for twice a week.

And also, I will speak to a coach at the gym to identify what is the best course of action to take to help with my daughter.
 
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