For Parents I need help choosing a class for my daughter.

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momofthreegirls

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Feb 12, 2009
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I have a 5 year old daughter, who is currently in preschool. She will enter Kindergarten in the Fall. She is in her third year of gymnastics. We did a "Mommy and Me" class when she was 2-3, then she took a "Tiny Tumbler" class at age 3-4. This year (age 4-5) she is in a developmental team track class called "Tot Shots". There are two higher levels in the developmental team track ("Hot Shots" and Pre-Team). Her current class meets twice a week for an hour.

The past few weeks was the gym's annual skill evaluation, and we just received her recommendation for this Summer and next Fall. I assumed she would either remain in her current class, since she is one of the youngest girls, or that she would move to Hot Shots (which meets twice a week for 1.5 hours).

However, her coach announced that the gym is starting a level 3 competitive team, and that some girls would be recommended for it. I was shocked to see that my daughter was recommended for Hot Shots or level 3.

Level 3 will train twice a week for 2.5 hours, plus one hour of mandatory dance instruction. I don't know if this is too overwhelming for a Kindergartener.

Most of the girls who will move to level 3 have already completed the developmental team track, and will be more advanced and older than my daughter. My daughter has been gaining skills rapidly lately, but I'm afraid she may get discouraged if she is working out with more advanced girls. Or perhaps it could go the other way, and she could be inspired.

I guess I just don't know much about competing at Level 3. Has anyone had a child compete Level 3? Is it worth the extra time and expense, or do you think I should keep my daughter in the developmental class for another year or two until she can compete level 4? The monthly tuition will double for us if she moves to Level 3, plus there will be a booster club fee, team leo/warmup fee, coaches fee, and meet fee. I do think my daughter would enjoy it. Her class had an in-house "mock meet" a few months ago, and she loved it.

I searched YouTube and watched the level 3 routines, and my daughter does have most of the skills, but needs to gain a few skills (a mill circle, the bar dismount).

Any words of advice would be much appreciated!! Thanks!
 
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mariposa

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Sep 25, 2007
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Wow, tough choice. If the developmental team program seems to develop the girls well for level 4, I would probably go that route. The money adds up quickly and depending on the booster club requirements, you might be working for them quite a bit, too. I do not regret my daughter being moved up to team before she should have now, but had I known before what I know now, I would have waited and kept her at her old gym where she would have just been competing level 4 this year. Not that I regret the past year, she had a blast, but the money that could have been saved, etc.

Good luck deciding. I am sure some of the mamas of girls who have done level 3 will chime in as well and give their experience/advice. If money and time commitment is not a factor, she would probably have a blast. :D
 

gym law mom

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Dec 23, 2006
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Tough call. L3 is not required and is considered a rec level in the USAG system. Many gyms don't even compete this level. You already said it will cost more and any time you add the word team, the fees do go up and they will keep going up. Would she be with more girls her own age in the devo group? If you have seen that the girls from that group come out ready to attack L4 that might not be a bad idea for her. She'll have a chance to learn more skills, refine them and be a little older(like 6 would be old) when she starts competing.
 

Gymmonkeymomma

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Mar 7, 2008
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There are not many gyms around here that compete Level 3. Although the little ones are probably quite cute, I would say save your money, lol. As for the hours, it really depends on your child. My little DD at 5.5 yrs old was training 9 hrs/wk. By age 6.5 she was up to 15 hrs. She would spend ALL her waking time there if she was allowed. Good luck with your decision :)
 
S

starmaker

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All I know is that every child is different and there are some five year old Kindergarteners that could handle the 6 hrs a week and more while others would be totally overwelmed. I have two girls. My oldest just turned six on tues. and my younger dd will be 5 in May. They have very different personalities and strengths. My oldest dd is in kindergarten and just finished competing level 3 and was training 9 hours a week. She had no problem with this schedule. Now my almost five year is overwelmed or better yet too unfocused to handle a class longer than 2 hours. It all depends on the maturity of the child. As her mother you would know best if she could handle her new schedule.

In hindsight I am glad dd competed level 2 and 3. She is now a seasoned competitor. She knows how to handle the stress of competing. She is confident and knows what to expect. For instance she knows when to salute, and just basically how to "compete". I think there is an advantage to competing lower levels. Besides because it is just level 2 or level 3 it is just about fun, especially at five years old.

I am sure you will make the best decision for your daughter....keep posting!!!
 
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emorymom

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Oct 10, 2008
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Have you considered putting her in a half-day Kindy, if she wants to do the six hours?
 

TnTTaxi

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Jan 18, 2009
141
Both my dd's have done level 3. My older dd is now 6 1/2 and she LOVED it, and it gave her something to work towards. So she would focus a little harder on the small things. My younger DD just turned 5 and just started. She is not so sure, she likes the meets but does have a hard time with the age difference(she is 5 other girls are 8 & 9).

So, I guess it depends on your DD, if she likes to perform than she would probably love it and excel and learn much quicker.

My 5 yo is not yet in Kindergarten and has added hours now, in hopes to prepare a little better for the addition of Kindergarten.

Just some thoughts.
 
C

cher062

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I think you have asked some great questions here but I would take those same questions to the Coach. the coach isn't the enemy and they will sit with you and discuss their hopeful plan for the team program and your daughter.

In they end you know your child the best and only you can say if the time commitment is going to be too much or if the money commitment is going to be too much for you.


For all the girls on our team they would choose to be at the gym 24/7 if they could. Our 'Pre Team" program they call Bronze, Silver and Gold levels. The Bronze is usually 3 and 4 year olds working on Level 1 skills, the Silver level is 4 and 5 yo working on Level 2 skills and the gold Level has 2 tracks the 4 and 5 yo and the 5 - 6 yo (who will be old enough to compete at level 4 in the next season). They do the Level 3 skills. A lot of the "Pre - Teams" in the area have similar set ups and they will have at the end of June an unsactioned Fun Meet for the level 1 - 3's. It's alot of fun for the girls and adults. They also will be featured at the Gym Rec Class recitles.
 

gym mom

Active Member
Sep 8, 2007
724
florida
Tough Call.My dd started competing at L2.I think L2-L4 is a nice slow progression into team to get the girls used to conditioning ,repeating routines over,over and over and slowly building up hours.They get to compete doing some pretty basic routines,they find out if this is somthing they really enjoy before alot hours get involved and harder skills.Plus they try to make it has fun has possible .Our gym L2-L3 the meets are kept close by and no warmups,they try to keep the price minimal.With my dd this path has worked great she was very timid of large crowds before and does not do well with drastic changes at once ,so the more gradual approuch has worked well.My dd was 7 1/2 at L3 so she was much older then your dd.
 

mtbmom

Member
Feb 28, 2008
308
Bethlehem, PA
What gives me pause are the booster club requirements, team fees, coach fees etc. at such a young age/low level.

I don't think the benefits outweigh the costs. As for how to compete, my daughter figured that out in the first level 4 meet and has done fine. I think sports in this country, as a whole, get way too serious way too soon. We musn't forget that the purpose of gymnastics is fun! At least it should be.

What would your booster club requirements be? How many competitions would DD compete in? Team fees for a level 3 gymnast? Are they serious? That sounds a bit over the top.

My DD competed level 4 after having 2 mock meets in her life and did very well. We do not have any booster requirements or team fees until level 5. Then we may fulfill our team fees via fundraising or just pay the dues. Team fees can add up to a LOT of $$$ so you should definitely find out how much. Also booster requirements are usually time requirements. How much volunteer time are you looking at.

Another thing to consider is that when kids are learning a routine for competition it is often at the expense of skill building and basic form. Gymnastics requires a HUGE amount of time to learn skills, perfect them, and make them pretty. When you add in competition the kids spend a LOT of time going over their routines. I know with DD they are getting a lot more time working on skills now that comp season is over. Just something to think about. If it were up to me. the team, coach, and booster requirements would turn me off to competition at this level. you may want to just let her have fun.

As a pp suggested talk with the coach, don't just blindly decide and then have an unexpected monetary and time requirement to fulfil.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

Sue Z
 

momofthreegirls

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Former Gymnast
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Feb 12, 2009
164
Thanks for all the replies. After talking to her coach, we've decided to try the Level 3 summer training camp week and see how she does. If all goes well, we'll do level 3 next year. If not, we'll stick to the developmental class.

I am going to an informational booster meeting next week to learn about all the other requirements.
 
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