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Ideal training hours

FlippinPrincess

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I didn't want to hijack the post about USAG regulating training hours so I started a new thread.

In your opinion, what would be a reasonable/safe/ideal amount of training hours for young children?

I know each child is different and can handle different amounts, but I'm wondering what people think are safe hours for the young girls in this sport to help prevent overuse injury and burnout.
 

amiandjim

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This is such a tough one. I definitely think it’s out of control, and the number of 6-8 year-old level 3s and 4s doing over 20 hours a week is astounding to me. On the other hand, I get that some 9-10 year-olds are going the elite route and need more hours.
 

MuggleMom

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The other hard party about enforcing is what level are you training? If you did it by training level not age then whats to stop a gym from saying well shes training level 8 to allow for higher training hours? If you do it by age then its hard on the kids that are progressing to a higher level early as they wont be able to train as much as others at that level. This would be my suggestion it may be a little high at the lower levels but I feel like at 3 and 4 they aren't doing as much high impact so they are getting more drills and conditioning in which is a good thing

Level 3: 9-12
Level 4: 12-16
Level 5: 12-16
Level 6: 16-20
Level 7: 16-20
Level 8 20-24
Level 9-20-24
Level 10 no more than 32
 

LJL07

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This is such a tough one. I definitely think it’s out of control, and the number of 6-8 year-old level 3s and 4s doing over 20 hours a week is astounding to me. On the other hand, I get that some 9-10 year-olds are going the elite route and need more hours.
YES. I am furious because of our experience and what we paid and the physical and emotional abuse of level 3s and 4s. Absurd!! Yet this coach carries on totally unchecked. She has a just turned 8 year old coming off of level 4 with minimal to no uptraining (coach doesn’t uptrain because it is vitally important that her gymnasts score 38s and 39s) who is terrified of a level 7 beam series. Her solution is to leave the child on the beam for hours, text the parent relentlessly, and then in this case, she demanded the parent come in and spot her own child on the beam half the afternoon. Over and over again, this same scenario has been playing out for over five years. Seriously USAG can’t offer some kind if mentorship to coaches like this? Recommendations? Something? For example, on what planet do level 3s going 25 hours a week over the summer, plus private lessons need 15-20 hours of level 3 during the school year just to do level 3?
I agree that more hours are needed for children training elite but that’s a fairly small percentage, and I don’t think most coaches can gauge elite potential at level 2/3/4, right?? In the situation above, there are no elite/hopes/tops children at all.
I would spearhead some kind of education committee myself if I thought anyone at usag would listen or care. :confused::mad:
ETA: I sort of went off on an angry tirade, but relevant to this thread is the crazy high number of hours demanded by the coach as well as taking any time off.
 

amiandjim

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LJL07 that’s horrific!! Horrific!! Our gym’s philosophy on beam is that if you don’t go on the count of 3, you get down and move to a lower beam, floor, whatever. Their reasoning is that if you leave a kid on the beam for too long, they associate standing their terrified with the beam. And then it becomes a perpetual cycle that never ends. I’m so sorry you guys went through that and that any child has to go through that. My kiddo has a lot of fear issues and her coaches are pretty patient with her. And to be honest, we are at an elite gym with a “bad reputation “ that just isn’t true....it’s actually a great training environment and I’m sad that things that occurred in the 80s and 90s taint the image of our wonderful gym.
 

LJL07

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That story is the tip of the iceberg. It was all reported to USAG, including instances of small children getting slapped, pushed, closed up in a small kitchen area for hours for balking, and to my knowledge, USAG did NOTHING. The parents are colluding with the coach and being groomed by the coach, so no one protests when they are summoned from work/home etc to come to the gym to address their balking child. I feel like USAG could make recommendations for a reasonable range of hours based upon level and/or age as well as coaching practices, red flags (how about starting with the coach telling children not to discuss what happens at gym at home??? HUGE red flag!), etc and disseminating this information to parents via email with membership or through mail. It's not going to shut down gyms like this one, but hopefully HOPEFULLY it will at least give parents pause or get them thinking.
 

LJL07

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Our gym’s philosophy on beam is that if you don’t go on the count of 3, you get down and move to a lower beam, floor, whatever. Their reasoning is that if you leave a kid on the beam for too long, they associate standing their terrified with the beam. And then it becomes a perpetual cycle that never ends.
This is a reasonable approach. I'll bet the kids get over blocks and fears much quicker with this approach.
 

amiandjim

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That story is the tip of the iceberg. It was all reported to USAG, including instances of small children getting slapped, pushed, closed up in a small kitchen area for hours for balking, and to my knowledge, USAG did NOTHING. The parents are colluding with the coach and being groomed by the coach, so no one protests when they are summoned from work/home etc to come to the gym to address their balking child. I feel like USAG could make recommendations for a reasonable range of hours based upon level and/or age as well as coaching practices, red flags (how about starting with the coach telling children not to discuss what happens at gym at home??? HUGE red flag!), etc and disseminating this information to parents via email with membership or through mail. It's not going to shut down gyms like this one, but hopefully HOPEFULLY it will at least give parents pause or get them thinking.
But they have! I’m not saying usag is perfect (far from it!!) but they just released clarified guidelines for abuse including physical and emotional and ALL of those things you posted are addressed. ALL of them. So if parents are going along with that, I have no words. That’s insane.
 

LJL07

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But they have! I’m not saying usag is perfect (far from it!!) but they just released clarified guidelines for abuse including physical and emotional and ALL of those things you posted are addressed. ALL of them. So if parents are going along with that, I have no words. That’s insane.
I saw the new guidelines because I'm pretty active on CB, but is USAG requiring or even recommending that the gyms provide this information to parents? I know our current gym did not pass this information on to team parents. I would bet my life the gym I'm describing above sent nothing to the parents about the new abuse guidelines. The child being left on the beam for hours with the mother coming in to spot her on the beam just happened literally a few weeks ago.
 

bookworm

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I don't think it's so much the number of hours but what you do with them ....my oldest trained a max of 18 hours a week and made the TOPS team, was a level 10 at 10 years old and qualified to elite at 12 yo.....so it can be done with lower hours.

The gym we were in at that time didn't even allow privates as their philosophy was "they're in the gym enough hours to get skills, they don't need privates. "
 

amiandjim

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I saw the new guidelines because I'm pretty active on CB, but is USAG requiring or even recommending that the gyms provide this information to parents? I know our current gym did not pass this information on to team parents. I would bet my life the gym I'm describing above sent nothing to the parents about the new abuse guidelines. The child being left on the beam for hours with the mother coming in to spot her on the beam just happened literally a few weeks ago.
I received an email from USAG with the info.
 

groovygirl

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I WISH hours for L9/10 were limited to 4 hours a day on school days, weekend ok maybe a 6 hour one with a break. But I really wish school nights were limited to 4 hours for homework purposes.
 

Aussie_coach

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Interesting that such limits exist for children/teens when it comes to hours they can work in a job, but not the number of hours they can train in sport.
 

ldw4mlo

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I left our first gym because they upped my kids hours and I thought it was over kill for a L3 6/7 year olds. They wanted her to do 16 hours at L3.

Our current gyms hours are very much in line with what I think is reasonable as a parent and for my child, she is not an all gym all the time kid.

L2 and under- 6 hours (3h x 2d) with the option to do an additional 3h
L3/4 9 hours- (3h x 3d) with the option to do an additional 3h
L5 and up- 12 hours (4d x 3h), but even at that, our gym doesn't require the 4th day they strongly recommend it. Mine didn't do the 4th day until L7. And now at L8, and uptraining higher she does the additional things when she can.

They offer more hours in the summer with camps. And during the year they offer additional time for conditioning classes and skill classes. All optional (and at a an additional cost).

If you were to take all the time offered and average it out over 52 weeks it would probably max out at 15 hours per week.

I like it this way as do a lot of families. Kids who do spring sports might drop back to 3 days after the season is over to do their other sport. My child who has a lot of music stuff going on at the end of the school year, might not take the extra time offered in say May or June, but does opt in, in the fall. And it helps our wallets a bit.....

We are not training elite gymnasts but we have a bunch of kids doing upper level gymnastics that would of left the sport by L4 if not for the ability to do lower hours.
 

mom2newgymnast

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Dd's gym does fewer days with longer hours and I really like it. As far as I know, they max out at 4 days a week (other than rare extra practices around meet time), but the practices are 5+ hours starting around level 7. My dd is training will be level 8 and goes 20 hours a week over 4 days. 3 weeknights from 3:30-8:30 and Saturday from 8:30-1:30. I don't know why, but the idea of adding a 5th day sounds so much worse to me than just making the days a little longer. The gym has been this way for years and they do well. The girls are used to 5 hour practices and don't seem to mind. And they actually have a few days a week to do other things and have a "life" outside of gymnastics.
 

Zivaah

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In Germany it is like this: second column is the age, followed by how many times a week a kid should train and the training intensity per week. Homeschooling is not allowed in Germany and the text where I got this table from says, that the total training hours per week in countries with homeschooling are 4 to 6 hours higher... This hours are for "elite" gymnasts.

Screenshot_20190712_103405.jpg
 

Aussie_coach

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Dd's gym does fewer days with longer hours and I really like it. As far as I know, they max out at 4 days a week (other than rare extra practices around meet time), but the practices are 5+ hours starting around level 7. My dd is training will be level 8 and goes 20 hours a week over 4 days. 3 weeknights from 3:30-8:30 and Saturday from 8:30-1:30. I don't know why, but the idea of adding a 5th day sounds so much worse to me than just making the days a little longer. The gym has been this way for years and they do well. The girls are used to 5 hour practices and don't seem to mind. And they actually have a few days a week to do other things and have a "life" outside of gymnastics.
The only problem here is that research into injury rates has found that even for teenagers, once the training session is longer than 3 1/2 hours the rate/risk of injury significantly increases. 4 hours is common in most gyms, but the last 30 mins can be conditioning etc to reduce the risk. But 5 hours will increase the risk a lot.
 

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