For Parents Information for gym newbies!

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Active Member
Jun 26, 2006
Ontario, Canada
I have a girlfriend who's planning to put her 4 year old in gymnastics, because she wants to "make her like Bean, all flippy and stuff" lol! I've spent some time talking to her about the sport to fill her in on what to expect.

When we got started, we had NO idea what we were signing up for! Complete ignorance about cost, commitment, training hours, rate of skill development, etc.. Really, outside of knowing where the class was, we knew nothing at all! I'm hoping to help others avoid that helpless feeling by gathering some information for those who come here without a gym background.

So, if we could all post with 1-3 things we wished we'd known before getting involved in the sport, I think it would serve as a good eye opener for those getting started. Feel free to post anything, from the crazy number of leg lifts your 4 year old has to do, to the high price of floor choreography, and anything in between! I'm sure there will be some great stories in the mix:D
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Moderator/Proud Parent
Aug 25, 2007
North Carolina
Great idea CGM !!

- that we as adults would get sucked in.
- that we would soon spend a LOT of time at the gym
- that competition leotards are EXPENSIVE
- meets are expensive, fun and stressful
- everyone moves up at a different pace
- it's not for everyone


Former Admin
Gold Membership
Former Gymnast
Feb 26, 2007
1. The path is not always smooth injuries can happen that will change your child path in the sport. And dealing with them is expensive.

2. The most talented kds sometimes want to quit even though you think they could be the next Nastia. On that same thought the most talented 6 year old do not necessarily tun into the most talented 12 year olds.

3. Team mates are not always nice. Jealousy is real.

4. Your child will learn to persevere to present herself well and be well organised. Gymnastics demands it.


Active Member
Jun 26, 2006
Ontario, Canada
I just realized that I started this thread without adding anything to the list!

-most of the skills worked on in a preschool class don't look like "real" gymnastics (I've heard lots of preschool parents complaining about this, "when are they going to TEACH them something!" they're called progressions, and they turn into skills over time..

-a skill learned in the yard usually needs to be unlearned, then taught properly in the gym

-gym parents are often more competitive than the gymnasts

-there will always be someone better than your kid, celebrate what yours does well, and don't waste time on comparisons


Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Sep 25, 2007
Are you trying to join the sticky club? LOL. I have some things, but I will have to think about it. ;)


Active Member
Nov 5, 2007
Siblings sometimes feel left behind with all the money and time( travel,meets,gym practice etc) you have to spend on one of your kids.


Aug 7, 2009
There are a lot of hours involved compared to other sports. This is something you need to get used to - and when you are, then you have to put up with non-gym parents judging you for putting your child into something that takes up so much time.

You can't compare your child's ability and progression to any other child's. Someone who was struggling or didn't seem to 'have it' couldn't suddenly shoot past your child with lightning pace - and vice versa.

Leotards are addictive!! :)


Active Member
May 27, 2009
Region 6 (Northeast)
How about...

First, for her as a 4yo just starting out:

  • She may not be ready for the sport at any level or doing any activity in a class/group setting yet -- competitive or otherwise (so true with both of mine). If that turn out to be the case, try back in a few month or a year.
  • Depending on the progression, it may take her a few years to get to a competitive level -- for some never.
Once she's in for the ride (to add to what's already said):

  • Safety is the first priority. If a coach thinks differently, run the other way.
  • Skills that take a long time to achieve can be lost easily. Be prepared for the frustration until she gets it back.
  • Competitive gymnastics to a advanced level is a long journey for most. Be patient.
  • Every kid is different. They all learn at their own pace. Don't let enviness get into her head.
  • Every kid has her own strength and weakness. There are four events. Only a handful in the world can be "perfect" in all four.
What else? Dunno yet...:confused:


Active Member
Proud Parent
Oct 10, 2008
Most gyms have a developmental track and a recreational track. If your child wants to compete, find out how you get on the developmental track at that gym.

Don't be afraid to gym shop or switch gyms.

Homeschooled gymmies tend to look a lot like other gymmies and not much like the Duggars. Don't rule it out based *only* on stereotypes.


Active Member
Proud Parent
Apr 14, 2009
Region 8
1) How much you child will have to sacrifice (b-day parties, sleepovers, other activities)

2) that your child spends more time in the gym then at home with the family

3) How competitive the parents can be


Active Member
Jan 17, 2008
  • Open the checkbook. I had no idea how expensive the sport of gymnastics would be.
  • Optional gymnasts don't take 'time off' or have an 'off season'. There is competition season and training season.
  • You learn all sorts of 10 minute meals (I want to start my own cooking show like Rachel Ray)
  • There are 2 types of gym parents. Ones that 'Get where you are thinking' and ones that 'You have NO Idea what they are thinking!'
  • Grandparents who offer to pay for all your daughter's gymnastics shoes are just being funny.. (True story.. )
  • Sometimes Teammates feel like your own kids, you cry through their struggles and victories, they spend as much time with your kids as their own parents and you bring them on traveling meets with you.
  • My Daughter will never be an Olympian.. nor will I want her to be, Elite gymnastics is Way more intense then I could ever imagine. A well rounded Level 10 is her goal.|
  • I sometimes forget that she needs to set the goals. They are not my goals they need to be hers. That is the only way she can achieve them.
  • Injuries are devestating... no matter what the injury is.

Midget's Dad

Hmm some of these will be repeats to others but who cares. :)

1) Before making the leap from rec to team track do some research. Ask questions about what is required, how much things cost, and so on. Educate yourself on the sport and what is needed. (the L2 parents at our meet this past weekend brought this to mind, they were very negative)

2) Let coaches coach.

3) Do not get caught up in the insane parent cult. (yeah yeah I know I am one but there is always someone worse!!)

Flippers Mom

Jul 20, 2009
Region 3
1) Gymnastics is a huge commitment - and not only for the gymnast. This sport sucks the entire family in.
2) Cost and time - who knew?
3) The higher the level - the more time and money it will cost
4) I would remind all newbies that Flipper didn't learn these skills in the last 2 weeks. She has been working on them for YEARS and your daughter/son starting this week won't catch up in the next 3 months. (Several of Flippers friends have started gymnastics because they want to be able to flip and throw back handsprings like her. They get discouraged and quit after 4 weeks when they can't even do a cartwheel.) As many others have mentioned, gymnastics is a marathon, not a sprint.


I agree with everything everyone has posted so far. I also wanted to add--you need a thick skin to ignore all those (non-gym) parents who are horrified that your dd is practicing 9-20 hrs a week. I am NOT pushing my child into this. She loves it. And why do you feel the need to comment anyway??

Dont' forget all the positives too! Not only will your DD make some great friends at the gym, but you (hopefully) will too! I look forward to meets because I get to chat with friends :).


Siblings sometimes feel left behind with all the money and time( travel,meets,gym practice etc) you have to spend on one of your kids.
This is probably one of the biggest things with us.

Some others, just off the top of my head:

* One minute you're watching your little one do front rolls on the mat and the next she's doing ROBHS-BT's and you wonder where the time went! :confused:
* One minute you're watching and the next minute you're on a committee to help set up for a big meet, taking time away from said other child that's feeling left out. :eek:
* Constantly wondering What IF....? (like, what we could do to our house IF we weren't paying $$$ for gymnastics; Where we could go on Family vacations IF.....?):rolleyes:
* The sense of pride you feel watching your little girl look so confident and poised when inside you're a nervous wreck! :eek:


Active Member
Proud Parent
Oct 10, 2008
Also know there are many levels of commitment to competitive gymnastics. My level 2 daughter might eventually do level 4 at a private gym and practice 12 hours a week and I could spend $300 a month plus $1500 a year in meet fees etc and lots of volunteer hours. Or she could do level 4 at the Y and spend $75 a month plus $250 in meet fees and do really unremarkable gymnastics but maybe still have fun and be very strong? Hard to say now but it's not all or nothing.
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