Is MAG better than WAG?

mommyof1

Active Member
Proud Parent
Jan 31, 2012
2,229
The car
Country
USA
Our family recently saw a boys' meet for the first time, and OH MY GOODNESS was it different from a girls' meet! Everyone, including the judges, was friendly and relaxed. Nobody was timing falls or routines. There was no horrid compulsory music. The boys' compulsory routines looked more progressive than the girls': for example, L5, which I believe is around the equivalent of girls' L4, didn't vault over the table or even onto a mat--they just did a front tuck off the springboard. Why do we expect teeny tiny little girls to vault over the table, but not boys?

Gyms also appear to be much more inclusive on the boys' side. In the L5 session I saw plenty of weak tumbling, horribly bent and separated legs, muscled-up kips, terrible body shapes, and flexed feet. And it was all WONDERFUL. If many of the boys in that session were girls, they would never have been allowed on team in the first place or would already have been driven out of the sport because they didn't have perfect form at age 8 or 9. But they are all getting the chance to learn and progress at their own pace.

Is boys' gymnastics just more fun and inclusive because there aren't as many boys interested in the sport, and gyms can't afford to be overly selective or apply ridiculous amounts of pressure the way they often do with girls? Or am I just having a "grass is greener on the other side" moment?
 
Did ChalkBucket help you?... help us too.

If you can't help financially... tell a friend about us!

M2Abi

Member
Proud Parent
Jan 21, 2016
365
Country
USA
I've had a boy and girl in competitive gymnastics and I think your last paragraph is right. There are fewer boys interested so it is more inclusive and less crazy.
 

Gymx2

Active Member
Proud Parent
Oct 9, 2015
624
Country
USA
My son is still in compulsories, so I don't know what WAG is like in the upper levels, but everything you've described is right on based on my experiences. The meets definitely have a more laid-back, fun vibe. Boys will be doing dance moves or just laughing with each other in between routines- none of the tension I always see at girls' meets. You'll see a lot of bent legs and flexed feet in floor routines, but they still score okay. DD's head coach, a top former male gymnast himself, commented that the vault progression for boys makes much more sense than for girls. Boys also don't get deductions for their appearance. I've seen boys with dyed hair or long floppy ponytails and I don't think it makes any difference in their scores. There is a much wider range of body types. They also compete in clothing appropriate for gymnastics that is comfortable. MAG also places limits on when a kid can reach certain levels- they actually want to protect the athlete's developing body from overtraining (imagine if they WAG considered trying to protect girls in the same way?!). In our region boys rarely get trophies even for top three- sometimes they just get ribbons.

Essentially, WAG vs. MAG is a microcosm of the way society works: females are judged harshly on the very smallest details, they can get deductions based things that have nothing to do with the sport (hair, nail polish, a bra strap showing, etc.), and are often pushed to their physical breaking point. But they do often get very large, shiny (albeit, mostly meaningless) trophies.
 

twinmomma

Active Member
Proud Parent
Jun 13, 2013
1,180
California
Country
USA
I'd argue WAG is the anomaly, with the other disciplines in gymnastics being more inclusive and laid back. My daughter has done both T&T and is now an Acrobatic gymnast and both of them the kids and coaches are supportive, fun, and there is support both within and between teams of athletes. I'm honestly so thrilled DD is done with Artistic. This is her fourth competitive year out of WAG. A new Acro mom from Artistic told me we were the most "normal gymnastics parents" she'd ever met.
 

Cheryl

Member
Proud Parent
Feb 28, 2018
151
Country
USA
There seem to be less drama in MAG, although I never had a girl gymnast. The boys enjoy being a team and winning team banners. They cheer each other on and seem to like their compatriots to do well. They all want to win and up their scores but they compete against their own bests and skills, not their teammates. My son is in 9 and I have never heard him say “I hope I beat Bobby”, or “I hope Bobby falls”.
Don’t remember where I heard it, maybe from a coach, but the quote was “There’s no reason not to like each other in gymnastics, there’s no way to play defense, all you can do is your best”
There were some minimal squabbles in compulsory levels about moving up levels, but it was between parents and coaches, not the kids. From what I’ve seen in the gyms we’ve been in, the boys coaches are much more relaxed, don’t yell, don’t say things to the boys to make them cry, and don’t put them in stretches until tears run down their faces....all of which I’ve seen girls coaches do.
 

profmom

Well-Known Member
Proud Parent
Nov 18, 2011
9,340
Region 7
Country
USA
It's not all sunshine and roses. Yes, I agree that it's more inclusive. Boys' coaches have to do everything they can to hold onto the boys and keep them in the gym through compulsories. Some boys who just don't get it in compulsories will mature early and wind up being excellent optionals because they have the strength and body awareness to be able to progress. I think it is harder with boys to predict who the real L9-L10 stars are going to be when they're compulsories.

In terms of limiting skills, it's not as clear as it seems on the surface. On the girls' side, optional levels have specific ceilings for skills. For the guys, once you're an optional, you may be limited as to the level you compete by age, but there's no limit on skills. If you can do a double back at age 11 and you're a level 8, go ahead and compete it. And I've unfortunately seen boys' coaches who would give any girls' coach a run for his money in terms of bad behavior.

There does seem to be more team spirit and more generous support across team lines. Guys who do gym know they are in a small minority. They often take a lot of crap at school, especially in middle school and early high school. I think it makes them more supportive of each other. It's not uncommon to see guys from different gyms really cheering for each other at meets.

Puberty is a much bigger deal with guys. If your son is a very late bloomer, he may not be able to be a successful optional gymnast in JO. And I'd say the average L10 guy is about as beat up as the average L10 gal. Guys tend to take more damage to wrists and shoulders. Pommel is brutal on the wrists, especially if they are doing lots of circles from a young age. And most of them are.

Oh, and unfortunately I have seen the same jealousy, competitiveness, and viciousness among boys as we've discussed about girls. There are definitely crazy gym parents who own and operate boy gymnasts. I am absolutely sure I know of at least one person who is reveling in the fact that my late bloomer has been struggling in the sport for the last few years.
 

QuietColours

New Member
Nov 10, 2008
47
Country
USA
I'd argue WAG is the anomaly, with the other disciplines in gymnastics being more inclusive and laid back. My daughter has done both T&T and is now an Acrobatic gymnast and both of them the kids and coaches are supportive, fun, and there is support both within and between teams of athletes. I'm honestly so thrilled DD is done with Artistic. This is her fourth competitive year out of WAG. A new Acro mom from Artistic told me we were the most "normal gymnastics parents" she'd ever met.
I wonder about rhythmic?
 
  • Like
Reactions: twinmomma

ldw4mlo

Well-Known Member
Proud Parent
Feb 13, 2015
5,561
60
Country
USA
You simply can’t compare. Boys are different then girls. Emotionally and physically. Boys don’t do the relational aggression thing that girls do.

Add In mother daughter relationship are a completely different dynamic then mother son relationships (and usually it’s moms doing the practices and taxiing).

And the CG Moms don’t live vicariously through sons the crazy way some do through their girls.

Girls gymnastics much like dance and cheer bring out the crazy in Moms that just doesn’t happen in boys sports

Apples and oranges.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Aero

skschlag

Moderator
Staff member
Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Jul 19, 2011
10,355
Region 9
Country
USA
You simply can’t compare. Boys are different then girls. Emotionally and physically. Boys don’t do the relational aggression thing that girls do.

Add In mother daughter relationship are a completely different dynamic then mother son relationships (and usually it’s moms doing the practices and taxiing).

And the CG Moms don’t live vicariously through sons the crazy way some do through their girls.

Girls gymnastics much like dance and cheer bring out the crazy in Moms that just doesn’t happen in boys sports

Apples and oranges.
um..
yes they do.

Nope it's not

Yes, some do.

And it is there.

(and it happens in many many many boys' sports. Wrestling! HOckey? Football! Baseball?)

And to those that say boys are wearing appropriate clothing, ahve you ever watched a teenage boy adjust things in a singlet? Or seen an upper level teenage boy in pommel pants on top of a singlet. Trust me, they are NOT comfortable ;)
 

skschlag

Moderator
Staff member
Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Jul 19, 2011
10,355
Region 9
Country
USA
But on topic, yes, MAG is more laid back. In general, by the upper levels, the boys are all friends, the parents are all friends, and we are all very supportive of one another. there is a cut throat side, but most boy parents will not fall into the "olympics" track. In addition, you know early on that your child is most likely not doing this in college, since there are virtually no options, so you support each other through to the end.

But the skills, injuries, intense training....all still exists.
 

ldw4mlo

Well-Known Member
Proud Parent
Feb 13, 2015
5,561
60
Country
USA
Ah, Ldw4mlo, I can see you have never attended a Future Stars regional training camp.
Ah and here comes the condescending crud.:D

Yes, Just like I’ve never attended an Elite or Hopes girls training camp.

Most gymnasts never compete elite track. It’s doesn’t make us parents with our lowly gymnasts, in your opinion, of course (as we can see above). we are quite capable to give an opinion based on our ordinary compulsory, optional, state and regional meet experience.

I do have friends whose sons are in MAG. My opinions are based on my friends 1st hand experiences vs my 1st hand experience. Rather comparable “level wise”, age wise.

Also combined with my general experience parenting my male and female siblings after my mom dies. Parenting a boy now 26 vs a girl And my general sport experience personally with myself and boyfriend. Yeah I can speak to sport/gymnastics :cool:

Enough of a resume for you :)

But yeah you are absolutely correct I have 0 experience with elite level gymnastic. ;)
 

ldw4mlo

Well-Known Member
Proud Parent
Feb 13, 2015
5,561
60
Country
USA
So, that is condescending. The point above was that there are crazy parents on both sides.
No it’s snark. And points out the original condescending comment. And I’m out because I don’t have to attend every fight I’m invited to.
And the BS, just detracts from actual discussio.

BTW my intial comments weren’t personal and on topic. Not so with profmom.
 

profmom

Well-Known Member
Proud Parent
Nov 18, 2011
9,340
Region 7
Country
USA
I intended my response to you as a somewhat lighthearted joke because I didn't want to do a takedown of all of my issues with your post. I know tongue in cheek does not translate well on the internet, so I will explain.

You simply can’t compare. Boys are different then girls. Emotionally and physically. Boys don’t do the relational aggression thing that girls do.
Boys absolutely do engage in relational aggression.

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/ful...SJ2zsXCl45jANcpX374_NoPDB_uHjd87PHe9A1SdYD7ml

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi...D1LVsgKzB1hn-v4RyDVtzTEQfZsECI8xBkbSSDP3G3ylQ

Add In mother daughter relationship are a completely different dynamic then mother son relationships (and usually it’s moms doing the practices and taxiing).

And the CG Moms don’t live vicariously through sons the crazy way some do through their girls.

Girls gymnastics much like dance and cheer bring out the crazy in Moms that just doesn’t happen in boys sports

Apples and oranges.
I won't reiterate what Skschlag has said on this point, but there are nutso dads out there too. You don't see as many in gym with guys because there aren't as many boys who do gymnastics, but I would hypothesize that the proportion is similar. And boy gym moms can be just as crazy as girl moms based on my observational experience. There is a Facebook page out there somewhere you can join if you need proof.

Your second post also displays significant misunderstanding of Future Stars. It is a MUCH more inclusive program than TOPS or HOPES. For people who have been to FS regional camp, that's part of the joke. Almost none of these boys are going to be elite L10s, and many of them will never even make it to much more than a year or two of JE as L8 or L9. Yet the crazy among these parents is absolutely there. I remember really well the convo I had with the mom who had taken her kid to a second doc who agreed to give him a cortisone shot so he could participate fully in the stupid camp with a stress fracture in his tibia. He was in the 11 or 12 year old group. And it was a camp, not even the regional competition with nationals at stake!

I posted what I did because your initial comments were wrong and display a troubling level of gender essentialism. Furthermore, you are contradicting and overriding the voices of parents who have actually had boys in the sport for many years. If you've never been to a boys' meet or seen boys work out together outside of the gym, you simply do not have the same experiential base as those of us who have been there. And optionals are different than compulsories for boys in terms of the feel, the pressure, the dynamics, and the overall experience.

I am sorry that my first post came off as snarky and condescending, and I understand why it did and sincerely apologize. I am guessing, however, that this one won't go over better.
 

Freddy's Fred

Member
Proud Relative
Nov 19, 2017
188
43
Country
United States Minor Outlying Islands
There seem to be less drama in MAG, although I never had a girl gymnast. The boys enjoy being a team and winning team banners. They cheer each other on and seem to like their compatriots to do well. They all want to win and up their scores but they compete against their own bests and skills, not their teammates. My son is in 9 and I have never heard him say “I hope I beat Bobby”, or “I hope Bobby falls”.
Don’t remember where I heard it, maybe from a coach, but the quote was “There’s no reason not to like each other in gymnastics, there’s no way to play defense, all you can do is your best”
There were some minimal squabbles in compulsory levels about moving up levels, but it was between parents and coaches, not the kids. From what I’ve seen in the gyms we’ve been in, the boys coaches are much more relaxed, don’t yell, don’t say things to the boys to make them cry, and don’t put them in stretches until tears run down their faces....all of which I’ve seen girls coaches do.
I don't think anyone here has heard their daughter say that they hope someone falls, but these descriptions do make MAG sound way less intense and more fun. My daughters have plenty of fun doing gymnastics.
 
Thank you for supporting our sponsors Energym Music & Norberts!