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JO Vacation/attendance policy?

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mls529

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I hesitated to post, since this email chain was going in a weird direction. Thanks for bringing it back.
To the OP, we also had a longer vacation (10 days) plus a sleep away camp and several other pre-paid camps for my DD when she made the level 4 team a few years ago. While I suspected she would make the team, it had not occurred to me that there would be such strict gym policies. (Now I realize most do have some sort of policy, at least JO teams). We did the best we could to minimize my daughter's time outside of the gym, but did also make an agreement with the HC to do privates to help make up the time. You can learn a routine quickly and effectively in a private. Wasn't the cheapest option, but it worked well for all. I would recommend offering that as a solution if you like your gym and want to stay there. For a 1st year on JO, coaches need to understand that summer plans are typically made prior to April/May, when the team invite comes.
 

auscoachgymmum

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I know this is pretty done and dusted now, but I'd like to add another coaches perspective - just for some balance. :)

Keep in mind, I am in Australia, so things may be a little different, but here's my two cents worth.

I tell all my families, from our little pre-squad to my senior girls that my priorities go in this order; 1.Health, Family, School .... then 2. gymnastics. SHOCK HORROR. My belief is that Health, family and education are central in shaping the life of the child, and gymnastics is a wonderful addition to that list - but if the other 3 aren't in line; gymnastics will suffer.

You know your gymnast, and your family situation. I know several of my gymnasts NEED to take time off away from the gym. It actually enhances their performance come competition season. I am honest with families when they are taking holidays, and depending on the timing let them know we will re-evaluate where they are at when they return and go from there. That it might mean a little longer on certain skills, or not being eligible for a particular competition. I had one girl take 4 weeks for an OS holiday off prior to a major meet and still rank in the top 25 AA in our state for her level and age group. In fact, because of the break she was much calmer and more settled. Another or my girls also ranked top 25 AA after 3 weeks of no vault or tumble due to severs. For me gymnastics is about helping the athletes develop real world skills in an "unreal" gymnastics environment. Resilience, Motivation, Perseverance, Goal setting, work ethic, empathy and enjoyment.

For what it's worth, these girls are LEVEL 7 here, and one of them was on the elite pathway and now only trains 9 hours a week. Their comp was against those elite gyms training 30+. Sometimes its about more than big hours, its what you do with the hours you've got.

OP - enjoy your holiday, work with your gymnast, and your gym to find the fit that works for you all. I think its great that you have already been open and upfront in communicating with the gym. That's a great place to start.
 

ldw4mlo

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I hesitated to post, since this email chain was going in a weird direction. Thanks for bringing it back.
To the OP, we also had a longer vacation (10 days) plus a sleep away camp and several other pre-paid camps for my DD when she made the level 4 team a few years ago. While I suspected she would make the team, it had not occurred to me that there would be such strict gym policies. (Now I realize most do have some sort of policy, at least JO teams). We did the best we could to minimize my daughter's time outside of the gym, but did also make an agreement with the HC to do privates to help make up the time. You can learn a routine quickly and effectively in a private. Wasn't the cheapest option, but it worked well for all. I would recommend offering that as a solution if you like your gym and want to stay there. For a 1st year on JO, coaches need to understand that summer plans are typically made prior to April/May, when the team invite comes.
I agree with much of this and sure privates are a way to appease a coach. Ca Ching.

But I still maintain. There are 4 routines a level. If a gymnast has all the required skills, they are more then capable of learning those routines by the first meet in November, even with a couple of weeks off. July to November, is 12 weeks, at least. And then they have more months to fine tune until the end of the season at states. If they are scoring out it doesn't matter. And they are compulsory routines, there is no customization, the gymnasts can help each other, you can watch you tube for order of moves/skills. If the gym/coach or gymnast can't get that done, there are much bigger issues then vacation.
 

twinmomma

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I agree with much of this and sure privates are a way to appease a coach. Ca Ching.

But I still maintain. There are 4 routines a level. If a gymnast has all the required skills, they are more then capable of learning those routines by the first meet in November, even with a couple of weeks off. July to November, is 12 weeks, at least. And then they have more months to fine tune until the end of the season at states. If they are scoring out it doesn't matter. And they are compulsory routines, there is no customization, the gymnasts can help each other, you can watch you tube for order of moves/skills. If the gym/coach or gymnast can't get that done, there are much bigger issues then vacation.
To be fair, not every gymnast can learn a routine by watching youtube and they don't always have access to each other. Case in point, my daughter struggles with dance (one reason why T&T is such a better option for her) and had to physically have her hands and arms moved in the way the routine needed them. She just couldn't translate what she was seeing into her own body at the time. Privates are the best option for some kids and how they learn to move their bodies. She had all the "skills" but dance was her struggle point. Don't assume that there are big issues because they need a private to learn the routine.

I love what aussiecoach said. Last week my daughter said on Friday, after a week of standardized testing at school and gym and homework - Can I just stay home today? She NEVER asks for that and works her butt off at gym. I told her coach she was clearly fried and I was keeping her home. His response? "GOOD". Because he recognizes she's going to be useless in the gym like that and that kids NEED down time. And GASP, it's comp season. But she comes back to the gym ready to work and no worse for wear. My son's baseball coach says: God, Family, School, Baseball. We're building PEOPLE. If they end up as elite or college gymnasts that's great, but 99.9% of them won't. And I'd much rather teach mine balance than drive her into the ground for something that is never going to happen.
 

LindyHopper

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During Short Stack's L5 season, Grandma wanted to take the whole family on a cruise to celebrate her retirement. The cruise was between the last regular meet and States. Short Stack missed a total of 8 practices <GASP> and came back with 1.5 weeks of practice before States. She didn't lose a single skill, and had a meet that was on par with the rest of her season.

Coaches weren't thrilled with the trip, but they weren't upset either, because they knew her work ethic (she would voluntarily do her conditioning while we were gone) and her attendance had been fantastic the rest of the season.
 

ldw4mlo

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To be fair, not every gymnast can learn a routine by watching youtube and they don't always have access to each other. .
You are taking one thing out of context. Did I in anyway imply a gymnast should be expected to learn a routine through you tube alone? Or expect other gymnasts to be responsible to teach them?

I did not.

Looking at the whole picture. A gymnast has 4 weeks in July, August, September and October. 4 months minus a few days off. To learn routines. They learn in many ways, besides strictly having a do this then this session withthe coach. They learn as the watch other gymnasts do it. They learn by watching videos.
They learn by listening to the music and running through steps in their head. They focus on different parts at different times. Over MONTHS, capitals for emphasis.

For a gym to say that a couple of weeks off over the course of MONTHS before the routines are competed will some how mean it will put the gymnast in a position to not be ready. The problem is bigger then a vacation.

And as it turns out your child’s issues was bigger then a vacation. So privates mitigated it as did a move to something that was a better fit for her. In other words, as I said. It wasn’t about a few days off.
 
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rjb123

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This is such an interesting thread (for many reasons! LOL!) To my knowledge, there is no attendance policy at my DD's gym. She is a level 9, and has been there since she was in the preschool classes. Everyone goes on vacations, including the coaches (and goodness knows, they certainly deserve them too!). I vaguely recall HC saying when DD was a level 3/4 that it was no biggie for a compulsory girl to take a couple of weeks off. We always have (and will) vacation every summer. Really though, when it comes down to it, if a girl is taking a month or two off in the summer, and does get "behind" the only person it affects is HER. So it seems so crazy to me for gyms to have these strict policies. I can understand them saying "please try to schedule your vacations around this time" or "please keep in mind that long vacations right before season may have an effect on skill acquisition" or whatever, but in the end, what difference does it make? These are kids, doing an extracurricular activity. I mean, if they were on the US team taking a vacation right before the Olympics or something, well okay. But an 8 year old kid- come on! Enjoy the freedom while you can, because if they hang in there, the sport DOES take up more and more time. And if they do move on to other things, do you really want to look back and wish you had taken that vacation when they were 8?
 

BachFlyer

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I can understand a little why this specific situation (of your dd moving to JO and vacationing during the time reserved for the team to learn the new routines) might be a bit difficult and inconvenient for the gym and possibly might make things a tad bit harder for your dd.

But personally, I don't think it's insurmountable. Yes, every gym has rules and most of us try very hard to follow them (when we know what they are) but in my experience most are not overly ridiculous and inflexible, and would be willing to consider your specific situation - I know ours would. If your gym is fair-minded, I think maybe you could request a quick conversation, and likely they'd be willing to take into account several factors: 1) the vacation was planned before the team offer, 2) it's not something you plan to do constantly, 3) you'd be willing to adjust the timing of the next trip if needed to better fit the team training plan, 4) your dd is willing to condition during her time off and is committed to working extra upon return to catch back up, and 5) that you simply may not have thought of this particular issue having come from Xcel where there aren't compulsory routines. These are the points I think you should bring to the director should further discussion be needed.

For the sake of snark, I'll add point 6) your dd is NOT currently an elite gymnast currently training for a specific international assignment, nor is this mid-season where her scores might adversely affect her team.

Outside of the issue of training routines, 2.5 weeks is not a make-it-or-break-it amount of time off. Not for a level 4 and not for anyone else outside of season. My L10 took 3 weeks off one summer, after her level 9 season where she was rehabbing from a broken foot, and while it did slow down her skill acquisition that summer, it didn't alter the entire course of her gymnastics trajectory. She still made it to level 10 and has done quite well there, and has a D1 scholarship offer. And it was a wonderful trip full of many memories and good times that I wouldn't trade for a million dollars, or even one or two more fake gold-tone medals that currently take up space in my garage!:eek::oops::D
 
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