For Parents Joining a team with no natural talent??

TallaB

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Dec 22, 2019
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I'll be the first to admit I know little about gymnastics, so, forgive me.
My 6 yr old attends 2 hrs of a kinder class weekly. She also does 1hr of tumbling/ WK. I mean this in the most loving way possible - she has zero natural talent She runs like Phoebe from Friends, she is not naturally flexible, has almost zero muscle, and she's relatively shy. But, she loves gymnastics. In March she fell off the beam and fractured her elbow. She didn't do any form of gymnastics until June when she hit the ground running, attending a camp and a couple private lessons. Recently she has gotten her cartwheel and handstand (it's taken 2 years to get straight legs), and her kickover. She's been giving it her all in class, facing her fear and getting back up on the beam, though hesitantly. She's been working at home to improve her flexibility and skills and has recently started talking about competing and willing medals. I don't know if it's worth seeking out options to get her into an Xcel bronze or if I should just encourage the recreational in an effort not to crush her spirits if she can't make a team. I can't find much around here that offers recreational kids the opportunity to get medals
 
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Sk8ermaiden

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May 6, 2013
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I feel like a 6 year old with a straight leg cartwheel and handstand, and a kickover, is doing just fine. If she loves gymnastics and works at it, she will gain the strength and improve her flexibility. And my kid ran horribly flat footed for years, which killed her vault. With good coaching, she eventually got better. A gym with Xcel and an inclusive philosophy sounds like a great option.

And if she does make a team, there will be a huge range of talent there. From girls who don't even seem to have to work, to girls that work their tails off and still rarely place. But what they do in the first few years is not a huge indicator of long term success. My kid was a hot mess of knees and elbows at 6-8, but all the naturally amazing kids who blew her out of the water in Bronze and Silver have moved on from gym and she's still plugging away.
 

rd7

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Aug 18, 2011
129
Yes, definitely give Xcel a try, even if she has a less than stellar first year she can repeat and will do well the next year whilst the hotshots move up levels quickly. And don't forget, she will get so much more out of it than medals.
 
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gymisforeveryone

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Nov 16, 2012
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6 year old with the skills you described sounds quite talented to me. Go for it! The most important thing is that she loves it and is already able to work 3 hours a week. Most of the 6 year olds in the world would not be doing 3 hours of anything structured activity other than school and be able to focus.

Also, I wouldn't say that she has worked on straight legs in catwheel and handstand for two years. For majority of 4 and 5 year olds it's almost impossible to even understand the concept of straightening your legs when you can't see them.
 

coachmolly

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Jan 18, 2009
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Some of my favorite kids I ever coached were the kids who did not have a ton of natural ability but absolutely loved the sport and worked their tails off to be able to compete.
I've been around the sport a long time and it's funny how some of the crazy talented 4 year olds everyone gets excited about turn out to be very average 8-9 year olds and some of the kids who seem like the least likely to succeed as little kids end up sticking with it and being great team gymnasts as they get older. Not every gym is willing to give the kids who are a little slower to catch on a chance but there are plenty who are.
 

mls529

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Feb 12, 2016
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Please encourage her to give team a try. During those long meets, I personally love watching the littles who are putting their heart and soul into a floor routine and leaving the floor with a huge smile on their face. Find the right program who will encourage her and give her opportunity. Like others said, those with longevity in this sport are the one who have a true love for it!
 
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xxStumpyxx

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Mar 15, 2015
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Some of my favorite kids I ever coached were the kids who did not have a ton of natural ability but absolutely loved the sport and worked their tails off to be able to compete.
I've been around the sport a long time and it's funny how some of the crazy talented 4 year olds everyone gets excited about turn out to be very average 8-9 year olds and some of the kids who seem like the least likely to succeed as little kids end up sticking with it and being great team gymnasts as they get older. Not every gym is willing to give the kids who are a little slower to catch on a chance but there are plenty who are.
So very true. My dd has been involved in gymnastics for 10 years now and still loves gymnastics at the age of 13 1/2. My dd was never picked out for squad until she turned 7 and even then it’s a low level, low hours squad. 99% of those who were picked out for squad at the age of 4 to work towards elite pathway are no longer doing gymnastics from my daughters birth year, the next age group up from my daughter has 1 squad member left but she quit gymnastics and came back after a year or so and is doing a different discipline. We have seen them come and seen them go over the years and nearly all the young ones (under 8) who show lots of talent early on are no longer in the sport after the age of 11/12.
 
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TallaB

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Dec 22, 2019
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Thank you everyone! I don't want to sell my daughter short in the least, I just also don't want to set her up for failure or put her in a position where she feels inadequate and unable to keep up. I will talk to her gym about options and see what we can work out. I appreciate it!
 
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gymgal

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Aug 22, 2008
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Check around your area to see if there are any gyms that have what they call "in house" teams. They are basically advanced rec gymnasts who want to experience competition. They compete against each other and sometimes 1 or 2 local gyms. Very low key. All get certificates, ribbons or medals. It is a really great way to introduce kids to competition without the expense, hours, and stress. Do they thrive on it or do they get too worked up about it? Oh, and by "advanced rec gymnasts" I just mean those who may want to go to the next level but are not ready for a true team yet. There is a very large range of skills in these teams usually.

BTW, I agree with the others that at 6, it sounds like she has some nice skills. Don't know where you are so that may be skewing your thoughts - power house gyms will tend to have a lot more "high-talent" gymnasts even at younger ages.
 

cogymmom2dd

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Feb 9, 2020
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Our gym does a rec league for kids 4-6 years old. They do level 2/ XCEL bronze. Meets are really low-key, usually hosted at various gyms And are super short. DD2 did XCEL bronze in rec league and had a meet that was 54 minutes from National Anthem until last event. Kids are given ribbons in the moment by the judges and there isn’t an awards ceremony until the rec league championships. Check to see if there are any gyms in your area that do this. It will give her a chance to have structured coaching and see how it goes.
 
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Amusibus

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Aug 16, 2012
645
Pennsylvania
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USA
The love of gymnastics is far more important than her skills/strength. If she loves it, those will come. That said, I’m not sure team is a great way to keep on loving gymnastics. A lot of times the pressure for perfection, comparison to others, and literal judgement on everything you do- isn’t conducive to continuing to love the sport. I guess it depends on her personality- is she naturally competitive? Does she live for praise and material acknowledgement? Can she handle criticism without it damaging her self esteem? (Meaning basically is she “thick-skinned”?). If yes to all that then maybe team will work out fine. The love for gymnastics is definitely the single most important thing for her “sucess”. For some, just the love IS the sucess.
 

GymParent

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Oct 17, 2018
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I agree with comments already made. Sounds like she has a great start. I can attest to the love and dedication of gymnastics being a couple of the most important things to be successful in this sport no matter what your daughter's definition of success may be.

My daughter has never been the most talented. She rarely placed in her first year of competition. She repeated every single compulsory level. She has had to work harder at all of it and still does. Here she is now working level 10 and hoping to compete for a college team in a couple of years. She has a great love and dedication of the sport. So many who were "naturally talented" on her teams over the years have quit gymnastics on the way, mostly because they didn't love it. I wish your daughter the best!
 
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