level 4 training hours- worried

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Petunia

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Apr 16, 2008
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I think I read a thread on this but now I can't find it.
My daughter is turning seven next month. She's a level 4 and will start competing in the fall. She's been a level 4 for about a year but did not compete last year so she's training with level 5's as well (but competing level 4).
She started off her first month with 12 hours (her dad and I almost fell out of our chairs with the hours. We were worried about injuries).

This month her coach increased it to 16 since the season is just around the corner and wants to keep it at 16 throughout the school year.

There are some gyms around us that only do 9 hours for level 4's.

So I've sat and watched what practice is like every time.

The first hour they pretty much just do conditioning (stretches etc.).
She does not come out of their exhausted or anything BUT..

We're in Texas and I've heard gymanstics here is VERY competitive.

I LOVE the gym and do like the coaches, it's just the hours and fear we might end up switching if they're not leniant as far as letting us cut back. Bottom line, I'm scared of an injury at this age.

I just wanted to get some advice on this.

Thanks!!1
 
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jasmine196

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Aug 29, 2007
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16 hours even in Texas for a Level 4 seems like a lot. But you did say that they are having her train with the Level 5's, which 16 hours in that area seems about right. The most I've ever had my level 4's train was 12 hours, maybe 14 in the Summer but never in the school year.

As for injuries, they will happen even if she was only going 9 hours. The hour conditioning I think is good, we always spend about an hour on stretching, oversplits and conditioning in each practice, and that doesn't include the event conditioning we do. However, we do cut back on conditioning in the beginning of meet season since we need more time for routines. The more conditioning, the less risk of injury. That doesn't mean a lot since gymnastics is a very injury prone sport, but conditioning does help, as does stretching. I've been coaching for 10 years, the worst injury that one of my girls has had (Levels 4-8) would be a dislocated elbow, and a broken bone here or there.

At 7 years old, see how she handles it. Let her take the lead on this one. If you see her acting out outside of the gym, have a change in attitude (for the worse) then I would say cut back her hours. But if she is able to handle it, let her do it. The next biggest thing to consider is when she starts back in school, 16 hours during the school week, that's going to be tough. But again, see how she handles it, she may surprise you. Best of luck!
 
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dancing9118000

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wow, that is a lot of hours for a level 4. I am competing 8 for the first time this year and I only go 17 hours a week. our level 4's go about 9 hours a week. i agree with jasmine196 though, if she can handle it, go for it. I would just say, make sure it isnt stressing friendships, other relationships, relaxation time and her school work during the year.
 

Petunia

New Member
Apr 16, 2008
29
Thanks for the replies!!!
What she likes doesn't seem to be an issue LOL. If I were to let her LIVE in there she'd like it! It's injuries and over working her little body that I'm worried about. As far as her attitude she loves it and gets a kick out of increasing her hours!

But I figure..what's going to happen by level 6 IF she's still doing this by then? Homeschooling is not an option. I want her to continue with regular school ...so I figure...should we even stay at a gym that's pushing 16 hours at level 5? I know I"m getting ahead of myself..but I just don't like change! LOL
 

dunno

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Apr 28, 2009
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don't worry about injury. be concerned about burn out. way to young for that many hours.

another statistic: 80% of all gymnasts quit the sport entirely between 8th and 9th grade.

gee...wonder why...
 
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nettyinpa

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My dd is also 7, started competing level 4 when she was 6. I believe they did about 12 hours/week at that level here in PA. While 16 hours seems like a lot they probably fit a lot of other things in with it. Conditioning is a must and you'll be thankful for them doing that. Do they have dance there as well? Our girls do it about an hour a week during the season. I think in the summer they do it a couple times a week.

Don't be afraid to voice your concerns to her coaches or do what some parents do, take them out of practice early. She sounds like my dd and would live at the gym if she could but they also have to know that there is a life outside the gym. In our house, school comes first so if she lags behind in her homework or her grades start slipping, her hours will be cut at the gym. My dd is training now for her level 6 season and I think she'll be doing about 14-16 hrs/week. It's amazing what they can handle, even at that age. We don't push her into the gym, it's the only activity she does and she still loves it so that's all that matters. :)
 

jasmine196

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Aug 29, 2007
102
Yes, school would be a big concern as she gets older. What do their level 6's do now? Do the girls homeschool/online, half days at school, etc? I've heard of a lot of gymnasts from Texas doing the homeschool route. If you want to keep her at a regular school, will that school make consessions? Meaning, will they give her credit for gym class for gymnastics and can they let her out early? Here in Illinois homeschool isn't an option most choose. I do know of a couple elites and high level 10's who do 3 classes at their high school and 3 classes online so they can train the hours needed. It kinda gives them both worlds. But I also know of some of our top Level 10's who go a regular day of school, minus gym. But that's high school, not elementary school. That is def something to look at now, because that could determine if you should move to another gym or not.

I do know one big gym in Texas that as of Level 6 makes their kids homeschool and they have practices 2x a day. I think its a little much for that young of a child (most of their level 6's are only 8-10 years old). But they do get the results.

So, ask questions of the parents with girls in Level's 5 and 6, see what they do, it may help you make that decision earlier rather than later (after she's already had her coaches for a couple years). Best of luck.
 
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cathiann

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I'd worry more about burnout than injuries at this point. It sounds like a lot of their time is spent conditioning--which is great! Makes injuries less likely. Our level 4s go 9 hrs a week (3 days--3 hrs/day). Our level 7s & 8s (during the school year--8s go 20 hrs during the summer) go 16 hrs a week.
 
Apr 15, 2009
94
Washington State
Wow, that is a lot of hours for a level 4! Even in Texas. My DDs train 12 hours a week, summer and school year. They do well with these hours but they are a bit older than your daughter (10 1/2,11) My girls are what the gym calls "wannabe 5's" lol basically level 5s though they don't determine levels at our gym until the beginning of fall. Our gym started doing something new this season - they have training groups and level 4s can fit into one of two groups - either 6 hours a week or 9 hours a week. This was done because of the economy and also so some potential team girls wouldn't be scared away right off the bat by the long hours. My girls trained 9 hours at first then upped to 12. Even our level 7s train just 13 1/2 hours a week but we are a fairly small gym so not a lot of practice time is wasted waiting for their turn,etc

By the way, where in Texas do you live? I grew up there (Dallas area) and went to college at Texas A&M.
 
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cher062

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12 - 15 hours a week is about standard at the gyms I've seen for L4. If your DD loves being at the gym and you don't see signs of burn out and it fits into your family schedule then I wouldn't worry too much about the hours. And as for injuries well all sports have those and if your going to be part of any thing the requires movement there are going to be injuries at some point. Unless you see every other gymnast getting really hurt or there is a high incident of injuries at your gym I wouldn't worry about it. Bumps and bruises and ice packs are all part of gymnastics.
 

archangelcoach

New Member
Jun 17, 2009
21
ok usa
just a little north of you

Im from right up the road in Oklahoma. Depending on where you are in Texas dictates whether or not Id say that was extreme. Region 3 is one of the toughest regions in gymnastics. Texas is incredibly competitive. Trust me.... weve been sent home with tails firmly tucked before lol. If your in any of the major metro areas of Texas your competing against gyms like Texas Dreams and Woga theres a very good reason your practicing that much. Here in Oklahoma my 4s practice 9.5hrs however I have a small team and practice is not packed with kids. On any note welcome to Region 3. Remeber to just have as much fun as your gymnast. Trust her coaches and enjoy the ride.:rolleyes:
 

krisbran

New Member
Dec 1, 2008
16
Saint Johns, FL
My DD practices 3 1/2 hours three times a week as a Level 4. The first 1/2 is always general conditioning and streching and then the gymmies also do some specific event conditioning as they rotate through the apparatuses for practice. Our coaches are very understanding about school and work with the parents to make sure school work is completed during the year and the girls are not getting overstressed. The coaches also let the girls know that school is a priority.
 

Petunia

New Member
Apr 16, 2008
29
Hmmm...veeery interesting!!
I appreciate everyone's input. I'm just learning about all this (the big picture of gymnastics). It gives me a good idea based on your replies.

archangelcoach: Yes. I guess now I know what region we are! lol
You hit the nail on the head.
 

UnoMas

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Proud Parent
Aug 16, 2008
3,736
my dd is a 2nd year L4 (training some L5 stuff) and goes 14 hrs a week, year round. It's a lot but she is used to it now...
:)
 
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toriluvsgym0618

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ok iv ben in gymnastics since i was about 7. thats when i was in level 4. we went for aboiut 9 hours a week and when i was in level 5 and 6 i went for about 14 hours a week. but now i go to a new gym and the level fours work out for about 16 hours. now im a level 7 going 8 and now go for 20 hrs. a week. i would recomend to not swich becus she probly has a bunch of friends. if she is okay with the hours then stay where SHE is comfortable cus i remember when i was 7 i just wanted to stay longer and longer. hope this helped
 

Aussie_coach

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In Australia 16 hours a week for level 4 is completely normal, and we have a similar skill level to the USA for level 4. Most gyms to 14-16 hours a week for level 4 but many do more. Some gyms here have their level 4's doing 18-22 hours a week.

I wouldn't worry too much about hours increase because if she is working out with the level 5's then no doubt it will be 16 hours still at that level. Which is quite expected, and you will have similar schedule no matter what gym you go too.

She shouldn't have too many issue's with injuries on 16 hours, it really isn't that much. It sounds like a lot but gymnastics is not like many other sports. She won't be running around non stop for all those 16 hours. There is waiting for the apparatus, stretching and so on, they are not going the whole time.

As long as her coaches do plenty of conditioning and flexibility training and train new skills safely with lots of drills then there is no reason to believe she will be at risk of an injury anymore so than a gymnast training half that time. In fact because she will have increased training time it is even safer. When coaches have less time they may rush the conditioning or drills and rush into skills that gymnasts aren't ready for.
 

AlexsGymmyMom

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Mar 20, 2009
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I think 16 hours is a lot for a 7 year old. Like others have said I would worry more about burnout than injury. At our gym 4's can go either 9 or 12 hours. Two days for 3 hours are required but (for extra money of course) you can add the third day but it is not required. We only go 2 but may add the third after school starts.
 

NotAMom

Active Member
May 27, 2009
894
Region 6 (Northeast)
Here is another aspect not touched on yet... although it may fall under the burn-out category.

You mentioned that she hasn't competed yet. So, she may have some very high hopes and aspirations, which motivate her current interest. Things may be different once she starts competing -- particularly, when she isn't getting instant results from all this hard work. It's not something such a young kid can thoroughly understand. The harder the work they put in, the more success they expect. That may turn out to be the case for your child. But, many kids do get burnt out and quit the sport when disappointment hits.

With that aside, I do think 16 hours is a lot for a L4 starting out. Think about it. It is more than the amount of hours a 1st/2nd grader spend in school learning (with the rest being play time). How about easing off on the number of hours at this point. Let her work it up after the competition season starts. Then at least at that time she (and you) will have some concept for the payoff that you would expect.
 
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GymnasticsIsLife

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16 hours a week right? Thats exactly[[i think]] how much i will be doing. Of course im 12 and your daughter is 7. I will start doing 4 hours a day 4 times a week, starting fall season.
 

mariposa

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Sep 25, 2007
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My DD is a 2nd year level 4, her old gym she did 10 hours a week. Her new gym she does the same. She trains level 4 as well as level 5 skills as they uptrain and most have all their next level skills before moving up. She was moving to level 5 at her old gym and they did 16 hours a week at level 5, which as a 6 year old turning 7, I felt was too much. At level 5 it seems to be pretty common though, so if they are training her as a level 5, seems about average. DDs current gym does 14 hours a week at level 5.

Every kid is different. My kid loves the gym and would be fine being there 16 hours a week. I was not comfortable with that yet. I love that we have another year of an extra day at the dinner table at a reasonable time and that she is getting a little less use/overuse this year because of the decreased hours. Gymnastics eventually takes up soo much time, I am enjoying that she has some more free time for at least another year.

Watch for signs of burnout. Not wanting to go, not seeming happy at the gym anymore. Keep the lines of communication open so she feels free to talk to you about how she feels. If my DD doesn't feel like going to gym (which is very rare), we skip it. During meet season, near meets, I don't let her, but otherwise, I do. It's not a job. :)

As others said, I would check out how their schedules are for level 6 and up. I can't imagine a kid doing 2 a days at that level or age. We homeschool, but I still wouldn't want DD to do that. Gym switches are hard, so knowing what could lie ahead is important. Especially if they push homeschooling at a certain level and you don't wish to homeschool.
 
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