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New member: Options if kids don’t want to compete?

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by SaMoGymParent, Oct 2, 2018.

  1. Howdy all—I’m posting for the first time, although I’ve read the helpful comments for a a couple of years.

    I’d love input from other parents on what options there are for young gymnasts who don’t want to compete, but want to keep developing?

    I have a son (7), Level 5, and daughter (10), USAIGC Copper 2, who both just finished their first competitive seasons. Both are happy working on skills old and new, but are not interested in the time commitment for competition. For my son, that means 15-20 hours/wk, and my daughter, 9-12 hours, plus competitions when the season starts.

    We’re happy with their gym generally, but the only options they gave us are:
    - competitive level
    - recreational
    - we suspect privates would be an option, too

    The recreational class level is age-based and skill level varies with the average level of kids who sign up. So far, thet has meant that our Level 5 son is holding handstands and watching his old teammates on the rings, while the 3 other boys in the rec class are trying to do a forward roll. He’s not feeling challenged.

    For swimming and soccer (their other sports), there are many different commitment levels at many different ages. It seems like a hole in gymnastics programming if there’s no place for young gymnasts who aren’t ready to devote all their free time to gymnastics, but love to do it and want to keep up their skills.

    Is this lack of middle-tier options unique to our gym/area? Are there any solutions? We’re in SoCal.

  2. Have you asked your gym?

    Now most kids start to like competing after time... Some not. But part of being a team are usually competitions. After all, those bring in costumers (oh that gym looks good, let's take a look!)

    And how many competitions do you have a year? Is it possible to skip some of them? No states?

    Anyways, welcome!
  3. There is a rec track for boys, but it will be lower level too, especially since he has already done 5. Some gyms have ninja and/or tumbling classes that are co-ed and for all levels. I know several boys that do that 1-2 nights a week.

    Of course, my biggest pet peeve with this is that a L5 boy is rquired to do 15-20 hours a week! My L10 son only does 20-23 hours a week. At L5 he was doing more like 10.
  4. Just to make sure I understand-the main problem is not the competitions themselves, but the number of training hours required for their levels, correct?

    For your daughter, XCEL might be a better fit-while there are some gyms with high XCEL hours, there are others with a much smaller time commitment, so you might call around and find out what the options are near you.

    For your son, you could also look around at other gyms-it’s possible some will be training fewer hours at level 5, but I would imagine it’s still at least 9. It’s also possible he could stay in the competitive stream at his current gym and just not attend all the practices, which would bring his number of training hours down. You might have to be prepared to still pay full tuition though. The other option would be to move into another area of gymnastics like team gym or trampoline and tumbling. Both programs tend to require far fewer hours than artistic.
  5. Our Gym has "ninja" classes for boys and girls that want to develop gymnastics skills but use them in a more recreational fashion. They do lots of gymnastics/parkour types of things but it is all in the gym and they aren't encouraged to go climb buildings or start doing flips off the mini-van in the parking lot.
  6. I have definitely noticed a lack of "middle-tier options" in our area as well. The gym we are at now doesn't even have anything for rec gymnasts beyond intermediate classes. The only advanced classes they offer are in tumbling for now. I guess they figure that by the time you have advanced skills you go straight to team or quit. It stinks because there are a ton of kids who enjoy gymnastics but don't necessarily want the high hours associated with team. T&T is a good path that typically has far less hours, but they have different events, too. It wouldn't give your son opportunities on rings, pbars, etc aside from open gym time, and many gyms won't even let kids access that equipment during open gym. T&T gyms can also be tricky to find depending on your area, too. We are fortunate to live in a school district with gymnastics in public middle school and high school. That gives a lower-hours option to kids who still want to compete at those ages. Ninja gyms can provide that outlet as well if you have any near you. Maybe gyms will start offering more options like you're searching for if there is more push for them.
    triplethreat+1 likes this.
  7. I agree! I'm in Canada so we don't have Xcel either, so no middle options here. My ODD loves working out and learning new skills but quit this summer because she doesn't like spending time repeating and perfecting routines for comps, and because she didn't want more hours (which were required as she would have moved up a level). She wishes she could still do gym but the rec class is pretty basic. I'm still considering signing her up for tramp but of course her favorite events were bars and beam...
  8. There are some YMCA gymnastics programs in SoCal.
    At our Y, not in SoCal, the kids have the option to be a "non-competing" team gymnast. We currently have at least 5 working out with our team. They can work on old and new skills. They don't have to do floor routines (unless they want to and a couple of them have floor music picked out).
    I don't know the number of hours required at the SoCal Ys, but around here, hours top out at 10-12 (ours are 7.5 hours no matter the level ... but those doing "double duty" competing both Jr. High and Y or, in the winter, High School and Y have the option to workout after their school workout for an additional hour ... and school team practice starts 30 minutes before Y practice, so they can practice up to 11 hours a week during their school season).
    Good luck.
  9. Yeah, I don't know what copper 2 equates to, but for Xcel Bronze/Silver plenty of gyms do 6-7 hours a week and boys level 5 around 8-9. Of course others do way more than that. 1 hour a week gymnastics is going to be working on handstands etc. when you do swimming 1 hour a week, you also work on a pretty limited set of skills. In order to develop higher level skills and techniques, fundamentals and development in strength, flexibility, and body position are necessary. In order for them to actually keep progressing at this point beyond a random skill or two, then they probably need about 4-6 hours. It would be slow progress but they would be able to learn a few more things particularly in tumbling.

    You may also want to look into tumbling and trampoline competitive programs because they usually do less hours.
    kecks likes this.
  10. USAIGC limits the number of practice hours, and CII is supposed to be only up to 6 hours/week. Usually USAIGC is a nice option for kids who want to do other sports and most gyms don’t require you to do all the meets. Could you talk to them about their expectations? Like maybe they will allow her to practice less/do fewer meets? Or is there another IGC gym close? And @gymdog , it’s not an exact science but I’d say CII is most similar to Xcel Bronze/ JO L3.
    KipWinger and NY Dad like this.
  11. Hi and welcome to CB. It's nice to have another USAIGC parents here.

    I'm in NY so this might not apply but I know some of our local gyms have a rec track. They offer several levels of advanced, invite-only rec classes for girls. For girls in this track, the goal isn't to make it onto the team. I think that they even have some optional very local competitions for other non-competitive advanced rec groups at other gyms. I understand that for boys there probably aren't as many options.

    USAIGC is supposed to be low hours and as Mrs. Puma mentioned above, it's usually a nice alternative to JO. I've never heard of a C2 team training that many hours. Are all the hours mandatory? I wonder what kind of hours their JO teams train. Is this a very high hours gym? Is everyone on the team required to attend all of the meets?

    Are there any other gyms in your area that you could explore?
    KipWinger likes this.
  12. Thanks for all the suggestions. I suppose mu question had 2 tracks—boys options and girls options.

    1. Boys options: My son did not want to do gymnastics exclusively. For boys, our gym offers only one class for boys (“Boys Only”) and it is grouped by age. So at 7 years old, my Level 5 boy is with boys who have never taken gymnastics before.

    As others suggested here, we talked to the gym, and it really is all or nothing. If you join the team, you commit to 4 or 5 practices per week (and the price that comes with that, which in out area is 2x what it costs in TX (where I grew up) and about 1.5x what it costs on the east coast (where we moved from)), and commit to the competitions. They do not allow you to opt out of practices (“for safety reasons”) or competitions, or else you can get kicked off the team, which would be an expensive way to go.

    We asked about doing only 2-3 practices and not competing, and the answer was no—you’re all in or all out. So they lost 3 boys.

    Outside of all that, we like the gym’s training philosophy: they don’t push the kids to move up until they’ve got the skills are are comfortable with what they have to work on.

    So, mostly, I was curious if other gyms offer anything between beginner and full-on USAG competitive team level for boys. My son might like to go back to competition at some point, and being stuck with beginners for the next few years seems to be a poor use of everyone’s time.

    2. Girls options: My daughter’s situation is less of a concern. The gripe with IGC (for her) was that, once competitions started, coaches stopped working on new skills. So from Feb. to May, they just practiced their routines. She found that boring. Also, she disliked the “everybody gets a medal” approach, even though he never placed well (5th or below).

    From a parents’ perspective, the IGC meets felt long and pointless. The meets in out area (Los Angeles) always had the same gyms competing. After the first two, why do another? It was always the same gyms, same gymnasts and the same winners every time. Even at “state.” It got old very fast. Although my daughter never placed better than 5th, she qualified for nationals. I don’t know any one of the 15+ gymnasts on our gym’s IGC team that didn’t qualify for nationals. My daughter picked up on the ridiculousness of it and chose not to go.

    Our gym offers various rec options for girls bracketed by age & skill. It seems to be an OK fit—they work on floor, bars, beam and occasionally vault. My daughter likes floor most, which is what they focus on, so she seems taken care of.

  13. Ours had that too. My son wanted to stick with gymnastics, though—he wanted to keep up his skills, mainly on floor and rings.
  14. Boys options (other than team) seem very limited in my neck of the woods. We've been at two gyms, and I just checked their websites. First one claims to have intermediate and advanced boys options, but in reality the class schedule currently only offers Boys Beginner. Current gym offers Boys Beginner and Boys Intermediate (which, I just noticed, are both longer than the comparable girls rec classes) but there is only one Intermediate class per week. So not a lot of "in between."

    On the girls side, it seems easier to put together a middle ground program. In our area there is Xcel and a Statewide (AAU) program that both offer lower hours, plus T&T options. We have YMCA and park district team programs that are lower hours too. And a much wider range of rec classes (beginner, intermediate, advanced, tumbling only, trampoline, etc.) so that you could probably piece together a pretty cool rec program. If the IGC program in your area is pretty small, maybe consider Xcel if your daughter is still interested in a competitive program.
    raenndrops likes this.
  15. I think tramp and tumbling is a good option for you guys to look for. It is lower hours and usually coed.
  16. So, if you are in an area with lots of gyms, call around. There might be one that is open to kids working out and not competing. It is rare, I think because there are so few coaches that can coach kids that are Level 5+ and they save them to coach the team. But there might be a team with fewer hours or one that allows him to not compete. (that number of hours at L5 is not typical.)
  17. Call around to other gyms. I feel like Xcel would be a perfect fit for your daughter.
  18. At my dd’s IGC gym there's definitely less uptraining during the competition season. I would expect that to be the same with all WAG teams.

    I mentioned before that I believe that IGC meets are supposed to medal out 1/3 + 1. I'm not sure how that compares to JO, Xcel or the other options that are out there. Sometimes they medal out more for the lower levels b/c they tend to have more younger kids and many of the younger kids enjoy getting medals.

    I agree that meets are long. I think that all WAG meets are long. What's the point of meets? I guess if you and your dd think they're pointless, then they are pointless.

    It looks like there are roughly 10 IGC teams in CA so I understand what you're saying that you're competing against the same teams over-and-over again.

    You said your dd was Copper 2. At the lower levels, just about all of the kids that compete will qualify for the World Championships. For my dd’s gym it's the one meet per year that requires air travel and a hotel stay. As I mentioned in another thread, my dd didn’t walk away from Worlds with any medals (other than aa) but she did leave with great memories that will last a lifetime. At the higher levels, a higher score is required (at the State or Regional meet) to make it to Worlds. I’m not saying that the scores are super high, just that not everyone makes it.
    For example:
    Copper 1: 30.50AA
    Copper 2: 32.00 AA
    Bronze: 34.00 AA
    Diamond: 34.50 AA
    KipWinger likes this.
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