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New parent - very nervous!

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FlippinPrincess

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I am the parent of a little aspiring gymnast. She is 4 years old and took her first rec class in June. In July we were being approached to consider what they call their pre-pre team class. (No competition stuff , just specific training for kids who show potential.) She LOVES going to gymnastics and the rec class was definitely not challenging enough for her. We were given all of the information on competitive gymnastics for the future to make sure we knew what we were getting into and to make sure we were okay with it. The head coach wants at least the parents to be committed to the team requirements (obviously we don't know if she will want that in the future) because there are limited spaces in the pre-team groups. Not going to lie, it terrified me! It's a huge time and financial commitment for these kids and their families. My husband was 100% on board because, as he said, we have no idea if she will want to continue with it in the future so we may as well start her out with the right training just in case she continues to excel and love it. I do love the coach she will be working with in the fall and she is confident that our DD will fit in skill-wise with the others in the group. She did tell me she is the youngest but definitely ready. My questions are: 1. Is it typical to ask parents to be committed (no contract) this early? and 2. Were any of you veteran parents terrified at the beginning of the gymnastics journey and do you have any advice or stories that may help calm my nerves? I know she will love the class and it won't be too much for her, I'm just nervous about the 3-4 years down the road if she does become a part of the JO team. This all seems to be happening so fast - I was unbelievably clueless about the team aspect of gymnastics.
 

sevenatenine2

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I think what they are asking is that you have her in that preschool class planning to do team later. I'd assume that if, after a year or so, you decide that'snot the track you want, they would be okay with that, they just don't want people taking up space in that preschool class that really have no intention of ever pursuing competitive gymnastics. That's what I would hope for, as a coach, anyway.
 

gymbeam

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i suspect that like me, many of us were clueless too and had even less informtion than you do at the beginning. its great they are giving you a fair warning of what's to come if you stick with it. it is a HUGE sacrifice of money and time for the entire family and you definitely need to be OK with that. you're lucky you get decide before your child is too far into it. make your decision carefully because it will ramp up rather quickly if you stick with it.

and i agree with seven's point that they really only want folks who are considering team int hat class- not necessarily committing to team.
 

mommyof1

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It is a good thing that you were provided with all of the team information up front so there are no surprises. It's easy for families to get sucked into the competitive stream without really knowing what they're getting into until it's too late. I wouldn't consider signing your daughter up for pre-pre-team to be a firm commitment to putting your daughter on the team, but I wouldn't proceed unless you feel reasonably open to the possibility. The worst thing that could happen would be for your daughter to fall in love with the sport, only to be pulled out because it's not right for the rest of the family.

For what it's worth, I find being a team parent to be absolute torture. It costs a fortune. It wreaks havoc on my work schedule, especially in the summer. Meets suck up entire weekends and I can't stand watching them. I hate watching my child fail and listening to her cry and complain about how she will never get XYZ skill or be as good as her friend so-and-so. But I keep supporting her because gymnastics is her one true passion in life, and I didn't get the chance to pursue a similar passion at her age. It keeps her fit and healthy and away from her iPad. Even when she is having a hard time in the gym, if you watch her during practice she still seems to be enjoying herself. She loves to be upside down and to "fly." And hopefully it is helping to build some mental toughness and resilience that will transfer to other areas of her life.

If I had other children, however, I would think long and hard about whether to commit to any sport as intense as gymnastics. My daughter has a non-gym friend whose older brother is on a travel baseball team, and the entire family's schedule revolves around travel ball. The younger girl is constantly being pulled out of her own activities to attend her brother's games, family vacations are rescheduled around tournaments, etc. It might be different if the parents were willing to "divide and conquer," but from the outside it doesn't seem at all fair to the other children in the family.
 
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Dahlia

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If team is something you'd consider in the future, I'd do preteam now. Team can be a big commitment down the line, but it's gradual. She'll start out lower levels/less competition and move on from there on a year to year basis. If it becomes too much or your dd decides it's not her thing, you're not locked in for life. The gym probably doesn't want girls in the preteam class that are not willing to consider moving on to team. I think that makes sense.

I have 2 kiddos in competitive sports (my dd in gymnastics and a ds in baseball - select team). I also have a third child who is pretty much a "do stuff for fun" type of person, so no big competitive program for him. It is hard, but doable. Fortunately, baseball tournaments are Spring-Summer and gymnastics is Fall-Spring competitive season wise, so we don't have too much overlap. It's such a short period of time that the kids will be able to do these things, that we feel it's worth the sacrifice on our part as long as they love it and want to do it. But it does keep us busy year round. This summer we vacations M-F so that we didn't miss my ds's tournament games (while dd missed some gym). It was a compromise, but it worked for us. Gymnastics or a child in a competitive sport does not have to ruin a family dynamic or feel unfair to siblings. It's all about how you handle it, kwim? If we focused solely on one child to the detriment of the others there would be a problem. And I have seen families that do that. It's not an activity problem, it's a family dynamic/parental focus problem.
 

profmom

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You can try it and see if she likes it and if it works for your family. We had no idea what we were getting into on that fateful day now coming up on ten years ago (YIKES!) when we came home to a message on our answering machine asking if DD might be interested in trying pre-team. It's been a rollercoaster for sure, but we've managed to make it work for our dual career family of five (two of our three are team members and one plays soccer). Knowing what I know now, and even after a tough year of watching both kids struggle with growth and injuries, I'd still say yes to letting DD try pre-team.
 

FlippinPrincess

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Thanks for the responses. The gym also offers an XCEL program but I don't think that starts until 5. The head coach said if we are at all considering that program then the pre-team group was not for us. It all just feels so overwhelming right now. How can someone possibly commit to a life of gymnastics when their child is only 4 and has never tried anything else. It's frustrating that it has to be all or nothing so soon. Husband wants to go ahead with the program and if she decides to one day quit or move to XCEL then so be it. I'm just struggling with whether I would ever be all in on the team requirements. That being said, I'd love to try the pre-team program to "see if it fits." Is that dishonest and unfair to the gym?
 

Dahlia

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You're NOT committing to a lifetime of gymnastics at 4yo. You're committing to being open to JO in the future. If you start JO, it's too much, you can still move to Xcel, or she can quit. There is no long-term commitment right now.

And, she can still try other things. I put my dd in daycamps to try things like soccer and such without a season long commitment. She hated all of them and only wants to do gym. But she had a choice and did try other things.
 

FlippinPrincess

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You're NOT committing to a lifetime of gymnastics at 4yo. You're committing to being open to JO in the future. If you start JO, it's too much, you can still move to Xcel, or she can quit. There is no long-term commitment right now.
That's what my husband says. I just wasn't sure if that was dishonest of me but I really feel like we have to try these pre-team programs first before we can decide if it is something she truly loves and whether or not it is right for our family. I'm open to the idea, just can not commit right now to a life of it. Thanks for the advice!
 

notthatmom

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Do pre-team, if anything she'll get somewhat of a grasp of what team training is like. If she ends up liking a different sport down the road, then so be it :)

That's awesome that they gave you all the team info up front, our gym didn't do that, luckily I'm good friends with another mom who already had a daughter on the team so she gave me the low down before we committee to pre team. My DD is L3 now, and she loves it. Chances are, if she starts pre team now, she'll most likely be ready for team next season.

If this is something you think you can do at least for now I don't think you have much to lose.

Team is definitely a huge commitment, not only for your gymnast, but for the whole family. It's a big decision, so definitely consider that, but if you think you can do it, and tour DD wants to, then go for it!

You've come to the right place, we're all here to help :)
 

GymDad9.9

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Thanks for the responses. The gym also offers an XCEL program but I don't think that starts until 5. The head coach said if we are at all considering that program then the pre-team group was not for us. It all just feels so overwhelming right now. How can someone possibly commit to a life of gymnastics when their child is only 4 and has never tried anything else. It's frustrating that it has to be all or nothing so soon. Husband wants to go ahead with the program and if she decides to one day quit or move to XCEL then so be it. I'm just struggling with whether I would ever be all in on the team requirements. That being said, I'd love to try the pre-team program to "see if it fits." Is that dishonest and unfair to the gym?
It can be a little daunting. Try the Pre-Team, give it your best shot and enjoy the ride.
 

GYM0M

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It's always a good thing to think about the future; however try not to harp on it. Life has a way of working itself out. [emoji12] Consider the future, but don't forget to enjoy today. These moments are so precious. Just the other day I was watching a video of my DD, now 10, when she was 4(ish) and flipping and jumping on a tumble track (in my defense, I did not know any better) to the point of exhaustion. She looked at the camera, grabbing her side, and said, "Oh, my ankle hurts." Lololol! Cutest thing ever.
 

2gymkids

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I think it's great that they give you a glimpse of what may be ahead! I would try not to worry about it now, as long as it's not something you're totally opposed to, then let her try pre-team and go from there.
My daughter had a little girl with her in the developmental program and the family was totally taken off guard when they wanted them to go from developmental/5 hours a week to Level 3 team/9 hours a week. They just somehow didn't catch that this is where developmental was heading because it was all very mysterious and nobody was totally upfront with them. It would have been nice for them to have a heads up, I think! I'm guessing that's the type of situation they're trying to avoid, which is really good of them.
 
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ldw4mlo

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Answer to to 1, no contract you are not committed. The reality is you are never really committed unless you want to be. Whats the saying the only thing you absolutely have to do is die and pay taxes..............

Answer to 2- I was way to ignorant to be terrified. Now the things that terrify me are higher level flippy things.

The reality is you do what is best for you and your family. If it doesn't work where you are you change it.
 
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JoyAvenueMom

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The gym can't reasonably ask you to commit at this point, so don't feel guilty if you aren't sure. I agree with the others who say they don't want to blind side you later, only to find out there is NO WAY you would ever consider that kind of commitment. Better for you to know everything up front and understand that pre pre team leads to preteam, which leads to team, which leads to even more money and time! All for a 4 yo! Oh my! On the one hand, I think it is great that you are getting this much info so early on. Most of us on this forum were not that lucky. On the other hand, I really wish you and your sweet kiddo could have a chance to just "try" this awesome sport without feeling any kind of pressure right now. It has be FUN before it is anything else.
 

gymgal

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I'm open to the idea, just can not commit right now to a life of it. Thanks for the advice!
From what you wrote, they really are not asking for a commitment now and certainly not for a life (years). It is not unusual to have one parent on board and the other wavering, sometimes for several years into team. put her in to see if she likes the more organized classes. They usually begin to gradually shift focus in these classes to prepare the girls for team mentality higher repetitions.

And remember that just because your dd might be invited in this class doesn't mean she will be accepted onto team. It just means that they see something in her now that leads them to believe she may be a good candidate for team in a few years. So at this point, there really is no commitment on either side.

What they are trying to get parents to think about is whether they are OK with the idea of team in the future. There are families who walk in gyms and know from the start that they are there for Rec classes only. Whether it be time, money, religious obligations. They know from the start.
 
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rjb123

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When DD was put on developmental team I didn't have a clue what it was. I was asked how she liked gym, I told them she loved it and couldn't get enough. They said "good- she'll be in x next week" I was like "ok." I had no idea, and in retrospect maybe it was for the best!! Lol! The reality is that she can always move on if she doesn't like it, wants to do other things etc. so try it out, enjoy the ride and whatever happens, happens. :)
 

gymyogimom

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I think they are basically giving you the big picture so that you understand the potential direction. It helps you so that you get where it is going and it helps them keep the program focised. if you planned to sign her up for say hockey or figure skating next year and stop gym all together no matter what, then they'd know this direction isn't the best fit
 

Becauseisaid

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Don't freak out yet! Nobody starts at 20 hours per week with $300 competition leotards. ;)

Let her have this challenge and see if she enjoys it. Maybe she moves up. Maybe she decides she wants to be a ballerina. At 4, the world is still wide open for her. And enjoy this trying-it-out period, yourself. This gives you the chance to ease yourself into the wonderful world of competitive gymnastics too.

Maybe this story will help you. Last spring, I was approached by a Mom whose daughter had just been asked about moving up to pre-team. I was her daughter's Sunday School teacher and she knew my DD was on team already. So we talked about it and I gave her the good and the bad. Her biggest concern was the commitment. She had a son who played soccer and her daughter was 10 - surely too old to start!? Honestly she was much more against than for. But her daughter LOVED gymnastics. So they gave it a shot.

The difference this year from the parents is astounding. No hesitation, totally on board, couldn't love the sport more. That one year of trying it out really sold them. They realized that they COULD work it into their family schedule. They DID enjoy traveling for meets. It DID NOT take away from their son and his sport. Being able to start slowly really helped them to see what was ahead of them if they chose to stay in and if it would work for their family. No harm, no foul if it doesn't.
 
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