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Potential gym hopper

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Billy

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At the risk of becoming labeled a "gym hopper," it looks like we're going to have to change gyms again after all.

At the gym we started with, DD did preschool classes and then their rec program. We were there for almost two years. However, the rec director had no interest in training girls to move to team until they had done all four levels of rec first. As DD desperately wanted to be on a team, we had her evaluated at a couple of gyms, both of which immediately offered her a spot on their teams (one L2 and one L3). We chose the gym that put her on L2.

We've been very happy with this gym until recently. The problems started last spring. We looked into changing then but were able to work out the problems so we stayed. Now things seem to be getting worse. They lost their best team coach and an excellent assistant coach both in July (both went back to school). They hired a couple of coaches but neither seem to be up to the caliber of the ones we lost. And on top of that, the gym seems to be growing, particularly the beginners classes, and we don't have the space, the coaches, nor the equipment to manage it. It has become chaotic. The last several practices on vault (they only have one vault table), DD has gotten 3-5 vaults and that's it. There are four beams so we often have 3-4 girls on each beam. The girls often practice unsupervised or in a 12:1 ratio. And we may have more team girls added soon due to the demise of a nearby program. The last straw was an assistant coach who keeps dropping the girls she's supposed to be spotting.

So, I'm once again looking into gyms in our area, though every choice is further away than where we are now. Here's the choices:

Gym A
compulsory teams score fairly well at meets
large gym w/ more equipment= more time on said equipment
not very strong optionals team (5 or 6 girls training L7-L8) though they are building the program
(sister gym location has strong optionals through L10 but too far away for us)
one of their coaches is the TOPs state manager
more flexible scheduling (will work with us around church)
DD really liked this gym


Gym B
compulsory teams do not score well at meets
strong optionals program (about 11 L9-L10s)
small gym, less equipment= less time on equipment
“name” owner and h/c w/ strong NCAA backgrounds
scheduling conflict; don't know yet if they are flexible
DD hasn't been here yet but loves the idea of training alongside L10s


Both gyms are the same distance away and I believe both gyms have TOPs programs. I'm trying to compare programs but I just don't know what to do. We could stay where we are (DD would rather not change) but I'm not very happy with things there. I don't want to be "that mom" but I'm worried about my daughter's safety and the quality of her training. Opinions would be great.
 
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bogwoppit

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Shawn, that's really too bad that your gym is not able to manage it's programmes better. It bites to have to change, but when you pay a lot of money to have your child safely trained you deserve to get what you pay for.

Gym A sounds like the place I would go with a very young talented one. She may enjoy Tops and strong basics in the compulsory levels are important. Why does gym B score lower? Is it because the basics are not there or because they don't spend endless hours perfecting the nitty gritty of the compulsory routines.

I would place her where is best for her now, she is so little a lot can change in a few years and you can always change again if you feel it necessary.

Can she go and try out both gym whilst you observe, just so you can get a feel for them. Also ask about parent/coach communication and group ratios.

Good luck girl, I do not envy you.:(
 
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Billy

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Thanks, Bog. I knew I could count of you for some helpful, supportive words of wisdom. I think the reason Gym B doesn't score well at compulsories is because they aren't into perfecting every nit picky detail. They want to get the girl in and through and out and on to optionals. They have a lot of girls who have made the optionals levels and the owner told me that all but two of their L8-L10s qualified to their highest meet (Regionals, Easterns or Nationals), which is pretty good. They also have one girl who could qualify for elite but chooses not to.
 
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msl529

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Changing gyms is tough, but go w/ your good, motherly instincts!

Sounds like Gym A is your best bet. Since she is going to be a compulsory for the next couple of years or so, you want a program that will support/build on the already good start that she has. You can always move her again later, if she needs a better optional program.

Also, if Gym A's compulsories are already good (and you believe them to be so, thru your research), then those girls are very likey going to be pretty well-trained optionals in a few years. So maybe you will have a nice, well-rounded optional program by the time your DD gets to that level!

Good luck, and keep us posted! :)
 

bogwoppit

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I suppose based on that then the question is what would you prefer for your little one. Would you rather race her through the levels and potentially have an 11 yr old in the hopes/pre elite situation or would you rather that she takes her time and wins a lot early on

For me it is all about the fun, if she enjoys meets and winning then Gym A remains the first choice. If she would enjoy getting the skills and not getting the medals for a few years then maybe gym B would work.

I cannot imagine many little girls not wanting to win and excel, that's where the good compulsories come in. AT this rate she'll be out of compulsories by the time she's 8/9 anyway, why rush her more than that?
 
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msl529

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I suppose based on that then the question is what would you prefer for your little one. Would you rather race her through the levels and potentially have an 11 yr old in the hopes/pre elite situation or would you rather that she takes her time and wins a lot early on

For me it is all about the fun, if she enjoys meets and winning then Gym A remains the first choice. If she would enjoy getting the skills and not getting the medals for a few years then maybe gym B would work.

I cannot imagine many little girls not wanting to win and excel, that's where the good compulsories come in. AT this rate she'll be out of compulsories by the time she's 8/9 anyway, why rush her more than that?
I agree w/ all of this.
 
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Billy

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I suppose based on that then the question is what would you prefer for your little one. Would you rather race her through the levels and potentially have an 11 yr old in the hopes/pre elite situation or would you rather that she takes her time and wins a lot early on

For me it is all about the fun, if she enjoys meets and winning then Gym A remains the first choice. If she would enjoy getting the skills and not getting the medals for a few years then maybe gym B would work.

I cannot imagine many little girls not wanting to win and excel, that's where the good compulsories come in. AT this rate she'll be out of compulsories by the time she's 8/9 anyway, why rush her more than that?

I have talked with DD about this. She used to say that she'd rather learn new skills than win at meets. But this morning, she said she really likes the meets and she wants to win medals AND learn new tricks. Nothing like wanting it all and wanting it now, right? :rolleyes:
 

gymjourneymom

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Hi Shawn, Switching gyms is always such a tough decision:confused: So much to take into account. We've toyed will the idea numerous times...but we've always decide to "stick it out". Our 1st time considering switching was when DD was on pre-team(our gym doesn't call it "team" until level 4)over a totally packed gym...so crowded! During the time slots that pre-team practices were held, the gym was packed with class & rec kids. It was a total zoo during those time slots. But we stuck it out(DD didn't want to leave her friends)...DD went to team & did very well in compulsories. Although many of the compulsory practices were held during the "zooy" time slots, the team girls did get good training. Could it have been better somewhere else? Maybe. But DD had fun with her friends & did well in training. Now she's in optionals & she practices at later times slots. The "zoo" factor is gone, but she's at the gym until 9:30p 4 nights a week & has to get up for school at 6am. B/c we have stuck it out we've seen MANY coaches come & go. Some we have cried about & some we were happy to see leave. So much to consider....what made you choose this gym when you switched initally??? Have you discussed your concerns with the coach or owner? If you really think a switch is needed, I agree with bog & msl529. I'd go to the one with the strong compulsory program at this point. Good luck with your choice:)
 
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starmaker

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Shawn,

I too am shopping for a new gym. I don't have many options but, gym B sounds like the gym dd currently attends and also like the new gym we are considering. I personally don't think dd would be happy in a gym that perfects every little intricate detail before moving to the next level. Gyms that score 35 and 36 consistently in compulsories. They also tend to hold girls back in order to get the high scores. Thoses gym in my opinion care more about the gyms reputation than the gymnast. I am more interested in dd being happy with her gymnastics and usually that means she needs to stay challenged to some extent learning new things and perfecting old ones. I think its a personal perference. Again every child is different and different strokes for dierent folks. Shawn you know your dd best. You may also consider Gym A for a while (a year or so) and then change again. Besides it's finding the best fit for dd at that time. Good luck to your gym move. I am stressing over mine.......:(!
 

ZJsMom

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You might also consider talking to the HC or owner of your current gym and sticking it out. I think the mat always looks bluer at the other gym, but no place is perfect. Whatever problems you're leaving behind, you're sure to encounter similar ones at the new gym. I was just talking with a gym mom who left our gym recently. She was finding it funny how she was hearing the same complaints from the parents at the new gym as at our gym. In then end, I suppose you have to go with your gut, but I guess my preference would be to stick with the devil you know.
 
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Billy

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You might also consider talking to the HC or owner of your current gym and sticking it out. I think the mat always looks bluer at the other gym, but no place is perfect. Whatever problems you're leaving behind, you're sure to encounter similar ones at the new gym. I was just talking with a gym mom who left our gym recently. She was finding it funny how she was hearing the same complaints from the parents at the new gym as at our gym. In then end, I suppose you have to go with your gut, but I guess my preference would be to stick with the devil you know.

I completely understand and that's part of my indecision. I'm hesitant to do anything because I don't want to end up in a worse situation. But I'm getting really agitated with our current gym and I think the one inexperienced coach could actually be dangerous someday. I've been lucky that it hasn't been my kid that she's dropped.
 

jls1969

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Sep 27, 2007
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Oh Shawn---

What a bummer. It really is no fun to be in that situation--I have been through it. At this point it does sound like you are ready to make the change--now to choose the gym.

Gym A--it is interesting that they have a strong compulsory program, but weaker optional one. It is probably b/c they send the girls to the other gym for the optional--be sure to look at the gym as a package. Our gym operates that way as well. We have 3 gyms--1 trains compulsories only and then sends them to one of the other two. The other 2 have L5 and L6 only, but then go on to optionals. Another thing--is the team strong b/c they hold back girls for scores or b/c they are very into detail?

Our coach says that the most important thing about compulseries is the learning of basics and detail. He does not try and rush girls through--he pushes them later. Our girls do 1 met of 7 and usually go straight to 8. His theory is that gymnastics is a marathon--not a sprint. :)

Gym B--if this gym has a strong optional program, is it possible to move there when she is ready to compete optionals? The flexibility in schedule could also be an issue--after they are only young once and there are other things in their lives besides gymnastics.

If she is talented--TOPS is great. Our gym doesn't do TOPS, but has several elite girls. I think TOPS is a great way for younger girls to become exposed and ready for the elite path. Does either gym have more hours? Are their girls her age? Do they train up at all?

I will certainly pray for you---keep us up-to-date and let us know. Are you planning to make this decision soon?

jls
 

momof5

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Oct 26, 2007
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Shawn I know rigth where you are at. We are also thinking about switching. I am a little hesitate though because I know that there will be problem at evey gym. Saftey would be a huge concern for me though. Unsupervison and dropping is dangerous and whether you switch or not this needs to be addressed. Your problem sound very similar to ours. We are having alot of the same struggles. I would definately spend more time at both gyms doing a lot more watching and talking to parents. Our current gym has a real strong compuslalry program and this doesn't always mean that its giving them basics. Our is strong because of that all they seem to do is practice rountines and skills of routines and never work on anything else so kids don't always move up because they spend so little time up training and more time perfecting every part of the routine. Also is Gym A a farely new gym? Don't expect them to build a strong optional program if they haven't already unless the gym is farely new. When we first started at our gym they told us that they were working on building there optional program and 4 years later its they same small optional low scoring program that can't build past level 8. If gym A doesn't end up growing their optional program soon you copuld be faced with having to switch yet again in a couple of years. I think the constant switching could be touch on kids. My dd is also not wanting to quit because of friends. She is bored and wants more but that pull of friends and that comfort of familiarity is strong at this age. But I am not willing to keep paying for terrible gymnastics so she may not have a choice.
 
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Billy

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I think that Gym A is somewhat new, at least their optionals program is new. The sister gym was the original and for awhile, all the optionals went there. I did ask about this and they don't do that now, which is why they are building the program at the newer gym. They do have up to level 8, albeit only a couple. However, this gym has a good TOPs program and there is a lot to be said for that.

I'm going to call the owner of gym B to discuss the scheduling conflict. If they can be flexible, we'll set up a time to try them out, hopefully Friday. Then we'll go try Gym A and DD can give us her perspective and opinion. If Gym B can't be flexible, then the decision is made to go to Gym A. I'm not going to make DD give up church on Wednesdays as that is her only other activity outside of school.
 

gym law mom

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IIRC, you're at a gym that competes AAU until L5. Sounds like you would be switching to a gym that is USAG for L4. That would mean dd learning all new routines and relearning or learning some new skills. Yes, your current gym has some issues---to me the more serious are the lack of supervision and a coach that is not good with spotting. The new coaches have only been there for maybe 2 mos, so its not quite fair to rate them right now. I think if nothing else you should talk with the owner or current HC about your concerns and see what they say.

When you were looking at gyms a few years ago, what made you pass up Gyms A and B? I know you've expressed interest in moving to another area of the country come spring and the would have your dd in her 4th gym at age 7 if you do still plan to make the move. Thats alot of change and can cause quite a bit of confusion for your dd. No gym trains the same way, no 2 coaches teach skills exactly the same and for dd it would seem like she's always the new kid and starting over.

Do not get caught up in the e word(elite). If your dd is still driven to compete and put her all into the sport in 3-4 yrs, then look at gyms that have that type of program. From your description, Gym A would sound like the best bet. Compulsories are the time to get all those little details down, so that once your dd hits optional she's not having to go back and fix things. This is only a sport and not her life---she's only 6 once.
 
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Billy

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Both gyms we are considering do AAU through level 4 and then switch to USAG for level 5. The relocation out of state is off the table thanks to the horrible economy. Also, Gym B is now out because they cannot be flexible with our scheduling conflict. I have a call in to the team director at Gym A to make sure the scheduling adjustment is still available. If it is, then we'll go check them out on Friday, I think.
 
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Billy

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And just like that, it's over. Gym A's level 4 team is full. We are officially out of options. *sigh*
 

gymjourneymom

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Sorry to hear the choice is out of your hands for now:(. Maybe all things happen for a reason;) Keep your options open for the future. But I still think it's worth discussing your concerns with the coach/owner of your current gym. You want your DD to have the best experience she can & be safe in the process. I think yor concerns warrant a meeting to voice them. Maybe they need to get the coach in question some further training. And maybe they could work on organizing the classes more productivley.
 
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Billy

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Sorry to hear the choice is out of your hands for now:(. Maybe all things happen for a reason;) Keep your options open for the future. But I still think it's worth discussing your concerns with the coach/owner of your current gym. You want your DD to have the best experience she can & be safe in the process. I think yor concerns warrant a meeting to voice them. Maybe they need to get the coach in question some further training. And maybe they could work on organizing the classes more productivley.

The owner would think I was trying to tell her how to run her gym. I will just keep an eye on my daughter and hope things improve as time goes on. If they don't, I may have to submit to a very long drive to find another gym but I really don't want to do that. Once competition season ends, the gym will have new level 7s, and probably some remaining level 6s and level 5s, so I'll be curious to see how they rearrange to accommodate another team come December/ January.
 

DbacksMom75

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Our gym is a little "zoo-y" right now but we were warned about a month ago. The owners posted a notice saying that every Olympic year it gets insane for a couple months. DD goes 2 days a week and both days there is rec classes, team practice, and tumbling going on. The gym is rather small size wise but they split it in a way that accomodates everyone. It actually amazes me how much they fit, we have two sets of bars, a small low bar area for the rec classes, 6 balance beams, two vault strips, a tumble track, and full size floor.
Hopefully after the novelty wears off your gym stop being so insane :D

Liz
:nurse:
 
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