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Lidance78

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Hi I am a new gym parent. My daughter is 6 and started gymnastics when she was 5. She has been dancing since she was 3 as well. I put her in gymnastics basically for another activity and she wound up liking it. Last year she was in a rec class and wound up meeting someone from her kindergarten class who she became best friends with. Most of the girls in the class were new (couldn’t do a cartwheel, handstand, etc) except for my daughters friend who has been taking it since she was 2. The rec class was basically playtime and they would do this silly obstacle course where they wouldn’t really practice any skills. My daughter practiced a lot during quarantine (basically to do something but she also seemed to like it as well). She isn’t a natural by any means but she can now do a straight cartwheel, handstand, bridge kickover, backbend, forward and backward rolls, pullover, back hip circle. She got most of these skills at home while practicing. She also did private lessons in our backyard over the summer with her friend. I put her in a rec class a few weeks ago and it was basically playtime again where they would swing on the bars, jump in the foam pit. I asked if they had different levels and she said they just go by age. So I looked at another gym in our area and she tried tried the pre-team class and made it. She is definitely not the best one in the class but she has expressed interest in competing in the future. They are working on all level 2 skills which I believe she has except a round off and mill circle (which they work on in class). They said preteam does not compete which I’m happy about because she isn’t ready. I am trying not to become that crazy gym mom but she does not have natural flexibility, struggles with pointed toes, straight legs, etc. I remind her at home and I know she is only 6 and just started a year ago. I guess my question is can someone who does not have any sort of natural talent have a shot at competition? She isn’t terrible by any means but I see other girls her age and sometimes I feel like I should steer her away. She does love it and now she goes to the gym twice a week for pre-team. I appreciate any advice or insight!
 

skschlag

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If she loves it, and you can do it, stick with it. We were told by a coach that my son, at age 6, did not have the right body type for gymnastics, and he could tell by looking at me and my husband that he was not going to have the right type as he grew. My son is now 18, and a L10, and has figured out how to make his body work for him. He is not the best gymnast and works really hard for everything, but he has enjoyed every minute of his journey and hopes to do gym in college next year.

So, body type can play a role, but there are lots of ways to be successful at this sport.
 

Lidance78

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If she loves it, and you can do it, stick with it. We were told by a coach that my son, at age 6, did not have the right body type for gymnastics, and he could tell by looking at me and my husband that he was not going to have the right type as he grew. My son is now 18, and a L10, and has figured out how to make his body work for him. He is not the best gymnast and works really hard for everything, but he has enjoyed every minute of his journey and hopes to do gym in college next year.

So, body type can play a role, but there are lots of ways to be successful at this sport.
Thanks for your reply. She definitely has the body type by looking at her. That’s actually one of the things they said at her private lessons during the summer. And she does love it. I feel like I started her too late at 5 but I know that sounds silly. I also find myself comparing her to other kids her age which I know I shouldn’t do. She has picked up a lot in just a year (at least I think) but nothing really has come easy for her. It took her a while to get her cartwheel straight for example. But I guess it doesn’t come easy for everyone?
 

gymgal

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Simple answer is yes, she could compete even without pointed toes, straight legs etc. If the gym didn't think so, they would not have allowed her to stay on preteam. Take a cruise around you tube videos of preteam and low level gymnastics and you will see a very wide range of abilities and talent. How far a gymnast will go depends on a lot of factors, but talent is not the most important factor. A good work ethic and willingness to try to correct errors is more important. I don't mean now at age 6, but as she grows. All the things you mention are very common for an average talent gymnast starting out. Yes, there will always be those gymnasts who just have it all from the start but they are rare, unless you happen to be in a powerhouse gym where they coaches can be very picky about who they put on team.

As for the CGM (crazy gym mom) - Unless you have a background in gymnastics (or a friend who is a coach, which may be the case since she got privates in her backyard?), you know a lot more than a typical rec parent would know at this point. You are heading down that road. You already recognize it by your comment. BTDT. Just settle back, don't worry about the levels, skills, whether she is ahead/behind her classmates, pointed toes, bent legs, etc. Keep it fun. Keep her wanting to go to class by limiting what she is allowed to do at home so that she is eager to get to gym and practice with her classmates. When she says "look mom!" you say "that's awesome!" without corrections. When she says "I will never get this stupid ___". You say "It will come when your body and brain are ready for it to come". No pressure, no expectations. You will not alway be able to resist (BTDT) but it you begin early with the no pressure stance, it will help you maintain control later on when it gets tougher.
 

Lidance78

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Simple answer is yes, she could compete even without pointed toes, straight legs etc. If the gym didn't think so, they would not have allowed her to stay on preteam. Take a cruise around you tube videos of preteam and low level gymnastics and you will see a very wide range of abilities and talent. How far a gymnast will go depends on a lot of factors, but talent is not the most important factor. A good work ethic and willingness to try to correct errors is more important. I don't mean now at age 6, but as she grows. All the things you mention are very common for an average talent gymnast starting out. Yes, there will always be those gymnasts who just have it all from the start but they are rare, unless you happen to be in a powerhouse gym where they coaches can be very picky about who they put on team.

As for the CGM (crazy gym mom) - Unless you have a background in gymnastics (or a friend who is a coach, which may be the case since she got privates in her backyard?), you know a lot more than a typical rec parent would know at this point. You are heading down that road. You already recognize it by your comment. BTDT. Just settle back, don't worry about the levels, skills, whether she is ahead/behind her classmates, pointed toes, bent legs, etc. Keep it fun. Keep her wanting to go to class by limiting what she is allowed to do at home so that she is eager to get to gym and practice with her classmates. When she says "look mom!" you say "that's awesome!" without corrections. When she says "I will never get this stupid ___". You say "It will come when your body and brain are ready for it to come". No pressure, no expectations. You will not alway be able to resist (BTDT) but it you begin early with the no pressure stance, it will help you maintain control later on when it gets tougher.
Thank you for your reply. I was a dancer not a gymnast and I really only know about gymnastics from looking it up and watching YouTube videos, etc. The pointed toes and straight legs I just kind of know since I was a dancer so it kind of makes me cringe to see it lol. What you say make total sense but how do I get there? I feel like I have a really hard time sitting back and not saying things and I know I need to get there. The good thing now is that we aren’t technically allowed in her gym (due to covid). I was allowed to watch the first practice in order to make sure it was a good place for her. But now I basically drop her off and pick her up after 2 hours. For me this is the best thing so she focuses and I don’t become the CGM lol. Or at least make it worse haha. I guess my fear is that it makes me nervous when I see a girl her age doing a RBHS and my daughter is doing a kick over (which took A LOT of practice) and it still needs to be perfected. I know in gymnastics it takes a long time to get skills, some more than others it seems. She doesn’t seem to mind she doesn’t have the mill circle yet and round off but why does it bother me so much? She is just happy going to the gym and she has made friends already which makes it even better.
 

amiandjim

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You get there by just making yourself do it! You are already self-aware, which is a good first step. Here is the thing.....kids will progress at vastly different rates and none of them is better, worse, too fast, too slow, etc...each path is just right for that particular kid. As long as she is happy and working hard, you should pay the bills and give her hugs and kisses. That’s it!
 

Aussie_coach

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Not pointing ties, straightening legs and being unflexible does not mean that she is not naturally talented.

Especially when it comes to toes and knees. The kids who can do that are generally precocious not necessarily talented. A lot of kids like that do well in the lower levels, the skills are easier and it’s more about their ability to listen and apply corrections. But in the long run it’s not the key to success in the sport.

It sounds to me like your daughter is very talented. To pick up those skills in a short time, to be driven to practice at home endlessly, to be able to do what she can do when she has only done play gymnastics type classes and some private lessons. Means that she sounds very talented.
 
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gymgal

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I guess my fear is that it makes me nervous when I see a girl her age doing a RBHS and my daughter is doing a kick over (which took A LOT of practice) and it still needs to be perfected. I know in gymnastics it takes a long time to get skills, some more than others it seems. She doesn’t seem to mind she doesn’t have the mill circle yet and round off but why does it bother me so much? She is just happy going to the gym and she has made friends already which makes it even better.
I hear you. It can be tough but you have to work hard to change your thinking. She is exactly where she needs to be, skill wise. She will get there on her own time. So she doesn't move up with that girl who has a ROBHS. It's not the end of the world. This is her journey, not the other girls'. We old timers on CB have seen SO many girls progress fast in the lower levels, only to be surpassed by other girls who had a slower start. Many of those late bloomers are the ones who tend to go farther and stay in the sport longer. My d was one of those - working from behind for several years, bend arms/legs, spaghetti limbs o_O, last to get many skills - she had always been very cautious . She got it together eventually and completed L10 for 4 years. It was not her talent (or lack there of). It was mainly her desire to stay focused in the sport and having a supportive coaching staff that allowed her to progress at her own rate.
 

Lidance78

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Not pointing ties, straightening legs and being unflexible does not mean that she is not naturally talented.

Especially when it comes to toes and knees. The kids who can do that are generally precocious not necessarily talented. A lot of kids like that do well in the lower levels, the skills are easier and it’s more about their ability to listen and apply corrections. But in the long run it’s not the key to success in the sport.

It sounds to me like your daughter is very talented. To pick up those skills in a short time, to be driven to practice at home endlessly, to be able to do what she can do when she has only done play gymnastics type classes and some private lessons. Means that she sounds very talented.
Thank you for your comment! I guess when you put it that way she does have talent and I need took at all of the positives. She did get most it not all of the skills on her own which is impressive. I also thought that she had originally liked gymnastics because she was with her best friend but now they are at separate gyms and she still loves it. I know every gymnast is different but when do girls typically start to point toes and polish skills?
 
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Lidance78

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I hear you. It can be tough but you have to work hard to change your thinking. She is exactly where she needs to be, skill wise. She will get there on her own time. So she doesn't move up with that girl who has a ROBHS. It's not the end of the world. This is her journey, not the other girls'. We old timers on CB have seen SO many girls progress fast in the lower levels, only to be surpassed by other girls who had a slower start. Many of those late bloomers are the ones who tend to go farther and stay in the sport longer. My d was one of those - working from behind for several years, bend arms/legs, spaghetti limbs o_O, last to get many skills - she had always been very cautious . She got it together eventually and completed L10 for 4 years. It was not her talent (or lack there of). It was mainly her desire to stay focused in the sport and having a supportive coaching staff that allowed her to progress at her own rate.
Your daughter sounds like she was similar to mine as mine is also very cautious and afraid to try new skills. Once she gets it she gets super excited. She doesn’t like to fail or get things wrong. Also I always kind of thought she would follow dance since I put her in that first and I was a dancer, so this gymnastics thing is so new to me. I see how much she enjoys it and I want to give her the opportunity to succeed if this is what she wants to do. I just need to take a step (or a lot more lol) back and let this be her thing. What age did your daughter start? Wow level 10 is amazing by the way!
 

raenndrops

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I know every gymnast is different but when do girls typically start to point toes and polish skills?
In my experience, OG (began gymnastics at 4 years old) finally started pointing her toes 80% of the time when she was 9. YG (began gymnastics at 17 months old) started pointing hers 70% of the time at age 10.

On our team, the age range when they start focusing on pointed toes WHILE also polishing skills is mostly between 8 and 12.
 

Dad1234

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I think your daughter sounds talented for her age. If you ever go to an open gym or some other activity where she is with same aged peers you will realize how talented she is. Sometimes, it’s easy to compare with other more talented kids and this makes me forget how much my daughter can already do compared to a typical peer. I think your daughter is perfectly placed. You said she has friends and is happy. This is the most important thing. It’s taken me two years (our daughters are the same age) and a gym change to realize that my daughter’s happiness on team is way more important than how quickly she gets new skills. I wish I could go back and tell this to myself when she first started competing. I wanted her to have bigger skills and she acquired some bigger skills for her age. But, now, after a gym change, I realized that she has to correct the bigger skills that she acquired at a young age and I should have just been more patient. I also can’t watch practice anymore due to covid and it has been the best thing because now I don’t know what she can and can’t do. I love to watch her practice but I didn’t realize how easy it was to compare her to teammates when I watched. Now, I view gymnastics through her eyes and how she views her progress. It’s more fun to hear about practice through her eyes verses walking away from a practice that I watched questioning why she didn’t progress as quickly as I thought she should have. Even when I can watch practice again, it will probably be something that I do once or twice a month for an hour and not every practice.
 

gymgal

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Your daughter sounds like she was similar to mine as mine is also very cautious and afraid to try new skills. Once she gets it she gets super excited. She doesn’t like to fail or get things wrong. Also I always kind of thought she would follow dance since I put her in that first and I was a dancer, so this gymnastics thing is so new to me. I see how much she enjoys it and I want to give her the opportunity to succeed if this is what she wants to do. I just need to take a step (or a lot more lol) back and let this be her thing. What age did your daughter start? Wow level 10 is amazing by the way!
Started just before age 5 with no skills at all. I would say she began understanding body tightness around age 9-10 so it took her a while. When I look back at meet videos - oh my! After she had made it to the upper levels, her HC once told me that she remembered way back when, thinking there was no way this little girl would move up the levels and how she was proven wrong by d's sheer determination not to give up and her love for the sport.

I should add that my d did the early levels through an alternate program, a precursor to xcel now. It really helped her because she had more leeway in the early levels to not be dinged so much on precision. By the time she transitioned to L7, she had figured it out body tightness, for the most part.
 
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Tmacs

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It sounds like your daughter is talented. Body awareness does not come until later for most. And she is not behind! My daughter started pre-team at 7, team (L2) at 8 and now is L4 and just turned 10. She is in the younger third of the L4 group. And if she had started competing earlier, I don’t think she would love it as much as she does now. It was very clear when she was ready and I think she’ll stick with it longer.
About the CGM...
I’m super competitive.., it’s hard for me to know what would help and yet keep my mouth shut...
However, I did gymnastics but I have never corrected her or suggested anything ever! Even during Covid gym shut down when I knew it would help to stretch every day, I kept my mouth shut and let her figure out her own thing... she eventually found stretching videos and invited me to do them with her. Way better bonding experience than if I had initiated....
Same with my other daughter who plays soccer. I was a coach and I still don’t say a word about what she could do better.
That is the one thing I would stop now. Bite your tongue and never be her “coach” or remind her of pointed toes or anything. Coaches will thank you and your daughter will appreciate just have your 100% support with zero expectations.
As parents, we can expect that they will follow through with commitments until the season is over and be a kind teammate but beyond that, we let go.
 

Lidance78

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It sounds like your daughter is talented. Body awareness does not come until later for most. And she is not behind! My daughter started pre-team at 7, team (L2) at 8 and now is L4 and just turned 10. She is in the younger third of the L4 group. And if she had started competing earlier, I don’t think she would love it as much as she does now. It was very clear when she was ready and I think she’ll stick with it longer.
About the CGM...
I’m super competitive.., it’s hard for me to know what would help and yet keep my mouth shut...
However, I did gymnastics but I have never corrected her or suggested anything ever! Even during Covid gym shut down when I knew it would help to stretch every day, I kept my mouth shut and let her figure out her own thing... she eventually found stretching videos and invited me to do them with her. Way better bonding experience than if I had initiated....
Same with my other daughter who plays soccer. I was a coach and I still don’t say a word about what she could do better.
That is the one thing I would stop now. Bite your tongue and never be her “coach” or remind her of pointed toes or anything. Coaches will thank you and your daughter will appreciate just have your 100% support with zero expectations.
As parents, we can expect that they will follow through with commitments until the season is over and be a kind teammate but beyond that, we let go
It sounds like your daughter is talented. Body awareness does not come until later for most. And she is not behind! My daughter started pre-team at 7, team (L2) at 8 and now is L4 and just turned 10. She is in the younger third of the L4 group. And if she had started competing earlier, I don’t think she would love it as much as she does now. It was very clear when she was ready and I think she’ll stick with it longer.
About the CGM...
I’m super competitive.., it’s hard for me to know what would help and yet keep my mouth shut...
However, I did gymnastics but I have never corrected her or suggested anything ever! Even during Covid gym shut down when I knew it would help to stretch every day, I kept my mouth shut and let her figure out her own thing... she eventually found stretching videos and invited me to do them with her. Way better bonding experience than if I had initiated....
Same with my other daughter who plays soccer. I was a coach and I still don’t say a word about what she could do better.
That is the one thing I would stop now. Bite your tongue and never be her “coach” or remind her of pointed toes or anything. Coaches will thank you and your daughter will appreciate just have your 100% support with zero expectations.
As parents, we can expect that they will follow through with commitments until the season is over and be a kind teammate but beyond that, we let go.
Thank you for this. I don’t know what it is about gymnastics (I guess it’s because it’s an unknown world to me) but I need to just let go as you said. She woke up today all excited about gymnastics later. Ever since we switched to this new gym she seems to love it. She also really likes two other girls on preteam. That’s all I can ask for! I forgot to mention that they were also on preteam last year (I believe) so they aren’t necessarily better just have had more practice. It sounds like for most people including yourself, things just fell into place and to be patient. I am not good with that but I am going to work on it. She also does dance and soccer and seems to like everything (and is pretty decent at everything) so it should be interesting to see what she stays with and what she wants to do long-term. She doesn’t get as excited about dance as gymnastics but seems to love that too so who knows?!
 
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gymyogimom

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The fact that your daughter is 6 years old and only in the sport for 1 year (including covid) and you know what a CGM is makes me think you're well on your way if you don't back up and let this be her sport.
 

Lidance78

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The fact that your daughter is 6 years old and only in the sport for 1 year (including covid) and you know what a CGM is makes me think you're well on your way if you don't back up and let this be her sport.
Yikes! I appreciate your honesty! I definitely don’t want to be a CGM and was only trying to help telling her to point toes, etc but I get what you are saying.
 
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skygirlpc

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My daughter is 6.5 and has been at the same gym since "mommy & me" classes at 2, so I'm no seasoned pro... but I would say that in the time that my daughter has spent in the sport I have learned a few things.
1) Nobody wins in the comparison game! Don't allow yourself to compare your daughter to others. Compare her current abilities to her past abilities and celebrate her achievments.
2) Let the the coaches do the coaching. Research your gyms and find one that you can trust the experience of the coaching staff. They will know if she is progressing at a good rate (so you won't need to compare her to others), they will know when to correct pointed toes (so that you don't have to).
 

Celorah

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I get your feelings, my daughter is 6 and in her first year competing as a bronze Xcel gymnast...the skills you describe are what she is now doing on team! It is hard not to compare to the other girls, especially with our team that has kids just starting out with team at age 8 and 9 that obviously have more body awareness and polish. At first I worried so much about how behind those girls she seemed to be, but now as we are about to enter competitions and have had a practice where they did all their routines I am realizing she will be just fine. She can’t do some of those skills they can do yet (like BHS or certain dismounts, etc) but she can do her routines with her skills just fine. Our gym has a wide age range of kids at bronze and they have done a great job with the younger ones who just have the bare minimum of skills and the older ones who have more skills.