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Private lessons

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coffeebean13

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Hi everyone!

My daughter has her first private lesson tonight is is super excited! She has been doing rec gymnastics since February (2008) and is in L2. She goes once a week for 2 hours right now. We have chosen a coach that has worked with her before and they are a great match. He is not her class coach, though. He does work with a higher level and has shown alot of interest in getting our daughter prepared for L3, which at her gym will require 2 sessions a week for a total of 4 hours, so she can be conditioned for competitions.

I do have a few questions:

Does anyone have any inside tips on how to get the most from these lessons? Can you share your experiences with private lessons, did they help you or your gymnast in the areas you needed them to, would you do anything differently to get more out of them?

Thanks!
 

gymch34

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Aug 2, 2008
322
east coast
Just be patient- I'm sure the lessons will help. Based on experience, I can tell you what will NOT help. Sometimes I've had parents tell their children that every minute in a private is ___X__ dollars (insert dollar amt here), so they better use every minute. The kids are stressed even before the private starts, and are exhausted 1/2 way though because they feel like they have to be on the go every minute.
Good luck!
 
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coffeebean13

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Thanks!

I think this will be a great experience. She loves gymnastics and all of her coaches, but this particular one really gets her in training mode. She has been begging for more gymnastics since summer camp and we (my husband and I) finally decided it would probably be for the best to try the private lessons so she had more one on one to work on finishes and strenghth (although she is amazingly strong as is).

I'm just as excited as she is though! I absolutely love watching her, she inspires me when she gets out there and is so determined to get a new skill under her belt.
 

gym law mom

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Is this lesson just a 1 time thing or are you planning them weekly? Ok, here is my opinion on privates for what its worth(maybe not much). I only see them being beneficial to work on a skill that a child is having fear issues with or just struggling for quite awhile to get. My gymmie has done very few "privates" in her gym career(training L8) and to be honest she really doesn't like them all that much. Also the cost of frequent privates is not something we want to get into.

What about adding another class to her schedule? If you want to maximize what is accomplished during a private then talk with the coach about what he is going to work on(some will let the child pick something too as long at its appropriate)---in other words, have a lesson plan. I've seen some coaches stoll into the gym and let the child pick things they want to do or just end up playing with them----thats ususally not productive.
 

gotgym

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We always talk about these at our beginning of the year meetings. we feel it should be a personal choice for the gymnasts and her parents. (like extra tutoring) and No one should be pressured into doing them. I find them most beneficial when kids are struggling with a skill or routine . It can be a great confidence booster and I have found many kids just thrive on that one on one attention. Some kids love them and others prefer not to do them which is fine.. In our gym we have gymnasts that do them weekly and those that never do them, and still others do them just right before a meet. I willnot do them with a child if I feel it will not be beneficial. I have often when asked recommended that 'Suzie' do a bar private with Coach Mark rather than a beam private with me since bars is her weaker event. Hope this helps!:eek:
 
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coffeebean13

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We have scheduled a few weeks worth for now. Basically we wanted to see how our daughter would respond to the one on one. She doesn't so much need help with any particular skill, mostly her finishes and the fluidity (is that a word? ha!) of her movements.

Her current coach has done well with her, but now it seems as if our daughter isn't receiving much actual coaching as a few new girls have come into her class and as bad as it sounds, they really could have used more time in the previous level. So anyways, the coach is having to really "round" them up and it's frustrating to watch our daughter doing her exercises and then waiting (and waiting) for the coaches' "o.k.'s" to move on.

The coach that we have chosen for the lessons is really excited to work with our daughter and has explained that his main focus will be her stability and some more strength training. He and some other coaches that have worked with her have all said the same thing, her natural ability and interest is what matters the most right now and she should be rewarded for her talent and not be stuck with a group that is clearly not on her "level".
 

DbacksMom75

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Aug 18, 2008
112
Arlington, TX
Ugg privates....
I have been wondering about this one to, DD is strong on vault and bars but could use help on floor, i have been wondering if it's worth it to pay extra for a private lesson every other week. She has issues with her ROBH (mostly she bends her legs like a frog), but I have mixed feelings about it.
A friend of mine spent at least $300 a month for her daughter to get her ROBH in cheer, 3 years later she still didn't have it, we started calling it the "million dollar backhandspring". I don't know if some kids just work better in that environment or feel pressured.....
 
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coffeebean13

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Well, this may have been just what our daughter needed.

There was absolutely no pressure, she had a great time and didn't want to leave when it all was said and done! In fact she was tested in all areas and has been submitted to attend the next skills testing next Saturday to possibly move up to L3.

We are still going to allow her a few more privates because it's more of a treat for her than anything else. She got so much out of last night's session that we thought she was going to burst open at the seams!

If she does make L3 she will have 2-2hour classes a week and this idea alone makes her happy.

Thanks to everyone on your input.
 

gymmomntc2e6

Moderator/Proud Parent
Aug 25, 2007
2,842
North Carolina
Glad it went well for her - our gym does not offer privates, so it is not an option for us. DD is having a great season so far, but could use some polish on floor.
 

Aussie_coach

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It is wonderful that she enjoyed it, and it can be a great thing for her. But be aware that a level 2 gymnast should not need privates. If she does then there is a problem with the way her training is being structured or the way her group classes are being run. My big concern would be why the need for them in the first place.

Privates can get very expensive, it may not be so bad now as she is only doing another 2 hours a week in the gym. But when she gets to levels 4-6 she will no doubt be in the gym 10-16 hours a week, by the optional levels it is generally 16-25 hours a week. Don't set up the expectation that privates will always be doable.
 

Linsul

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Sep 19, 2008
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I agree with everyone who says privates are good in moderation or if you're after a specific skill that could use a tad bit more attention. I wouldn't make a regular thing of it though. Aussie_Coach is right on about L2 not being a level where privates aren't needed. That being said they can be fun and offer clarification that comes with 1 on 1 instruction when used rarely as a supplement to class.

Generally speaking I'd make sure to teach the gymnast ways to make the most out of their class before incurring the expense or potential schedule juggling of a private. Sometimes children put the coach in the same category as school teacher or parent since they're adults, or maybe are on the shy side, and remain quiet when confused. Or afraid of interruption or the attention from the other kids for asking a question. If they are anxious about any of the above, I'd suggest helping them out at home to know when to speak up and that it's ok to ask questions or need help. Also perhaps let the coach know so they can get the conversational ball rolling.
 

MdGymMom01

Active Member
Mar 5, 2008
2,236
North America
Ugg privates....
I have been wondering about this one to, DD is strong on vault and bars but could use help on floor, i have been wondering if it's worth it to pay extra for a private lesson every other week. She has issues with her ROBH (mostly she bends her legs like a frog), but I have mixed feelings about it.
A friend of mine spent at least $300 a month for her daughter to get her ROBH in cheer, 3 years later she still didn't have it, we started calling it the "million dollar backhandspring". I don't know if some kids just work better in that environment or feel pressured.....

I totally hear you, Dbacksmom. During last Feb and Mar of last year in cheer I spent about $240/mo in private tumbling lessons for dd which was a total waste. Since quitting cheer and switching to gymnastics, dd hasn't had ANY privates and she is actually tumbling better for it. I guess it was too much pressure for her having the privates. It could have been the cheer environment and the coaches, too. It is also dependent upon the child and their personality. Some kids work better one on one in a private setting and others learn better when they are with their peers able to see other kids doing the skill right along side of them. I don't think anyone at our gym, at least on dd's team, takes privates. All I know is that dd feels more comfortable in the environment she is in now, and the regular practices are enough for her to get the needed skills for now.
 
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coffeebean13

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Trust me, we are aware of the cost. As I said before it really was more of a treat for her than anything else.

Her skills are good, she is working on strength training of course and stability; but our main focus was to get her out in the spotlight, out from under her class cover, to let the other coaches see what she is doing. Sadly I think her class coach just hasn't been prepared to the recent influx of girls in her class and it has wound up hurting our daughter's progression. We also haven't been able to have any input from her normal coach which has been frustrating to say the least.

All the coaches that were present last night said basically the same thing..."why hasn't she tested for L3?", we don't know.

It doesn't sit with me exactly well that we did go to other coaches to get information about our daughter's progression and ares of good and not so good, but we have done it and for us it seems to have atleast gotten our daughter a spot for skill testing. I agree totally that privates should be for enhancing skills and getting over "bumps in the road", but in our case it really helped shed some light on what was going on.

I hope we haven't committed a gymnastic cardinal sin?
 

Linsul

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Sep 19, 2008
876
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Trust me, we are aware of the cost. As I said before it really was more of a treat for her than anything else.

Her skills are good, she is working on strength training of course and stability; but our main focus was to get her out in the spotlight, out from under her class cover, to let the other coaches see what she is doing. Sadly I think her class coach just hasn't been prepared to the recent influx of girls in her class and it has wound up hurting our daughter's progression. We also haven't been able to have any input from her normal coach which has been frustrating to say the least.

All the coaches that were present last night said basically the same thing..."why hasn't she tested for L3?", we don't know.

It doesn't sit with me exactly well that we did go to other coaches to get information about our daughter's progression and ares of good and not so good, but we have done it and for us it seems to have atleast gotten our daughter a spot for skill testing. I agree totally that privates should be for enhancing skills and getting over "bumps in the road", but in our case it really helped shed some light on what was going on.

I hope we haven't committed a gymnastic cardinal sin?

NO!! Don't feel bad at all, I don't think anybody wanted you to feel bad, I certainly didn't! You know your DD and current gym situation best. Personally, my post was just to get out that privates shouldn't be considered 'necessity' and to throw out some general advice on how to get attention while in class. It wasn't meant to be a pointed attack on your decision, apologies if it came off that way!

You bring up a valid point on getting lost in the class due to influx of kids. That is largely due in part of the Olympics. Every Olympic year brings a whole new bunch of kids that are suddenly signing up for the sport. They come with varying degrees of skill and interest, and gyms will always do their best to accommodate and retain these kids. It can make the first few months after the Olympics crazy because there's always some juggling to do. It will settle down though for sure. If your daughter is thriving during this time it is entirely possible she may have gotten slightly lost in the shuffle, so creating a platform for her to standout makes sense.
 
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coffeebean13

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Oh, no, no offense at all!

I want all her classmates to receive quality coaching, but that includes her as well of course. I know class size will even out again, but it seemed to come at a too-valuable time for our daughter.

Overall I feel we did the right thing.
 

Aussie_coach

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I just wanted to touch on your issue of one coach saying she should have been tested for level 3 while her other coach has not. It is very normal in a gym to have different coaches having a different opinion on this, it does not mean one coach is looking out for your daughter more than another. Moving up a level brings about many different questions.
Does she have the skills?
If not will she get them and when and do we know she really will?
Are the skills solid or is there a chance of her losing them?
Does she have enough competition experience?
Would she fit in better with her current group or the new one (are they older etc)?
Will she cope with the higher level hours?
Will it affect other team members negatively if she moves and they don't?
Will other team members also be moved?
Is there room in the next level group?
Are they planning on having her skip level 3 and go straight to level 4?
Are they working her towards a special goal at level 2?

There is so much to consider, the fact that she hasn't been moved does not mean she isn't good enough or is being overlooked. It is often the fact that the parents and the gymnast are the last to know what is going on. This may also be for a very good reason. Gymnastics progress is hard to predict, coaches will be wary of telling a child they will be moving up until it is a sure thing so they wont become dissapointed.
 

gym law mom

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I feel Aussie_coach has some very good points, but the main one is communicate with your dd's current coach/instructor if you have concerns about her progress. I know many gyms have bad reputations when it comes to talking with parents. If you can't find a quiet time after class then leave a note for him/her at the front desk. If no response then ask someone at the desk who you should talk with. Many coaches for the lower levels are part time and may only be in the gym a few evenings/week. This type of meeting does not need to be any big sit down affair, just a few simple questions about how your dd is doing and what skills she has and what needs work. Many gyms have skills sheets for their classes and if your gym is one, you could ask to see it and discuss what may be needed to move her on.

Doing privates just to get a child noticed is probably not a great idea. It can appear you're doing an end run on her primary coach because someone else has the idea she can be moved on. As Aussie_coach said he current instructor may have a couple of things she wanted to see done better(coaches in the same gym can have different standards) and the coach that did the private isn't aware of those.

Best to your dd and as we say around here, remember its a marathon not a sprint.
 
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