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For Parents Struggling Gymnast

GymMom2013

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Jan 6, 2021
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My daughter is a 7yo Level 4 Gymnast. As a Level 3 last year, she was one of the lowest scorers on her team (depending on the meet) but she competed all around and scored in the 32-34 range. She was the last on the team to get her floor and bar skills. This year as a level 4, she was the last to get her vault and bar skills, and one of the last to get her last floor skill. She struggles with technique - when she makes a correction, she messes up on something else. She also has a fear element sometimes. She did her kip 5 times during one practice and hasn’t done it since. Ironically, that practice was after a mock meet where she wasn’t allowed to compete bars because she didn’t have the skill. No meets thus far due to COVID. Despite her struggle, she loves gymnastics. She does/has tried other activities and doesn’t like anything as much as gymnastics. I know there has to be one kid that’s last to get skills, but is there a reason for this or way I can support her? Do I keep her in a sport she loves but that she isn’t good at?
 

rd7

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Aug 18, 2011
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A 7 year old that can kip has some talent. My advice would be to not compare your daughter to the other gymnasts and instead celebrate her individual achievements. If she loves gymnastics she will continue to progress and improve and will probably outlast several of her team mates. Messing up on something else when making a correction is normal, that's part of learning gymnastics. Just one question, why was she moved to level 4 without the skills she needed? At 7 she could have competed level 3 and uptrained?
 
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GymMom2013

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She uptrained last year and they thought she would get all of her skills in time. She did her kip multiple times at that one practice and not again. I am not concerned, however, she is starting to notice she is the last to get skills, behind her team mates in scores, etc. She loves the sport but I just wonder how healthy it is for her if she notices this (she’s starting to say she loves it but is a terrible gymnast).
 

CuriousCate

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Jul 12, 2016
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7 year old at level 4 is really young. My older DD was that age on level 4 and was literally one of only three 7-year olds at the state meet. THe rest of her team was 8-10 years old. I would certainly not judge her potential at this point - she is obviously a talented girl. Just let her repeat level 3 this year or do level 4 and repeat it again next year. She will be fine!
 

MuggleMom

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Dec 22, 2016
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I always remind my kid not to compare herself to other kids but rather look how far she has come and how much she has improved. I will remind her of things she used to struggle with that are now easy for her (remember when you thought you would never get X skill? and look at you now kind of thing) I try and keep it light with her and remind her its ok to feel frustrated. Remind her too that she needs to be kind---even to herself! She would never say someone else is a terrible gymnast so why would she say that about herself? Just try and redirect (gently) the conversations in a positive direction if she starts with the negative thoughts. I have found that helpful.
 

pt coach

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Dec 23, 2009
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My daughter was on a level 4 team with about 17 other kids. From that group there are still 2 or 3 doing gymnastics. One of those kids is the girl who was very last on the team to get a kip. She is now a level 10 and has a scholarship to a top Division I school. So it worked out for her.

My daughter was one of the first few to get a kip, but it took her about 3 years to really understand form! She did stick it out through high school because she enjoys gymnastics, but after level 8 decided that Diamond was a better fit. She will graduate this year. She never had the passion for the sport, but loved her friends, meets etc. She found another sport that she does love and her years as a gymnast expedited her growth in that sport.

If your daughter loves gymnastics just help her remember that everyone's journey will be different. Gymnastics is so much more fun if you learn to evaluate your own performance and growth without worrying about what anyone else is doing and without worrying about scores, placement and levels. It is definitely easy for me to say as I am looking back while at the end of this adventure, but it is the best advice that I received when my daughter was starting out.

I don't think my daughter could tell you anything about her placements or scores but she has a million stories abut meets, practices, friends etc.
 

katrid11

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Sep 1, 2020
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Let her be. She loves the sport. Things like the kip are strength related. Some girls will get it quick and others will take time. I would not judge her ability to compete in the sport by L3 or even early L4. Just let her have fun. tell her this year is a bonus. Work hard, train hard, have fun. If she ends up repeating L4 next year (sounds likely) that is more than ok. If she wants to compete longer term, her goal is to have a strong set of foundation skills (RBH, kip, FH, FH vault, RBHBT) coming out of L4/L5.
 

LJL07

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Jan 27, 2014
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Yes, 7 is pretty young for level 4. In our area, it is very rare for 7 year olds to be on level 4, so she must have some potential. I have told the story a bunch of times on CB about my older daughter who came in almost last place as a 6 year old on level 1. She is a level 9 now. Not one of the girls in her age group who placed ahead of her are still doing gymnastics.
 

Oopski

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May 25, 2012
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She’s really young. Even if she does 2 years as a level 4, she would still be really young. Sounds like she’s doing great!
 
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M2Abi

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Jan 21, 2016
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Agreeing with the others that she is very young. Don't judge her potential on what she is doing now. Encourage her to work hard and have fun.
 
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