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gymnastics29

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Hi, I’m new to Chalkbucket! So my daughter (12) has been doing recreational gymnastics for quite a while, and now she has made the decision to tryout for team. The team she is trying out for is JOGA level 6. It’s an optional New Jersey program and is equivalent to usag 4/5. Her friends who did try out have all made it onto the team, and my daughter has most of the skills required (handspring over vault, round off back handspring, front handspring front tuck, front tuck off beam, baby giants, flyaway, just to name a few). We contacted the gym and they are not even going to let her try out. They said that the reason why is because she needs a kip (which all the other girls who made it don’t). I don’t think it is worth it for her to stay in another year of rec just to get one skill. What should I do? Any help would be appreciated!
 
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momnipotent

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If you love your gym you could ask about private lessons but personally I would call around to other gyms and see if you can set trials/try-outs up for her other places. It seems like for whatever reason, your gym has decided she isn’t team track-she might be considered too old, too tall, etc. at your current gym where another gym might not have those restrictions.
 

IreneKa

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Sounds like she has a lot of great skills for someone who's only been doing recreational gymnastics. I don't know much about JOGA, but she might be a good candidate for Xcel. Call around and see if you can find a good Xcel program. They are more acceptable to the older gymnasts, and she doesn't need kip until Platinum(?).
 

Flyaway

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Well, if you're going to spend another year to get one skill, the kip would be the skill to get. It's pretty much a gateway to bars. Are you sure it's not required for JOGA 6? It is for JO lvl 4 (2 of them actually - low bar and high bar).
 

gymnastics29

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I’m pretty sure a kip isn’t required for JOGA 6 because all the routines are optional, but I know that most gymnasts do have one in their routine. I don’t think 12/13 is too old because one of the gymnasts on the JOGA 6 team competed as a 14 year old the past season. The gym might just now want her on the team for some particular reason but I think they should at least let her try out. She’s cried herself to sleep for the past few days because of it. Maybe we will be considering switching gyms soon.
 

Mrs. Puma

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Sounds like she has a lot of great skills for someone who's only been doing recreational gymnastics. I don't know much about JOGA, but she might be a good candidate for Xcel. Call around and see if you can find a good Xcel program. They are more acceptable to the older gymnasts, and she doesn't need kip until Platinum(?).
Yes, Xcel Gold sounds like a great place for her! You don’t need a kip, but can still do the other skills listed. Good luck, OP!
 

gymnastics29

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I talked to my daughter. She said that she loves the gym and all of her gym friends and doesn't want to switch gyms. She just wished that the coach at least gave her a chance to tryout. A few of her friends are going to be in rec with her this year which is good, but we'll see how this year plays out.
 

Madden3

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Hi, I’m new to Chalkbucket! So my daughter (12) has been doing recreational gymnastics for quite a while, and now she has made the decision to tryout for team. The team she is trying out for is JOGA level 6. It’s an optional New Jersey program and is equivalent to usag 4/5. Her friends who did try out have all made it onto the team, and my daughter has most of the skills required (handspring over vault, round off back handspring, front handspring front tuck, front tuck off beam, baby giants, flyaway, just to name a few). We contacted the gym and they are not even going to let her try out. They said that the reason why is because she needs a kip (which all the other girls who made it don’t). I don’t think it is worth it for her to stay in another year of rec just to get one skill. What should I do? Any help would be appreciated!
So, I am confused. The gym told you that your daughter needed a kip to even try out, but you know that other girls who tried out and got on the team do not have their kip? So that seems strange, right? When you mentioned this fact to the gym, what did they say? And are you sure you were talking to the right person?
 

gymnastics29

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We contacted the office, who then contacted the “team manager”. I don’t know what exactly the team manager does, but I guess he gets to control who makes team or not. He just told us that she needed the kip. For some reason, the head coach wasn’t involved and doesn’t know about any of this. It’s all through the team manager.
 
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Madden3

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I agree^

Who held the try outs where girls who do not have their kip got on the team?
I understand not wanting to cause drama at the gym. But as long as all your communications with all gym personnel are respectful, there should not be any drama (at least none caused by you.)

If it is true that girls without a kip tried out and got on the team, then not having a kip is not a valid reason to refuse your child a try out. There may BE a valid reason, but it is not the one you were given. This could simply be due to miscommunication, it could be due to an attempt to spare your feelings by not revealing the real reason, or it could be something as bad as out and out discrimination. But you will never know unless you ask.

To look at it another way- If I go into a business, and ask for a blue whatsit, and the clerk tells me that unfortunately, they are fresh out of blue whatsits, and while I am looking for something else, another person comes up and is given a blue whatsit, you can bet I am going to find out what is going on.
 

Aussie_coach

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In reality many gyms select their team gymnasts on a set of subjective criteria. It may come down to factors like age, body type, height, perceived coachability, relationship with the coach, natural strength, natural flexibility, fearlessness, effort in training, parents height, parents body type, if they think the parents will be easy to work with, comp.iance, muscle twitch speed, ability to work under pressure etc.

It can often have very little to do with actual skills. It’s not the skills the kids have, but the potential to learn skills they want. Each gym has different values and different things they find important.

When parents ask the question “What does my child need to work on to get on team?” They are after an objective criteria, but in reality there isn’t one. The gym can’t say “she needs to shrink 5 inches”, or “she needs to be 3 years younger”, or “she needs to be born with fast muscle twitch” etc. It sounds like discrimination or they might lose the child because the child reasoned their goal may never be achieved.

So instead the gym sets an arbitrary standard, which they think the child is unlikely to achieve. Reality - it is very uncommon for kids in rec programs to achieve a kip ever.
 

Madden3

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Yes, I understand what you are saying Aussie_coach. But there are a couple possible red flags in this particular situation and also, what you describe above I think brings up a larger issue to think about generally that may or may not apply to OP's situation.

According to OP, her child has been at this gym for "quite a while", and obviously assumed she could try out for this particular team at this time. Why did she think that? If that was an unrealistic assumption, the gym may be at fault for not being clear about how try outs work and what the basic team requirements are. At our gym, (if they ask) parents are told that a kid has to not only attain a certain level in Rec, but also be specifically recommended to team try outs by that level rec coach. And we are told that try out does not = getting on the team. No, each and every criteria for "making" team is not spelled out, but we do at least know what level of rec skills are needed to try out. But to find this all out, I did have to ask, and I did have to figure out who to ask, before I got a straight answer.

Also, it sounded to me as if, for OP, this is a single state program- which would mean only local meets? Not Junior Olympic, so no need to be a nationally or even regionally competitive. So it would not seem like a program where a team would be all that picky re body type etc. but as I never heard of this program before I could certainly be wrong.

My impression was OP asked why her kid could not try out, not what the kid should "work on." What a gymnast could "work on" would tend to be an endless list for anyone. "Why can't my kid try out for team" is a much more basic question, and in my opinion there should be a clear (and accurate, rather than untrue) answer. And I agree, a kip is too hard a skill to reasonably expect of any rec gymnast who is training once a week. So not having a kip is likely an untrue answer to the question "why can't my rec kid try out for your team."

Of course I understand what you are saying. Yes, gyms/coaches have their own criteria for team, and it might be difficult to explain this to every parent who wants their kid to try out for team. I am sure this is a problematic area for coaches. But in my opinion, the tendency in this sport to brush inquiring parents off with half truths and out and out untruths is very questionable.

Just because clear, honest communication is difficult, (and it often is) should we continue to accept avoiding it when it comes to gymnastics teams? Maybe we all (gyms, coaches and parents) should be looking at this honestly and trying in whatever small ways we can to better the situation. When basic communication does not happen, when something as simple as team try out requirements is shrouded in mystery, guesses, rumor and confusion, where some win and others lose in a game with obscure, unknowable, or irrational rules, that sets the stage for the creation of a cult like, abusive culture.

Not, of course, saying that this gym in particular is doing anything terrible or even slightly bad. I know nothing about that gym except what the OP said, and I live on the other side of the country from OP. I am talking about a gymnastics-wide issue of poor communication that naturally plays out very differently at different gyms. Practices and policies can be conducive to abuse but no abuse actually occur.
 

gymnastmom05

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I would want some more information because it doesn't seem to make sense but I could also see that there might be something else going on. Was there a tryout time and it was missed (how did the other girls already try out?). I know our gym is full at most team levels but I have a feeling if someone walked in the door with skills and experience, they would probably try to find a place for her. Maybe that group has already been training for a kip and they don't feel OP's daughter would fit in with their training now? (this is all assuming the team has been practicing already). I tend to be more of a "gatherer of facts" before I completely come up with a solid opinion. But, to do this, you must ask questions. I also know sometimes the answers might not be what you want to hear (I had a friend's DD who did not make the team and when she pushed for a concrete reason, the HC told her her DD lacked focus and motivation compared to her peers. Before that they did more of the "we think this would be a better fit for her" response).
 

Aussie_coach

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Also, it sounded to me as if, for OP, this is a single state program- which would mean only local meets? Not Junior Olympic, so no need to be a nationally or even regionally competitive. So it would not seem like a program where a team would be all that picky re body type etc. but as I never heard of this program before I could certainly be wrong.
It's not always the level of competitiveness of the team that drives these desicions, it can also often come down to space available on team. There is often a limited number of spots available on a gymnastics team, so the gym will be picky about who they accept.
 

Aussie_coach

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I think it is important to appreciate that naturally everyone is going to serve their own best interests. Parents want gyms to be more transparent about how a gymnast is selected for team, but why would a gymnastics club do that when it could be bad for their own business.

Most gymnastics clubs are private enterprises, they are businesses that need to make money. Most gyms make their income through recreational programs, not teams. But they sell the quality of their gym, with their team gymnasts.

Just like many little competitive gymnasts have the goal of winning Olympic gold or a college scholarship. Most of the time, these goals are unrealistic, but they drive the child to stick with the sport and progress further.

Many kids in recreational program dream of being on team, learning all those amazing skills, winning medals and trophies etc. if the gym is totally open and honest about their selection criteria, amy of these families will realise that there is no way they will ever be selected for team.

So what will these families do? Will they say "oh well, it was a nice dream, let's just enjoy our rec program". Or will they look for a new gym, with the hopes of still making their gymnasts dreams come true.

Not only will the gym lose their business, but word of mouth travels quickly and other families will start to get the idea that xxxx gym won't accept their child onto team, and won't even consider going there.

Sure it might be in the best interest of the child/family. But they are a business, why would they do that.
 
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MILgymFAM

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I think it is important to appreciate that naturally everyone is going to serve their own best interests. Parents want gyms to be more transparent about how a gymnast is selected for team, but why would a gymnastics club do that when it could be bad for their own business.

Most gymnastics clubs are private enterprises, they are businesses that need to make money. Most gyms make their income through recreational programs, not teams. But they sell the quality of their gym, with their team gymnasts.

Just like many little competitive gymnasts have the goal of winning Olympic gold or a college scholarship. Most of the time, these goals are unrealistic, but they drive the child to stick with the sport and progress further.

Many kids in recreational program dream of being on team, learning all those amazing skills, winning medals and trophies etc. if the gym is totally open and honest about their selection criteria, amy of these families will realise that there is no way they will ever be selected for team.

So what will these families do? Will they say "oh well, it was a nice dream, let's just enjoy our rec program". Or will they look for a new gym, with the hopes of still making their gymnasts dreams come true.

Not only will the gym lose their business, but word of mouth travels quickly and other families will start to get the idea that xxxx gym won't accept their child onto team, and won't even consider going there.

Sure it might be in the best interest of the child/family. But they are a business, why would they do that.
I’m not sure about that. The most brutally honest gyms with the reputations to be the hardest to get onto teams had the biggest rec programs and longest wait lists of any gyms we’ve personally seen. Once a team manager literally laughed in my face when I asked if my DD could try their JO team. I left, obviously, but their mommy and me, rec, and Xcel programs were bursting at the seams with kids. Everyone seemed to think that their kid was different/special/good enough anyway, or for the Xcel kids, they were happy to be able to tangentially say their kid was on the team. It’s nuts to me but it sure works for them.
 
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Asian

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I would want to know the specifics of why she cannot tryout, or switch gyms.
 

Skysthelimit

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It's not always the level of competitiveness of the team that drives these desicions, it can also often come down to space available on team. There is often a limited number of spots available on a gymnastics team, so the gym will be picky about who they accept.
I am from NJ and our gym has a JOGA team and I know that we have had to turn down JO Team girls who had competed level 4 and level 5 from joining the JOGA team because it was full. That being said, if that were the case, that sounds like a better excuse than not having a kip.
 

Gymsy4

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I’d contact other gyms to see what they think. Even if she doesn’t feel like she wants to change right now it would be a good idea to have a couple of different opinions. She might change her mind or you might have a little more understanding to proceed.
 
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