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For Parents To move or not to move?

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spider_monkey

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I know this is a common topic, but I have literally nobody IRL to talk to about this. We are considering a gym switch, and I need some people who are not inside my head to look at this situation objectively for me. Please give me frank opinions/advice.

DD is currently level 6, 10yo. We've been at her gym for 7 years, first with my oldest and now with my level 6 DD. She has lots of potential. She scored very well last year (2nd year on team, XCEL gold)- top of the podium most meets, averaged 37's, and a floor title at state and regionals. She consistently got high-9's on floor last year. She's had all of her level 6 skills (except for a week clear hip) for almost a year now. No doubt she was ready for level 6, just spend the summer/fall to clean everything up.

However, fast forward to now, and she's getting very mediocre scores, mostly mid-8's. Her bars are weak and she's scoring at the bottom in most meets. Even when she hits all four events, she's not placing well at all. Even her floor, which she really excels at, is scoring mid-8's. She does not seem to be progressing. She's doing the same skills the same way she did them a year ago, and her clear hip is still weak. She's getting very discouraged about why she's not scoring well or improving.

The gym is small. Six optional gymnasts. Only one other level 6 and she is a head case, and often it is contagious. No chance for team awards. There are a few older girls in level 8. They have not yet scored a 33 AA this season. Scores in the 6's and 7's are common. It was about the same last year in level 7 for these girls, although they did improve by the end of the season. None are hitting giants consistently, bars are very weak. None are flipping their vaults. It's hard to watch. The XCEL girls do a little better, but some of the platinums are really struggling as well. The team seems to be dwindling as well, about 1/3 smaller than last year, and 1/2 the size as 2 years ago. Highest level this gym has ever had is 8, and only a handful.

However, DD LOVES her gym and her coach. Her coach is an wonderful role model and they have an amazing relationship. DD also loves her teammates. She has several friends in platinum with whom she spends most of her free time. Gym is 10 minutes away. Inexpensive as far as gyms go. DD doesn't want to leave. I'm trying to help her see that the way the older girls are scoring is likely her future, and she is starting to see that. But the thought of leaving her coach is terribly painful for her, and she's quite shy and nervous about making new friends.

If we switch, new gym is 30 minutes away. Not far for some of you, but would be a huge change for our family. It would be hard to get her there on time. New gym practices 12 hours for level 6's, current gym is at 15. However, their optionals are doing very well. There was a shift for the better last year in their coaching/management, and their team has really increased in size and quality. There are 8 level 6's, and many 7's, 8's, and at least one 9. They've coached a level 10 to nationals in recent years. Bars are strong, flipping vaults. The girls she was beating easily from this gym last year in XCEL are now outscoring her easily in level 6.

Do I let her stay? Or try to convince her to move? Her goal is college/olympics. I know college is a long shot, and olympics is obviously just a dream, but no reason why she can't strive for those goals. She knows she can't get there at her current gym and that she'll eventually have to move. But she doesn't want it to happen now. It would be TERRIBLE to leave her friends and coach and my friends. It's our extended family. But I know that she doesn't really have another year to waste.

Would you let your talented DD stay at a gym where she is comfy and happy, or push her to move to the other gym where she will have a better chance of reaching her potential?
 
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GAgymmom

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First, i understand your frustration.

Second, you cannot compare scores for Xcel Gold with JO 6. XG will always have higher scores due to the lower requirements and because there are many things you can't deduct in Xcel that must be deducted in Level 6. So it's actually common to score very well in XG but only 8s in Level 6.

Third, bars are typically the hardest event for most gymnasts because it requires so much upper body strength + timing + balance.

As for staying or leaving, that is something you have to decide based on all the factors you mentioned. It's a tough call.
 
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Peachy88

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We made the switch for our 6 year old and it has been nothing but amazing. Added a one hour drive each way and totally worth it. She is loving the coaching style, made new friends, and has lots of wonderful gymnasts to look up to and strive to be like. She’s training to compete level 4/5 next year and couldn’t have done that st the old smaller gym with less than stellar coaching.
 

jillc

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Have you talked to her coach about how they feel things are going? I wouldn’t bring up the scores, but I might ask about the lack of progress. Maybe they are seeing progress that is hard for a parent to see? Maybe they feel she isn’t progressing due to a lack of effort or a growth spurt or something (I am totally not saying this is the case, but just saying it could be possible). Ask what they are doing to help her improve. Talk to the coach about you daughter’s goals and see what they think of them and if they are realistic for your DD at that gym.

Based on how you described the coach — I think this conversation might be worth having???

It might give you more information to help you decide. But I think you would want to be very open about really listening to them and try not to let them it feel like you are frustrated with them until you hear their side of the story.
 

rd7

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IMO based on the info in your post I would make the move, it sounds as if your DD has not really progressed over the last year, possibly the coaches are unable to coach to a higher level, maybe they don't do enough conditioning for the higher level skills but most gymnasts should be able to show some improvement in a clear hip over the course of a year! If your DD truly has higher goals and the motivation to work hard then make the move now.
 

Aussie_coach

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I would definitely be looking to move. Once you hit optional s poor coaching can become a very serious safety issue. Her current gym sounds like a very serious injury waiting to happen, I wouldn’t stand around hoping that it’s not going to be your DD that it happens to.
 
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FlippinPrincess

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If safety is even a concern (like aussie coach mentioned) then this is a no-brainer call. However, if you do not see that as an issue then here's what I would do....

I would first sort out what my dd really wanted. If the other gym is truly her only option to possibly make it to college, is it worth it to her? She currently sounds very happy with her sport and the time/financial commitment seem to work well for your family. If she absolutely does not want to leave, then I think a talk with the coach is in order to discuss progress and goals.

Your post seems to imply that you are switching her to get her to score better. I just don't see that as a reason to go if it's not a decision driven by the child. They all have big goals. I have a son who wants to be a professional soccer player. Believe me, that is not in the cards for him! ;) We keep him on a team that keeps him loving the sport and making new friends. Are there better clubs we could put him in? Of course. I just know he wouldn't be happy there.

If I were you, I would probably talk with the coach, keep an open dialogue with my dd to make sure she was happy, and consider a move down the road if that is what she decides. She may get frustrated with this gym and push for a move and that's when this decision will be easy.
 

GymDad44

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We were in a similar situation a few years ago. We made the move to a gym an hour away, and it has been very positive. I'll make two comments.

1) Talent will not overcome inexperienced coaching. If the current gym does not have a coaching staff who is familiar with getting girls into upper optionals with clean skills, it will be an uphill battle forever. It sounds as if the move will certainly be helpful for the short term.

2) And I hate to say this, but making the move to a gym with no current L10s still may not get you all the way to where you want to go. There is a huge difference between L8 and L10 and this gym may be far better for the short term, but you may be kicking the "issue" down the road a few years to L9 if they do not have track record of consistently coaching L10s.

If college is the goal, and the gym has a history of placing NCAA athletes, that's one thing. If not, I'd also look to see if there are other gyms in the area that may better fit the bill.

In the end, even at 10yo, she has to have a say. Lay out the pros and cons of staying and leaving and let her weigh in. If she is adamant one way or another, it may make the decision easier.
 
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Tigtimes

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I understand where you are coming from and the tough decisions to be made. I have a optional kid who does well, scores always in 36s had 37s last year (but was a repeat year so expected). She is at a good gym but at this point with a group that is getting older, who are not super motivated, she is weary of that part. She loves her coach but he has his moments of lack of follow through. Do I think she would excel more in a different environment, yes absolutely. We discussed a gym where a group of upper optionals left to years ago, Of that group of 5, 1 remained at the end all others retired injured. The stress levels would be way higher, the expectations way higher., injury chances higher. The commute would go from 30 minutes to 45/50 minutes.
For now we decided that it just is not worth it, that the added stress, pressure time is just not what is best. Will she get to College gy,m, who knows and does it really matter?? It’s hard not to get caught up in it all, the desire to stand the highest on the podium. Try and look at the overall picture, the happiness of your child cause in the end that is what matters not who stands the highest.
 

GymDadNoob

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I too understand your dilemma and had a similar situation with my son who plays another sport. My mistake was I gave into the needs of my child from an emotional and comfort level. Going forward I will no longer use emotion to make a decision. If as a parent you know what could be better just get on with it. Change is good. If your child is shy changing gyms will force her to open up. Seems like you already have all the answers and the majority seem to support your move. Just do it :)
 
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Carly

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Sorry that you have this difficult decision to make. DD switched gyms about 6 months ago for completely different reasons than yours. She was nervous but has made new friends and is happy.
I wish I had some good advice for you. I do agree with GymDad44 about making sure that this new gym has a history of getting girls onto college teams. If not, I would look for another gym that does if that is really the goal.
 
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IreneKa

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Move.
DD was at a similar gym. When I was looking for a new gym for her at level 2\3, I saw that they didn't have many optionals. They had a pretty big and strong compulsory team, but as soon as they hit level 7, they either struggled or disappeared (quit, switched gyms, switched to XCell, etc.).
I decided to give them benefit of the doubt, because this gym worked best for us at that time. My plan was to let her stay there through compulsories and then if things don't improve move somewhere else. We didn't get that far, DD had to quit before getting to optionals because of an injury. But I've been keeping an eye on all the girls who started with my DD or around that time, and I can tell you nothing has changed. A few former teammates switched gyms around level 6-7, and are doing awesome. The few that stayed either quit by now or are really struggling. And some of those girls had a lot of potential, I'm sure they would have been much better off somewhere else.
Don't wait, if your DD has big goals, move her now.
 

spider_monkey

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Thank you for all of your responses. I've read all of them and I'm definitely taking everything into consideration.

A few things to add:
-No real safety concerns. Spotting is good and no huge skills being thrown anyway. Girls aren't trying anything they aren't ready for.
-Current gym is very light with the conditioning. That's actually one of my concerns. Lots of down time, starting practice 15-20 minutes late. Only one real coach and a helper. Helper doesn't really enforce rules/expect hard work, and coach can't be 40 places at once.
-Even though they don't have a current level 10, the new gym did send a girl to a D2 school last year, so college experience is there. It's the only other gym in a 1.5 hour radius, so really no other choice unless I quit my job (not happening).
-Haven't talked to coach about lack of progress yet. In fact, coach was stacking her level 6 routines to prepare her for 7, even hinting it may happen this season. I said no way. I will definitely talk to her after states and get her opinion.
-I'm definitely aware that you can't really compare XCEL to optionals. However, when I see the girls she beat easily in XCEL last year from this new gym scoring very well and looking very strong in optionals, it's a point of reference for me.
-Definitely not in this for the scores. I really don't even care what she scores as long as she's happy. She's definitely feeling defeated though, and I don't want to see her lose her love and passion.

Sigh. I see my answer, just don't want to deal with the emotional trauma.
 
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Gymx2

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Move.
DD was at a similar gym. When I was looking for a new gym for her at level 2\3, I saw that they didn't have many optionals. They had a pretty big and strong compulsory team, but as soon as they hit level 7, they either struggled or disappeared (quit, switched gyms, switched to XCell, etc.).
I decided to give them benefit of the doubt, because this gym worked best for us at that time. My plan was to let her stay there through compulsories and then if things don't improve move somewhere else. We didn't get that far, DD had to quit before getting to optionals because of an injury. But I've been keeping an eye on all the girls who started with my DD or around that time, and I can tell you nothing has changed. A few former teammates switched gyms around level 6-7, and are doing awesome. The few that stayed either quit by now or are really struggling. And some of those girls had a lot of potential, I'm sure they would have been much better off somewhere else.
Don't wait, if your DD has big goals, move her now.


Interesting. You and I messaged several years ago, so I know which gym you are talking about. My DD now goes to the gym many girls switch to after leaving your old gym, so I've spoken with a few moms about it. They say the same thing- they were holding out hope that the gym might hire new coaches and develop a stronger upper level, but that it was just never going to happen. All are extremely happy they switched and their girls are thriving in the more competitive environment.

To the OP, I'd make the switch as long as your daughter really wants to continue to pursue higher level gymnastics. If she's moving toward wanting it to be less intense, and is more focused on hanging with her gym buddies, then it might make sense to stay put.
 

Flippin'A

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I definitely think this is a decision she needs to drive. If you sit her down and lay out her realistic options (you can stay at x gym and stay in good shape and have fun with your friends or switch to y gym and pursue your goal of college gymnastics) then she should be able to think about what her priorities are in gymnastics. Might be a good time to teach her the benefits of a pros and cons list. If it were my child and I had no safety/abuse concerns about either gym I would probably let her make the choice with my guidance.
 

CLgym

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It sounds like you have pretty much decided to move gyms, and just need a little nudge here - which is totally fine (been there, done that)!! I would only caution that scores only tell part of the story (both your daughter's scores and the L8 scores you referenced). We are at a relatively new gym (open for about 3.5 yrs). Level 9 is currently the highest level. And this year our L9 team got off to a very very rocky start. A few moved down to L8 for the first few meets. Several scratched events. Scores were pretty low on events competed. Finally, last weekend at a super huge meet, one of our L9 gymnasts pulled it together to finish third AA. But along the way there were quite a few upset parents (both L9 and below) who questioned the gym and coaching. The gossip became contagious. Yet when you peaked behind the scenes, there were many issues going on wholly unrelated to the quality of coaching. Fear issues. Family issues. And it's a very young L9 group (age 10-13) with no repeated levels in their past (and in many cases, skipped levels). In other words, when you dig below the scores, it wasn't necessarily a coaching problem. Looking at the bigger picture, our gym had three girls qualify for national TOPs testing this year. Currently has multiple successful L8 and L7 gymnasts. Has a growing team. And even had a few successful L9/L10 gymnasts in the past.

I don't think there is anything wrong with moving gyms (we did it so that my DD could try JO -- old gym said she was an Xcel only kid). We went from a 5-minute commute to a 35-minute commute, and survived (it's rough at first, but you'll get used to it, I promise!!). I would just makes sure that the current gym isn't going to work for you based on more than scores.... mostly because you and your daughter otherwise seem happy.

Good luck! This is a tough one!!
 
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Peachy88

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I honestly think you should not let your daughter drive the decision. She is 10, a child still, and honestly doesn’t know what is in her best interest. Let her drive the goals. Ask her to write them down. Then right down the gym that will allow her to meet her goals and show her the evidence. Be very clear that she will not reach her goals in that gym. My kid has been at our new gym from one month and already has a completely new work ethic, does not attempt dangerous skills, takes all conditioning seriously, and has transformed her form on a number of skills. Her last gym was very loose with structure, tons of breaks, not enough coaches, not strict with rules and she was a broken arm waiting to happen. She didn’t want to move and now she can’t imagine her life before.
 

GAgymmom

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Conditioning is the key. My level 4 conditions an hour each practice (3days per week). The optionals do 1 hour 5 days a week.
 
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Flicfliclay

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Here is a good question... Your daughter competed Xcel before moving to level 6. Did they have her score out of level 4 and 5? If so how were her scores? I ask because switching from Xcel to JO can be really different. She may have lost some very vital training moments not having done JO 4 or at least a season of JO 5?
 
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