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Too Tall for Gymnastics?

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kzartman

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My DD, who just turned six, has been taking rec gymnastics for about 6 months, and will likely begin on the Level 2 Team in January. Unlike many of the other parents who've posted, I don't think she's particularly talented, but boy does she have persistence and focus. She really wants to learn more skills, and to do them perfectly...and she LOVES gymnastics so far. She asked Santa for a beam as her big gift.

Given that she's not a natural at this sport, and that she's very tall for her age (95% percentile) I wonder if I'm not setting her up for disappointment if I encourage her interest in gymnastics, and let her begin competing. I tend to feel she can just have fun w/ this, but she's kind of intense and will not likely be happy if she doesn't progress and do well.

She also swam competetively this summer, and is probably more talented and suited for that sport. She liked it, but she really prefers gymnastics - and I don't know that we have the funds/time to do both.

Any suggestions from coaches/parents? It sounds like a silly problem, but I don't want to shortchange her or set her up for failure. Thanks for your advice!
 
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BlairBob

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At that age, let her have her fun and see where it goes.

Tall rhythmic gymnasts are beauties to behold in performance. It's like the tall ballerina like gymnasts taken to the next level.

There is no reason to worry about being limited by genetics unless you are looking to develop elite gymnasts and even then you get some taller ones at the elite level ( Svetlana Khorkina ) who astound. There are taller ones in JO or College that still get it done ( meaning kick butt ).

Until you hit L4 or L5, gymnasts is supposed to be fairly low key. Even at L3 they are doing maybe 6-9 hours. It sounds a lot but isn't compared to higher level gymnastics. Unfortunately the push in some gyms is to make these L1-3 levels super competitive. If they were working elite at those ages ( roughly two to three times the hours and not bothering with compulsories ) I could see the worry level.
 

gymdog

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Jul 5, 2007
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I agree - see where it goes. Her growth pattern might not always put her in the 95th percentile either. She could be in a growth spurt now and then end up average height. Or she could end up 6 feet tall. Never know. Either way there should be opportunities for her in gymnastics and the focus on coordination, upper body and core strength will help her with any athletic endeavors down the line.
 

Aussie_coach

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It is harder to do gymnasticcs when you are tall, but not impossible.

At this age it wont matter much, tall gymnasts generally dont have problems until they reach around 11 years of age and face their growth spurts. So she will have many years of enjoying and being successful at gymnastics before it is even an issue. By then her interests may change anyway.

Once they hit the pre teen years their accelerated growth can become a problem and they may find their ability sliding a bit, but a good coach will be aware of it and make sure they are doing the right kind of conditioning to minimise this issue. But this may not happen with your daughter, just because she is tall know doesnt mean she will be tall when she is older, it is too early to tell at the age of 6. So it would be a shame to pull her out based on something you dont even know will happpen.

Whats more many tall gymnasts go on to have great success in the higher levels. There are plently of excellent tall level 10 gymnasts around. The only place she probably wonmt be able to go being tall is elite, but most kids will never make elite anyway tall or short. It is an incredibly hard level that requires amazing dedication, committment, the right coach, the riught gym, the right gymnast coach personality, the right personality and the right muscle structure.

Gymnastics is great for any sport it develops coordination, balance, flexibility, strength, speed, confidence and many other attributes. If she does gymnastics now and finds one day she cant anymore it will have set her up well for any sport she chooses to do in the future.
 

sasquatch

Member
Oct 2, 2008
93
Hawaii
I'm super tall for gymnastics almost 6-5, but I like it a lot.

Being taller makes it harder... but it also makes you stand out more and is kinda cool in its own way.
 
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msl529

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My daughter is tall for her age. 5'3", age 12, level 6. She has been in the 90th percentile for height since she was about 6 months old.

She started competitive gymnastics (after 6 months of rec gym) at the ripe old age of 9 years old.

She LOVES gymnastics! She especially loves competing! And most of all, she loves the dear friends she has made at the three gyms she has been at since we started this journey.

Will she become Elite? Heck no! But, IMO, she is gaining the SAME life lessons and blessings that this sport has to offer that an Elite gymnast would. I would not trade one minute of it, and I know she wouldn't either! And, many tall gymnasts make it to college level gymnastics. I have been to a few college meets, and was surpised to see MANY different shapes and sizes among those gymnasts!


Let her follow her heart! That is the best thing you can do for her!

Good luck! :)
 
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maddiekate

Member
Aug 8, 2007
303
West Coast
I used to think I was too tall for gymnastics (5'4ish) but when I went to gymnastics camp, and one of the college gymnasts hosting the camp was 5'7!
 

kiwiflyer

Member
Jul 21, 2008
66
New Zealand
I agree with everyone else. If it's what she likes doing, then don't worry about her height. I'm 5'10, and I've gained more skills as an adult at that height. As a coach, I love working with kids who really want to be there and for me, it doesn't matter what shape those kids are. Alot of coaches I know feel the same way. :)
 
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KBT

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Being tall will not prevent her from enjoying and participating in and being successful in rec or competitive gymnastics. It might be a minor issue if she wanted to go elite, but that's not where most kids end up anyway. How are you defining failure? If she's having fun and learning skills, I'd count that as a success. She'll also have some advantages over her shorter teammates in that longer lines can look so, so pretty. In the optional levels she can really use this to her advantage.

I'm 5'7". I also have a long torso which means long arms so my toes drag if I hang on the high bar. And I do just fine. I started late (age 12) so I was never very good, but I was having fun and was able to achieve personal goals that I set. And gymnastics has become a life-long hobby for me. now I coach and judge, and I'm probably better at both of those activities than I ever was as a gymnast. Now my goals are focused on helping girls of all ages have a successful, positive gymnastics experience and teaching them life skills like hard work, perseverance, mental toughness, and giving them a good base for lifelong physical fitness. My height is a non-issue, and if your daughter loves the sport, she won't let it stand in her way, either.
 

gym law mom

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At age 6 if she's having fun then let her do it and other sports. You just never know where a certain child will end up. Gymnastics is a long road and many of the naturally talented ones drop out along the way. Many of the girls that make it to L10 are the ones who worked the hardest and never gave up. L2 is really considered a developmental phase and not even competed in many states. At L2, she should have alot of extra time to pursue swimming and other activities.

One of my gymmie's best friends on team(L8) is 5'6". She has a gorgeous bar routine and has a very pretty line in her floor routine. She has learned to use those long legs to her advantage. Will she make it to L10? She and her parents don't know----just taking it one season at a time.
 
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flippymonkeysmom

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My dd is very tall for her age as well. Also she was never the most natural one out there - but was a very hard worker and persistent as well. She started competing at 8 years old as a level 4 and competed until recently (she's 11 now) as a level 7. Her height definitely made some things harder - but I think most gymnasts have some issue they have to contend with - physically, mentally, etc. She had a rough time with some injuries and we decided to switch her to cheer which she is having fun with. All the gymnastics was such an incredible experience for her. Even though she didn't go all the way with it - what it did give to her (confidence, discipline, etc). can never be taken away. It also got her a spot on a great competitive cheer team. Don't worry about the future since you never know what it will bring. Let her enjoy the moment and get from the sport all she can while she is loving it.
 

ryantroop

Member
Sep 21, 2008
423
Illinois
For the fun of it, Ill toss in my two cents -

Im currently, 6'6". In Highschool, when I competed, I was 6"2-4". I was a state level gymnast, and I loved every minute of it.

Height may restrict a few things, but there are work arounds if she is strong, determined, and has a creative coach.

Granted, Im was a male gymnast - but tall girls are not unusual. Tall girls on beam, floor, and vault are VERY fun to watch, because the long lines make twisting and layout positions look really really nice. Bars will be hard if she is REALLY tall, but even someone who pushes 5'10" should be just fine for swinging (though stretched skills may become hard if they are close to scraping the ground).

It really comes down to if she is getting enjoyment out of the activity. If she looks around and sees that she is getting beaten in competition, but still wants to go because she loves to work out and learn new skills, why would you take that away from her?


Best wishes, and happy new year!

Ryan
 
So i know you asked to hear from coaches and parents, but i had sort of a similar experience in my gymnastics career.

Well height is definitely not an issue. I was on the taller end of my team, at 5'4" with 3 teammates taller at about 5'7" So she will be able to overcome any issues, and she will have the opportunity to have super nice long beautiful lines!

Also the talent will not hinder her either because of the passion it sounds like she has. I did gymnastics and just really enjoyed every minute. However i was not naturally talented at all, i worked very hard for every single skill i had. But when you're doing something you love you don't realize how the time you spend on it adds up. some skills take awhile but its one of the greatest feelings in the world to look back at where you started and see how far you've come.

I don't think you will really be setting her up or shortchanging her as long as she is still enjoying because if she wants to get better she will, it might not be instantaneous but it will happen. as my signature says...hard work given time will defeat talent

best of luck! =)
 

gym mom

Active Member
Sep 8, 2007
724
florida
Like others have posted the height is not really an issue the optional team girls at our gym are all different shapes and sizes .My dd used to be in the 75-80% in height but for the last few years she is between the 35-45% so I really do not know how tall she will be.She does not show a great natural talent in gymnastics but she is very strong and determend and most of all loves the sport thats all that really matters.I have also tried to get her to do other sports that I felt she would do better at but she refused(she is also extremly stubborn).
 
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gymnastmom96

Guest
My DD is also tall - always has been. It didn't have an effect on her skills until Optionals. We have been blessed with a coach that understood the pros and cons of her height and adjusts her routines accordingly. She floats thru bars but struggles with vault. Layouts and tucks instead of pikes, more twisting elements, careful with release moves, softer dance elements on beam, etc.. It's just what works best for your dd, trust her coach on these things too. The only other drawback would be injuries. The constant pounding seems to be harder on her than her smaller, more compact teammates.
Now at 12, she's at 5'4, maybe taller and all legs. But at the end of the day, it doesn't matter as long as her feels comfortable and secure with her height. She's the perfect height in my eyes :).
 
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clairebear70859

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I personally[being a level 10 gymnast] would go with buckle grips. The reason is because Velcro wears out, not the grip part but the Velcro and they have a tendency to come undone accidentally and may cause injury so I would do buckle.
 
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dancing9118000

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I am 5'7" so I am considered tall and still growing. Gymnastics for me is harder and especially on bars, I always hit my feet on the low bar, but it adds fun to it too. I find that on bars, release moves are easier and I get much more powerful tumbling and vaults. It also feels better if I get a skill that is affected by height because it was more difficult to get so it is more special. Keep going and just continue to remind that height can be fun :)
 
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kzartman

Guest
Thanks!

Wow, as a new member, I can't say thanks enough for the warm and wonderful advice. I'm a single mom, and cannot afford to have DD participate in too many activities, and I didn't want to do her a disservice by encouraging gymnastics if it was the "wrong" sport for her.

I feel so much better now that she'll be able to learn new skills, progress, and compete at a reasonable level -- in short, she can still have fun and success if she continues with the sport. And if she switches sports when she gets older, many of the skills will transfer to other sports as well. And I can already see how the sport is encouraging her to set (and reach) goals - not to mention the sheer guts it takes to learn new skills and compete in front of others.

A special thanks to the gymnasts who reminded me to focus on the "pluses" of being tall!
 

Gymmonkeymomma

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Adding my DD to the list of tall girls :) She's turning at the end of this month and is almost 5'3" and still growing. She starting competing Level 4 on her 8th birthday and for the past 2-3 yrs she has grown about 4" per year!!! She has her struggles, like on bars having to straddle to do her kip,etc. but she is now Level 8 and working thru her growing issues. Growth has certainly affected her ability to do certain skills so it's been an adjustment. One of her teammates is 14 yrs old and 5'9"
 

Tumblequeensmom

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Feb 19, 2007
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DD is the tallest on her team (L6) at 5' 1 1/2". She is struggling on bars this yeaer for the first time ever. She canNOT make her cast handstand for the life of her and she is frustrated that all the little "squirts" are flipping right up into them. BUT she looks breat on floor, beam and to watch her on vault is really cool. If you love it, do it. She'll have success improving her own skills as she progresses!!! Good luck and don't be discouraged by talk of being "too tall"!!! It's nonsense.
 
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