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What do a GOAT + a generation + a movement + a virus = CULTURE SHIFT

JBS

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This post is very interesting to me. I feel like my daughter has had a unique experience (and maybe it's not all that unique, just seems like it hasn't been the norm). I'm very anxious/excited/nervous to see how things in this sport will be changing. If the coaches coaching style will change, if the drive and desire of the gymnasts will change. Heck, I wonder how many will even return or if they do, how many will remain after a few weeks. This sport is going to look very different, I just hope it doesn't change so much that it becomes obsolete.

Here's the thing... do you think that experience is right for everyone?

Don't get me wrong... I'm still totally into ultra high level... but I think way too many kids are being put into it that just don't fit. Coaches need to be very very careful and make sure that the initial drive is from the child and not the parents or coaches.
 

JBS

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Honestly... wouldn't 99% of the athletes be just fine following the ages and stages in the ADM?
 
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FlippinLilysMom

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Here's the thing... do you think that experience is right for everyone?

Don't get me wrong... I'm still totally into ultra high level... but I think way too many kids are being put into it that just don't fit. Coaches need to be very very careful and make sure that the initial drive is from the child and not the parents or coaches.
I completely agree. I was WAY too caught up in the dream, more than she was. I wish I would have figured it out sooner. We went through hell earlier this year, it was horrible,
Here's the thing... do you think that experience is right for everyone?

Don't get me wrong... I'm still totally into ultra high level... but I think way too many kids are being put into it that just don't fit. Coaches need to be very very careful and make sure that the initial drive is from the child and not the parents or coaches.
Oh, I completely agree with you. I was one of those parents, I was WAY too involved, way too into the dream and the further we got into it the more crazy I became. I have so much that I wish I could share with other parents, especially the soon-to-be crazy ones, like I was. But it's hard for the coaches and parents not to get excited, when you see a child with the entire package, the talent, the desire, the size (I know this sounds horrible but it's true), she seemed to have everything, so it's hard not to get all wrapped up in that and get excited about what could be. I wish I could go back in time and change so many things, to change things I said to her or things I didn't say to her. This year has been an awakening for us, in many ways.
 

Tigtimes

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Now hockey is a "late specialization" sport... so they can follow the ADM with fewer compromises. Their version of it is here...

So hockey is not a great example, honestly they have an issue equal if not worse than gymnastics. I always say I think the crazy youth parent was born there. My brother was a Div 1 hockey player and that culture, and I am going back 30 years to when he was little, is insane. They pack kids up and young ages and send them to Canada the NYT wrote an article about it few years ago. Want to read heartbreaking and example of coaches and parents turning the other way read this.

** it’s a disturbing but Important article so please be aware before you click into it ***



I'm very anxious/excited/nervous to see how things in this sport will be changing. If the coaches coaching style will change, if the drive and desire of the gymnasts will change.

I’m curious what you mean. If you feel comfortable could you explain it a bit.
 
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Tigtimes

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Sorry couldn’t edit but the hockey article has very important points about having “fun” that creates success and excelling. If you can’t make it though first few parts skip down cause it is worth the read for all sports parents.

Article won’t let me copy or I would just insert it
 

LJL07

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I completely agree. I was WAY too caught up in the dream, more than she was. I wish I would have figured it out sooner. We went through hell earlier this year, it was horrible,

Oh, I completely agree with you. I was one of those parents, I was WAY too involved, way too into the dream and the further we got into it the more crazy I became. I have so much that I wish I could share with other parents, especially the soon-to-be crazy ones, like I was. But it's hard for the coaches and parents not to get excited, when you see a child with the entire package, the talent, the desire, the size (I know this sounds horrible but it's true), she seemed to have everything, so it's hard not to get all wrapped up in that and get excited about what could be. I wish I could go back in time and change so many things, to change things I said to her or things I didn't say to her. This year has been an awakening for us, in many ways.

It is very hard if you have a talented kid. I just don’t think most 9 or 10 year olds have any understanding of what goes into elite gymnastics or what it even means. The parents and coaches ARE the driving force in almost all cases at that young age. That’s partly why I hate these crazy Instagymnast pages. The parents are pushing for all of this, not the child.
 

JBS

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So hockey is not a great example,

How is hockey not a great example of a sport who has rewritten the ADM for themselves... I’m confused. Seems to be exactly a perfect example of a sport trying to “change”.

Remember this from my previous post...

So let's push this to a larger scale... isn't the culture partially pushed from the bottom of the sport... the foundation levels? Or is the elite gymnastics world (far less than 1%) really controlling everything? Isn't much of what is part of gymnastics part of every youth sport?

"American (US) youth sport culture"... not just gymnastics... that is what needs to be addressed?
 
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Tigtimes

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How is hockey not a great example of a sport who has rewritten the ADM for themselves... I’m confused. Seems to be exactly a perfect example of a sport trying to “change”.

yes you are correct and guess I jumped the gun without reading what you attached. Hockey has made a very open progression to correct it all. They have done many great videos aiming to correct the parent culture in an open and honest way. So sorry I saw hockey and was like ugh. So you can delete that post.

I stand by the article and starting on page 3 is the info worth reading
 
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JBS

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Here is another example.
yes you are correct and guess I jumped the gun without reading what you attached. Hockey has made a very open progression to correct it all. They have done many great videos aiming to correct the parent culture in an open and honest way. So sorry I saw hockey and was like ugh. So you can delete that post.

I stand by the article and starting on page 3 is the info worth reading

I totally understand how hockey can make people jump too... here's an interesting correlation for you. Over the years at our gym... parents who have had exposure to youth hockey typically don't bat an eye at anything in gymnastics... team handbook... practices... prices. I can't tell you how many times I have heard... "at least we don't have to get up at 4am for ice time."

There are other examples of the ADM too... here's tennis...




And there is some positive research that age is increasing in gymnastics... that is attached below...

SCGYM_9_3_2017_article_2.pdf

What I really challenge everyone to do is to try and come up with an ADM model for gymnastics that would work... it's very hard.

Canada has one (not saying everyone in Canada uses this or agrees with it... but it's a start)...

gcg_ltad_en.pdf
 

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JBS

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Let me state very quickly one thing that is never taught to gymnastics coaches...

When you ask a child... "Do you want to be in the Olympics?"

That's definitely a 1/2 full... 1/2 empty question. This is obviously a large reason behind the ages in things like the ADM.

Screen Shot 2020-05-02 at 11.15.27 AM.png


While it is the parents responsibility to make sure their child has fun and enjoys life... there will be a time when the child actually starts to "think". This is when you have to let them "think"... gather the facts... do they want to workout 30 hours per week knowing the stress that it puts on the body? Some kids "think" and go full-in and the drive becomes their own drive... others choose to find a new drive... and that's OK.
 
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Racpp

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My gymnasts are no where near college or Olympic bound. We’re at a Y program that allows great flexibility around school, school sports, religious celebrations, music groups, etc. The older shows much more promise in another college sport, and gives credit gymnastics for that. She’s strong physically and mentally, pushes through frustration and doesn’t quit, knows how to be a supportive teammate and able to focus on both the team and her individual roles. She has great time management. All of these are based on being a gymnast first.

What I’m hoping to see is more programs embracing the idea that gymnastics builds these skills and that is more meaningful than any gymnastics skill. It sounds weird to many, but I am so grateful that my girls were not naturally talented, that I didn’t listen to people saying they should be in a “better” program (we’re in a safe, low hours Y program which leads many deem it as “not good”), that their coaches actively encourage the girls to try other things and ask about and come to those events. They see themselves as developing people not just gymnasts.

The gymnasts who started out with my girls whose parents saw gym as skills and didn’t allow anything extra and/or moved them to the “better” program are now out of gymnastics.

I also hope that this disruption will be a chance for Xcel gymnasts to be seen as legitimate gymnasts. I think the JO progression in the compulsory levels is very important for developing the basics including level 5. Due to injuries and fears and mental blocks, my girls have gone back and forth between JO and Xcel as they need once they reached optionals . I think a lot of girls will come back to the gym after all of this with growth spurts, mental blocks, less flexible and strong, etc and need a year or so on an alternative path to JO. Hopefully that will force gyms, coaches, gymnasts, and parents to stop looking down their noses at Xcel.
 

timelychallange

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Well some of those factors are relevant in the US and not so much globally.

GOAT is not a thing here. In Australia it has been 8 years now since we have qualified a WAG team for the Olympics. There are only a handful of elite gymnasts in the country, there are very few role models and most participants would never consider elite or even high level gymnastics a goal. The gyms are growing their recreational programs, more so than their elite programs. Schools have become more demanding over the years and, there are so many activities for kids to do these days that far less are keen for a sport that requires them to train multiple days of the week.

Safe sport is less of a thing here to. The events of gymnastics in the US were felt globally and our associations did implement new systems to help improve the child safety aspect of the sport. Coaches all now do an annual online course for example. But our gyms know there is no Olympic gold medal or college scholarship at the end of the road for our kids, the culture is not as cutthroat. We are less likely to have parents sending their kids to an abusive environment to get the best coaching. We just were not dealing with the same issues.

Even COVID 19 will have much less impact on our clubs and how we run the sport, because our government has provided the businesses with so much support. The government pays each business $750 per week per employee to pay to our employees as wages, for 6 months to help us through. They also require landlords to reduce our rent by the same percentage as we have reduced the turnover of our businesses, and made it illegal to evict tenants. So without having to pay wages or rent, and keeping all our staff and our premises, most gyms intend to simply resume as they were doing before once restrictions have been lifted.

I don't quite agree with your statement regarding "There are only a handful of elite gymnasts in the country, and most participants would never consider elite or even high level gymnastics a goal.

In the USA there are 4.81m gymnasts and 30-80 elite gymnasts at any one time. In Australia there are over 200,000 registered gymnasts with between 20 and 30 elite gymnasts at any one time so numbers wise per capita we are ahead. Again to compare, the US spend $27m for coaching etc. and a further $66m for clubs funding plus gymnasts can secure sponsorships and top gymnasts can earn in excess of $1m per year in endorsement etc whereas in Australia we get around $4m. to support our gymnastics. And sponsorship and endorsements are only afforded to our international cricketers or basketballers etc as they have a world wide audience or a USA athlete has a population of over 330m in which wo buy the products they endorse. The problem in Australia is funding and there are thousands of gymnasts in Australia that consider attaining the elite level as a goal but the cost and lack of financial support from our government is the big deal breaker.

And also your comment that schools have become more demanding over the years and, there are so many activities for kids to do these days that far less are keen for a sport that requires them to train multiple days of the week, is also not quite correct. Within a 5k radius of my daughters gym, there are no less than 5 schools both primary and secondary that have gymnasts that are students and those school go out of their way to accommodate gymnastics training and use that to promote that they will accommodate students in elite sports which is a draw card for new students. I know of at least 3 clubs in our state that either located within a secondary college or stand alone and 2 clubs that have satellite campuses within primary schools and those clubs are constantly watching for that stand out gymnast to move through the levels.

And are some parents confusing discipline with abuse ? There is no place in any sport for personal, derogative or bullying type actions or comments that a coach perceives as tactics or reverse psychology especially at the junior levels but a disciplined approach is part of the recipe for life skills.

The level of gymnastics in Australia has improved year on year since 2016 and more so in the past 3 years especially through the involvement of Mihai Brestyan. And I am sure I will get some push back on what Mihai did or didn't do for Australian gymnastics but most clubs and gymnasts did not get a chance to benefit from his expertise but he did have a positive result with the changes in levels which has seen an increase in the number and quality of elite gymnasts. His experience was not given a chance to filter down through the lower levels due to his short tenure but was affective at the elite levels and quite a few of his warmup and training skills are still applied to day with a number of the top clubs.

I had the good fortune of being able to attend and watch Australia compete at the Gymnix International 2020 in Montreal in March this year (as a proud parent of a competing gymnast) where we had podium results in both seniors and juniors competing against the USA, Germany, Canada, Romania and Spain but to name a few and the USA had gymnasts from the USA gymnasts team. And out of the 13 Australian gymnasts that represented Australia, 11 competed in the finals with the other 2 not competing due to injury etc. Now that's a result not to be taken lightly especially the juniors as we were up against gymnasts that will vie for the 2024 and 2028 Olympics and Worlds competitions in between.

I have been associated with gymnastics in Australia for over 20 years now with a son who competed at the elite level and now a daughter and for my mind, gymnastics is moving ahead in Australia and coming out the end of COVID-19 should only make us all stronger and make the push to make Australian Gymnastics even greater than it is already growing to become.
 
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Aussie_coach

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Our economy makes a big difference, in comparisons from the US to Australia. Australia’s population is centred around a small number of major cities, with much of the rest of the country having a very low population.

The cost of real estate for gyms is the first big hurdle. In the smaller towns real estate is cheaper, but there are not the population numbers to support large gyms. In the major cities the cost of the venue is very high. I know there are places in the US where it is higher, but we lack the middle ground they have. Equipment is harder to purchase here too. We have very few suppliers, they can charge a lot, and it can take a long time for equipment to arrive. If we purchase from overseas, we pay a great deal more. Very few gyms in this country really have the space or the facilities to produce truly competitive international gymnasts.

Sure we have a higher number of international gymnasts per Capita in comparison to the US, but there is a big difference in standards. What we call elite and what the Us calls elite is a very different ball game. Many of the US level 9’s and 10’s would beat our elites in competition.

Sure the standard of gymnastics in Australia has increased, but we are not even playing in the same league.

I know everyone has a different idea of whether they felt it was a valuable decision to bring Mihai to Australia. I did not agree with it. To have a national coach, that lives on the other side of the world and has his own gym on the other side of the world, didn’t seem like an ideal way to run the sport. We can’t expect to bring someone in to take our seniors to the next level either, you can’t change the state of the sport in one Olympic cycle, the changes needed to happen at the lower end of the sport and then to be brought through the ranks.

The reality of elite gymnastics is unfortunately still wrought with pain, injuries, depression, eating disorders, body image issues and often some very serious mental health issues. Even with all the changes happening in our sport, I don’t see this changing too quickly.
 

timelychallange

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Our economy makes a big difference, in comparisons from the US to Australia. Australia’s population is centred around a small number of major cities, with much of the rest of the country having a very low population.

The cost of real estate for gyms is the first big hurdle. In the smaller towns real estate is cheaper, but there are not the population numbers to support large gyms. In the major cities the cost of the venue is very high. I know there are places in the US where it is higher, but we lack the middle ground they have. Equipment is harder to purchase here too. We have very few suppliers, they can charge a lot, and it can take a long time for equipment to arrive. If we purchase from overseas, we pay a great deal more. Very few gyms in this country really have the space or the facilities to produce truly competitive international gymnasts.

Sure we have a higher number of international gymnasts per Capita in comparison to the US, but there is a big difference in standards. What we call elite and what the Us calls elite is a very different ball game. Many of the US level 9’s and 10’s would beat our elites in competition.

Sure the standard of gymnastics in Australia has increased, but we are not even playing in the same league.

I know everyone has a different idea of whether they felt it was a valuable decision to bring Mihai to Australia. I did not agree with it. To have a national coach, that lives on the other side of the world and has his own gym on the other side of the world, didn’t seem like an ideal way to run the sport. We can’t expect to bring someone in to take our seniors to the next level either, you can’t change the state of the sport in one Olympic cycle, the changes needed to happen at the lower end of the sport and then to be brought through the ranks.

The reality of elite gymnastics is unfortunately still wrought with pain, injuries, depression, eating disorders, body image issues and often some very serious mental health issues. Even with all the changes happening in our sport, I don’t see this changing too quickly.

Your correct in that we are heavily centric in regards to location of the bigger clubs in the major cities but those major clubs are open to recruiting standout talent. Take a look at Larissa Miller who hails from Mt Isa.

And there were a number of 9s and 10s from the USA and Canada at Gymnix and Sloane Blakely (sister of Skye Blakely from the US women's team) who was representing Woga Gymnastics Club USA was beaten by a number of our junior athletes on 3 out of 4 apparatus including my daughter.

Our Level 9 under and Futures gymnasts have all benefited from Mihai and we currently have TA, TFA, Junior and Senior camps at the AIS now with a high number of elite gymnasts.
 

mom2557

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I wish I could go back in time and change so many things, to change things I said to her or things I didn't say to her. This year has been an awakening for us, in many ways.

I am not sure what exactly you went through but I believe I went through something similar. What I try to remind myself is that when they were little they couldn't make the decisions so we, along with their coaches, did. When they got old enough to tell us what they wanted, they did. It's not wrong it be excited or involved and it's not wrong to be disappointed or sad. We are human and we do our best. PM me if you want to chat.
 

JBS

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I also hope that this disruption will be a chance for Xcel gymnasts to be seen as legitimate gymnasts. I think the JO progression in the compulsory levels is very important for developing the basics including level 5. Due to injuries and fears and mental blocks, my girls have gone back and forth between JO and Xcel as they need once they reached optionals . I think a lot of girls will come back to the gym after all of this with growth spurts, mental blocks, less flexible and strong, etc and need a year or so on an alternative path to JO. Hopefully that will force gyms, coaches, gymnasts, and parents to stop looking down their noses at Xcel.

It is very interesting to see how people view the Xcel program. We don't look down on the Xcel program at all... actually the opposite... we think it's great with our current interpretation of it... and in fact... people look down upon us for using it the way we do. We use the Xcel program at the beginning as it allows us to focus on training and not "winning the lowest level" or the "level 3 Olympics". We are able to progress with less hours as we don't have to focus on all that crazy routine work.

We don't do JO Level 2/3 anymore... in my opinion those two levels are "off track". We start everyone in the Xcel program so they can all be teammates at the beginning. JO Level 4 is now the first level that we are bringing kids into as far as the JO world goes. Before L4 they will do one or all of Xcel Bronze... Silver... Gold.

Our interpretation of the Xcel levels based on our area is that Xcel Gold lines up under JO Level 4 (around level 3.5).

You can see from this thread from 2011... I have been working on a system for a long time.... and yes... this thread is a completely different system that does not work for our club as we are just too small...