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What to do about a kid without a lot of talent who loves gym?

bethers

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My DD just turned 8 last week and has competed Level 2 this season after one year of recreational-type preteam. She’s not terrible but also not the strongest or most coordinated. She’s more the slender, flexible type. She does well enough on bars and beam and usually lags behind on vault and floor, leaving her toward the bottom of the AA standings at meets. Since this season is wrapping up, shes talking about “next year.” I really don’t see her getting a RO BHS in time to compete Level 3 next year, since her RO is still pretty weak. She absolutely doesn’t want to try Xcel, even though I’ve suggested it. The Level 2 team has a 5 year old, a few 6 year olds, a bunch of 7 and 8 year olds, and a handful of 9-11 year olds, so she wouldn’t be out of place repeating Level 2 as an 8 year old. Her coach is leaving it up to us to decide whether to try Level 3 or repeat Level 2. I’m happy as long as she’s happy, and obviously this is just for fun for her. What would you do?
 
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gymgal

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could she train level 3 throughout the summer and if she doesn't get the ROBS, then compete L2 again? I would ask the coach's opinion regarding her potential to learn it in the next several months as well. It will give you more information. Is your dd open to the idea of repeating L2?

Just to give you some perspective regarding the first part of your post - My d was very similar to yours. She was typically the last on her team to get most tumbling skills, including her ROBHS. She has always been better at bars and beam and struggled on vt and floor but she absolutely loved gymnastics and kept pushing forward. Eventually, a switch flipped and she began learning the skills faster and her form and coordination improved. She has never been a super high AA scorer but she has held her own and won/placed high in bars/beam in many meets throughout the levels. She is a multi-year L10 and preparing to compete in college in the fall. She is the only one left from her original pre-team - most left before L7. Bottom line is you really can't predict the future based on the present. She loves gymnastics. That's what counts. The rest will fall into place.
 

bethers

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Thanks for the feedback. She’s open to doing Level 2, and in fact said she wanted to at first. She’s a smart kid and sees others placing well above her. Like last weekend she didn’t place at all, on anything. She was .05 out of placing on both bars and beam. And on vault she’s afraid of running into the mat, so she comes to nearly a complete stop before the board, but still has a nice vault from the board to the salute. It kills her score. If she could get over that fear she’d be a decent enough vaulter I guess. I don’t care if she ever wins anything, and learning you can’t win or be the best at everything is an important life lesson, but I wonder about her confidence after a while. That’s what bothers me, not the actual gymnastics. I guess we’ll see how things go the next month or so. :)
 

Gymx2

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Plenty of kids start of slow and then build momentum. And plenty of little phenoms burn out early. If she loves it and wants to work at the sport then just keep supporting her and moving forward. I also think she has a lot of time to learn the ROBHS and would lean toward encouraging her to try for level 3 next season, allowing for the possibility that she may repeat 2, and that's okay too.
 

Peachy88

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If it was my kid I would rather see her doing two years at level three than level 2. Working toward some more ambitious goals while not completely out of reach than repeated to score higher.
 

gymgal

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If it was my kid I would rather see her doing two years at level three than level 2. Working toward some more ambitious goals while not completely out of reach than repeated to score higher.
I personally would prefer this and my d prefered to move ahead, even if it meant that she was not producing those big scores or placing well but it really depends on the child. For some gymnasts, repeating that intro level gives them the boost and confidence they need. Given the make of the OP's team in terms of ages and the fact that her dd was already entertaining the idea of repeating, it may be a good option for her.
 

Really

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Let her go to L3. There's tons of time to learn the BHS. L2 is not a particularly useful level to repeat IMO. It's just to get the girls used to competition, and the routine of practicing in the gym, etc. Better to repeat L3 or even better, L4 if it comes down to it.
 

Carly

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I agree with the other posters that said it's better to repeat L3 or 4. When is your competition season? We are Nov/Dec to March/April and levels for the next season are decided in mid to late August. Can she train for L3 and make the decision at the end of the summer?
 

bethers

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I agree with the other posters that said it's better to repeat L3 or 4. When is your competition season? We are Nov/Dec to March/April and levels for the next season are decided in mid to late August. Can she train for L3 and make the decision at the end of the summer?
Our state meet is the first weekend in May. I think the first meet of next season is sometime in November. I think all the advice here is really good. I am going to ask the coach to see if she can train with Level 3 and see how it goes. Thanks all!
 

sce

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Our state meet is the first weekend in May. I think the first meet of next season is sometime in November. I think all the advice here is really good. I am going to ask the coach to see if she can train with Level 3 and see how it goes. Thanks all!
odd that the coaches left it up to you. I personally think training 3 is the right choice. Repeating 2 could be really boring.
 
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twinmomma

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Look at options. There's T&T and Acro as well. Gymnastics is a much bigger sport than just artistic. She's young still too, DD started about the same time and was slow to get certain skills. Let her enjoy herself, that's the most important thing.
 

bethers

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A little update. The previous conversation we had with the coach was kind of preliminary, which I didn’t get at the time. We had our “real” meeting today. Long story short, they’re recommending Level 2 for my daughter again, but the coach said we’d see how she does at Level 2 States and the couple weeks after States where they’ll start to work on their new skills. If she does pretty well we can try Level 3 and if not they’ll have her do Level 2. I’m really conflicted. She can do all the Level 2 skills, even if her form isn’t great. Won’t she be bored doing the same stuff again for another whole year? I guess she’d stand a better chance of winning medals this year, and it might be we’ll to do at Level 2 than struggle with Level 3. But to make matters worse all 4 other Level 2s teammates who go to her school/grade are moving to Level 3. I’m worried about her confidence that way. Really, it’s not at all about the gymnastics to me. I just want the kid to feel good about herself and be happy. Ugh!
 

Peachy88

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A little update. The previous conversation we had with the coach was kind of preliminary, which I didn’t get at the time. We had our “real” meeting today. Long story short, they’re recommending Level 2 for my daughter again, but the coach said we’d see how she does at Level 2 States and the couple weeks after States where they’ll start to work on their new skills. If she does pretty well we can try Level 3 and if not they’ll have her do Level 2. I’m really conflicted. She can do all the Level 2 skills, even if her form isn’t great. Won’t she be bored doing the same stuff again for another whole year? I guess she’d stand a better chance of winning medals this year, and it might be we’ll to do at Level 2 than struggle with Level 3. But to make matters worse all 4 other Level 2s teammates who go to her school/grade are moving to Level 3. I’m worried about her confidence that way. Really, it’s not at all about the gymnastics to me. I just want the kid to feel good about herself and be happy. Ugh!
Do they have xcel? I would rather my kid do xcel silver or even bronze than level 2 again. More fun music, some different skills, etc
 

bethers

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Do they have xcel? I would rather my kid do xcel silver or even bronze than level 2 again. More fun music, some different skills, etc
They do have Xcel. The coach told me she “didn’t want her to give up on JO yet.” I don’t know. I think she will be bored doing the same skills all year. She can already vault with the mats at the Level 3 height (it’s a little bit piked but not horrible), she got her stride circle quickly at Level 2 and her coach said she’s not worried about Level 3 bars for her, she can already do the Level 3 handstand on her low beam at home and really only has to learn the dismount as far as skills I’d think. Floor is the issue. I will admit I’m not at all certain she’s going to get a RO BHS in time. Her roundoff is weak and overall body awareness and coordination on floor isn’t the greatest. That and lack of attention to detail bring her scores down overall I think.

As for Xcel, I haven’t asked but the Xcel Bronze and Silver kids practice at the same time. My daughter is adamantly opposed to Xcel even though she really doesn’t know what it is. Funny thing is, several kids at the gym seem to move to Xcel after Level 3 or Level 4 anyhow when they decide the increased commitment isn’t for them.
 

Flyaway

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I would ask what the training will look like for her if she repeats 2 as recommended. Will she be in an "uptraining" group that allows her to work on L3 skills throughout the next season? Or will she be with all the new L2's only working L2 skills? That will be a big piece of the puzzle IMO. When a gymnast is repeating (my dd repeated both L3 and L4) you want to be sure that they are getting plenty of time to work skills for the next season. I would also ask about mobility between Xcel and JO at your gym. Based on your coach's comment of not "giving up on JO yet" it makes me think that there isn't mobility, but I would ask anyway. Because sometimes Xcel can be a great in-between year for gymnasts not quite ready for the next level. Especially for ones on the older side of a level.

Some kiddos just take longer to acquire new skills. That's not a terrible thing.
 

mommyof1

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I think basing the move-up decision on her performance at the state meet is a bit odd. The coaches should be looking at her progression over the course of the season, not just the results of one meet. I would suspect that they've already made up their minds to have her repeat L2 and are trying to soften the blow.

To me, even one season competing L2 sounds like a poor investment of time. I'd look for a gym that will let her train over the summer with the idea of competing L3 if she gets the skills, and has a non-competing preteam where she can really work on skills and conditioning instead of polishing routines if she's not ready to compete L3.

One thing that may not be apparent at this stage, at least to you as a parent, is whether you just happen to have a bars kid. My gymmie is strong on bars and beam and struggles with vault and tumbling. I had no inkling she had any knack for bars until L3, and still wasn't quite sure of it until she started kipping.

Another consideration: If you want her to remain happy and motivated, she needs to be uptraining. Winning medals without making progress on skills is not enough for many of these kids. They are in it for the skills.
 
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Flyaway

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One thing that may not be apparent at this stage, at least to you as a parent, is whether you just happen to have a bars kid. My gymmie is strong on bars and beam and struggles with vault and tumbling. I had no inkling she had any knack for bars until L3, and still wasn't quite sure of it until she started kipping.
Yep. This is my kiddo too. She appeared to struggle on everything at first, but once she hit her stride in L4, bars and beam emerged as her strong events. She's never going to be a powerful tumbler or vaulter.
 
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mls529

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If the coach is saying "don't give up on JO yet" that means Xcel is likely not a great training ground at your particular gym (I say this as a mom of a JO turned Xcel gymmie, so not saying anything bad about the Xcel program). Age of 8 is still young. She will get stronger and better with time. If coach says repeat, then I would take the advice and see where it goes. Hopefully she can continue to uptrain.
 

bethers

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Oh, to the extent she’s any kind of gymmie she’s a bars gymmie. She was slow to get her vault to the Level 3 mat stack height (though not the last) and floor skills don’t come easily, but she loves bars and got her stride circle and back hip circle with no problem. She also did the Level 3 handstand on beam first try all the way up and with nice form the other day. I recognize a bars/beam kid when I see one because I was one. Lol.

As for Xcel, at our gym it seems mostly for kids who decide not to do JO anymore. Maybe after Level 4 or so.

I agree about uptraining. She needs to work on her form and the quality of some of her skills, but she can’t spend another year just doing skills she can already do. That won’t hold her interest.

As for why they want to wait until after the state meet to decide, it has occurred to me they are just trying to soften the blow. But what I was told is that they have seen some improvement in her practices lately and they want to see if that translates at the meet and in the couple weeks after where they start to work on Level 3 skills more with the girls. If it does, they may reconsider.

Whatever. We’ll just go to the state meet and hope for a good experience and that she does her best. And that she enjoys working on new skills for the few weeks after the meet and see what happens. I just want her to be happy and have fun at what she’s doing. Other than that I really don’t care.
 

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