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For Parents What to do if the gym that's best for one daughter is not best for another

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bigtiny

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I'm looking for advice. I have been feeling more and more strongly that I need to make a move with my youngest daughter. I think she could progress more and be happier at a different gym. She has seemed very disheartened since being shelved by her Level 4 coach and mostly ignored for the past month. The coach decided months ago that "She is young (6). We'll just have her do another year of Level 4." I don't believe that she ever even considered moving her to Level 5, despite scores in the 37's and having all of her Level 5 skills. I will not have her work with that coach anymore. My daughter is ready to try a new gym.

My oldest daughter is on the fence between Levels 6 and 7. They haven't decided yet where they are going to put her. She loves her Level 6 coach. She is adamant about not leaving the gym we are at and vows to quit gymnastics if I try to move her to another gym.

How do I juggle this when I believe that the best gym for each is a different one? I am willing to do the driving and cover the expenses, but I don't think either team will accept having the girls compete one on each team (they are rivals). I know the gym we are at now won't.

Whose needs do I put first? My daughter who has been doing this tirelessly for 6 years but says she may be done this year anyway? Or my daughter that the other coaches have told me is going to be "phenomenal" and who still loves the sport and has passion for it (but not at the current gym)?

Gym parents, I am at a loss. Please help me with your advice.

Thank you. :)
 

gymjoy

Member
Jan 31, 2009
410
Wow, not a fun situation. I feel for all of you. Could you talk to the head coach or owner at the current gym about your younger dd's situation. If she is scoring 37's and has all her L5 skills it seems like she is ready for level 5. Will she not turn 7 early enough to compete L5? Would she be happy training L5 until she was old enough to compete it, even if it means a season off? Could she train with the L5 group most of the time and compete L4? I know that last suggestion is weird. However, my dd competed L6 for a third season this past fall because her coaches really wanted her to and during training she split her time among several training groups over the course of the week to continue practicing her 6 routines and readying for moving to L8. It was sort of confusing, but successful.
If you could get younger dd to a happy place at the current gym you could wait until next season to move if older dd leaves the sport. Not really the best solution, but younger dd has plenty of time in front of her as long as this situation does not kill her love of the sport.
Funny thing though, we actually had a girl at our gym whose her sister left for another gym to be with her friends. Our coaches didn't care at all.
 

gymmomntc2e6

Moderator/Proud Parent
Aug 25, 2007
2,842
North Carolina
Not sure I have a whole lot of advice. But, my .02 - I think that you must be 7 to compete L5 USAG, is it possible that is a reason they want her to stay in L4? Could she move to L5 and just not compete?

Is keeping older DD at this gym and moving younger to another an option? awkward I am sure, but would it even be doable.

I don't envy your situation, best I guess I can do is wish you luck. I will have to do some more thinking and maybe post again later (when I can keep my eyes open LOL)
 

bogwoppit

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Feb 26, 2007
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If the gym won't move the little one up, and boy is she ever ready for L5, and you can spare the time and the money for two gyms I would send her to a new programme. As you say the oldest is not likely to continue for longwhich would mean that you only have to deal with it for a limited time.

I would make it clear to the present coaches that you are taking little one elsewhere as they do not seem to be coaching her when they say she has so much potential. Any coach who sees her L4 vids would love to coach her.

Are you still going away fot the summer, if so that might give both girls the "feel" of a new gym and leaving might not be so hard in fall.

A very tough situation, but I think if my little was as talented and determined as yours it would be worth fighting for.
 

Aussie_coach

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So is it not possible to have the kids attend two different gyms? You as a parent have a right to choose different gyms for your kids. This is no different to having one kid in gymnastics and another in ballet, you just have a different place for them.

At our gym we have had several gymnasts who have siblings attend different gyms over the years for reasons. Usually because each childs needs are different and what one gym offers is different to the next.

If this is not possible why not take your younger daughter for an evaluation and a trial at another gym before making any final desicions. You may find there are reasons why you dont like the other gyms. If it is absolute that you must change gyms, ask your older daughter to at least try out a class. Most kids feel this way when leaving their gym because they have been there so long and grown so attached. But then when they do give a new class a go at they find they love it.
 

emorymom

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Oct 10, 2008
1,155
I would first MAKE SURE they will not let them compete at separate gyms. Would they really kick out older DD who's been there X years after younger moved? Or is there a program around where younger DD can uptrain and not compete? I don't know too much about those but I read about them on here :)
 

gym monkeys mom

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Oct 3, 2007
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This is a very hard situation indeed. I am not sure of what the answer for you is but, here is a short story of 2 families I know well with the similar problem.

We have good friends 2 girls each both were at the same club 2 new clubs opened in our area 1 girl from each family felt like they NEEDED to move clubs for various reasons. 1 girl from each family did....... Fast forward 2 years later

1 families child is coming back to old gym from the new gym. The new gym was rough and not friendly to having only 1 DD even though they said they would be. The coach was extrememly hard on kid really wanted the other DD to switch also.... She is coming back to where she left injured and a little less happy.

2nd family 2 kids 2 clubs...... 2 years later they left both clubs they were at and have come to our club and are both happy. Mom and dad are finally some pace they both like as well as kids and will not be moving again they say. we are not the number ne winning club by any means nor do we push kids to hard. i beleive this approach is welcoming for this family at this time.


I only give you these stories as history of others you in the end know your DD's and need to do whats best for them. However I have been told the mat is not always bluer in the new club they too have issues. At first its grand but after 1- 2 years things pop up some you can live with others you can't.

I would try to solve your current issues before moving on talk frankly with the head coach/owner in this economy noone can afford to loose gymnasts. It will be way easier to be in one spot both kids happy and younger DD can always move on later she has lots of time.

Some Olympic gymnasts did not even start untill 6 ye ars old. Burn out is vey high also in young hopefuls.

Best of luck in your decision when I feel over whelmed by gymnastics stuff i try and pout some perspective on it and th is in the end it is still a kids sport not a career for most. How many 45 year old gymnasts are there anyways?
 
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cher062

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Ive never heard of a gym saying if all your kids don't compete here then none can. Also if your older DD can't compete there do you really think she would never want to compete again?

If you can manage the schedule of 2 gyms I say go for it for now. Make a special appointment to Talk to the owners of current gym and let them know your concerns again so its a meeting not just a discussion in the viewing area.

I would also take at least your youngest to a new gym for an evaluation and see where they would put her. Remember too scores and skills aren't the only reason to move up or keep back a gymnast.
 
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bigtiny

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This is where she is now:

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mariposa

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Sep 25, 2007
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Such a tough situation. I don't think you can put either's needs first, because that isn't fair, but you also have to think about it very carefully. If they are rival clubs, it might NOT be possible to have them at different gyms. Things could be said by coaches and/or girls to one of your DDs about the other team/your DD and that would not be a nice situation to be in. If they weren't "rival" clubs, it would be different. I know many gyms (if they are in different areas) seem to be friends, but when they are close and compete for business, it can be another story.

Is this other gym very comparable to yours? Great compulsory and optional program? Happy kids that do well at meets and progress? Do you have an in person there that can give you the WHOLE story? I would want to make sure (especially if risking older DDs happiness) that this gym is definitely a GREAT place to be. It seems that no matter what decision you make, one kid is going to be unhappy, unless by some miracle, the gyms are willing to let the kids be at the best place for them. Could happen. Would be great if that happens, might not. :(

Your littlest daughter definitely is amazing and has lots of potential. She has beautiful form, very pretty level 5 skills already, especially on beam and floor. I think she might struggle with bars and vault, but most kids struggle with something.

Your older daughter, while having issues now and saying she might be done, could change her mind. She has been at this sport for 6 years and obviously had to work hard to get where she is. She could regret forever (coming from a kid who regretted decisions parent made that weren't fair) and it could really hurt her. Pulling her from the gym without her totally saying, "Ok, I quit," would just not be right. At her age especially, because of fear issues, etc, she especially needs to be where she feels safe and trusts her coaches.

I don't know what to tell you because it is a situation that sucks. I don't understand why they would hold your little one back, especially if she is losing her love for gym. We have a girl repeating level 4 at DDs gym that did pretty well last season (not 37s). Has many of her level 5 skills and I assume would get them (her bars are beautiful!). They are really watching her to make sure she is challenged and happy, while still competing level 4. They don't want her to lose her love for the sport, but also want her to have another season at level 4 for various reasons. She many times is put with the level 5s or 6s to train if the new 4s are being taught something she already knows or they are short level 5s. We have fall compulsories, so she will compete 4 in Fall and probably be moved up in the Spring and do a 5 meet or 2 if she is ready.

It looks like your DD is training other skills, is there a reason she can't continue to do this and still compete 4? That might be their plan for her as well, to score out of 5 or 6 later. It isn't fair, but there are girls that miss the age cutoff and have to do this and end up okay. Maybe thinking about with a different attitude will help? If they could really keep her challenged at practice, she could still be progressing. You could talk to her about team work and getting a chance to really work on just skills while competing something she can do in her sleep? (Not the best solution, just a suggestion).

I think there could be a happy medium. I think you need to talk to the owner/HC. I know we have discussed your program before, very big, lots of girls, lots of talent and they don't move as fast sometimes, but also quickly move later. They might not care if they lose families, but they might. Talk to them about alternatives, training with the 5s all summer and THEN making a decision, training with 5s and then competing 4 if they are adamant, etc. Even bring up the possibility of having 2 kids at 2 gyms, see what they say?

I don't envy you. Sending you lots of good luck in reaching a decision.
 

mariposa

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For anyone who replies before BigTiny does. Her daughter will turn 7 this summer, so she would be old enough to compete level 5.
 
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bigtiny

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Thank you for your responses. What you are seeing in the video are skills she has picked up since Level 4 states at the end of May and things she has learned on her own. They have been working Level 5 skills to see who will move up. The decisions have now been made. Starting July 1st, my daughter would be back to doing only Level 4 skills again and would most likely lose the Level 5 and 6 skills she has now (she is doing back walkovers on low beam and front tucks on floor). The team competes a full year at one level, so the next chance for her to move to Level 5 would be next July.

I will meet with the Head Coach, but I know from experience that she will not deviate from what the child's coach recommends. This particular coach is known for holding kids back. I am truly sick over this. I have seen my talented young daughter change from enthusiastic and happy to feeling like a failure. I don't care how far she goes in gymnastics, but I do care how it makes her feel.

I know the grass isn't always greener, but this grass is looking so brown right now!:(
 

mariposa

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BigTiny,

That really sucks. I wish there was some easy fix, but I am not sure there is. It does seem like she should be in level 5. She has come so far since May and there is still so much time. I hope that the Head Coach will listen to you and get the situation fixed. If not, I hope that you can find a happy solution for both girls. What about your 3rd gymmie? Is she part of the equation, too?

Hugs to you. I would hate to see my daughter miserable where she once loved to be.
 
Jun 11, 2008
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I would move

This is a tough situation for sure. Each of your children are unique with their own styles and of course, you want to meet each of them where they are at. If you are able to handle the $$, travel, and time involved with splitting them up at different gyms, then I would do it.

I watched your video and your daughter looks so much like mine! I'll bet she needs gymnastics like most people need air. If this is the case then trust your gut that she needs MORE gymnastics and uptraining. For gymnasts like this, holding them back is what causes the burnout.

Before committing to the new gym, I would ask to have your daughter evaluated first so you can make sure they see the same thing as you. I would not look so much at their compulsury program (as far as wins and numbers) but look at their optional program. What are the ages of their optionals and what levels do they offer. Do they have elite? How about a TOPs or elite hopeful training program?

While none of us can predict the future and we all know that going "all the way" is very slim even for the best, your "6" year old is well on her way already and given the world, I'll bet she'd take it. So, why not do everything you can to make it possible (within physical reason, of course)?

I agree with bogwoppit (sp?). Just going by your one video, I think your daughter would be a dream for any coach.

Trust your gut!
 

gymjoy

Member
Jan 31, 2009
410
She is only 7 - what's the rush? I watched her video, and she has great potential. She also has plenty of time. The attention to details and to the basics that she can focus on at this level are important to success in the upper levels. Even just the next level or two up.
Trust me - I've had some experience. When my gymmie was doing levels 4-5-and her first season of 6 I just wanted to keep her moving up levels because she might get bored, or upset, or lose some of the up skills she had learned near the end of the previous season. Her old gym always complied and moved her up. The result was poor gymnastics because she never learned to pay attention to the details or correct form. If we had not moved to another state and another gym I know she would have quit by now because she would not be doing well or progressing in the upper levels at all.
When we moved her new gym saw her potential - and her lack of good, solid basics and attention to details. They made her do 2 more seasons of L6 just to make her work on those things. All I can say is that they were entirely right. My gymmie was very upset at first, but soon realized she needed to trust her coaches because her abilities just took off.

Now, if your problem is that her coaches will ignore her this coming season and not challenge her to improve the details of her gymnastics because she already knows L4 then find a gym that will do that for her.

And I can't believe the set up in your house. WOW!
However, I would also be very careful of her learning new tricks on her own. It is a good way to learn incorrect form which will be harder to correct in the future. (sorry, I'm just an advocate of gym at gym - not at home:) )
And I love that pink and black spotted leo.
 
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bigtiny

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I honestly do appreciate all of your responses, and I am thinking about the things each of you have said. Though my daughter's form looks somewhat sloppy in these videos of learning new skills, her form is very good once she has gotten skills down. At level 4 states, she finished first on beam, second on bars, tied for second on floor, 4th in All-Around, and 8th on vault. At the time, she was still running with a limp after an injury from a fall on beam requiring 12 stitches.

The gym she is at NOW has good compulsories but not so good Optional teams. They do not do a lot of uptraining during the year. I don't care what level she gets to or even how long she stays in gymnastics. I want her to feel good about herself, and right now she doesn't.

We had issues with this gym which drove my middle daughter out last year. Now this. I am not a "gym jumper" and have stayed despite some challenging times with coaches, etc. It's just so hard to know the best thing to do, but my heart is telling me that the current gym and another year of Level 4 is not right for her. She'd rather be challenged than have another neck full of medals.

But what about my oldest, working for Level 7, who is so loyal to our current gym?

There has to be an answer!:confused:
 
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bigtiny

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Oh....and I agree with you about trying new skills at home. My girls are only allowed to do things are home that they have successfully done at gym. The new skills she has gotten on her own are ones she has acquired at Open Gym with a coach supervising her.:)
 

gymjourneymom

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Mar 9, 2008
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Training at 2 separate gyms would be alot to deal with, as far as scheduling & commuting. Guess you could work that all out...but it sounds like a lot of added stress for everyone. Stress is never good...especially for your DD with fear issues. My biggest issue with the separate gym idea...they will surely have totally separate meet schedules(dates, times, locations). How would you handle that???? How would you decide which DD got to go to her meet(should they be held in separated locations at the same time). Or would you send one with team mates( & then you would miss watching one of them). How would you choose who to watch & who to miss???? Even if the meets are different weekends, then will you all(between competing & watching) be at a meet every weekend with no down time??? Is there anyone here on CB who has 2 gymmies at different gyms??? If so how you they make it work??? I think separate gyms should be a LAST resort. I think it would take it's toll on your family in the long run, JMHO. Hey....isn't this all suppose to be FUN!?!?
 
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bigtiny

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You're right! I didn't even think about the meets. Oh no, one more thing to worry about. So, if separate gyms are out, how do I decide which gym to go to - the one that's best for my oldest daughter or the one that's best for my youngest daughter?
 
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bigtiny

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Hey....isn't this all suppose to be FUN!?!?

I agree completely, and this is why I am going in circles. This is not fun. My youngest daughter is not having fun, and I am very unhappy right now. I asked her if she wanted to just stop doing gymnastics, and she got so upset and said she loves gymnastics and never wants to stop. But she comes out of practice sad many days now. I just don't know what to do anymore. :confused:
 
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