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Whats it take to make team?

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mom2ab

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My DD has been in gymnastics since age 5 (7 now), no she is not the most talented girl out there, but she is equal to most of the others in her class (girls advanced), if not a little better than some. She is focused, determined, and a good listener, according to her coach. I hate to ask the coaches (they stay out of parents line of fire, it seems to me), for fear of being "one of those parents" that are pushy and think their daughter/son is better than every one else, but....Over the last month or so, she is getting board in class, is not as gung-ho on going, and feels kinda down cause she sees others getting cherry picked for pre team, but she keeps getting passed over. Why cant the coaches come to us and say something like, she needs to work on this, that or the other, then we will evaluate, etc. We are kinda left in the dark as to who gets picked and why. My question would be, have any of you had similar experiences? Is this normal? Are we in a not so friendly, snobbish gym or what?

Again, she may not be the most talented, but she works hard, and takes instruction well, so maybe I would just like to know exactly what coaches look for.

Any info would be appreciated! Thanks, Jodi
 
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Billy

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We had some similar trouble at our first gym. My DD was in the rec program there but desperately wanted to be on the team. They wouldn't even let her try out. The rec coach said she would have to go through all four levels of the rec program before she could try for team. She wouldn't tell us what DD needed to work on nor did she seem to have any interest in training her to move up. So, we took DD for team evaluations at two other gyms, both of which wanted her for their teams. Now, she's finishing up a successful level 2 season and will be skipping up to level 4 next month.

My advice would be to talk with the coaches. Make an appointment and tell them you'd like to know her status at the gym, explain your daughter's goals to the coaches and find out what she needs to be working on. You should, of course, be polite and respect their knowledge, but you do have a right to know what's going on with regards to your child. Don't be afraid to ask.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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If you want a response from coaches, it would be better to post this in the coaches section (coaches aren't supposed to post in this section unless they are also parents themselves)
 

mariposa

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Welcome to the CB! I would also suggest asking in the coaches forum, for a coaches opinion.

I would probably talk to the coaches and see what their response is. Tell them that your DD is getting bored, wants to learn more and that her goal is to be on team and compete. Ask them what she needs to do to reach those goals. You will probably get a feeling right away if they will ever give her a chance.

That said, some gyms are very picky on who they select to be on team. Our previous gym was that way. My DD was like your DD, getting bored, teaching herself things at home and was sad when her friend was moved up and she wasn't.

We went to a trial class at another gym and she liked it so we did both for that month. I had asked DD not to tell her coaches, but she did, and at the end of the month (what a surprise), they moved her to their pre-team devo class. At the new gym, they told me the first day that after she got a little more polish to her skills, she would probably move to their devo class after a month.

Ultimately, I gave my DD the choice of which gym she wanted to go to. She chose the new gym and we are both extremely happy with the decision, she has really blossomed there and is loving gymnastics. That was back in September that we started at the new gym and she has just moved to team as a level 4. I think her new gym is much more open about moving people up, and they don't seem as picky. I also don't think they move kids that aren't ready.

I would first talk to her coach and see what they say. I remember hearing a coach at our old gym tell a mom that "Not all kids are going to be able to be on team. Your DD is also a little old to be on team, they are usually younger when they start." She also mentioned how much of a committment and expensive it was, and then was telling the mom (with the 8 year old girl in earshot) what her DDs faults were, etc, and not in a positive manner. We had already left the gym, were there using up our credit at open gym, but I was glad we had left. I have heard similar complaints of not moving up, being bored, etc, from at least 5 moms I have met just out in the community when gymnastics comes up. (Thanks to my DD thinking everywhere is her gym and showing off anywhere she can. LOL)

I hope they give your DD a chance and if not, try out some other gyms. You are a paying customer, she shouldn't be bored in her class. Even with kids of different skill levels, the coach should be able to tweak her stuff a bit so she is being challenged.

Good luck! Keep us posted!
 

gym law mom

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My gymmie was also doing just a weekly rec class and getting very bored---she and another girl were basically getting taught new skills while the others mastered what she could already do. She really just wanted to quit. We didn't really know about pre-team and all that and hadn't even considered competitive gymnastics. Actually, we were going to ask her rec coach about her doing an extra class or something when one of the team compulsory coaches approached us and asked about her moving to their pre-team program. We all agreed to try it for 1 month(that was about 4.5 yrs ago) and today at a different gym she is training L8.

Set up a time to just "chat" with her coach. Maybe they don't see or know of her desire to try pre-team. Just because some kids get picked doesn't mean they all stick it out and move on to team. Don't sell her skills short----seems my gymmie blossoms more as she moves up the levels. Some kids thrive on a challenge. Keep an open mind if they mention she might need more strength or name some skills etc. Then see if you and the coach can come up with a plan to get those stronger. If they won't consider EVER letting her try pre-team, then look at other gyms and other programs. Nobody can guarantee what a child will do once they start competing. As you may have read here about 1/2 of the L5s nationally drop the sport before competing L6.

If she's enjoying it and wants to keep going then find someway to give her that chance---even if its somewhere else.
 

Monkeygirlsmom

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Feb 10, 2007
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My girls are 6 and 8 and both at our old gym there really wasnt a team but some of the kids said there was!! my youngest was wanting to compete someday and I felt that it was not going to happen if we stayed where we were (untill she gets to highschool) so we checked out diff gyms for price and how they treated the girls!! (we liked the place we were at but like I said they were getting bored)
anyhow 1 gym said right in front of my oldest dd she was ok but didnt have the talent but youngest dd did have it (they are diff and excell at diff areas)
anyhow 1 we went to I felt soo comfortable at the gym the head coach made it about them not me, I felt that was imp~~
anyhow we ended up there since I felt that it was a small atmosphere!
well after 2 months my girls were asked to be on preteam!!
they love going!!
 

momof5

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Oct 26, 2007
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Our coaches are also vague about what they are looking for. Kids at are gym are rarely moved to a preteam program during the year. At the beginning of summer is a tryout camp for the level4 team and preteam so if you dd has aspirations for team they get evaluated together as a group. My dd tried out for the preteam last year and was one of the few girls that didn't get selected. I got very vague answers and finally a coach told me this year since dd wants to try out again that her form is her biggest issue. She has most of the l4 skills but she does them poorly.
 
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flippymonkeysmom

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It depends on so much. Larger gyms or very competitive gyms tend to be much more selective. We were very lucky since we started at a much smaller gym. My dd was not the most natural and definitely not the best when she was in the intermediate group. The head coach saw something in her though - he noticed she worked the hardest, never complained and had a look of determination in her eyes when she would try things. Over the summer he tried her with pre-team and they were all so far ahead of her. After the summer he gave her the choice - she had come a long way - he asked her if she wanted to be on top of the intermediate group, or the bottom of the pre-team group. She of course picked preteam. By the time they all moved to team and competed level 4 she was scoring higher than all the girls that had been so far ahead of her. Her coach said it was all about the determination - anyone can coach a natural - but giving the girl who really wants it and works hard a chance is what makes a great coach. Now she is a level 7. The point of my long rambling story is - I would try and talk to the coaches. Find out their philosophy and if it is what you want for your daughter. If not you can look elsewhere where she will get the opportunity she deserves. Good luck - and welcome to CB!
 
Jan 22, 2008
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Welcome to CB. I have to say you have gotten great advice. I would be talking to her coach and just feel out how she/he thinks she is progressing. I have built a wonderful relationship with DD's coach and I know what the plan is for her from her current coach and the gym owner. Our gym is small about 300 gymnasts in the entire gym with the majority of them in the req program. DD was selected for a dev class when she was 3 and then moved to pre-team the following year. I have seen kids passed over and seen them selected for these classes. I have heard our coach about her young ones. She looks for body control meaning being able to tighten certain muscle groups, body type (shape), listening skills, and talent. I think they too look at the parents to see what their commitment level is. I know I was anticipating dd going to a 4 year old class and was told no she is being moved to here. Also there was only 4 kids in the class and we finished with 8 total. For Pre-team all the girls that were in the dev class were advanced which they were all 8 at different levels but it worked. Then the rest of the pre-team was filled with try-outs and evaluations from regular req classes. When we started Pre-team we had 24 that were there to begin and now we are down to 13 (I think). We only have 4 of the 8 from the orginal class still there and none of them were the orginal DD started her first dev class with.

I would even consider having your DD schedule a private with the coach to get her that extra attention and let her know what your DD's ultimate goal is. That way maybe the coach can give her some new skills and evaluate her at the same time. We were having a converstaion last week about Pre-team selection and everyone but the 8 had to try out for their spot. I know our PT coaches gather gymnasts from all the coaches but I do know there are a lot of things that they look for too it isn't just what we see. Like I said I know even parents come into play to an extent because they are looking for people who are going to help the program grow.

Good luck and I do hope your DD gets her chance. I would even look at having her evaluated at another gym just to get an other opinion.
 

Livinatthegym

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Feb 4, 2008
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Ask a dozen parents and a dozen coaches and you'll get two dozen different answers! Ok, I'm chiming in with everybody else who says it depends.

There is probably some kind of skill requirement, but it will differ from gym to gym. Some pick girls for lvl 4 and then train. Others train, then select. You also need to keep in mind that you might not have any idea what's good, even after a couple of years as a team parent. Case in point, my dd1's best friend in lvl 6 had beautiful bars--at least I thought so. Her legs and arms were always straight, her toes pointed, her feet together, so why was her score always so low? Found out the deductions were coming from the angles. The problem was in her shoulders. I had no idea. To me, she looked very good.

There is probably some kind of strength requirement.

There is most definitely a work ethic requirement.

The coach is likely to look at maturity. The coach might look at something like how the child handles boredom. Can she stay focused while perfecting existing skills or does she lose interest as soon as she can't move on to something new? Does she cry when corrected, especially if the same correction has to be given multiple times for a number of practices?

The gym might have a bias toward older or younger girls. Gyms with an elite focus probably want them young. Other gyms might favor older girls.

We also sometimes joke that the gym has to run a credit check on the parents.

Anyway, wish I had an answer for you. All I can tell you is that as soon as you make team, the next big question is: "How do they decide who moves up?"

Welcome to the CB. Maybe I can provide something in the way of useful information for the next question!
 

Panda-girl's Mom

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Jan 9, 2008
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My daughter was in the preschool class and she justed turned 5 she was invited to the supertots then the girls were invited to the preteam the next year and this year she was put on team when she was 7. The owner taught the preschool class and supertots so I quess that is how she recruits younger girls. I thought she would do a devo class but was put on the team as a level 4. She was always naturally skilled she taught herself a cartwheel when she was 4. I had 2 separate tumbling teachers tell me when she was four that she was a natural. There are other girls who got on the team who had to go through all four levels and devo class before invited on. I would talk to the owner but if she is only 7 and not ready I would not push it. The kids on my daughters team that are older 9 and 10 and went the longer route did much better at the meets. My daughter struggled to get her skills and did avergage at the meets. If your daughter does not have the skills and gets put on the team before she is ready when she competes at meets againest girls who really good she may become upset and discouraged. I was amazed at how good some of these girls were at the meets it really intimidated my daughter. The postive side is if your daughter gets placed on the team she may become more motivated and become a better gymnast, so I would not wait until she gets picked I would approach the owner and discuss your daughters progress with her.
 

melmonette

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Aug 16, 2007
636
omaha, ne
Our move up to team was similar to Panda girl's mom... my daughter started right when she turned 5 and she had to start in the tumblebugs class for 3-5 year olds. She was bumped up into an invite only advanced tumblebugs 1 month later... This is the path to team so it is easier to start in the preschool route than the regular rec routes of level 1-2 but you had to be 6-8 to be in that class...
After you pass out of advanced tumblebugs, you were bumped to the first level miniteam which met 2 times a week and then after that the 2nd miniteam which met 2 times a week for a total of 3 hours... After this, you were invited to team... The girls on rec level 1-2 would be stuck there much longer before moving to rec level 3-4 and the hours never increase. Only 1 hour a week for both those levels and then when spring time would come around... All the miniteam 2 would be bumped to level 4 and only select girls from 3-4 would and the others well would be stuck in 3-4 till they move their teams up again the following spring. So I guess we were lucky that we were in the preschool age group for moving up than in the rec group from the get go... Move ups seemed easier... And in our gym, the older girls seemed to do better too.
 

Rainee100

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Sep 22, 2007
41
NY
You should just be frank with the coach and let them know that your daughter is interested in trying out for the team. Some kids will get picked based on their natural talent and others will be overlooked. I have two daughters in level 4+5 and my younger, who is the level 5, was invited after a year or two of class. She's now 9 and training for level 6. My other daughter is now 12 and was the original one to start gymnastics yet was never invited to team. She eventually quit when she was 7 or 8. One day at the age of 10, she said she wanted to be on the team after watching her little sister compete. I talked to the coach and she said she'd let her train with the team during summer, and if she'd be evaluated at the end of the summer, but no promises! She worked her tail off and made it. She's also scoring at the top of her team. The gym owner came up to me once and said "I'd much rather train a kid with her great attitude, than someone who's all talent and unwilling to work. " I watched another talented kid get overlooked for a few years, because the mother was always complaining about the cost of class. It's really expensive to compete and the club knew there would be problems if she was already giving them a hassle about the class price. It could be anything. If she wants to compete, don't beat around the bush. The coaches will want to know that you're dedicated too. If that gym won't put her in the program, find one that will. Good luck!
 
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