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Which kind of gym is better?

Gymmomtoava

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Apr 21, 2018
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Just polling you experienced gym mommies!!

Is it better to be at a gym that :
1. Is nationally recognized, moves at a slower pace with less hours - with a strong focus on form and basics.
2. Less prestigious gym that allows more hours and is less conservative in progressing girls to new skills.

We don’t have access to a lot of prestigious gyms where we live, so IDK if there’s a happy medium, but those are my choices! (DD is currently at #1)
 

Sk8ermaiden

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May 6, 2013
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Whichever one makes my kid happier. "Less conservative" with progressing skills gets my ears up though. How much less conservative? Because I know doing skills when your form isn't there can be dangerous, and I know doing skills when your form isn't there can lead to a halted progression (like if you have a low, archy back tuck, you're not going to get a layout until you go back and re-learn.)

It's interesting though, in my experience here, gym 1 would be the one with high hours and gym 2 would be less hours. It makes me wonder with all the extra hours, why they can't get their basics as strong as the first gym?
 

OrchidZ

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I agree with sce that there are other factors that I'd be very interested in. Injury rate. Coaching style. Approach to injury/recovery. Do the coaches have experience at levels above that of your daughter (I know that this isn't always possible, but it's a requirement for me)? Do they provide dance, solid strength training, etc.. or do you have to find that on your own time?
What are the gyms like? Are there enough beams, etc.. for the girls. Are they sharing the space with rec classes in a way that can be dangerous or distracting? What's the team like? Are they cohesive and supportive?

Just with what little information you've provided, I'd probably say #1. Strong basics are important. More hours does not mean better training. My daughter is doing fewer hours than she did at a previous gym, but the time is used efficiently and she gets more turns than she did in a similar sized team with more hours. Prestige isn't really that important. For me, what it comes down to (from your description), is what are her goals and which method would work best for her? My girl needs a slower, steadier pace in a positive environment to insure she stays healthy mentally and physically.
 

Gymmomtoava

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Apr 21, 2018
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DD is 6- she is level 2- 2 hrs/2x per week. She’d love to go more, but we don’t have that option. Our level 3s go 3hrs/3x per week. She got moved up in May and since then, has her level 2 skills, but just moved up, so she won’t get a chance to move up again until May. They generally don’t level up girls once they start training for competition season.

They don’t seem to have a lot of injuries- they produce a lot of level 10s, and have a great reputation. But, they’re strict on hours and how they move up and DD can’t, for example, work on a BH (which she has) because HC wants it taught and done very specifically in level 3 only.

The other gyms seem more liberal with move ups or uptraining and the girls seem to go more often than DD, but the other gyms don’t place as well and don’t win as many medals. At meets, other gyms seem to have sloppier mistakes than our gym- which is surprising because our younger girls especially seem to put in less hours.

My daughter wants to be an elite gymnast (of course lol- like all of our girls I’m sure!!) so I want her to move forward, but I’m worried moving her to an okay but not as good gym just to get more hours and skills she wants to do faster would be shortsighted. That’s why I’m wondering what the best ‘long game’ strategy has been for your girls.
 
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amiandjim

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I absolutely wouldn’t move her as long as she is happy. There is no reason to want to move fast at that age and strong basics will lead to faster progress in the future. It’s a very good thing the head coach doesn’t want her to lead her bhs incorrectly. My kiddo is a level 6 and her bhs is still so much worse than many of her teammates because she learned it at a different gym with incorrect form.
 

Gymmomtoava

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Apr 21, 2018
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How does a 6 year year old even know what an elite gymnast is? :D
I know it’s crazy- but she likes to watch the level 10s practice, and she watches YouTube videos of Olympic gymnasts. So, she mostly says she wants to go to the Olympics. She asked me what the highest level is (she thought it was 10) and I told her it would be elite.

She is very mature- she is focused and has a really good attitude for her age. Her work ethic is awesome. I can’t explain it- my husband was an athlete at a high level and she has the mind of an athlete - it reminds me of her dad.
 

TumbleTimes4

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Gym #1. Four hours is good for a six year old. You would rather leave her wanting more. Too many hours at a young age leads to injury and burn out. If the environment of the gym is healthy, and they are successfully producing level 10s with great form, then trust that those coaches know what they are doing. Hours will increase soon enough, enjoy less hours while you can.
 

Gymmomtoava

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Thank you all so much! It seems she’s in the right place from your replies. They really focus on form, which is part of her frustration- she’s been doing pullovers, BHC, handstands and cartwheels for so long and she’s impatient to move onto what her friends that just moved up to level 3 are doing, especially since she was training 2 for a lot of her time in 1 and so level 2 doesn’t feel different or like she moved up.

She’s also been upset after gym because she lost her favorite coach and she’s not the biggest fan of her new coach, and so I know it’s disappointing for her. She sees her old friends doing fun, new things during practice so she’s been cranky and frustrated after gym. it’s hard to explain to someone so little that they have to just suck it up and put in the time. She asked if another gym would let her compete 3, and Im pretty sure they would, since her L2 skills look really good and she can do some L3 skills and a lot of gyms don’t compete L3 until Dec, so she has time to learn what she’d be missing, but I wasn’t sure if it would be the right decision for her or make her happier long term. (I mean she asked in a 6 y/o way like ‘wouldn’t another gym let me do level 3?’)
 

amiandjim

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Here is the thing. Competitive, team gymnastics is often boring. It’s repetitive. It’s tedious. They have to learn to love that. I see our level 10s constantly doing handstand holds, cartwheels, round offs, back handsprings. That’s what gymnastics is....repetition, shapes, conditioning, and striving for perfection. Trust me, she will learn to understand that or will not be in it for the long hall. I realize at 6 it’s hard...she is in the best place for her!!! Just keep supporting her and telling her to trust the process.
 
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OrchidZ

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Those lower levels can feel slow and boring, but it's building toward something cool. In a few years, it'll be very different, but it sounds like you have her in a great gym. She needs to learn patience. If she wants to make more progress toward her future skills and routines, she can work on her strength and flexibility with her "free time." Maybe even take a dance class or two that will help her when she's older.
 

JessSyd

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The other thing is, and I only learned this with hindsight, a lot of the activities they do in the lower levels that do not look like much or that look like strength and conditioning are actually drills for higher level skills. So while you are sitting there wondering why they are ‘just swinging’ (or whatever), they are actually laying strong foundations for cool things that will happen down the track.

I have had more than one ‘aha’ moment over the years when it has suddenly become obvious what a boring and pointless looking (to me) drill was actually working towards.

I agree with those advising to leave her wanting more. Nothing at all beats a solid foundation. And if she gets serious about it down the track the hours will increase to more than enough. If I were you I would stick with the gym that will prepare her best and keep her safest, and take the opportunity to get her to try other things now while there is still time
 

sce

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DD is 6- she is level 2- 2 hrs/2x per week. She’d love to go more, but we don’t have that option. Our level 3s go 3hrs/3x per week. She got moved up in May and since then, has her level 2 skills, but just moved up, so she won’t get a chance to move up again until May. They generally don’t level up girls once they start training for competition season.

They don’t seem to have a lot of injuries- they produce a lot of level 10s, and have a great reputation. But, they’re strict on hours and how they move up and DD can’t, for example, work on a BH (which she has) because HC wants it taught and done very specifically in level 3 only.

The other gyms seem more liberal with move ups or uptraining and the girls seem to go more often than DD, but the other gyms don’t place as well and don’t win as many medals. At meets, other gyms seem to have sloppier mistakes than our gym- which is surprising because our younger girls especially seem to put in less hours.

My daughter wants to be an elite gymnast (of course lol- like all of our girls I’m sure!!) so I want her to move forward, but I’m worried moving her to an okay but not as good gym just to get more hours and skills she wants to do faster would be shortsighted. That’s why I’m wondering what the best ‘long game’ strategy has been for your girls.
Basics and technique are very important for lengevity. Learning lots of skills does not necessarily build a great foundation for upper level gymnastics.
 

John

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I will swing a different direction. For my Daughter, the perfect gym would be the gym that does not ignore conditioning but instead does extra conditioning. With that said the perfect gym would also let a gymnast uptrain and gain skills proficiently never holding them back. I am a firm believer in a gymnast gaining many skills before puberty. Know having a skill does not mean competing it, it means training it and completing it effectively. I believe this is paramount to a gymnasts confidence as the gymnast's ages and the levels become more difficult.

In the end, pick the gym you think best suits your family's needs and your daughter motivational style. She can not reach her dreams, high-level gymnastics if an outside force removes her dreams.
 
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GymDadWA

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My DD's gym started like the second gym you described but recently has transitioned into a more fundamental focused gym with slower progression much like the first gym you described, so we've experienced first had a little of both styles of the gym.

From our experience, gym 2 the laid back gym is way more fun early on, my DD was constantly looking to try new skills, she wanted to go to open gym to just "play gymnastics", however looking into the history of the gym there definitely was a level 7 wall that most of the optional gymnasts would hit that seemed to max out their skills and they just didn't have the foundation to get past it, so I understand why the gym updated it's philosophy to try and prolong the lifespan of the gymnast and help more of them reach L9 and L10, I guess time will tell if they hit that same wall anyways.
 
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Muddlethru

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The gym with coaches that have a good deal of experience and who genuinely cares what is best for their gymnasts. Gyms have programs based on, what we hope, what they believe provides the highest success of their team. Ideally, it would be great if coaches don’t stick to rigidly to the program and try to individually cater to each gymnast. In my opinion, the success of a program relies greatly on a great coach.
 
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