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Gymnastics/Switch Gyms or Discontinue Sport

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Question
Hi Robert,

My daughter is 10 years old and a level 6 gymnast. She has been at her current gym for 1 1/2 years and this is her second competition season with them. I am also, on the board as the acting VP of Finance and we spend a lot of time at the gym. She currently trains 26 hours a week. She is on a "TOPS" team, which isn't the "REAL TOPS" but a group of 8 girls in the gym that range from level 6-8. These girls are considered the BEST in the gym for their strength and endurance and they move levels very quickly maybe 2-3 times a season. My daughter has went from level 4-6 in a year and progressing to get to 7 this season. My concern is the organization as a whole and my daughters mental state of mind. Recently, she has developed fears that she never had before. The coaches are very hard and continues to scream at her and say "she is wasting her time" Mind you the coach is the Owners Daughter, and is a very young coach (20 years old) This style of coaching is not helping her. I have even taken her to see a sports hypnotherapist, didn't help.  She just doesn't seem interested in going to the gym, she complains and cry's during practice and I feel that this has all to do with this particular coach. I must say my daughter is a very sensitive little girl and this is definitely not ALL the coaches fault. I believe she only wants to stay at the gym because she is in this "elite" group but she is the slowest progressing gymnast in the group. I'm not sure If we should put her in another sport or switch gyms. There is such a big deal in my state about "gym hoping" and I don't want to fall in that category but I don't know what's best for my daughter. Lastly, I don't want to spend money on a new season somewhere else to find out that she just isn't going to make it regardless. I also suggested that we take her out of the group and let her progress slowly, the coaches in the other optional groups are all young and inexperienced and the children get absolutely NO training. I can't discuss this with the owner because they are all her CHILDREN>  This gym has only produced 2 college scholarships in 9 years and one of them was the owners daughter. Any advise you can provide would be much appreciated.

Thanks for taking the time to listen.

Phyllis

Answer
Hi Phyllis,
I can tell that you are very committed to your daughter and to your current gym, which makes the thought of switching gyms or sports a heart wrenching one.  But at the end of the day, you as a parent want your daughter to be happy and you as a customer (of the gym) want value for your time and money you spend at the gym.  I live in AZ also, and I've noticed it is common for people to switch gyms and schools because they have choices and want what is best for their children (we've done that too).

In my opinion, if a gym is not meeting your needs or the needs of your daughter then it's best to look around for one that will.  Take your time, maybe take your daughter to a trial practice at one or two other gyms and make sure you find a good environment with an approachable staff.  If your daughter wants to try another sport then I would suggest you let her do it.  I wish you all the best.
Regards,
Robert

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Robert Davis

Expertise

I can answer questions about technique, strength and endurance training, healing from injuries, and competitions. I can also answer questions from parents of gymnasts, as I have six children of my own now. I plan to write a freely downloadable ebook or guide soon, go to www.LifeTimeGymnast.com to tell me what you want help with!

Experience

I competed in gymnastics for 16 years, from age 8 to 24, the last six of those years on the Arizona State Men's Gymnastics Team (www.sundevilgymnastics.com). After almost a 10 year hiatus I've returned to competition, see www.lifetimegymnast.com.

Publications
http://www.lifetimegymnast.com
http://www.goodfeelingplace.com
http://www.wilycode.com

Education/Credentials
I have a BSE and MS in Electrical Engineering from Arizona State University. During those 6 years I was a member of the Arizona State Men's Gymnastics Team as well.

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