Gymnastic Team (Or Pre Team) Question

Updated on January 13, 2014
S.H. asks from Santa Barbara, CA
10 answers

My daughter is young (just turned 4) and has been in gymnastics about 6 month at a place that also competes for older kids. There is a pre-team invitational for age 3.5-6 year olds. The place was talking to be about it. It is 'worth it?" It means more time and money. Part of me is tempted since it is a chance for her to excel. Another part of me thinks of it as a gimmick for them to make more $. My daughter loves going and would go everyday if she could. Right now it is fun. I am not overly sporty or competitive, but want to do what I can to help my kids gain extra skills and responsibilities.

Could someone give me advice on competitive sports and starting young? She would not be in a class that competes, yet she might go to locations and preform such as the mall, a parade or a school event.

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So What Happened?

She was not formally invited. I was just curious since someone mentioned it to me.

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answers from Atlanta on

It's a money grab. She's too young and hasn't been doing it long enough to really be on a pre-team. I'm all for gymnastics pre-team/team, but the real competing one. I think you'd be better putting the money toward another day of lessons per week so she can acquire her skills more quickly than toward the thing you are talking about it.

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answers from Washington DC on

My dd has been in gymnastics since that age and is now a level 8 gymnast at the age of 10. She started "pre-team" when she was 5. They were pushing me to put her on the competitive team when she was 6 and I told them I wanted to wait a year. I'm glad I did - it's a lot of hours and unnecessary money not to mention the pressure. She excelled when she started USAG level 5 (we skipped level 4 all together) and actually was scoring better than a lot of the kids who were putting in all the hours when they were younger. Really...there's no rush. The private gyms have a hard time turning a profit after they pay all their coaches. Our last gym "nickel and dimed" us to death. They all want you to think your kid is going to the Olympics!

Were at a much better gym now.

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answers from New York on

OMG she is four. Just let her have fun.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

The kids at our gym don't start actual tumbling until they're 7 or have been in gymnastics for several years and they're ready. Tumbling is much harder on the joints and body than just regular gymnastics.

I think if she's invited you should try it and see how it goes. My kiddo has been on the gym team since she was about half way through her first year in tumbling. She started gymnastics when she was 3.

There is a lot of class time before they start competing. I'd look at this a different way than others though.

Google "the benefits of gymnastics for kids" or "The benefits of tumbling for kids". I was amazed at all that it does for the growth of the bones and muscles.

They do spend all the class time on the Tumble Trak and the springboard floor. She misses the uneven parallel bars so we let her take an additional gymnastics class too.

One of our kids take 5 hours per week and the other takes 2 hours per week. They do dance and gym classes. They love it and I expect they'll stay with it through school and perhaps get scholarships to college. Our facility doesn't have anyone that graduates who needs a scholarship and doesn't get one based on dance or tumbling. They are THAT good. One of our most recent graduates made the national college cheer squad her first try out. As a freshman. Another was a guy and he got a full scholarship on tumbling and was n their cheer squad. He's a fireman now and still comes back and does exhibitions with the team for fun.

As for the dancers, the most recent graduates have gone to Julliard and she received an awesome scholarship, another went to a state college and she's already working with that state's premier ballet company.

Kids who love the sport of dance or tumbling or gymnastics almost always do something with their skills as an older child, teen, and into college. I think finding a good balance and see where it goes is a good first step.

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answers from Richland on

Considering the short amount of time she has been in gymnastics it sounds like a money grab.

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answers from Cleveland on

I would be interested in your answers, especially from the regret point of view.
I just had a convo with someone about this sort of. I maintain that kids that do start young and have tons of instruction and practice opportunities would be more likely to make the team. this was in reference to High school sports like baseball, basketball, swimming. etc. and part of that is just the practice working as a team and competing.

Her position was that anyone with natural talent that tosses the ball around in the back yard occasionally w dad, will have just as much of a chance as making the team as the next kid.

I personally feel the specializing too early is really not ideal, because of injuries, burn out etc.
but the reality of our society seems to be that by 4th and 5th grade coaches are training up their future stars and it doesn't seem to me that natural talent that isn't really developed and take the place of training and hour of practice.

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answers from San Francisco on

What kind of "team" is it?
My friend's daughter does competitive group/dance gymnastics. It's more like dance or cheerleading. While I get that could be fun I would never put the amount of time/money into it that it requires.
My own daughter did competitive gymnastics, on a REAL, traditional athletic team. Bars, beam, vault and floor. She was handpicked to come out for pre team after doing a summer camp, then trained for nine months before moving up to the team. She competed for a few years, she loved it but it was a lot of work (on her part) and money (on our part ) She only went to serious meets, there was no performing at the mall or in parades or anything like that, it was a real sport.
I think it depends on striking a balance between what your daughter enjoys and how much time/money you are willing to spend. And of course if you see it's getting to be too much for her, or she doesn't enjoy it anymore, you can always pull her out and let her try something new.

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answers from San Francisco on

At your daughter's age, only do it for the fun of it, if you can afford it and if you have the time.

Do not do it because you think it will make her "excel." It's way too early for that.


answers from Houston on

If I thought my child had talent and could place, yes. If I thought he'd lose and be bummed, no.


answers from Tyler on

I haven't read through all the responses, but my oldest daughter did competitive gymnastics from age 6 through 11. She started classes at age 3, but we wanted to expose her to many experiences so she also took dance, played soccer, did karate and had time to be a kid.

I was glad she did gymnastics early, but 4 is pretty young. The more intense coaches can be really short with the athletes, and a 4 year old may not take that type of coaching well. The less pressure the better when they are this young, you want her to find her own passion. Don't do it because you think she is the next gold medalist, gymnastics is hard work and requires time and effort and the chances of her progressing to anything are slim to none. Don't want to be a party pooper, just been there, done that. One of the girls my daughter competed with received a full college scholarship WAY away from home and totally burned out her first semester away. Lost her full ride and is now back at home, so disappointing! Do this because your daughter is ready, not because the gym is!

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