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Is there such a thing as gymnastics...

(21 Posts)
SortItAhhht Thu 04-Aug-16 23:12:17

...for kids who aren't tiny, bendy little 'I made the gym squad at 6 yrs old and am future Olypmics material' gym classes your area?

At a loss.

I am struggling so badly to find a gym class for almost-8 yr old DD.

The school club is crap. They just do 'fun activities' with no stretching or development (DD wanted to know how to do a back flip for the whole of last the end her 70 yr old gran helped her master it in our back garden as opposed to the 90 quid a term club she goes to, who just do some fun jumping about and forward rolls hmm).

Local gym clubs all have epic waiting lists and are full of stretchy little things who are competition material. DD is too old to start their beginners clubs and is a tall, strong (not overweight but mixed race and has that gorgeous muscular, curvy Serena Williams-type physique ) and just clearly not they preferred gym club material.

Yet she has taught herself to do beautiful cartwheel, handstands, headstands and is so physical and graceful. She'd be great at rhythmic gymnastics as also does various dance classes.

What and where should I be finding a class or club for her? We are in London.

VioletBam Fri 05-Aug-16 01:47:02

I would look for a class in acrobatics and not gymnastics.

Like this!acro--tumbling/cgcr

Everydayaschoolday Fri 05-Aug-16 02:40:10


ReallyTired Fri 05-Aug-16 03:52:41

I agree that gymnastics has lost the plot in the uk. Coaches don't see that children who aren't natural gymnasts can't achieve great things with hard work.

My daughter improved her strength and flexibility considerably by using the YouTube videos on Seven Gymnastics girls videos. Working on conditioning for ten minutes a day will give results surprisingly quickly. Dd learnt to do splits all three ways within 6 weeks of daily stretching exercises. Conditioning is not fun. Last year dd was really moviated.

Unfortunately she has lost her bendiness after badly spraining her ankle in a gymnastics class. (Supervised by a coach) The home conditioning did get her moved up to an intermediate class which is taught by an adult. The difficulty dd has is that she had become very fearful since spraining her ankle. She isn't quite so moviated.

CremeBrulee Fri 05-Aug-16 08:13:13

Totally agree with you. There has to be a place for recreational gymnastics. My DD loved gymnastics , tried hard but wasn't ever going to good enough for the 'squad' so her club didn't really want her.

littlepinkmouseofsugar Fri 05-Aug-16 20:59:50

It probably depends on the individual club. Good ones will have waiting lists for rec class but places should come up after a term or so I'd have thought.

Where we are there is the squad and rec classes from toddlers and up. One of my DC is in the squad and to be honest it's pretty full on with training 52 weeks a year, a double dose of training every half term and holidays and so on. It's pretty strict and a little OTT imo as not everyone wants to be or can be an olympic star.

Other DC is in the recreational classes - there was a waiting list to get in. The recreational groups go by ability rather than age at our club, but the older children pass the levels really quickly - my 9 year old went from level 10 in the beginner class to the level 7 - intermediate class within a few months, so is now with children the same age and finding the skills they are learning more challenging.

BUT the club does very much favour the squad children and basically the termly fees from rec gymnastics offset the club's running costs for squad parents as otherwise with 20 plus hours of training week a lot of parents couldn't otherwise afford squads for their children. Also, at our club, all the website photos and Facebook entries are from the proud coaches of certain 'stars' rather than rec gymnasts or the less able squad children which does grate a bit.

smellyboot Sun 07-Aug-16 08:34:29

I know three clubs near us that welcome rec gymnasts of all levels and ability but we aren't London. Maybe there is so much demand they didn't need to? Gym is great for all children and its catch 22 as they can't develop and show what they can do if they can't get a foot in the door lol

Muddlingthroughtoo Sun 07-Aug-16 08:40:38

If you watch the Olympic gymnasts, a lot of them aren't so lithe and bendy now so much as powerful and flexible.Some are still dainty little things but others have legs to rival a scrum half!!

Jubaloo442 Sun 07-Aug-16 08:53:18

Depends on the club. Some focus more on competitive gymnastics and you never hear anything about the recreational classes. Others have a nicer balance. My old club used to run and enter competitions for recreational classes too which was nice. Body shape wasn't a defining factor, we had a couple of v tall girls and also rounder kids who were v talented and so were 'moved up'.

I can't comment on the class your DC attended, but a good coach has a responsibility to take their groups through the right progressions and strength training to ensure they are able to do more complex moves.
As a coach (though not for a couple of years) one of the big problems we had was having to re-teach kids skills such as backflips and handsprings that they'd taught themselves before they were ready. A good coach knows when kids are ready to progress and allows it to happen, recreational or elite classes. I remember the frustration of wanting to do certain moves on the bars and trying relentlessly, but the sad truth was that it didn't happen until I'd had another 6 months of upper body strength training. My coaches knew that but I just wouldn't be told!!!

It's great that you're so supportive, and YouTube videos etc are great for help with strength training and conditioning. If you have a child who wants to put in the extra time at home that's an encouraging sign.

Good luck!!

Jubaloo442 Sun 07-Aug-16 08:54:47

mudding I was one of the scrum half variety and it got me further than being naturally flexible!!!! Still got thighs like a wrestler..... confused

Muddlingthroughtoo Sun 07-Aug-16 14:52:01

I too have scrum half thighs, if only I had embraced them earlier!

altik Sun 07-Aug-16 15:07:55

Try looking at British Gymnastics Website. They will show you all the clubs in your area.

In my area, most are mainly rec clubs it's tricky finding the club that takes the children to a decent level. But most of our local gym clubs operate out of school halls etc, so at best their squads compete at county level, but it's tricky finding anything that goes above that. I have friends that commute over 40 mins to an hour to get their children to decent clubs. Little clubs are two a penny, but I live in the countryside, so I guess that's just demographics.

Witchend Sun 07-Aug-16 20:05:47

My dd2 is in a wonderful one.
They take children from 1.6yo (with parent) upwards and have a quite competitive squad, but most of their children do it for fun. They have a internal competition once a year where they all get a certificate, plus there's medals for top 3 in all disciplines.
There are children who start older than 8yo; there are plenty who aren't the conventional shape/flexibility. Each one is made to feel welcome and encouraged to do the best they can but not bad if they can't reach the same standard as others. They're grouped by standard and the groups get very supportive of each other as they're together in the same group all term.

My dd2 is 12yo and has been going since she was 3. She only has one hand and has never been made to feel as though she is out of place or struggling. They have made some allowances for her, but they are always happy to be lead by what she feels she is able to do. She's even got medals in the internal competition.
The only time she had any nasty comments about her hand, they dealt with it in one week and never again.
She adores the coaches and they've supported her through the years. Can't praise them enough.

Flissypixie Sun 07-Aug-16 20:18:38

Both my dds do gymnastics. Eldest now 9 started at a rec club that doesn't do competitions but does shows and talent comp which was fab. She then moved to a competitive club where she trains 4 days a week. My youngest started at the new club in their rec class and isn't really competitive gymnast material (despite being tiny and bendy, she's not strong.)so has just stayed in their rec programme with girls aged from 4-12 some of who might progress into the squad. Its fantastic for her overall fitness and she loves it.
Not all gymnasts are tiny,or bendy it takes strength and power to be a good gymnast especially for bars and vault.
Fun gymnastics is often provided through local councils/community centres our local YMCA for example has a great rec class.

Jubaloo442 Mon 08-Aug-16 06:18:29

Also, a bit off topic it did you see the 41 year old woman gymnast in the qualifiers yesterday? She's incredible - has had a couple of kids and represented 4 different countries in her time! Amazing role model. Oksana Chusovitina (spelling?!)

treaclesoda Mon 08-Aug-16 06:25:53

I think it depends on the club. My dd is fairly good at gymnastics but not competition material. She does it for fun and the club are really good,encouraging her to improve on her skillls. They work their competitive gymnasts hard, but at least half of the classes they run are just for enjoyment.

I hope you find something to suit.

DontDeadOpenInside Mon 08-Aug-16 06:31:50

I did, she was incredible. I can't believe I watched gymnastics literally all day too just to see team USA. I wasn't disappointed though they were something else.

OP.. look into cheerleading too. My niece is a flyer (the little one that gets thrown about) she couldn't do anything spectacular but can now do the splits both ways, 1 and no hand cartwheels, back hand springs, tumbling etc they teach it all for cheer.

I've just enrolled my 8 year old in recreational gymnastics. £55 a term, an hour a week.that's with a proper club so she can progress onto competitions etc if she chooses/ is able or she can stay recreational where they just teach the skills.

HellsBellsnBucketsofBlood Thu 11-Aug-16 12:05:27

Look for cheerleading and acrobatics.

Bonbonchance Fri 12-Aug-16 12:05:12

Look maybe for a club that does Team Gym. There are comps but it doesn't seem as intense & compete as a team (obviously) so not bars beam etc but they do still learn tumbling, vault etc. Not as full on as squad training & variety of body shapes.

pygmyangel Fri 12-Aug-16 20:26:58

I would suggest looking for a club that does acrobatic gymnastics or tumbling. Acro clubs frequently need taller, strong girls as bases and tumbling is all about strength and power over flexibility. I speak as the mother of two acrobats, one of which also did tumbling too.

MiaowTheCat Wed 17-Aug-16 12:49:10

What about a gymnastic dance type class? Our local dance school runs them for various age groups and they're one of the most popular classes they do! To be honest the kids seem to learn more there than at their gym club they go to once a week - ok so it's mainly new ways to murder my sofa with attempted tricks but still.

In the interests of my sofa making it until the new one is delivered I've had to ban the Olympic gymnastics from the TV cos they'll get ideas.

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