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Gymnastics- stay with rec classes?

(9 Posts)
Maplessglobe Mon 19-Sep-16 07:45:45

DC is 4. The gym club we attend has suggested joining the squad development class. I feel a bit unsure about this. It's a good gym, well-established etc, well known for competing at high levels. But four years old? At the moment it would stay at an hour a week, increasing next year to two hours and so on.

On the other hand, a fairly new gym has opened satellite lessons near us also. Their ethos is rec only, no squad, no pressure to compete. The focus is building a love of the sport and developing confidence. They've not been around v long but have built up a good reputation and now operate at several venues as well as the main gym that I believe they own. Speaking to the founder, he mentioned that they definitely wouldn't go down the route of competitions but would likely introduce advanced classes. He competed at an international level and from what I gather, feels strongly that his current approach is better. They're not BG I don't think and there aren't badges to earn etc. DC tried a session and liked it but also likes the current gym.

I'm feeling inclined to go with the low-pressure option but my friend says I should give DC the chance to excel. But, I keep coming back to the fact DC is 4! I appreciate elite athletes start at that age but I'm not sure that's what we'd want for them. I want them to have fun.

Any advice/ experiences greatly appreciated.

Mistigri Mon 19-Sep-16 11:32:15

If it's only an hour a week, why not stay at the current gym for the rest of the year, assuming your DD continues to enjoy it? You can then make a decision re moving later, if you feel that the demands of competitive gymnastics are too great.

nonicknameseemsavailable Mon 19-Sep-16 11:57:24

If they aren't registered with British Gymnastics then you need to check their insurance and coaching qualifications, if he competed internationally then he is probably fine coaching wise but still you should check (am intrigued who it is as I work in gymnastics and know lots of ex GB gymnasts).

I would personally probably stay where you are for now, say no to the development class for now and see how things go.

Maplessglobe Mon 19-Sep-16 12:58:27

Thanks for the advice. I guess part of my reluctance is putting them off the sport by adding pressure at this early stage.
The other issue is that all the clubs around here have miles-long waiting lists so I'm worried about letting the high-level club place go and not being able to get back in.
Yes, all the coaching, insurance etc is above board but thanks for asking. I'm actually just making that assumption due to the laid-back approach and the fact there's no up-front membership fee which I'm used to having to pay for BG membership for trampolining and gym. They said all the insurance fees etc are included in the subs.

non would you say no to the development class based on age, or other pitfalls (or simply my own réservations)?

nonicknameseemsavailable Mon 19-Sep-16 13:56:09

well I think it is a combination. anything that you instinctively feel uncomfortable about as a parent is enough of a reason in my opinion.

I personally think 4 is too young, I personally steered my children away from gymnastics because of the pressure it puts on a young body (so they steered their way into dancing instead which probably isn't any better but the dance school they are at takes things slowly). I think an hour a week at 4 is plenty. perhaps at 6 or 7 it could go up if she is still enjoying it and wants to. she won't lose a natural ability in that time and could easily catch up to be honest.

Maplessglobe Mon 19-Sep-16 17:11:54

Thanks non that's really helpful, enlightening and somewhat worrying!

nonicknameseemsavailable Tue 20-Sep-16 10:38:03

sorry- didn't mean to worry you. One of my girls in particular I think would be picked up on as being very good at gymnastics and I just don't want that for her as we have a family history of joint problems so I don't want to add any extra issues.

a7mints Tue 20-Sep-16 13:23:47

I am a level 3 British Gymnastics coach. BG don't allow children to compete until the year they turn 8 so I don't think you need to worry about that quite yet.BG are very happy to support rec clubs.
Clubs are often run in leisure centres or schools without being BG registered because the LC /school insurance covers them.The only difference is that if it is a BG club, coaches can only coach the skills they are qualified to teachy.In a LC setting this does not apply but you would have hoped they have a clear agreement with their insurers as to what is covered.
The average age for boys quitting gymnastics is 5 and a half, and for a girl 9.5, so the key thing at this stage is keeping him interested.The development squad will have more focus on conditioning and flexibility whilst the rec club will be more fun-based.

a7mints Tue 20-Sep-16 13:26:15

Gymnastics is an excellent foundation for other sports.Because of the strength and flexibility a youngster develops they are less likely to be injured when they take part in any sport.

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