For the past four years, my girls have taken gymnastics classes at a small gym near our home. They started in a Mommy and Me class, moving up through a few levels and although I’ve always noticed they have a natural ability, I wasn’t really pushing them to do more than the one hour a week.
Then a couple months ago they asked to add an additional tumbling class. So two hours a week. The tumbling class was private so they got a lot of one on one time. And I started to notice exactly how good they both were. Then it happened. One of them told me she wanted to quit.
It took awhile to get her to tell me why, the short version is she was unhappy at the gym we were going to. There’s NOTHING wrong with that gym, but she wasn’t comfortable with her coaches in her regular class (they were new to her) and she wanted to do MORE than just that class, but it wasn’t really an option at their current gym to do more than what we were doing.
So I contacted another gym, a little further away, and told them what I had – two 8 year old girls who have a lot of skills, not perfect, but on their way to being so, and they want to get better and eventually compete. We were invited to the team practice.
For the record, although my girls have been doing gymnastics for four years and I at one time also did gymnastics (many MANY years ago), I know little to nothing about competition gymnastics. I watch the Olympics, but competitions for little girls? Nope. Nothing.
Things I learned on day one:
- Class is LONG. I was expecting it to be more than the rec league one hour class. But I wasn’t expecting two and a half hours. Did I mention these two and a half hours are twice a week? Because I was expecting 90 minutes to two hours, I didn’t feed the girls before class. Luckily Wendy’s was nearby when we left. We were ALL starving.
- It’s going to be expensive. I knew that going in, but it’s expensive times TWO for me. I don’t know all the fees yet but I’m assuming all that money we saved by switching our car insurance is going to be spent on this (and then some).
- It’s a year long commitment. When we say we want to do this, we are committed until the season ends (the season is from March to February).
- My girls were being held back in their previous classes. Not intentionally, but after one long class, they were able to do moves they had never even attempted at their old gym, and were completing moves they had never been able to complete before.
- Gymnastics moms are not like any other moms. They cheer for ALL the girls on the team and they genuinely want them all to do their best. Not one was boasting about how great their daughter is (although I will say I was bragging on a few of the girls). Instead they all were saying how “your girls will be just as good in no time.” Which, honestly, was something that this mom, who was nervous about letting them attempt competitive gymnastics, needed to hear. I needed to hear they were where they needed to be to start this process.
Today is day 2. I’ll let you know what I learn. Welcome to my Beginner’s Guide for Competitive Gymnastics for the Mom who knows Nothing. It’ll be fun….Right?