Sunday, December 19, 2010


My daughter who does gymnastics at a fairly well regarded local gym school that has turned out several international (i.e. Olympic level) gymnasts is building its international level coaching and, a week ago invited my daughter to try out..

She has been has been asked to train with their International Development Program.

This is a big deal. The gym is, as I said, well regarded, families relocate cities to give their kids the opportunity to train in these programs with these international coaches. It just so happens that it is the most local gym to us. We only ever intended for gym to be something fun for our kids to do that would give them a good basic kinetics and help develop them physically. We've watched the elite kids training and said over and over to ourselves that we will never get involved in that - the tens of hours a week that those kids train, the injuries, the childhood lost.

And now she has been asked to try out - and been asked to continue in the highest stream, we don't know what to do:

On the one hand this could be a fab opportunity for her to develop her confidence and physicality, on the other hand it's an enormous ask of a 6 year old, the time commitment, the opportunity cost, the family focus and commitment required, all for what exactly? The chance to compete on the world stage and the minuscule chance that it would be rewarded .... do you deny your child a chance like this when offered?

A dilemma


Ute said...

What does she want to do?

As long as she is happy to persue it, then let her have a go.

If it becomes too much, then give her the opportunity to leave.

As long as parents don't force their kids into, I don't see the harm. It's when you see these overbearring 'stage' parents that shits me... the kids have no say.

Ms Smack said...

I agree with Ute. As long as she enjoys it, support it.

She might find a real sense of belonging with the girls, form life long relationships and more.

Kids often assume we love it and continue to go because of that, so keep the adult focus out of it to ensure a clear decision on her part.

She's also only 6. Give it a couple of years to help her develop a bit.


Frankie said...

I always wished I was REALLY good at something. Maybe I was, but my parents never encouraged me or seemed to be interested.

Just see how she goes. If it starts taking away from her 'normal' childhood, you can stop. Or it may BECOME her 'normal' childhood.

Make the most of the opportunity for as long as she's still enjoying herself!

Bambam said...

Agree with above comments. If SHE wants to, let her do it, but make sure she knows she doesn't HAVE to do it, and if she stops enjoying it she can go back to just doing it for fun.

Ironic WV: STIFF

Keiran said...

I say give it a go, but remember this - I played soccer until I was 11 because my parents never told me that I didn't have to if I didn't want to.

There is very little on this planet that bores me more than soccer.

Fusion said...

Agree with Ute and the others. Let her decide and make sure she knows at any point it's OK to say "I'm done."

. said...

Due to the financial stress on my parents, i quit competing in gymnastics when i was 9 years old. Though i don't think i was competing on the same level they're asking your daughter to train on.

On one hand i feel like i could have been really great, and i watch the Olympics with not a little envy. But, over-all i am VERY glad i quit. My body thanks me every day... it's a very tough sport, and i'm not sure competition at that level is all that healthy. All that said, my parents gave me the ultimate option. They approached me with the willingness to take out loans and accept donations from family and friends for me to continue to compete... they also had my aunt (a physical therapist) discuss the long-term damage that my body would/could endure through gymnastics...

Granted, i was 9 not 6... but, i love it, i miss it, i wonder what it would have been like... but i had a really freakin' awesome childhood.

unique_stephen said...

Thing is, she's 6. What she wants is fickle and changing, mature one moment, a child the next. She doesn't really know what she wants.

We've encouraged her into it - we'll do it for as long as it is fun

Spiky Zora Jones said...

sTEVE: Merry Christmas to you and your family sweetie.



xl said...

Happy Christmas, mate!