All-Star 7 y/o w/ no tumbling exp. wants to join a cheer team

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GracieLou

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Apr 26, 2022
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I need some honest opinions/advice. My seven year old daughter recently became very interested in cheer and thinks she might enjoy being on a team. My main concern is she has no tumbling skills. She can’t even do a handstand or a cartwheel at this point. She’s taken dance classes since she was 3 but no tumbling classes until 3 weeks ago. I got her into the tumble class and a month long cheer class at our city run gym as soon as she expressed interest. But still, that was only three weeks ago. She has been progressing every week but is still not doing the handstands or cartwheels.
Tryouts are coming up in three weeks for a couple of local gym’s teams. Should she even bother trying out? If they accept her will she feel wildly underprepared once she gets there? We went to a showcase for one of the teams last weekend and the mini team was good! They were doing all kinds of cartwheels in their routine. I feel like I’ve done my kid a huge disservice by not enrolling her in tumbling before this. Like everyone who does cheer has been tumbling since they were 4 or 5 at least.
Is it too late for her? Or Should she wait and try out next year when she’s 8? Or should we go for it and sign up for a tryout next month? Your thoughts are appreciated!
 

NJ Coach

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It's not too late for her. Not anywhere close. If she wants to do it, and you are on board, go for it. Everyone starts somewhere, and considering she is so young, she's not going to be behind. I doubt very much she will be the only child trying out that doesn't tumble.
 
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100% not too late! Cartwheels can be one of those things that just takes a while to click for some kids. She'll get there :)

If it's something you're really concerned about have you tried reaching out to the gym owners? They may be able to advise you on what would be best for your daughter. Without knowing the gym and what they offer it's hard to recommend, but they may have a development team if they don't think she would be ready for competitions, or may have a rec programme they suggest first for a year to build up those initial skills. Or they may still tell you to come to tryouts anyway and then they can advise from there once they've seen her. If they think she will pick up the skills quickly then the mini team might be OK. Every gym is different and has different processes in place. I don't really know anywhere that would expect all mini athletes to be able to tumble right from the off though.
 

GracieLou

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100% not too late! Cartwheels can be one of those things that just takes a while to click for some kids. She'll get there :)

If it's something you're really concerned about have you tried reaching out to the gym owners? They may be able to advise you on what would be best for your daughter. Without knowing the gym and what they offer it's hard to recommend, but they may have a development team if they don't think she would be ready for competitions, or may have a rec programme they suggest first for a year to build up those initial skills. Or they may still tell you to come to tryouts anyway and then they can advise from there once they've seen her. If they think she will pick up the skills quickly then the mini team might be OK. Every gym is different and has different processes in place. I don't really know anywhere that would expect all mini athletes to be able to tumble right from the off though.
Thanks for your reply! The first gym we found has novice, prep and all star team. The second gym we found that we’d prefer is only all star which concerns me. They currently have four teams, one of them being mini. They are a new enterprise, started only last year, and have one season under their belt. Despite that they have formed pretty good groups with 16-20 on each squad. I talked to the owner of this gym and she said no tumbling experience is no big deal. That my daughter would have all summer to learn and they begin choreography in August. After seeing their minis perform though I’m just nervous. Im not sure if she understands how truly inexperienced my daughter is.

Part of the problem is my lack of knowledge in this arena. Cheer and tumbling are completely new to me so I’m learning the ins and outs. I’m not sure how long it takes to even learn a cartwheel. My daughter is extremely tall for a seven year old though so I think it’s going to take her a little Ionger to get the hang of it. Her height will probably help with stunting/back spotting I imagine. She looks like a 3rd grader instead of a 1st grader!
 

catlady

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Both of my kids began AS with absolutely no tumbling at age 14 and progressed Level 1 to 2 to 4.2 their last two years. Both could do a running tuck on a tumble track for a year prior to aging out, but neither would commit it to the floor, so seven is definitely not too old! As far as, "how much time it takes to learn skills," every athlete is different when it comes to natural ability/fear/desire to learn, as well as, some depends on how much you're willing to spend. My kids were avg when it came to speed of learning skills, but they felt the most at ease and got the most progression with private lessons.

IMO, Prep is a great place to begin. Not only will your child learn the skills they need to move onto a full year team, but you'll get a good idea if it's something she wants to commit to. Added bonus, it gives you time to observe the coaching staff, the gym/clientele environment, and learn more about AS before committing the time and money.
 

NJ Coach

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After seeing their minis perform though I’m just nervous. Im not sure if she understands how truly inexperienced my daughter is.
But what did their mini's look like at the beginning of last season? Teams start fresh every year. I can't tell you how many times I've seen mini teams do their best representation of herding cats in August to looking like a well-oiled machine in April. Don't fear. Your daughter will be just fine.
 

GracieLou

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My daughter walked into a cheer gym at 9 years old and couldn't do a cartwheel. Like really. She won worlds on TGLC this past weekend. Not to late at all.
Thanks for your reply! That is reassuring to hear. Did she take classes at the gym for awhile before joining the team? Was she proficient with cartwheels before joining a team? I’m trying to decide if she should bother with a team placement this year or not. Perhaps we should wait until next year and continue taking classes.
 

goddessmommy

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7 years old is def not too late to start. They all have to start somewhere, and your daughter may not even be the only one who can't do a cartwheel. Try the team placement. If the coaches truly don't think she should be on a team they will tell you, but everyone has to start somewhere. And like NJ Coach said, the beginning of the season the younger ones typically are a bit of chaos and learn quite a bit the first few months. Take her to placements, put her in a tumbling class, and enjoy the all star cheer life! If you are really concerned, go to the gym that has novice to get her started off.
 
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