Looking Ahead To Tryouts (all-stars)

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Cheer Parent
Mar 6, 2011
My daughter is at a smallish gym (we have 6 teams, only one of which is large). She's 8 years old (2nd grade) and has her standing tuck and layout and can stunt at a higher level as well (she's currently on a youth 2 team, that just won NCA nationals!!!).

They think they'll be doing a youth 3 team next year as well as Junior 4 & 5. She's little (50 lbs). One of her coaches is strongly encouraging me to get her one or two privates so she can get her full (she almost has it) so that she can be on J5 next year. I do have some pros and cons and I'd love to get feedback from others

1) unless I pay for extra tumbling/privates, she only tumbles on saturdays. Because of competitions and other things she only tumbles 2-3 times a month and half of the one hour class is usually spent stretching and conditioning. I've never paid, and lately it's starting to show. Since she's gotten her layout and standing tuck, they've moved on to fulls and so she gets little practice with her newer tumbling skills and after missing two weeks of tumbling struggles to stick her passes at first. If she was on a level 4 team or higher she'd be executing her skills several times a week and get more practice.

2) the older girls treat her like a beloved little sister.

3) If she stayed on a Youth team, there would be kids her age, more relatable.

4) with older girls she might be exposed to things/conversations more mature than I think she is ready for.

5) if she went to a level 5 team, where would she go from there? Be on level 5 for the next 10 years.

6) on any junior team: Would she get lost in a sea of 14 year olds? Would it just look ridiculous?

7) anything I'm not considering here? Oh, she does want to just cheer. She doesn't care what team she's on...although if I really press her and I say if she "had to choose" she will say level 4.
What's the rush? She has years ahead of her. You don't want to burn her out, and at this age, a lot of the fun of cheer is being with kids your age.
What's the rush? She has years ahead of her. You don't want to burn her out, and at this age, a lot of the fun of cheer is being with kids your age.

That's exactly what I said to the one coach and his response was that she was willing and able and talented and we shouldn't "waste" it. I don't necessarily agree with him, but I feel slightly conflicted because there is some drama ( that I'd rather not bring up in a public forum ), that's making me consider her being on a certain team in order to avoid said drama.

I also think it's hard because as a parent my main concern is my child, and the coaches main concern is the gym/team as a whole and sometimes those two things work against each other.
Waiting is the best thing for many reasons. She'll also want to move up to Seniors early after 2-3 years on J5.
Dittos on the above. She is 8 years old. God willing, she has many years ahead to move up at a more gradual pace. you don't need to rush her and it might be better for her growing body to not push the upper level skills so hard. Also, if it is one of the upper level teams that has the drama and you can avoid it- do it. My daughter feels so blessed to have been on teams the last three years that were as drama free as one could reasonably expect a group of girls to be. And actually, I think you made one of the strongest arguments initially - if she is on a level 5 next year, where is the progression for the next 10 years?
I agree with all of the posts, keep her with kids her own age. The girls on J5 are likely to be either high school freshman or 8th graders and will say things without thinking twice about an 8 year old being on the same team. There is no rush to grow up, let her be a kid and enjoy the sport.
I agree with the above answers-don't rush it! If she does get her full while she is on a youth team, she can work on perfecting it; she has plenty of time to grow up-don't force her to move up. When you ask her where she wants to be she is answering you that she wants to be at level 4, so keep her at a level 4. By moving her up, you may create more pressure on her by forcing her to 'keep up with the big guys'; but by leaving her at level 4, she is the one who is leading the pack, and her confidence will be boosted by her growing physically in her skills and mentally in her preparedness for being on a level 5 team in the future. She will still achieve her goals if she is on a level 4 team; she will still be challenged the same on level 4 as she would on level 5. Now as far as privates, ask her what she wants to do; does she want to work on her full or other extra tumbling outside of her regular practice time. She may want to to privates only when she's done with competition season; don't let her get burned out at her age. It sounds like you have a very talented daughter!! Good luck!
I would say go for the J4 rather than the youth 3 just so she would be able to be able to tumble more and get more practice on her higher skills and eventually those bigger skills will come.
Thanks everyone for your replies! I really feel like people look at me like I have two heads for not wanting to push her. If things work out the way I expect them to, I believe the drama will be on the level 3 team, which would be closest to her age group. If she goes up to J4, there could still be drama, I suppose. After watching some level 5 teams compete today, I've definitely decided NOT to push her to do that. She does have plenty of time to get there. My husband thinks we should keep her at youth level and just pay for extra tumbling, which I'm more strongly considering now! Thanks again.
Has she bonded with the girls on her Youth team this year? And would they all be moving together to the level 3 team? One of the reasons my cp is in cheer is for the relationships she makes, she has friends on every team at Spirit but there is a core group on her team that have bonded. Cp wouldn't care if she busted out a double full tomorrow, she would want to be wherever her friends are.
On the Junior teams, will there be other kids her age? Mine was on a J2 team this year but there was about 4 or 5 kids 8-10 years old and they all stuck together. I think if she had been the only 9 year old it would have been a lot harder for her.
I would keep her at Youth 3, pay for the extra tumbling and then skip level 4 all together and go straight to 5. If she's having trouble sticking her passes after a couple weeks off, it might be good to hang back and perfect them.
But you all know me...save a Y5 kid...save a knee....

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