advantages/disadvantages of "skipping" level 6

Discussion in 'Question & Answer' started by dancengym, Aug 31, 2010.

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  1. dancengym

    dancengym Guest

    My 9 year old is starting level 6 this year. She started gymnastics 2 years ago. She currently qualified for national tops testing. So, she is just learning the skills required. She also is learning level 6 routines. Her coaches have indicated she may go to early states and then go to Level 7. I don't know how far my daughter can go with gymnastics. And I've been told the skills at the optional level is more important that the lower levels. My daughter has her level 7 skills, including her giant, but 1) does it contribute to more stress learning so much in one year; 2) if her coaches want her to go to early states, then she'll have only half a season to clean up her level 7. She may need to repeat 7; 3) is it better to repeat 7 than go through 6 and then 1 year of 7? Any thoughts?

  2. momof5

    momof5 New Member Proud Parent

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    Personally I like the idea of doing one meet at level 6 to get a qualifing score then compete the rest of the season at 7. This what my dd also 9 is doing. Some of the girls in our gym to do this while others go through a season of 6 and a season of 7. I do know that some of the girls that have done this have been stressed out, but do fine by the end of the season. So far my DD is thriving but we are still months away from competion season. Skipping 6 doesn't neccesarily mean that they need to repeat 7.
  3. cher062

    cher062 Guest

    If she has L7 skills and the coaches think she is ready then I say let her go for it. In some ways its harder but according to my DD it's more fun too. There is nothing like getting your own routines and music.

    I don't think there is any more stress at L6 than at L7 unless your DD doesn't think she is ready then she may worry but from what you have posted she sounds like she is more than ready. If she does the 1/2 season as L7 it doesn't mean she will repeat it. If she has a qualifying score and looks good to move on to L8 they will move her when she is ready. Usually too the optional levels don't have that 1/2 year split so she will have more time to get L8 skills before she competes after her L7 season.

    I would go with it if your DD is excited about it.
  4. Ingwe

    Ingwe New Member Proud Parent

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    My dd skipped L6 and went right to L7 (with 1 meet at L6 for the qualifying score)
    I don't think there are any advantages or disadvantages, it just depends on the kid.
    Morgan was prepared for 7, she had all of her skills and really had no worries. Then her eyes were opened, going from compulsories to optionals is huge and you really can't prepare for that.
    She had a shaky start but by end of meet season she was putting up great scores and even qualified for regionals.
    For her I think it was the right choice. She got to experience some difficulties and disappointments and in turn she matured as an athlete.

  5. hakunamatata

    hakunamatata New Member

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    The jump from 6 to 7 is pretty big, but it sounds like your daughter has a lot of her optionals skills ready at this point, so that's great! If her coaches think it's a good idea to move her up, it probably is. She won't necessarily have to repeat level 7, especially since she is so close to being prepared for 7 right now as it is. From what you've said, it seems like she's a really quick learner; I don't think it will add too much extra stress to learn so much in one year, since she is clearly a natural gymnast and a fast learner. If she does have to repeat level 7, I think that might actually be better than having her competing level 6 when she's really ready to move forward.

    A few of my teammates (many years ago) made this same jump between levels. They had a little bit of a rough start, only because it takes a while to choreograph and learn brand new routines and to get the connections between new skills, but by the end of the season they were doing great, and they moved forward to level 8 that next year without much difficulty! Whatever you and your daughter decide, I wish her luck this season!
  6. gymjoy

    gymjoy New Member

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    My responses are in purple...

    I've been told the skills at the optional level is more important that the lower levels. By who? The skills taught, and hopefully perfected, in the compulsory levels create a stronger optional gymnast ready to take on those "more important" skills safely. Some coaches believe that younger girls have less fear of learning the harder, scarier tricks than older girls. I personally have seen it work both ways - and fail both ways.

    My daughter has her level 7 skills, including her giant, but 1) does it contribute to more stress learning so much in one year;
    Really depends on your dd, and on how her coaches prepare her. My dd repeated level 6, but skipped 7. Even though she was well prepared and did well at Level 8, made it to regionals and even was regional beam champ - she was still very stressed and says she would never skip another level - ever!

    2) if her coaches want her to go to early states, then she'll have only half a season to clean up her level 7. She may need to repeat 7;So, if she needs to repeat L7 that's fine. Unless their is some finish line your racing to reach?

    3) is it better to repeat 7 than go through 6 and then 1 year of 7? Any thoughts? six of one, half a dozen of another - as my grandmother use to say. I think a strong Level 6 season while up-training is just as good as repeating Level 7.
  7. dancengym

    dancengym Guest

    Thank you everyone for your valuable insight and suggestions. If the coaches decide to move her up to L7, my daugther would be thrilled. My only concern is why such a rush? I guess if her goal is to go Elite or further, then I see it. But at this stage, does anyone really know how far a gymnast can go? I am just wondering when does one decide if their gymnast is going to do elite or further? Her coaches have indicated to me last year, she has the talent and hardwork to go to elite. But she was only 8 when they told me this with only one year of training. My DD, as of now, wants to go as far as she can. I don't want to hold her back if this is what she wants, yet I don't want her to be pushed to a point of burn out and/or she will no longer enjoy the sport. In addition, how do you guys handle school, friends and other family obligations with such a big commitement to the gym?
  8. dunno

    dunno Coach Coach Proud Parent Former Gymnast CB Booster Club Owner

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    sometimes the "rush" is not in what level you compete at. sometimes it has to do with the windows of 'learning curves' opening and a coach having to take advantage of what is taking place in those learning curves when they are happening.

    gymnastics takes so long to learn for most kids that those windows need to be exploited as efficiently and safely as possible.
  9. nevertooold

    nevertooold New Member

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    Would love to hear you more of your thoughts and experiences in regards to this.
  10. NotAMom

    NotAMom New Member

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    dancengym, you sound like a very logical, sensible and caring parent and you're not blinded by the glory ahead. That is a huge plus. You child should and will thank you for that.

    Whether to skip not skip has two folds. Even for two gymnasts with identical talents, their roads are paved by the individual coaches and the programs involved (assuming the parents doesn't impose either way).

    For a TOPS gymnasts (not just training), almost without a doubt the fast track is taken as that is the real intent of the program (to get to elite in the shortest time). As others have pointed out, in your situation, the L6 and L7 dilemma is a small one. You could probably go either way. If your gymmie's rate of progress continues, under TOPS she will be L8 before long. Like dunno said, the only difference in pace may be the efficiency in hitting these he calls windows. Only her coaches can know this (and hopefully they do).

    OTOH, for a gymnast who takes the normal path (i.e. non-TOPS), I think gymjoy said it best. I have also seen kids in either situation. From my observation, kids who perform well at L6 (repeated or not) can naturally carry that competency into L7 then move into L8 at whatever rate she chooses. Not as much the case with those who scores out L6 and rush to get to L7.

    Just my 2 cents worth.
  11. gymdog

    gymdog Coach Coach Proud Relative Former Gymnast

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    I know people can be very negative about L6 but honestly I don't see it that way. It's almost hard for me to understand. From my perspective, a lot of the kids I've seen that have skipped L6 don't always look like they've really mastered L7 to me, and maybe not even L6. They may have the level 7 skills but not to the quality of form and technique that I would consider mastery. i.e. crazy flyaways, sloppy giants or circling skills on bars, sloppy basic backwards acro on beam, tumbling lacks the rhythm and power I would expect to be progressing on basic optional skills. That can obviously happen whether the child does L6 or not. It's just that when I see that and it's in the context of them having skipped a level, I'm kind of like...:confused:

    But honestly in my area it's not really common to skip L6, whereas regionally for a child who is "good" with optional potential it's just the thing to do. And maybe in these areas there are more repeat L5s too, whereas where I am a "good" kid would do one year of 4, then 5, then 6. So by the beginning of 6 these kids might only have "adequate" but not powerful kips and swings, etc. and so can get through the L6 routine but not great. And maybe in some places the kids were doing the routines with kips and swings for awhile still before skipping 6.

    I do understand the point of exploiting skill development, but I'm not sure I really worry about it in context of skipping 6. I have kids who did 1 yr 4, 1 yr 5, 6 last year (one year of each, not super hours, no TOPs), just learned the back tuck last season and this season doing fulls, twisting past a full, nice layout, giants, working flipping vaults, etc. But still don't know if we'll go with one year of 6 or not because it would still be pressure to get routines and endurance 100% when for the hours and program we have, it's already been so much skill progression in such a "short" time. In many ways for us keeping the kids is going to allow us to have a good competition experience and get MORE skill development done, if that makes sense. But we have a very flexible program and smaller size. In some gyms this doesn't really work, because if you're competing L6 you train in a L6 group that does certain skills. If you want to do L7+ skills you need to be in another group doing that level with those coaches. So I mean, I can understand that. For me it's different because I have kids first year L5 making good progress on cast HS and giants because I can have that set up with multiple levels all doing whatever I deem to be their skill level.
  12. Panda-girl's Mom

    Panda-girl's Mom New Member

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    I have seen them girls in my daughters gym test out of level6 when they are really talented girls who are placing 1st a big meets. I do not think this will be the case with my daughter. I do think doing compulsary routines gets boring for them so if they are able to I do not see a reason to hold them back.
  13. dunno

    dunno Coach Coach Proud Parent Former Gymnast CB Booster Club Owner

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    gymnastics training IS boring.
  14. NotAMom

    NotAMom New Member

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    It's not about being held back (I know it's hard to swallow that). The key here is the ability to be uptrained. If a gymnast is allowed to learn bigger skills when they are ready, training at any level can't possibly be boring -- at least for those who live and breath the sport.

    In another perspective, if the future is known and spending more time at L6 (say a year) will make you a better gymnast in a long run, would you choose to repeat L6 rather than push your way through and risk turning L7 or 8 to be a terminal level. Of course, that's hyperthetically speaking.
  15. dancengym

    dancengym Guest

    I guess there are truly no clear answers on which path to take. But thanks for everyone's insights. It still does provide me with things to consider.

    NotAMom, although I read the overview of the TOPS Gymnastics Program and it clearly indicated that the purpose is to get these participatants on a "fast track" to elite, it really did not register until you brought it up. Even though her coaches have brough Elite up, it is not something I gave any thought because I don't know if the sacrifices, expense is something I want to even think about or can do. Our (my DD and I) goal was just to go to camp and have a fun time seeing the place the National team practices, improve skills for maybe a better competition year and just being in such an "elite" environment, not really realizing anything above that or the true purpose of TOPS.

    I truly do not know how far my DD would take gymnastics or even how good she really is, if she is, so I hesitated and wondered what the "rush" is to get to higher levels. But Dunno opened my eyes to something I did not know at all; that there is a window of learning that needs to be exploited safely and efficiently . . . hmmmm. I guess that window is usually at an earlier age . . . hmmmm. Since I am not an expert, it is finding the right coach and/or having the right coach to determine that window. Now, I do see why there is an "urgency" and the importance of getting a good coach.
  16. exgymnastmomx3

    exgymnastmomx3 New Member Proud Parent

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    I have 3 daughters- They are now 11 (training level 9) 13 (training lv. 10) and 15 (2nd yr. lv. 10). They all started gymnastics the same exact day at ages 8,6,& 4. Oldest started competing at age 9 and scored out of 5 and 6 and did first full season at level 7. middle daughter started competing at age 10, did 5, then 6/7 in same season. Last daughter, started competing at age 7, did 2 years 5, then 6/7 in same season. All 3 ended up (or will end up) at around level 9 at age 12/13, which is really a very common age group for gymnasts to do level 9. I hear parents ponder about level 6 all of the time. There are pros and cons to either doing it or skipping it. Like our coach at the time said, "Two people can take two different routes from their house to the gym and drive the same amount of miles and arrive at the same time. I'm not sure that one route is better than another. People can argue about one route being better than another, but I'm not sure it makes a hoot of a difference!
  17. cher062

    cher062 Guest

    You ask "what's the rush" I don't think its a matter of whats the rush but more along the lines of what is this gymnast ready for. Imagine if you are ready for 3rd grade you have all the skills you need and are told you need to stay in 1st grade - That would not be challenging and you would have a tendency not to pay attention and not be challenged to want to move forward. No matter what level (moving forward or repeating) the gymnast should be at a level they are challenged at but also can achieve. You don't want them bored at a lowerlevel but you also don't want them at an upper level they arent ready for. I don't think there is a rush happening her but more the coach sees your daughter is ready to move forward and has the skills necessary to do so. I don't know of any coach that would move a gymnast up a level that wasn't ready to do so. My question would be why hold her back if she is ready to move on.
  18. CreateMagic

    CreateMagic Coach Coach Proud Relative CB Booster

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    Great analogy cher!
  19. gymnastralo

    gymnastralo New Member

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    Hi there!

    Personally, I skipped level 6 after competing 1 year level 5. I have been there done that kind of thing. My coach wanted me to skip level 6 because of my age. I would have been 12 yrs. old competing level 6 and my coach wanted me to bump up a level so I would have a better chance of a scholorship of college gymnastics when I got older. I started gymnastics at 11 yrs. old and competed my first year level 5, I was pretty good. I always scored in the high 8's or 9's. For me level 7 was pretty easy to master the new skills. The hardest thing was bars, bec. you had to learn the giants and fly away. I think that if your dd is young (10yrs. or younger) then let her do level 6. As the positives are extra time for learning the skills (ex. Instead of learning 2 back walk overs on beam she would learn only 1, and on bars she would learn a tuck fly away instead of going straight to a layout). It all depends on your childs ability to cope with adjustments to a workout because also as a level 7 she most likely has to train for longer hours and more times a week. With determination and a positive attitude if your dd wants, and you think she can handle then I would procede throught going to level 7. If not, which is perfectly fine she can take it a little slower work more on the simpler skills to help her progress on through toward level 7 later on in time.

    I should also add that when I skipped level 6 I still had to compete one meet level 6 (all events) this is the rules with usa gymnastics. So Basically I was learning level 6 on top of level 7. I had to learn the level 6 floor routine, beam routine, bars, vault ect... on top of getting my own personal level 7 beam, floor, bars, and well vault was the same.

    I wish you and your dd the best of luck in what ever you chose. I really hope that I helped bec. I was in the same situation when I approached that level. :)

    If you have any questions please feel free to message me.
  20. thnkGd4kds

    thnkGd4kds New Member

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    My dd was in the same exact position last year! She was a 9 yo who trained 6 and up and the required TOPs skills in the summer/early fall; went to TOPs in October; trained about a week specifically for level 6 (we went on a 2-week vacation right after TOPs Nationals); did one level 6 meet in November, did well, and tested out; then trained for level 7 until her first 7 meet in January, where she placed first in all but one event, including AA. The rest of her season was also solid, so she was obviously ready for this type of progression, and her coaches realized that at this time of year last year, as your dd's coaches have. In a gym where this is not a normal progression (it's not even an elite gym, but one that focuses on retention of athletes for the joy of gym and on college scholarships), she was simply in a groove and ready to move, which her coaches obviously recognized. She's now training for TOPs Nationals again and will compete level 8.

    We homeschool (an educational/philosophical decision long before the kids started school or their activities), which helps her keep her childhood easily, and she skips gym occasionally for birthday parties and family events/weekends. Yes, it's a big commitment, but, as we have 3 other children involved in other things (one is equally involved in theater, for example), the commitment level is not really new. I won't even tell you how much money we spend on the kids' activities . . . :eek:

    That was my dd's main goal last year, too! It was a definitely a worthwhile, fantastic experience for her; I'm sure it will be for your dd, too. My husband and I also went down with her, and it was great for us, as well. She just beamed, though.
    You seem to have such a fantastic attitude that I'm confident that your daughter will be a happy, emotionally-healthy gymnast no matter what happens in Texas or this year. Tell her to have fun in Texas! :)
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2010
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