Lament of the B-streamer

Discussion in 'Question & Answer' started by beamer, Nov 10, 2011.

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  1. beamer

    beamer New Member CB Booster Club Proud Parent

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    I've been meaning to ask this question for a long time and the JBS thread of yesterday and today was the necessary impetus...

    When my B-stream L5 daughter moved to a new gym last spring, it was evident from the first day that this club had de facto A streams and B streams for its gymnasts.

    Being pretty familiar with the world of youth sports, this fact did not make me feel bitter or frustrated. This is the way of the sports world, from the lowliest of youth soccer leagues to the elitest of gyms. I am happy -- as is my daughter -- to be a member of the team of a quality gym whose coaches I respect and trust.

    All made sense with JBS's thread right up until post #20, in which JBS states (about higher and lower streams), "If the program is done correctly...it should lose more B-track kids as the levels increase. If the A kids are leaving...it is not working."

    If the goal is to keep young people involved in and committed to a really excellent whole body/mind sport like gymnastics, wouldn't the correct program lose (or retain) kids from each track equally?

    Should I worry, now, that my daughter's coaches are just biding their time with my daughter until the inevitable culling happens when the skills and commitment of the higher-level JO program become too difficult? Are they looking forward to the day (aside from the loss of the B "revenue" stream) when she (and her other modestly talented teammates) quit and they can spend more time with their Division I-bound college athletes?

    The Chalk Bucket is awash in threads like the one today from Donut Lover, who is feeling "hopeless" because she is struggling to acheive the skills she needs to compete USAG JO. In almost every instance, the lovely posters who respond to questions like this encourage the discouraged to "keep on keeping on" with their gymnastics.

    So, which is it? Is there, or is there not, a place for the not-very to moderately/modestly talented gymnast -- who loves the sport -- in the higher levels of the USAG-JO program? Or should these kids be referred to Prep Op (Xcel) once the B-level status becomes obvious?

    I would love to hear from parents/gymnasts/coaches representing both streams.

    And now, after this epic post, maybe I should change my forum name from beamer (in honor of my DD's smiling, happy face on the balance beam --her favorite event) to b"str"eamer.
     
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  2. gym monkeys mom

    gym monkeys mom New Member Proud Parent

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    Ok I have a DD who is doing 2nd year of Level 8 (actually 3rd year Level 8 but had an injury last season after 1 month). she is the description of a "B" stream kid...this is fine. Here is her gym story in which coaches should learn from!!

    She was asked to be on prep team at a very sucessfull club turned them down they wanted her the same number of hours a week she was old. No Way!!

    We switched clubs to one with a program with less pressure more family friendly but still a decent gym. DD started prep team at 7 years old and by 8 yrs competed Level 4...spent 2 years at Level 5 1 year at Level 6 2 years at Level 7 and now is a 3rd year (technically) Level 8. Her Level 4 teammates many "the perfect gymnasts" form, body, type parents etc..... are all now no longer gymnasts and there was 10 of them. They all developed fears, got injured, left for better clubs, or wanted a life outside the gym. At the time they were in gymnastics most were better at compulsories than my DD. This was always fine with us she loved the sport and worked hard..

    Now my DD many gyms standards is too old for anything or to be good. However she is still competeing has gone to State medaled and gone to Regionals and medaled. She is a decent gymnast and happy and will do well at a D3 college if she chooses.

    My point after this long ramble is this....she is and never was the "perect type" but has outlasted all the rock stars from her team and done well with hard work and a coach who believed in her. She even has a former coach from our club come up to us last year and tell her how proud she was of her and what a great gymnast she has become. She also said she never would have believed this possible....

    So coaches do not know everything they are human. Gymnastics will always have someone better than you gymnast ....also their are many programs to fit the many types of gymnasts.Sucess is not measured by medals and how fast you get somewhere...as someone else on here said many times: "gymnastics is a marathon not a sprint"

    Relax and enjoy the ride wherever it may take you and your gymnast in the end it is thier sport not the coaches or the parents.......

    Ok sorry for the ramble and if its off topic....
     
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  3. coachmolly

    coachmolly Verified Coach Verified Coach Former Gymnast

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    I firmly disagree with this. I don't think the goal of any program, even the great ones, should be to lose kids no matter what stream. Because as gym monkeys mom mentioned, you never know when that solid B team kid is going to outlast the super-talented A team-ers and become a solid and very respectable, hard working athlete. All kids deserve the chance to succeed, and I believe that the girls who aren't meant to last in the sport will weed themselves out by not being willing to commit to the hours, put in the hard work, or push through the aches and pains associated with the sport. And the kids who last might be the ones you didn't expect to make it past level 5 or who plugged along at level 4 for 3 years. I don't think the goal of any program should be to push away the less talented kids, because I think anyone who genuinely wants to be there is capable of playing some role on the team. And I'm not saying let any kid who wants to be on the team, I'm saying if a kid showed enough potential to be placed on the team in the first place, they probably have some degree of ability. I just think there are ways to help each child reach their potential without splitting into A and B teams, throwing out kids who don't look a certain way or are older than the norm.
     
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  4. Blackie6

    Blackie6 New Member Proud Parent

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    THANK YOU! I loved your post and often feel the very same way about my daughter. I love her gym and her coaches and I know they except her for who she is, just a hard working gymnast. I am sure they feel frustrated with her sometimes over her score, but at the end of the day she just wants to do gymnastics! Why does it always have to be about the score or the olympic dream or being elite? Why? She wants to stay in USAG program, and it has been a long road having repeated L4 twice, L5 twice, and now doing L6 and hopefully L7. She has had many injuries, many reasons to quit, change programs, ect...her enthusiasm has never changed! She accepts who she is in the sport, she accepts her scores gracefully, she delights in the sucess of her friends who do better, pass her, and move up quicker, it is the nature of any sport, not just gymnastics.

    Rather than having an A team or B team, why not just move the girls up according to ability? Leave your teams together L4 team, L5 team, L6 team 7-10 team, and after states move up those that you feel have satified the requirements for that level. Most parents know that the kids will progress at different levels and those that move a little slower will understand repeating a level MORE than undertanding that you are putting little "Susie" on the B team because her body type doesn't fit your criteria, she doesn't seem as talented as others, you don't believe she will even last til Optionals, ect....

    A little tidbit about B teams. My husband is a baseball coach, coached both of my boys thru All Star "B" team baseball leagues several Summers. My second son is a #13 kid. He could be hot...or not. But he has slowly progress thru the years into a consistant ball player.He was on a "A" team whe he was 9, got cut following year, and then my husband started a "B" team to keep the kids involved and playing. There was no pressure on the kids, the parents were great, their kids were playing baseball and were happy all Summer long. They won games and tournaments, and we often had fun celebrating afterwards. Plenty of team spirit and friendships. Then the following year we lost 2 kids from our "B" team to the "A" team as some of the "A" team kids were either miserable or their parents thought little "Johnny" was too good to be playing rec All stars and moved them over to a $3,000 AAU team. BTW, paying more $$ doesn't gaurentee sucess either and they lost alot! Then last year more miserable kids left the A team and many expressed they wished they could play w/my husband because his team was fun! Then the A team coach asked my husband to come up and help coach and bring our son and some other kids. We were sad to have to disband our B team, and at first my son didn't want play with the A kids again, but then we realized all the drama parents and high strung boys (who were fed for years that they were the A kids) who made the sport miserable...were gone! They didn't win districts this Summer, but they won games and trophies at tournaments & we brought with us to the "A" team that baseball could be a sport, still be fun, and still win. Many of the past A kids came and sat with us in the stands, seeing baseballs being played for fun again. The coach remarked to my husband at thye end of the Summer how miserable he had become past few years with trying so hard to please the parents and keep the "A" kids happy that baseball had not been enjoyable anymore and he was not the coach he wanted to be, but he was happy now.

    I know baseball and gymnastics are two different sports, but what kind of coach do you want to be? Happy to have made a difference, to make the sport and their years memorable and happy, or so busy trying to nurture a few who would eventually jump ship in a heartbeat if you don't keep little Susie happy and progressing faster than her peers? Never underestimate the power of a B kid either!
     
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  5. lhmom

    lhmom New Member Proud Parent

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    I would like to think there is room for all gymnasts to compete. My DD started as a 6 yr. old last year at level 4, but by no means a prodigy. It took her longer than most of her teammates to get the skills and I guess if I was honest, she might be considered a B teamer at another gym. However, she's driven, works hard and that's something her coaches appreciate. In fact, I had the HC once tell me that she sees DD as a long term gymnast- one with the drive stick with it through optionals even though she might not be considered a "natural". I'll take that and I feel fortunate she is at such a supportive gym. Then again, we (DH and I) are just taking this whole gymnastics experience one season at a time-no real expectations past this season. :cool:
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2011
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  6. madigym00

    madigym00 New Member Proud Parent

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    Well, I am the proud mom to at least one "C" streamer...;)...so not sure if I should start my own thread for that, but anyway...

    We had some splitting of "talented" and "not talented" at our old gym. The "talented" kids got more hours and more attention from the head coach...and guess what, many of them scored off the charts while many of the others struggled (when I say struggled, I mean 5th or 6th place instead of 1st). However, many, MANY of those kids who were in the "talented" group are now gone from the sport. My DD's continue to go along at their own pace at our new gym without the pressure for perfection OR the knowledge that they are in the "other" group. It was always so awkward knowing that somehow they were not good enough.

    I love that my girls have stayed in the sport despite their struggles and the new gym which does not separate the tracks or focus exclusively on scores makes me smile daily. Now, we may not see scores high enough to be on the podium...(we'll see...), but...I have happy, healthy, athletic and fit girls. And that for me is why they stay in gymnastics. I hate the thought of someone waiting for my B and C stream kids to drop out of the sport. :(
     
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  7. gymgurl

    gymgurl Coach Coach Gymnast

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    I am just going to put something out there. I don't agree with b stream and a stream but in every other sport teams are ranked by ability. Why should gymnastics being different?

    However, this doesn't mean that they should just wait for kids to drop out from the lower streams. the more advanced squad should just work more advanced stuff.
     
  8. JBS

    JBS Administrator CBBC Board Member Verified Coach Proud Parent Former Gymnast

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    "A" and "B" teams could be set up in almost any fashion...I will answer the way I am looking to set it up:

    No...the one thing I never mentioned was skill. "A" team is picked due to skill and the controversial other things (age, body type, potential, family commitment, etc.). If the "A" team is more skilled...they should reach a higher level unless they were bad choices for the "A" team or they were driven out of the sport...which happens quite often.

    However, there is nothing saying that a "B" team gymnast will not end up being the best in the club.

    No...don't worry...just tell your daughter to keep working hard.

    It is painful as a coach to watch kids "keep on keeping on" if you know that they are not happy.

    It's hard to say that any of the gymnasts in the higher levels of the JO program are only moderately talented...the upper levels are very difficult. If a gymnast works hard and makes it...then there is room.

    Who said the goal was to lose kids? I'm just a numbers person...numbers don't lie.

    If the goal is to keep every kid in team to L10 or elite...then this link proves how bad of a job we are doing:

    http://usagym.org/pages/home/publications/usagymnastics/2009/1/32_stats.pdf

    EDIT: By the way Molly...I think you are wrong also. How many gymnasts have you had that have plugged away at L4 for 3 years? I've had many that could have...most of them decided to quit...or their parents pulled the plug. Numbers don't lie.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2011
  9. Kiwi

    Kiwi Coach Coach Proud Parent Gymnast Judge

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    I think the problem is in the way you worded it, JBS. "If the program is done correctly...it should lose more B-track kids as the levels increase. If the A kids are leaving...it is not working." It makes it sound as if you want the less talented kids to give up and go home. Even if that wasn't your intention, I think that is how it is coming across to people.

    At our gym, although I haven't been involved very long so I don't know all the history, from what I've seen we do lose more B stream than A stream girls. I think that is because the A stream (development) girls have to be so dedicated to even be on that track. Those girls practically live at the gym, they even eat a lot of their meals there. So there is no-one in that group who doesn't totally live and breathe gymnastics. With the B stream, some of them do persevere and do very well, and the club is proud of them. Our club is very small anyway and we don't have many girls at optional levels. Other B streamers drop out, but it isn't like the club wants them to leave or is glad about it.

    I can see how the numbers thing goes. Last year, my DD was in level 1, there were 13 girls in total. During the year, 4 girls dropped out. During move-ups, 6 girls went to step 3, 3 girls to step 2. This year we lost 1 out of step 3 and 1 out of step 2. During move-ups, 1 step 3 girl went to IDP (the A stream) and 1 of the step 2 girls didn't move up. So, out of the original 13, there are now 7, 1 in IDP, 4 in step 4, 1 in step 3 and 1 in step 2. These are not the total numbers in the groups now, because there are girls from other steps and some that arrived from other clubs.
     
  10. Aussie_coach

    Aussie_coach Moderator/Coach CBBC Board Member Verified Coach Proud Parent Gymnast Club Owner

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    A lot depends on the goals of the gym, lots of gyms around Australia are not interested in the A team kids, they only want the B team kids. Not every gym is set up to take kids to the top levels. Not every gym wants to 20 hour a week kids.
     
  11. emorymom

    emorymom New Member Proud Parent

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    If you want to maintain the A teamers' interest and find out who in your B teams will ultimately be a great optional gymnast, you need to scrap your old system and have this system:

    The minimum number of hours for Level X are Y. Gymnasts may choose to practice up to Z hours. After each competitive season, gymnasts will be considered for re-leveling.

    If you PUSH the extremely TALENTED so hard by giving them a huge number of required hours at a young age, you are likely to lose them. Also, the point of being extremely talented is that they don't NEED as many hours to progress as the less apt and since this is a marathon not a sprint, you might see that they ultimately acheive more if you are not pushing them through the levels so fast, but letting them enjoy their talent and other things, and choose major commitment when they are older.

    On the other side, if you continue to force the kids who don't show early talent, but have extremely high commitment, into extremely low-hours programs, you are going to see them not reach their potential. If you have a girl who is a 10yo first year L4 and you only let her practice 7 hours a week, is it going to be a shock for you that she takes 3 years at L4 since she's also going to be growing 5 inches a year during that period? Heck, she probably needs the 7 hours a week just to maintain skills during a growth spurt.

    Gymnastics needs to pay more attention to swimming.
     
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  12. JBS

    JBS Administrator CBBC Board Member Verified Coach Proud Parent Former Gymnast

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    Yes...I type things as I see them...no other way. This is why I do everything that is important through face to face meetings at the club. Then parents have a chance to ask me questions right away. Email is bad.

    Exactly right...we're not looking for "B" stream kids to drop out...it just happens. I have one "B" stream style gymnast who is older for her level. She is definitely "A" stream at another sport in her school. What sport she will pick...I don't know...but as she grows older she is definitely gravitating towards her "A" sport at school. This gymnast has gotten every thing she has from hard work...nothing came naturally...she is very fun to work with. This is a kid that is built for almost every other sport...not gymnastics. She will be the "star" at many of the sports in her school...other sports come very naturally to her. Is it even fair that I try to hold her in gymnastics as she learns to love what she is really good at?

    I'm not looking for anyone to leave gymnastics...but the above gymnast has many options. With options come choices. I represent only one of her options and I do not control her choices.

    EDIT: Sorry...I forgot to say...the above "B" style gymnast is now in our optional program and could go further. I would love for her to do so...but that is up to her. So back to the OP..."B" stream does not mean "give up".
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2011
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  13. JBS

    JBS Administrator CBBC Board Member Verified Coach Proud Parent Former Gymnast

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    I was typing my last post when this one came in.

    I am now sitting here knowing exactly why ChalkBucket was created. This post is absolutely brilliant!

    I have nothing more to say...

    Thank you emorymom!

    EDIT: So many people told me why I was wrong...emorymom gave me a solution. BRAVO! Logic at its finest.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2011
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  14. beamer

    beamer New Member CB Booster Club Proud Parent

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    Thank you all for these well thought-out responses.

    I understand JBS's desire to build a program that meets the needs of all gymnasts. I think many of the people who have responded -- to this post and its instigator from yesterday -- have the same feeling that, while separate streams make sense on some level (love emorymom and blackie6's plans though), there is a very raw inclination toward self-preservation (or DD preservation?) here.

    I love my daughter's passion for this sport that is so good for her body and her mind. I love the discipline and work ethic that gymnastics has brought to her life. As I've written a number of times before, I especially love the idea that she could be in a gym working out with friends and mentoring coaches when she becomes a teenager -- instead of trolling the mall or Facebook. I would be ecstatic if my daughter became that hard-working high school-aged B-streamer JBS wrote about above. I just don't want her to ever give it up because she is undervalued...

    Maybe someday I will be posting a brag alert about a meet full of 9s. Heck, maybe someday I can post a brag alert about a 9 (DD has never gotten one). Until then, I will continue to be happy about 7s and 8s and hope that her passion for this sport does not wane.
     
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  15. Sparky

    Sparky New Member

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    My viewpoint on all of this (this post and JBS's) is that I think the athletes should be given the opportunity to show or prove what they can/cannot, are willing or not willing to do - NOT have the decision made for them before they have had that opportunity, by being placed in a group that trains less hours, has lesser expectations, etc.
     
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  16. 10.0

    10.0 New Member

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    I really like a changing system rather than a permanent A or B stream labeling of a kid. Kids can change. Many at the bottom jump to the top while the top fall for a variety or reasons. I think parents and coaches should be realistic to the potential while not crushing hope.

    Our gym does AAU and they have different levels in each level (novice, advanced and elite) it gives the kids a more equal chance of competing no matter where they fall in the stream. Basically the A's are not going against the B's. And after the meet is over the gym separates the kids based on the scores they got and if they competed novice, advanced or elite. The training groups practice the same amount of hours and you are assigned bronze, silver or gold on each event. Bronze concentrates on the basics a lot, silver concentrates on getting the routine clean and gold does a bit of working the routines as well as uptrains. The cool thing is you can be a bronze on vault but a gold on bars and while the kids do sometimes get upset the cool thing is the slate is clean after the next meet.

    I like this system as it gives the more advance kids a chance to work harder skills but does not permanently label them as talented or not so.
     
  17. bogwoppit

    bogwoppit Administrator CBBC Board Member Proud Parent Former Gymnast

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    Sounds a bit like Miss Abby's pyramid from the Dance Moms series!
     
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  18. SignHere

    SignHere New Member Proud Parent

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    This thread is striking a chord with me. My oldest daughter is a L5 (first year) and is struggling after a successful year at L4. We haven't gone to our first meet yet - but after scoring 9's last year, I fully expect her to score in the high 7's and low 8's this year (from what I've seen at practice).

    Her coach (diff. HC from L4) has done an "unofficial" A team and B team. I can see at practice that the A team gets more attention from the coaches, and NOW, the A team is getting invited to small groups (3 at a time) additional practice time of 3-4 hours a week (usually L5's and L6's practice together and there are about 26 girls and 3-4 coaches).

    Now, my daughter is not the most talented kid on the team and does not have the typical gymnast body type, but you could not find a kid who is more willing to work hard at gymnastics. (Never misses a practice, gives up birthday parties for practice, gives up EVERYTHING for practice). If you offered her 20 hours a week of practice, she would do it! So, it makes me a little sad that she is not getting the same opportunity as the other girls on the team to improve.

    I like emorysmoms suggestion.
     
  19. ginnymac

    ginnymac Parent/Coach Coach Proud Parent Former Gymnast

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    I, too, love emorymom's post. My dd is really involved in diving now and that is how the program operates. It is an extremely successful program.
     
  20. JBS

    JBS Administrator CBBC Board Member Verified Coach Proud Parent Former Gymnast

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