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1st year level 8

Gym dad

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Mar 3, 2017
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So what would be a good score for a first-year JO level 8 kid? I have no idea... Scores seem to be all over the place.
 

samsmama

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Dec 31, 2014
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That probably varies by region and meet, but for some comparison, my son's former teammate, who skipped from L6 to L8 and competes as a 12-yr-old, scored a 67.2 and came in 5th among a pretty solid group of 11- and 12-year-olds this weekend. I also know the kid who came in 4th with a 69.15, he's an 11-yr-old L8. The winner (a second year L8, 12-yr-old) scored 75.45. This is in region 7.
 

Gym dad

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Mar 3, 2017
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That probably varies by region and meet, but for some comparison, my son's former teammate, who skipped from L6 to L8 and competes as a 12-yr-old, scored a 67.2 and came in 5th among a pretty solid group of 11- and 12-year-olds this weekend. I also know the kid who came in 4th with a 69.15, he's an 11-yr-old L8. The winner (a second year L8, 12-yr-old) scored 75.45. This is in region 7.
 

samsmama

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For an 11- or 12-year-old, I would say that's a solid score that would place about mid-pack. For an older boy, at least based on what I've seen in the first two meets, that would be a very good score.
 

Gym dad

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Why is it that the younger kids seem to score so much higher than the older kids?
 

samsmama

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A boy who is 13 or 14 and a strong enough gymnast to get those higher scores would most likely be competing L9. Above 14, I believe they can't compete L8 at all and would do JD if they aren't ready for L9. The younger boys aren't permitted to move up because of age (you must compete as a 13yo to do L9), so you get a lot of super-talented younger guys in that 11-12 L8 age group.

There are others here who are much more knowledgeable than I am, so I hope they'll chime in, but in my experience, the younger age groups from about L5-L9 tend to be the most competitive because the most talented kids tend to be the ones who get the skills quickly and move up each year. That wasn't really true at L4, where the boys are all over the place, and it seems to change again in L10, where the older L10s tend to outscore the younger ones.
 
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skschlag

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Jul 19, 2011
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SO, 14 yo can compete L8. Most do not, just due to the fact that coaches want to get them on the pommels as soon as they can :)

Not sure what region you are in, but it definitely varies. And it varies from meet to meet. In our region at the first meet, a 65 would have been toward the bottom of the 11-12, and the top of the 13-14. (now there were only 12 L8s at this meet.)
 

profmom

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Nov 18, 2011
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It's quite variable. Some judges score much harder than others. For instance, at his last meet, my son got an 11.7 on pommel horse. If he'd competed the same routine with a different judge, he might not have gotten credit at all for his dismount, which would have taken .5 off his score. Likewise, he was deducted a lot for his wobbly handstand on rings and on his giant, which he had to muscle. That left him with a mid-ten on a routine for which I've occasionally seen a judge say "yay, ring giant!" and present an 11 with a ribbon and bow on it. Also, there's a difference between a 65 that results from several uncharacteristic falls and one that's due to sloppy skills. (Falls from nervousness/mental mistakes are more easily fixed than slop.) And Skschlag's point is worth reinforcing as well. The kids who were scoring 70s at L8 as 11-12 year olds will be competing L9 at 13.

BUT -- don't worry about scores. Really don't for L8. The question is whether he's hitting his skills and progressing toward what he needs to be competitive later on. My kid stunk at L8. Stunk at L9. Maybe will be middle of the road if all goes well this year at L10. The goal is to be ready to make the great leap forward when his man strength arrives. He is working on many things at the gym that aren't routine ready and probably won't be this year, but he'll have the foundation there, hopefully, to move forward with the skills when his body is ready.
 

skschlag

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Jul 19, 2011
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BUT -- don't worry about scores. Really don't for L8. The question is whether he's hitting his skills and progressing toward what he needs to be competitive later on. My kid stunk at L8. Stunk at L9. Maybe will be middle of the road if all goes well this year at L10. The goal is to be ready to make the great leap forward when his man strength arrives. He is working on many things at the gym that aren't routine ready and probably won't be this year, but he'll have the foundation there, hopefully, to move forward with the skills when his body is ready.
Could not agree more. As a 12 yo L8, my son was LAST in the state. As a 1st year 9, he was bottom 3rd. Now he is a 2nd year 10, and doing much better.
 

sce

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Mar 11, 2014
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So what would be a good score for a first-year JO level 8 kid? I have no idea... Scores seem to be all over the place.
Optionals is such a different world. First each boy will have different start values based on their skills. From their the goal is as few deductions as possible. Ask your boys what his start values are, and what his goals are and then keep that in mind as watch him.
 
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Cheryl

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Feb 28, 2018
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Could not agree more. As a 12 yo L8, my son was LAST in the state. As a 1st year 9, he was bottom 3rd. Now he is a 2nd year 10, and doing much better.

There is so much going on with them at this age. Starting puberty, with all its attendant mental and physical changes. starting middle school/high school. Its a rough few years. I have completely backed off the scores/level thing and discussing it, other than pointing out the positive things he did well in his past competition (or if I happen to see him at practice making a new skill). Last meet he fell off the highbar in the middle of a giant, so not his greatest competition, but it happens to every one. Some kids are going to score higher and do easier routines with fewer errors. Some kids will prefer to put in skills that they aren't great at and hope for the best.

For girls, the sport is a sprint - most of them are fully developed by mid teens, so to a certain extent they know how they will progress. For boys, its a marathon. They grow until they are in late teens, and sometimes until 20. Some boys develop early and can do strength moves that their peers are just not physically capable of yet. Some grow 6 inches in a year, and lose skills they have done for years. My goal is to keep him engaged and focused on skills, not scores, and developing resilience and persistence to accept the ups and downs of life. I've seen lots of boys who were superstars at lower levels quickly lose interest once they are no longer on the top of the podium. Ive also seen lots of boys who struggled for a couple years end up at Nationals.
 
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