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For Parents 6 yo Xcel Bronze Questions

Jillybean1415

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Oct 5, 2020
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Hi my daughter just started on the Xcel Bronze team and she’s 6 years old. When I expressed interest to the Coaches that my daughter wanted to be on the preteam I really only inquired about the Xcel team. I did some reading and research on here and given that my daughter is 6 and still likes to do ballet and cheer this made sense. She was getting way to advanced for the rec class but I didn’t want to commit to crazy hours either.

The owner said this was a great choice and discussed how at Levels 1-2 you can’t really compete anyway and this gives the girls an option to start competing right away.

Here’s my question and maybe I’m missing something, doesn’t it make more sense to start off in Xcel if your daughter is at levels 1-2 since they can compete right away? I’m new to gymnastics so I’m not sure what I’m missing here.

What is the difference between JO levels 1-2 and Xcel Bronze?

If my daughter gets really good can she transfer to the JO level? Is there a big difference in transferring over?

I don’t know If my 6 year old really understands what a competition meet even means. (Not that I’m really worried by that) I picked Xcel bc I wanted it to be low key.

But I wanted to hear from other parents with young gymnasts just starting out and having their first competitions, did your gymnast even understand the whole meet concept? Were your kids OK with going out there in front of judges? I’m not worried about her knowing her score or even talking to her about her scores at this age. I want her to have fun and set goals and feel good about herself. That’s really all that matters to me. I’m just wondering how the kids mentally take the meets at this age!
 

GYM0M

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Jul 23, 2013
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So, first off, let me admit, I’m a bit rusty on the xcel and jo level comparisons, & I’m not a new parent just starting out, but my DD handled her first competition very well. She was 6. It was JO. We didn’t have xcel option at our gym way back when. She got scores & competed with 8 year olds. She didn’t place on any event, but she enjoyed herself and was able to work through some nerves. It’s fun and so super cute! Each gym has their own rules for moving between Xcel and JO so thats the best place to ask about mobility. As for why JO instead of Xcel, well, that’s a bit more tricky. In Xcel, routines are, or can be, individual to the gymnast so small things that would incur a deduction in JO, like an extra step or hand placements, don’t. I personally don’t see a point in ‘competing’ jo levels 1-2; however, I suppose it could introduce the gymnast to the level of mimicry required in the other jo compulsory levels.
 

ldw4mlo

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You actually can compete Levels 1 and 2. They are not required. Level 3 is not either. You must start competing at Level 4 in JO. Many gyms do not compete 1,2 or even 3.

The skills allowed in Xcel Levels are similar to those done in their JO level counter parts. The difference being JO 1-5 have specific skills that must be done and specific routines.

The path a gymnast takes really depends on the gymnast and in part the gym. Some gyms do not allow and Xcel kid into their JO stream, others do. You do what works for your family. And if it’s no longer working you move on. To another gym, another choice etc.... some move to a more competitive high hour gym. Some move to scale it back. Different kids and families have different needs.

As far as little ones. Meets can be interesting but fun. Getting them to remember to present to the judge or their routines can be quite the challenge. We have always been at gyms that compete the lower levels for exactly that reason. Low pressure, getting used to what to do at meets. Really no one should be intensely invested in how they do at their first few lower level meets at such a young age. It’s supposed to be fun and a learning process. Sitting still and waiting your turn, moving from event to event, not getting distracted by all the goings on, remembering your routines, keeping track of their things..... not pulling their bun out..... it can be a red hot little kid mess :p.... all part of the process.
 

ReluctantGymMom

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We’re in Florida, where they do compete level 1 and 2 (and treat it way too seriously) - some gyms use xcel as it was supposed to, for low hours and low pressure, but see it as “less than” JO, some use it as a way to bypass Compulsories and some will let your kid switch over when they want to - it just depends on the gym
 

katrid11

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For us, our gym started competing L2 last year because they wanted the younger girls to have a better "intro" year than dropping into L3 competitions where many gyms around us are redshirting L2s so they can be top notch L3 (I dont agree with this but not my decisions).

The main difference I see between JO and XCEL is the required elements and routines. Scoring high on a JO L2 routine is harder than on an XCEL Bronze routine. In that way, XCEL sets the girls up for a better scoring routine. however, I would say if you swap back to JO after Bronze, doing L4 may come to be a surprise on the technicalities in the routines.

Our gym doesn't see many gymnasts swap from XCEL to JO. It's usually the hours of practice that prevent the girls from changing. JO in our gym is 9hrs L2/L3, 12-15hrs L4/L5 and 20-24hrs L6-10. But XCEL starts at 4hrs and goes up to 12-16 I think. When some of the girls see the requirements for L4/5 - they tend to stay in XCEL and move to a HS team later on.
 
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cogymmom2dd

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It really is dependent on the gym itself. Lots of gyms that want to sell themselves as ‘elite’ will not have an XCEL team. If they do, they treat it as a lesser than, or ‘B’ team. Other gyms will have both and will move kids accordingly.
My DD 1 did L2, XCEL Silver, L3, XCEL Gold, score out meets of L4 and L5, competed a short season of L6 last year and is L7 this season.
My DD2 has only competed XCEL, is currently competing Gold but skill wise has a broader skill set than her friends that are L4 at another gym. My guess is that if she continues to progress, they will have her do score out meets for L4 and 5 next year and have her compete L6. I am thankful that our gym allows for flexibility with movement between both.
 

Carly

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It is definitely dependent on your gym. They are all very different. Our gym allows girls to move from Xcel to the appropriate JO level if the girl wants to but I don't think that it happens very often. It's usually girls that are tired of the high hours and stress that move from JO to Xcel.

Xcel is nice because the girls get routines that work best for them from the beginning. In JO, you can't do that until level 6. Although that is not necessarily true either for Xcel. Some gyms have lower level Xcel girls compete with the same routines.

My dd was 9 at her first meet so I can't help you there. She did understand the meet concept at that age.

If you're asking about the difference between skills required for levels 1-2 and bronze, I'm not sure. There may be some resources out there if you search the internet. Maybe something on the usag website.
 

skygirlpc

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Our gym does JO and doesn't compete until level 4. I actually like that because my almost 7yr old (curretnly on preteam) is not developmentally ready for the mental part of competing. I think being able to have these young years building and growing her passion for teh sport without the added pressure of competitions has been very healthy for her.
 

Jillybean1415

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Our gym does JO and doesn't compete until level 4. I actually like that because my almost 7yr old (curretnly on preteam) is not developmentally ready for the mental part of competing. I think being able to have these young years building and growing her passion for teh sport without the added pressure of competitions has been very healthy for her.
I also worry about my daughter competing at the age of 6. But I also think I’m not even going to frame it to her as a competition I’m going to say you have a gymnastics “meet” where you get to shine on stage like you do at your dance recital! I think she will have 3 this year and I’m going to tell her to have so much fun and smother her with so much praise and “I’m so proud of you“ comments. I also want to make sure we do fun things after like ice cream, dinner, a little gift etc! I’m going to keep a real close eye on her to make sure this stays fun and only builds up her confidence in herself! If the competition starts to detract from those two things we will re-evaluate! I’m also thinking with this being her first year of competing and with COVID I think the meets will hopefully be more low key.
 
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Celorah

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My daughter is 6 and is competing xcel bronze this year and she is having so much fun! I think our gym has a good balance of teaching them
how to do the skills properly to have success at the meets with at the same time not pressuring them too much at a young age. The older bronzes who already have certain skills (like the vault for example) will be more critiqued on the little things while with my daughter they’re just thrilled she got over . That’s not to say they tell her it was perfect but they meet the girls where they are at and I think it’s wonderful.
She has had 2 meets and I was blown away by how well she remembered her routines and was so confident but at the same time was dancing while waiting in line for her turn and just looked like she was having a blast. She does understand scores somewhat and at the first one she wanted to know what she got on everything but has no clue what is a good or bad score. She got a 7.8 on vault (jump up then handstand flatback) and was proud! I saw no reason to tell her anything different. This second meet on vault she actually was able to do the handstand flatback without having to jump up first so she was so proud of herself. Both of our meets gave out medals to 50% +1 of the competitiors on the events (so if 8 girls were in her age group 5 got medals) so she got medals and she was a happy girl. I do feel like at this age the meets are their reward for their hard work and are their opportunity to show what they’ve learned, more like a recital than a competition. She does understand that higher score=higher place but we don’t put much emphasis on that so neither does she.
 

Jillybean1415

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Oct 5, 2020
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My daughter is 6 and is competing xcel bronze this year and she is having so much fun! I think our gym has a good balance of teaching them
how to do the skills properly to have success at the meets with at the same time not pressuring them too much at a young age. The older bronzes who already have certain skills (like the vault for example) will be more critiqued on the little things while with my daughter they’re just thrilled she got over . That’s not to say they tell her it was perfect but they meet the girls where they are at and I think it’s wonderful.
She has had 2 meets and I was blown away by how well she remembered her routines and was so confident but at the same time was dancing while waiting in line for her turn and just looked like she was having a blast. She does understand scores somewhat and at the first one she wanted to know what she got on everything but has no clue what is a good or bad score. She got a 7.8 on vault (jump up then handstand flatback) and was proud! I saw no reason to tell her anything different. This second meet on vault she actually was able to do the handstand flatback without having to jump up first so she was so proud of herself. Both of our meets gave out medals to 50% +1 of the competitiors on the events (so if 8 girls were in her age group 5 got medals) so she got medals and she was a happy girl. I do feel like at this age the meets are their reward for their hard work and are their opportunity to show what they’ve learned, more like a recital than a competition. She does understand that higher score=higher place but we don’t put much emphasis on that so neither does she.
That is so good to hear!! Thank you for responding! I’m glad she’s having fun that’s so important to me that my daughter also have fun. I love hearing about your daughters skill progression to. Sometimes you only see and hear about the “phenom” 6 year olds who are doing crazy skills and it’s important to remember they are the exception not the norm. I get worried bc my daughter started on the team in December where the rest of the team started in Sept. but I remind myself this is about my daughters progression and to not compare.

Keep me posted about your daughters meets and how she’s doing! I love hearing about other girls my daughters age!
 
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Celorah

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That is so good to hear!! Thank you for responding! I’m glad she’s having fun that’s so important to me that my daughter also have fun. I love hearing about your daughters skill progression to. Sometimes you only see and hear about the “phenom” 6 year olds who are doing crazy skills and it’s important to remember they are the exception not the norm. I get worried bc my daughter started on the team in December where the rest of the team started in Sept. but I remind myself this is about my daughters progression and to not compare.

Keep me posted about your daughters meets and how she’s doing! I love hearing about other girls my daughters age!
Yes I come across those videos all the time and it makes me think...should she be doing all that stuff? But she can do everything in her routines and meets all the bronze requirements and that’s all that matters! I suspect she will do a 2nd year of bronze as she won’t be ready for the silver routines yet next year. And that’s perfectly fine! It is easy to doubt when you see videos of 5 year olds doing 10 press handstands in a row and begin to wonder if she’s behind.
 
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Jillybean1415

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Yes exactly this! I actually left a Facebook group for gymnastic moms because I found myself comparing way to much (I actually saw a 5 year old doing presshand stands so maybe we were in the same FB group) I would like my daughter to repeat Xcel Bronze since she didn't have a full year of training. I think it will be great for her to work on more difficult skills but without the pressure of a more difficult routine. So glad to find a mom with a similar mindset.
 

raenndrops

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Hi my daughter just started on the Xcel Bronze team and she’s 6 years old. When I expressed interest to the Coaches that my daughter wanted to be on the preteam I really only inquired about the Xcel team. I did some reading and research on here and given that my daughter is 6 and still likes to do ballet and cheer this made sense. She was getting way to advanced for the rec class but I didn’t want to commit to crazy hours either.

The owner said this was a great choice and discussed how at Levels 1-2 you can’t really compete anyway and this gives the girls an option to start competing right away.

Here’s my question and maybe I’m missing something, doesn’t it make more sense to start off in Xcel if your daughter is at levels 1-2 since they can compete right away? I’m new to gymnastics so I’m not sure what I’m missing here.

What is the difference between JO levels 1-2 and Xcel Bronze?

If my daughter gets really good can she transfer to the JO level? Is there a big difference in transferring over?

I don’t know If my 6 year old really understands what a competition meet even means. (Not that I’m really worried by that) I picked Xcel bc I wanted it to be low key.

But I wanted to hear from other parents with young gymnasts just starting out and having their first competitions, did your gymnast even understand the whole meet concept? Were your kids OK with going out there in front of judges? I’m not worried about her knowing her score or even talking to her about her scores at this age. I want her to have fun and set goals and feel good about herself. That’s really all that matters to me. I’m just wondering how the kids mentally take the meets at this age!
I hope this helps. The differences between L1-L2 and Xcel Bronze:
Minimum ages:
L1 can actually start competing at age 4. L2 can compete at age 5.
Bronze can compete at age 5.

Vault:
Only 1 option each in L1 & L2 (10.0 start value).
Bronze can compete the L1 Vault (9.0 start value) or the L2 Vault (10.0 start value). If they compete the level 1 vault, each part is scored separately out of a 4.5.

Bars:
Level 1: Back Hip Pullover, Cast, Back hip circle, then EITHER Cast Straddle on sole circle dismount OR Underswing dismount. (4 skills)
Level 2: Back Hip Pullover, Cast, Back hip circle, Leg cut forward, EITHER Forward stride circle OR Single leg basket swing, Leg cut backward,EITHER Cast, Squat on to pike sole-circle dismount OR Cast, underswing dismount. (7 skills)
Bronze: Minimum of 4 skills including a mount, a cast, a circling skill, and a dismount. There are options for each of these requirements (except the cast ... but that requirement is just their hips need to push away from the bar). The level 1 routine would meet the requirements. If the gymnast is more advanced on bars, she COULD do a run out glide kip OR a single leg jam kip mount. If the gymnast struggles with the Back hip pullover, she could just do a Jump to Front Support mount. The circling skill could be the Back hip circle, or the Forward stride circle, or a Front hip circle, or a Backward stride circle. Dismount options include the L1 and L2 choices plus a Cast off to stand or a 3/4 forward circle to stand.

Beam:
Level 1: Very basic routine. The only actual "acro" is the dismount. Everything else is the mount, poses, leg swings, and jumps.
Level 2: Similar to level 1, but they also do a "lever" and a turn.
Bronze: Minimum of 1/2 turn on 1 foot or 2 feet, a jump or leap, a non-flight acro skill, and a dismount.

Floor:
Level 1: Minimum of 3/4 handstand, cartwheel, backward roll, candlestick, forward roll, some poses and leg kicks, and a chassé.
Level 2: Full handstand, roundoff, backward roll, candlestick, bridge, kickover, turns, a chassé, a leap, and poses.
Bronze: An acro series (2 directly connected skills non-flight OR flight), a 2nd pass with a minimum of 1 acro (non-flight or flight), a dance series with at least 2 different skills (direct OR indirect connection) including one 60º leap, and a minimum of a 1/2 turn. They are limited to a maximum of 2 FLIGHT acro skills (they don't NEED to have any), and they MUST have hand support (so roundoff, front handspring, back handspring ... but NOT front tuck, back tuck, aerial).