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8 year old dd switching from acro to gymnastics. Now xcel tryouts!

Gymcatsmom

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My 8 year old dd has been dancing for 2 years. Never really liked dance, except acro- which she excelled at. After years of begging we took the plunge, against her Drs advice and signed her up for gymnastics. She is just so passionate about it. Every video, everywhere we go, it's all she does. She has a beam and is self taught. Can do front and back walkovers and one hand cartwheels on it very well. Been at the gym 2 months, although we do go 2 or 3 times a week. They are pretty impressed with her, but she has no experience on bars. They have evaluated her and would like her to tryout for excel this Sat. Is this too much too fast? It's quite a time commitment. She is super focused and very determined, They re not worried about her attitude. I'm worried it's physically too much without a buildup to training slowly. Jumping in the deep end. What does everyone think? I know nothing about gymnastics. She does work out a lot and is very physically fit.
 

Gymx2

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Why did her doctor advise against gymnastics? Otherwise, it all sounds positive- she seems to be excited about the sport and ready to work hard. Xcel should be a great fit!
 

Gymcatsmom

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No physical reason her Dr advised against it. She just feels that the sport is too hard on young girls bodies, too many injuries etc. I am now looking for a pediatric sport Dr of sorts. At least someone more sympathetic to her cause.
 

Gymcatsmom

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I would just like to say that I'm grateful to have found a place for answers and advice. I am so new to all of this. You never know what your child's passion and it seems wrong to try and stop it. I admire it.
 
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raenndrops

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Xcel Silver should not be a huge jump in time if you are already going 2-3 times a week ... and even if it does seem like a big jump, we are coming into summer and as long as she doesn't go to year round school, the adjustment shouldn't be too difficult.

Good luck to her and you. Just breathe ... and if that is not enough, people suggest wine or gummy bears soaked in the liquor of your choice ;)
 

moogacat

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My daughter does Xcel, and though she had a lot of rec experience when she moved to an Xcel team, she had zero vault experience. It wasn't an issue and she was able to pick it up quickly. We were also worried about hours and injuries and burnout, but Xcel hours at that level were easily doable. If she's been in the gym a few months I suspect she's already picked up the bars skills she needs, or she's well on her way. Good luck to her! It sounds like Xcel may be a perfect fit.
 

GymDadWA

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The beginning bars routines are designed to be challenging but not impossible, skills like a kip, or even a jump to the high bar won't be something she would need to do right away and if she has an aptitude and passion for the sport are something she can develop as she progresses.
 

3cats

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That's awesome! We had a girl who came from dance, also really liking the acro part. She came in at a level four last year and competed level 7 this year. And is already awesome at her level 8 skills! She is a natural! Sounds like your daughter is the same, good luck to her!!
 
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Gymcatsmom

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Tryouts we're this morning. She did so well. All those chin- ups and crunches really paid off. We'll know in a couple days which class, if any, they'll place her in. I think she made it. They love her positive attitude and determination. She can not stop smiling in the gym. Here we go! I'll be happy she'll make friends who share her love if the sport. She didn't get a chance to do some of her best skills. I guess that's normal. I think most the coaches know her abilities already.
 

Gymcatsmom

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So she made j.o. team level 2. I am confused. I was told by the rec director she was trying for xcel. I'm glad she made it but do we have any say on which team? Xcel here seems to be harder to make. I get the level bc she's new to the gym but I think her skills will get her up quickly. I was kind of hoping we'd start her in a less structured, less serious team. She's new to all of this. Is this good or bad news?
 

Carabistouille

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First of all congratulations to your daughter for making a team !

I'm not from the US so I can't really answer on the Xcel/JO thing. From what I've seen here, JO seems to be harder to get into than Xcel but it could be different at your gym, I don't know.

However, I would advise you to trust the coaches. They probably put her in what they think will be the best fit for her, gymnastics wise.
Even if you feel she you thrive better in a more laid-back atmosphere, maybe give JO a go ? If for some reason she does not fit in this group, you can always ask for a change in a few months after you see if your daughter likes it or not ?
Unless of course you would rather have her in Xcel for financial/time commitment related issues. Then of course you can tell the coaches about it and they'll be able to figure out something better for your family.
 

mls529

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At some gyms, Xcel is a path for older gymnasts. Because your daughter is younger, and it sounds like pretty talented, they may have felt that JO is a better fit. It is worth asking about their philosophy towards the two tracks, and also ask about mobility between them. At our old gym, there was absolutely no mobility from Xcel to JO, so if you start in Xcel, that's it. Perhaps your gym is the same way and they didn't want to limit your DD?
 

3cats

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At our gym everyone is offered JO or Xcel. (At levels 1 2 and 3ish, anyway). In our gym JO is much more intense with expense, travel, commitment than xcel. But not at these lower levels. Levels 1 2 and 3 are treated as introductory levels and are not too pressured.

If I were you I'd definitely have her do level 2 this year. You will get a feel for their JO program, and probably some hints at what the Xcel program looks like as well.

Level 2 will be a great way to introduce her to the sport. I bet her season will go fabulously! I look forward to your updates!
 

moogacat

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In our gym you only go to Xcel if you specifically request it-- otherwise you'd be put in L2 or L3. L2 isn't too intense, so I'd be inclined to give that a go, especially if there's not a lot of movement from Xcel to JO in your gym. In our gym it's seen as no big deal to move from Xcel to JO, but in some gyms that's not an option at all.
 

IreneKa

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I agree with others, this is a great news! Congrats! It's usually very easy to switch from JO to Xcel, but not the other way around. Level 2 difficulty is about the same as Xcel Bronze, so it wouldn't be any harder or easier for her. Xcel might seem like more fun at the beginning because they work on a variety of skills, while at the lower levels of JO they spend more time on conditioning and perfecting form, but in the long run she will become a better gymnast and will be better prepared for the harder skills further down the road if she decides to go all the way.
 

Gymcatsmom

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I spoke to the rec director, whome I have a good relationship with, and she clarified some things. Being placed in j.o. level 2 is a huge compliment. Apparently, they never start news girls above preteam. They feel she's talented enough to start on j.o. and her attitude is a big factor. She's largly self taught and her beam skills are really good. She is young but sometimes I worry that 8 is old to start training. Seems weird to say that. She also told me that my dd is really strong and that's important. Also very, very flexible. We'll start first week in June after dance is over. Thanks to all for the helpful comments. Wish us luck! So proud of her!!
 

Seeker

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I spoke to the rec director, whome I have a good relationship with, and she clarified some things. Being placed in j.o. level 2 is a huge compliment. Apparently, they never start news girls above preteam. They feel she's talented enough to start on j.o. and her attitude is a big factor. She's largly self taught and her beam skills are really good. She is young but sometimes I worry that 8 is old to start training. Seems weird to say that. She also told me that my dd is really strong and that's important. Also very, very flexible. We'll start first week in June after dance is over. Thanks to all for the helpful comments. Wish us luck! So proud of her!!
Do not worry about that - my daughter started at 8.5 and was a L10 by 14.5.
 

Musicmama

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Congratulations to your daughter!

Mine started going to her gym at 8 years old, as well, and is now training L7/8 at nearly-12 years old.
 
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Gym Geek

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At some gyms, Xcel is a path for older gymnasts. Because your daughter is younger, and it sounds like pretty talented, they may have felt that JO is a better fit. It is worth asking about their philosophy towards the two tracks, and also ask about mobility between them. At our old gym, there was absolutely no mobility from Xcel to JO, so if you start in Xcel, that's it. Perhaps your gym is the same way and they didn't want to limit your DD?
At our gym, Xcel Bronze and Silver are for younger gymnasts who just starting and are not ready for the commitment of level 3 or 4. Then in Gold and Platinum there are less girls because most have switched to JO. There are mostly older girls (maybe middle or high school age) in those levels, with only a couple kids around 4th or 5th grade. It’s less time commitment than JO, so older girls who do other activities can make it.
Xcel is the route to go if you want to compete but have less hours and more mobility and options in the routines. (Good for girls who have certain “strong” events. Coaches can cater to their strengths and give them easier/harder routines) Bars is DEFINITELY easier in Xcel.
JO is usually used by gymnasts who want a future in the sport (maybe in college) and who have more time to practice. The routines are standard throughout the country, so you can’t cater to a girls strengths as much. But it is still a great way to go.

Our gym let’s you switch between Xcel and JO fairly easily at the coach’s and parents’ discretion. I would find a gym that lets you go between the two if I were you.

Hope this helps!
 

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