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age minimum requirements for L4

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starmaker

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Has anyone heard of or knows anything about a "special permission" granted to gymnast who do not meet the minimum age requirement. For instance, having a five year old compete as a L4??? Is it possible?
 
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hammy

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I'm pretty sure that the age 6 requirement is mandatory, and i think the main reason for doing this is to no push the children too fast (for the same reason I believe there is an age requirement for level 10 and maybe even 9). As nettyinpa said--check out the USAG website or give someone a call.
 

Blackie6

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My DD is a 6 y old L4. I know while she was on pre-team she was learning skills for L4. Some gyms/states have a level 2 or level 3 that do compete, so it is possible to still learn the skills while experiencing the feel of an actual meet. Some gyms skip L4 altogether and train for L5 which compete at age 7. For the truly talented ones it is possible to move quickly thru the levels once you do get to age 6 or 7, but I agree with the previous poster, there has to be some sort of mandatory age ot else there would be 4 and 5 yr olds training 8 or more hours a week in the gym.
 

Ingymmom

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Jul 12, 2007
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Has anyone heard of or knows anything about a "special permission" granted to gymnast who do not meet the minimum age requirement. For instance, having a five year old compete as a L4??? Is it possible?
http://www.usa-gymnastics.org/women/rules-and-policies/2007/2007part2-sect1-entryreq.pdf

Age requirement for usag L4 is 6 - no exceptions.... however in FL I know many gyms use AAU for competition experience. The routines are very similar to the jo program & I believe the age requirement is 5 for AAU L4.

From what I understand USAG has this rule implemented for insurance purposes.
 
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gracefulone

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One of the YMCAs in my state had a four year old competing level four. I think it was "exhibition" only, meaning that her results didn't count towards awards, etc. I don't really see the point except it was kind of like level three, but they didn't have one.
 

gymgymgymnast08

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u can be exhibition if u r younger just for experience but I think its 6 years old
 

EntrReality

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Dec 29, 2007
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Most YMCAs do not have age requirement rules unless the state committee has set them again most do not have a rule.
AAU national rules do not have an age minimum listed in their rules.
USAG is 6yo (national rule).
 

mariposa

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Has anyone heard of or knows anything about a "special permission" granted to gymnast who do not meet the minimum age requirement. For instance, having a five year old compete as a L4??? Is it possible?
like the other posters, if it is USAG then the child MUST meet the age limit to compete. for level 4 it is age 6, for levels 5, 6 and 7 it is age 7, for levels 8 and 9, age 8 and for level 10 it is age 9.

http://www.usa-gymnastics.org/women/rules-and-policies/2007/2007part2-sect1-entryreq.pdf

i think that Florida competes AAU as well, but i can't find any age limits for them. it depends on your gym as well. some florida gyms compete the lower levels (1,2 and 3), but that depends on the gym as well. we don't compete the lower levels where i live. it starts at level 4 for the competitions here, statewide and we don't have AAU.

you might want to check with your daughter's gym to see if they compete AAU as well. maybe that is what her coach is thinking about. or maybe the coach doesn't realize how young your little one really is. my DDs coach has asked me at least 4 times when my DD turns 6. she has a lot of girls to keep track of. my DD turns six in july and their first competition is september, so it works out good for her. if we decide to let her move to team, that is.
 
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starmaker

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well, I hear what all of you have said. Basically, the gymnast MUST be 6 years old. and that makes sense. I spoke with dd's head coach and bean coach and both said that they have had USAG make exception for other gymnast before. I also spoke to a parent of an 11 year old boy. The age exception was made for him. And at the age of 10 was the youngest national team member. His mother told me they had to get "special permission" for him to compete. When I talk to the gym they seem certain that my dd will be able to compete next august eventhough she will not turn 6 till April of 2009. I live in Florida. The gym my daughter attends is very competitive. In fact, it is very unconventional. My husband calls a sweatshop that manufactures gymnasts. It is HOT no a/c. It is dusty....a layer of chalk on everything. Gymnasts train on appartus eventhough there is no coach around. They adjust equipment on their own. My daughter's first hour of class is conditioning. They coaches are not around. Older higher level gymnasts help the youger lower level gymnast. There is a conditioning book in the middle of the gym. The girls read the exercise and work independently. My four year old daughter will usually partner up with an older girl (maybe 12 yrs old) and will climb ropes, handstand pushups, walk around the gym with ankle weights etc. The gym she at before was not at all like that. children were not allow to jump if they were not asked to. This new gym though seems to be doing something right. They have several national team members, elite gymnasts, international champions, etc. I really don't know what I am doing when it comes to dd. She has crazy talent, strength, flexiblity. Last thrusday when I went to pick her up from class, all the other girls on team wanted dd to show me something. She did an effortless perfect straddle press handstand. I was amazed!! My dd couldn't understand what the big deal was. She loves being there and challengeing herself. So far from what I have seen none of coaches have beenrude to her, yelled at her or in any way punished her. At her last gym she was constantly doing push ups for not paying attention etc. My dd seems to be much happier at this gym. I am trusting the gym and listening to my daughter. I am using this as a sounding board and you guys give me things to think about and consider on my own. Thank you so much!
 

mariposa

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that gym sounds scary. sorry, but it just does. i would never let my DD be in a gym where there weren't enough coaches around to be right there, even doing conditioning/strength training wrong can cause injury. i don't care if she LOVED it there, she wouldn't be in a gym like that. i hope she does well and doesn't get hurt. we all want our kids to be happy, but we are their only protection.
 

Ingymmom

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Jul 12, 2007
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well, I hear what all of you have said. Basically, the gymnast MUST be 6 years old. and that makes sense. I spoke with dd's head coach and bean coach and both said that they have had USAG make exception for other gymnast before. I also spoke to a parent of an 11 year old boy. The age exception was made for him. And at the age of 10 was the youngest national team member. His mother told me they had to get "special permission" for him to compete. When I talk to the gym they seem certain that my dd will be able to compete next august eventhough she will not turn 6 till April of 2009.
interesting... the coaches in our gym said the exact same thing about USAG making an exception to this rule. There was so much insistence in each direction that I did some research and always came to the same conclusion (at least for L5, maybe it is different for L4) - USAG will NOT make any exceptions to this rule. I have heard of girls (that have not reached their b-day) competing for exhibition only without any problems, but other gyms that chose to disregard have gotten into trouble for allowing a girl to compete USAG under the allowed age.

Now for elite gymnasts this is not always so. USAG will actually REWRITE rules to allow a young elite to compete on a case by case basis - which is why the young gymnast in your gym was allowed. However, elite is such a far distance from L4 - heck, elite is even far from L10 LOL. As we are all aware, so many don't even take that route because of the demands physically, mentally etc. which is why exceptions are made for that level.

Maybe I am wrong and they will make an exception, you will have to keep us updated on what happens.

You must be at Universal Gymnastics. They seem to have an exceptional program. :) It sounds like your little one is doing well and enjoying herself. If you are willing to share, we all love video around here:D.
 

Blackie6

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YIKES!

Sorry, I hate to sound negative as well, but I agree with the other poster, that gym sounds scary, especially the un-supervised part for a four year old? However, that being said, I believe my expectations are much different than yours. I just want my daughter to enjoy gymnastics until she makes up her mind what she wants to do. She is in the gym over 10 hrs a week already and while she loves being there and would be there longer if I allowed it, she is only 6 and I think there are other things little girls should do (she plays other sports, did dance, tried cheerleading one year and hated it, Brownies) until they know for sure if they are Olympic bound. She is at a gym that offers a good coach/child ratio, the girls are supervised even thru conditioning and when doing stations they are broken into smaller groups and work one-on-one at times with the coach. They even play fun gymnastics games at the end of pratice sometimes. I suppose I prefer the more nurturing type gym, I want her to be nurtured, she is six years old. And, I never want to look back later and have regrets about my daughters childhood. I want her to remember all the fun she had and how she thinks working out with her friends is fun and not a career. I want this to be something she wants, not something I want for her, life is to short.
 

catesmom

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I may be missing something here, but what is the rush to compete at age 5? I think our gym is pretty typical, and I have never seen a girl held back from working skills that she is capable of. The competition thing is another case, we have girls competing level 5 that are working level 8 skills, knowing that they will be able to advance quickly as they go forward.

As others have said, it is very scary to have the older gymnasts leading your daughter in strength. Our level 9's and 10's are still only 13 to 15 years old, barely old enough in my opinion to babysit, much less lead the younger gymnasts in strength conditioning. There are always injuries, that could be avoided if proper conditions are followed.

As to your daughter, good luck on the track you have chosen. My dd has been in gymnastics since the age of 2 and after 10 years of gym life, and several gyms due to moves, she is very happy. She is competing level 6 and training level 8 and there is no boredom factor. Yes she gets antsy when preparing for a level 6 competion and working those skills over and over, but she knows that there are always new things to try.

Honestly, at age 5 we were doing 3 days a week, 2 1/2 to 3 hours a day and that was plenty. Starting school and making new friends was our prioirty then and still is. Although she is in the gym 16 to 18 hours a week, she still does girl scouts, goes to dances, everything a 12 year old would do if she wasn't n gymnastics, and believe me the homework factor starts getting intense at about 4th grade.

If your daughter is progressing on new skills at practice and is happy at the gym, go for it, but the competition thing seems a little much for me. I would also definately make sure that she is supervised, we have a minimum of 4 coaches working with the team girls during every minute of every practice. When it is time for strength a coach is always supervising, and advising as to the proper ways to do the drills. The only time the "big" girls lead is when they are doing the initial run warm-ups.

Good luck to you and you dd in whatever you choose.:D
 

gymmomntc2e6

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well, I hear what all of you have said. Basically, the gymnast MUST be 6 years old. and that makes sense. I spoke with dd's head coach and bean coach and both said that they have had USAG make exception for other gymnast before. I also spoke to a parent of an 11 year old boy. The age exception was made for him. And at the age of 10 was the youngest national team member. His mother told me they had to get "special permission" for him to compete. When I talk to the gym they seem certain that my dd will be able to compete next august eventhough she will not turn 6 till April of 2009. I live in Florida. The gym my daughter attends is very competitive. In fact, it is very unconventional. My husband calls a sweatshop that manufactures gymnasts. It is HOT no a/c. It is dusty....a layer of chalk on everything. Gymnasts train on appartus eventhough there is no coach around. They adjust equipment on their own. My daughter's first hour of class is conditioning. They coaches are not around. Older higher level gymnasts help the youger lower level gymnast. There is a conditioning book in the middle of the gym. The girls read the exercise and work independently. My four year old daughter will usually partner up with an older girl (maybe 12 yrs old) and will climb ropes, handstand pushups, walk around the gym with ankle weights etc. The gym she at before was not at all like that. children were not allow to jump if they were not asked to. This new gym though seems to be doing something right. They have several national team members, elite gymnasts, international champions, etc. I really don't know what I am doing when it comes to dd. She has crazy talent, strength, flexiblity. Last thrusday when I went to pick her up from class, all the other girls on team wanted dd to show me something. She did an effortless perfect straddle press handstand. I was amazed!! My dd couldn't understand what the big deal was. She loves being there and challengeing herself. So far from what I have seen none of coaches have beenrude to her, yelled at her or in any way punished her. At her last gym she was constantly doing push ups for not paying attention etc. My dd seems to be much happier at this gym. I am trusting the gym and listening to my daughter. I am using this as a sounding board and you guys give me things to think about and consider on my own. Thank you so much!
Our gym would not allow the girls to work unsupervised. my 7yr old is level 3 and we do have level 3 in meets, she is on pre-team at our gym and doing 4 meets. She has done two and done very well. got her first 9.0 and also had 33 AA at last meet. They warm up for 45 min at beginning of each practice and condition for 15 at the end. They warm up w/ level 4 & 5 girls. The level 4 & 5 girls do help them out and the level 3's love it. They will spot the level 3's on press handstands, BWO(for those who need help) etc. The level 3's just love getting the attention from the older girls and the older girls actually asked the owner if they could coach the level 3's one day a week instead of train (that was a no, but she does let them help w/ warm up's). The coaches are always in the gym watching and spotting as well. Also, if the coaches are having trouble communicating something to the level 3's they will call over a L4 or L5 to see if they can explain it better - lots of times that works and the L3 gets the trick. Kid communicating to kid seems to be understood better :D

I would be concerned if no coaches were present and kids were on equipment.
 

jasmine196

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I have to say I know of a couple other top level gyms that have done the same thing in terms to having optional (older) girls run conditioning and warm ups. IGI in Illinois is one of them. Todd has even done seminars at National Congress about it. While I feel 4 years old is a little young for doing that, I do feel that letting the older girls help out is wonderful. And it builds team bonding. I will also say I only feel confortable with that senario when it comes to Conditioning and warm ups, not event training.

As for air conditioning. Um, I can't think of one gym in the chicagoland area when I was a gymnast in the 80's that had it. If the thousands of gymnasts lived through the 80's and most of the 90's without air, the gymnasts now can as well. Trust me when I say, I hate coaching without air, but not every gym has it. But I'm also noticing that the OP is in the miami area, and I would not want to be in a gym without air in the Summer, ouch.
 

LemonLime

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I am guessing that I am personally familiar with StarMaker's gym as it's been described.

I have always found it to be a wonderful gym with positive coaches, although I have only observed them at meets and heard about them second-hand. They have females who compete internationally for other counties and I believe male gymnasts who have qualified international elite for the United States. They also have had gymnasts attempt to earn international elite status on the female side and may have others attempt this year.

As for the age requirements, there is NO NO NO NO exception for the USAG female age rules at sanctioned meets. Rumors have always persisted that there are exceptions, but there simply are not.

On the male side, however, there are age exceptions. Using my soggy memory, a male gymnast may petition to compete Level 9 under the age of 12 even though 12 is the normal cut off. They don't make national team, but they do make Future Stars by region. It's a great system.

I'm sorry about the lack of a/c in Miami. Many years ago my own child did a tops test without a/c and I did not find it unsafe. The coaches handled it well and the kids drank water. It was not ideal, of course, but they did well.

As for older kids leading conditioning, this is rather normal. In fact, it mimics the Romanian school of thought in coaching which involves older children being supervising role models for younger children in their training cluster.

As for gyms who favor heavy conditioning at a young age, while I have no opinion, there is a respected school of coaching thought that conditioning at a young age is more optimal for future success than trick training.

I'm not in favor of there being no adults in the gym, but it's up to the gym's insurance company and the individual parents to make that decision on a case-by-case basis. I presume some see it as having a babysitter and some see it otherwise due to the potential activities involved.
 

LemonLime

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interesting...
Now for elite gymnasts this is not always so. USAG will actually REWRITE rules to allow a young elite to compete on a case by case basis - which is why the young gymnast in your gym was allowed. However, elite is such a far distance from L4 - heck, elite is even far from L10 LOL. As we are all aware, so many don't even take that route because of the demands physically, mentally etc. which is why exceptions are made for that level.

:D.
There are no exceptions for elite gymnasts for WAG (females) for ages. Under current rules, you may compete in Hopes the year you turn 10 through the year you turn 12. For pre elite, you may compete the year you turn 11 through the year you turn 15. For international, you may compete the year you turn 11 with no top age limit.

Your age is the age you are on December 31 of a given year. For instance, a gymnast born on December 31, 1996 is age-eligible for Hopes for this year only and may qualify to the Olympics in 2012. A gymnast born on January 1, 1997 is age-eligible for Hopes for this year AND next BUT may not qualify to the Olympics in 2012. No exception.

If you are on jr. international team, but have not turned 13 in that given year, you may not compete internationally even though you are on the team (e.g., Jordyn Weiber). These are international rules and there are no exceptions.

I suppose someone could forge a birth certificate, but that's about it.

The boy mentioned was competing JO which has specific age exemption petitions which are nearly always granted at L9 and up.
 

JBS

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well, I hear what all of you have said. Basically, the gymnast MUST be 6 years old. and that makes sense. I spoke with dd's head coach and bean coach and both said that they have had USAG make exception for other gymnast before. I also spoke to a parent of an 11 year old boy. The age exception was made for him. And at the age of 10 was the youngest national team member. His mother told me they had to get "special permission" for him to compete. When I talk to the gym they seem certain that my dd will be able to compete next august eventhough she will not turn 6 till April of 2009. I live in Florida. The gym my daughter attends is very competitive. In fact, it is very unconventional. My husband calls a sweatshop that manufactures gymnasts. It is HOT no a/c. It is dusty....a layer of chalk on everything. Gymnasts train on appartus eventhough there is no coach around. They adjust equipment on their own. My daughter's first hour of class is conditioning. They coaches are not around. Older higher level gymnasts help the youger lower level gymnast. There is a conditioning book in the middle of the gym. The girls read the exercise and work independently. My four year old daughter will usually partner up with an older girl (maybe 12 yrs old) and will climb ropes, handstand pushups, walk around the gym with ankle weights etc. The gym she at before was not at all like that. children were not allow to jump if they were not asked to. This new gym though seems to be doing something right. They have several national team members, elite gymnasts, international champions, etc. I really don't know what I am doing when it comes to dd. She has crazy talent, strength, flexiblity. Last thrusday when I went to pick her up from class, all the other girls on team wanted dd to show me something. She did an effortless perfect straddle press handstand. I was amazed!! My dd couldn't understand what the big deal was. She loves being there and challengeing herself. So far from what I have seen none of coaches have beenrude to her, yelled at her or in any way punished her. At her last gym she was constantly doing push ups for not paying attention etc. My dd seems to be much happier at this gym. I am trusting the gym and listening to my daughter. I am using this as a sounding board and you guys give me things to think about and consider on my own. Thank you so much!
What is the name of this club?
 

Ingymmom

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Jul 12, 2007
981
There are no exceptions for elite gymnasts for WAG (females) for ages. Under current rules, you may compete in Hopes the year you turn 10 through the year you turn 12. For pre elite, you may compete the year you turn 11 through the year you turn 15. For international, you may compete the year you turn 11 with no top age limit.

Your age is the age you are on December 31 of a given year. For instance, a gymnast born on December 31, 1996 is age-eligible for Hopes for this year only and may qualify to the Olympics in 2012. A gymnast born on January 1, 1997 is age-eligible for Hopes for this year AND next BUT may not qualify to the Olympics in 2012. No exception.

If you are on jr. international team, but have not turned 13 in that given year, you may not compete internationally even though you are on the team (e.g., Jordyn Weiber). These are international rules and there are no exceptions.

I suppose someone could forge a birth certificate, but that's about it.

The boy mentioned was competing JO which has specific age exemption petitions which are nearly always granted at L9 and up.
Lemon Lime, I was referring more to the exceptions that are made for certain gymnasts to reach and test elite - I am still confused on the process so I may have worded it wrong. :)I am aware of the age minimums that FIG has placed on international & olympic competitions - at least I think I am lol... the following article is what I used for reference.

http://gymnasticszone.com/EliteProgression.htm

JBS - the club is Universal Gymnastics in FL.
 
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