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Age per level ?

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Billy

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I'm wondering if you guys can tell me the best age for each level if the gymnast has elite/college goals. Should they reach a particular level by a particular age? How old/ what age is "too late"? (USAG women's program)

Thanks!
 
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jes.the.gymnast

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if a gymnst loves the sport enough they can make it at any age. ofcourse it is better to get them training elite as young as they can so they get more time in. i'm not sure about collage and that as i live in australia but i know gymnast over here who have tuned elite when they are 12/13 i would say that the most commen ages but i also know people who have started at around 6 or 16. it all depends on the gymnast
 

lannamavity

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Sep 13, 2007
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There is no "rule", if that is what you are asking.

Europeans actually prefer to wait until girls are 8 years old to begin "real training".

Sacramone started late. There are other examples...none I can think of at the moment.
 
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Billy

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I guess what I'm wanting to know is what is your personal "ideal". If a gymnast walked into your gym with no training but had desire and talent, how old would you want her to be, what path would you take to train her (USAG levels, TOPS, etc) and what speed of progression would you want (one level per year? Faster through compulsories? More training at the basics and faster through optionals?)?

I'm curious because I've heard things like an elite gymnast should start training by age 5 or 6. I also wonder whether TOPS is absolutely necessary or can a gymnast get to elite without it. And is one level per year the norm or do the girls that make elite get through faster? I know there are always exceptions but I'm wanting to know about the "ideal" path.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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My gym's goal is for girls to get college scholarships.

With that in mind, our goal is for them to be a second year level 10 by senior year of highschool. For that, if they start competing younger than 10 they really don't even have to go one level per year. Slower is fine.
 

gymdog

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I guess what I'm wanting to know is what is your personal "ideal". If a gymnast walked into your gym with no training but had desire and talent, how old would you want her to be, what path would you take to train her (USAG levels, TOPS, etc) and what speed of progression would you want (one level per year? Faster through compulsories? More training at the basics and faster through optionals?)?

I'm curious because I've heard things like an elite gymnast should start training by age 5 or 6. I also wonder whether TOPS is absolutely necessary or can a gymnast get to elite without it. And is one level per year the norm or do the girls that make elite get through faster? I know there are always exceptions but I'm wanting to know about the "ideal" path.
I don't really know about an ideal path. It depends on the goal. I started competing when I was 11, which I wouldn't describe as ideal. Still, I made it pretty far in optional gymnastics and I likely would have made it further if I hadn't switched to a very different gym in between my sophomore and junior years, which in retrospect wasn't a great fit for my goals, the program I was coming out of, and my personality. But the situation was kind of unexpected and confusing. I ended going back to the original gym at the end of my senior year just to train the last few months and it's the best decision I ever made. In 4 months I progressed more than I had over the last two years. My original gym was a much better fit and until circumstances became what they were I would have never dreamed I would switch. Even as it happened, if I could go back and do it again I wouldn't have switched so quickly, especially not that late in the game. To some extent I think you adapt how you think about training to a program so for me getting that far in one program and then switching to a completely different one was not the best plan, and this is something I feel like I failed to really take into account. At that point I just felt horrible about what was going on and wanted it to be over, so I picked the one gym after trying out once. I should have tried some more gyms and tried to come up with a better match.

But anyway my point is all programs are different and their ideas about skill progression and culture are different too, and the path to the top through any program is going to depend on that, even leaving aside the individual gymnast factor. Some of the top programs like GAGE don't do TOPs for example, they have their own system. And many gyms do TOPs and won't necessarily have elites. But in terms of ideal progression and general goals, I would say that elite is not the goal for most gymnasts right off the bat, even at proven NTCs, which often have a separate "elite track" for gymnasts who have been weeded out from the general track. For many gymnasts the goal is L10/NCAA at the furthest, and for some it may be just getting through optionals.

On the other hand I know someone from another board whose daughter is very talented, started gymnastics late, began competing at 10 and was training in a pre elite program by 13. So it isn't necessarily a dealbreaker but I would say even for a girl that has the kind of talent to go elite (I didn't - so it wouldn't have made a difference for me anyway) certain factors would have to line up if she started late. It would definitely require a certain kind of program, because some are more rigid as far as getting into the team track. Once on the team track, most aren't training for elite, and I can't think of anyone who did one level per year (it does happen, but not often in my experience). I know girls who got to level 8 and 9 without repeating (I did), but almost everyone I know did two years of level 8, and if they didn't, they did two years of 9. This is for the L10/NCAA progression. For elite, many girls will probably skip levels, and then do Hopes/pre-elite. It's kind of separate though, so I see L8s and 9s who are going to qualifiers, you don't necessarily have to completely gone through the level system.
 
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lannamavity

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Sep 13, 2007
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way out West
My gym's goal is for girls to get college scholarships.

With that in mind, our goal is for them to be a second year level 10 by senior year of highschool. For that, if they start competing younger than 10 they really don't even have to go one level per year. Slower is fine.

We try to adhere to this goal as well. If an athlete can move faster and gets the opportunity to go elite, then it's great. If not, they become a well-rounded college athlete.

Nice to hear someone talking some sense.:)
 
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