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For Parents Age question

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Jan 22, 2008
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I am totally confused. I have been told for the past half of the year that DD would not be able to compete till 2009-2010 season. That she was too young to actually compete with the rest of her peers. Well I was just notified that DD will be able to compete come Jan 2009 since she will turn 6 in that year. Has anyone heard this? It was always explained to me that she had to be 6 before states. Well she misses that cut off by like 10 days. So now they are telling me that the year she turns 6 is when she can compete. So if that is right they are planning on her starting in Jan competing her Level 4's.

As you can tell my head is spinning. This was susposed to be a training year for her with level 4 and she would start competing the following season as a Level 5 for her first year. So now that plan has been thrown out the window and the new plan is on the table. Can anyone help me with all this???
 

Blackie6

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LOL, same thing happened to my DD last year when she went to team at 6. We were told that she probably would not compete until this year Sept (2008). I figured she had plenty of time to get used to the routines and I had plenty of time to save up some money. About July they started routines and I was told to get the warm-up and leo she was "go" for September. I'm in NJ and also don't know the "rules" about age, but she competed as a 6 and was still six for states in January and competed w/that group even though it was very small as most of the 6's had turned 7.

Get your checkbook ready and start thinking competiton! I'm sure her coaches will make sure she is ready, try not to worry. When I look back now, even though her scores were low (31's 32's), she learned alot just getting comfortable in front of people so it was all good. Good Luck!
 

mariposa

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I am pretty sure you just have to be 6 by the day of the competition. My DD turns 6 in July of this year and she will be competing L4. Their first competition is the end of Sept.

The states thing is the age determination, I think. They compete in the age division (the whole season) that they will be at states, so if states is in December and you turn 7 right before that, you compete in the 7 yo age group the whole year, even if you are only 6. (Don't quote me, but that is what I remember reading somewhere.)

One of the girls that moved up with my DD won't be 6 till the end of October, so she can't compete in the first competition of the season since it is in September and she won't be 6 yet.

Was that clear as mud?

It could also be a state thing, but I am pretty sure USAG rules are they have to be 6 (or whatever the age cutoff is 6 for L4, 7 for L5, etc) on the day of the competition. Otherwise girls with birthdays at the end of the calendar year could compete before the minimum age.

Here are the USAG rules. Maybe AAU rules are different. Not sure what your gym competes.

:: USA Gymnastics ::
 
Jan 22, 2008
437
They way they explained it to me was she will turn 6 in 2009, so she would be able to compete Jan 2009 regardless of the birthdate. They are going to show me in the rules how it works. I am still scratching my head. She wont be 6 till May 2009 but the way it was explained to me is regardless if she turned 6 Dec 31 2009 she would still be a 2009 birth day and could compete. Can you tell I am so confused. I am ready with my check book and DD is ready. She still needs to get two elements on bars but other than that she is ready. I was just shocked when she told me this. So if this is accurate then we will miss the first two meets of the season and then be with the rest. So then she will finish the entire season before she is 6. I hope that makes sense how it was explained to me.
 

mariposa

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If it is USAG, I am pretty sure they are wrong. The rules clearly state they must have reached their 6th birthday to compete L4.

If it is AAU, I have no idea, but am pretty sure AAU follows USAG for the age limits

Maybe you should ask in the coaches area? They might know.

Also listing what state you are in might help as I think different states follow a little different rules for AAU, if it i AAU.
 

Ingymmom

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Jul 12, 2007
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Your dd would definately need to actually reach her 6th b-day before she can compete L4. I know of many gymmies that were ready but still had to wait until the day their b-day came before they could compete - it is a very strict rule... same thing for L5, she will have to reach her 7th b-day prior to competing. After that the age groups are somewhat more leniant. Next age minimum is 8 yrs old to compete L8, 9 to compete L9.

Now, an exhibition of some sort may not be out of the question...
 

Panda-girl's Mom

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Jan 9, 2008
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I know one girl on our team did not turn 6 until January, she had to sit out the first few meets but was able to compete after her birthday. It turned out that she did great got one of the higher scores when she competed. I think when the new year comes if your daughter's birthday is before states they compete in the next age level. My daughter started competing as a 7 year old and after January she was in the 8 year old level although she did not turn 8 until March.
 

Aussie_coach

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Perhpas they are planning on lying about her age, that does happen.
 
Jan 22, 2008
437
Perhpas they are planning on lying about her age, that does happen.

I wont allow that to happen. I am a very forthcoming person and I would NEVER want them to lie just so she can compete. I swear this all has my head spinning. I don't want to tell DD that she is going to be competing and it turn out that she is going to be heart broken. I know the gym had to go through this with one other gymnast like 7 years ago. I just hate hearing two different conflicting plans. I like to have a plan and follow it. Of course one plan is from her coach and the other is from the gym owner. Her team mates were all happy when they heard that she could compete with them. She has been the "special case" in her group and I hate to say the "HOT TOPIC" of the gym with most of the people. I hate hearing rumors about what is going on with her. Some of them were doozies too. Like I said I refuse to lie about anything for her. I don't want anything to cause her problems later or get her in trouble.
 

Livinatthegym

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Feb 4, 2008
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Yep, the child must be 6 years old before she sets foot on the competition floor. Gyms/coaches sometimes put a younger one out there and then try to "plead ignorant" if caught.

The gym wouldn't ask you to lie. They'd do it for you.

USAG is pretty strict about this. As the sport pushes for younger and younger girls, they have to cover themselves--a lot of the training can have some negative long-term affects if begun in a very young child.
 

mariposa

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Here are the minimum age requirements. They all say MUST HAVE REACHED whatever birthday it is for that level. This is from USAG website.

I. ENTRY REQUIREMENTS AND MOBILITY SCORESOVERVIEW

Level
Minimum Age Requirement
Pre-requisite Scores
Previous Experience
Suggested Age Divisions
Mobility Score to Advance to the Next Level
I –4
L. 1&2 - Reached 4thbirthday
L. 3 -Reached 5th birthday
L. 4 -Reached 6thbirthday

None
Children
4-5(L. 1&2 only); 5(L.3 only); 6-8;9-11
Junior/Senior 12&up
None

5
Reached 7thbirthday

75% proficiency at Level
1-4 on Vault, Bars, Beam, Floor
Level 5 or6*
Children
7 – 8; 9–11

Junior/Senior
12&up

31.00 AA at Level 5

6
Reached 7th birthday

31.00 AA at Level 5
Level 6 or7*
Children
7 - 11

Juniors
12 - 14

Senior
15&up

31.00 AA at Level 6

7
Reached 7thbirthday

31.00 AA at Level 6
Level 7 or8*
Children
7 - 11

Junior
s12 - 14

Senior
15&up

31.00 AA at Level 7

8
Reached 8thbirthday

31.00 AA at Level 7
Level 8 or9*
Juniors
8 – 11, 12 -13

Senior
14 – 15, 16&up

34.00 AA at Level 8

9
Reached 8th birthday

34.00 AA at Level 8
Level 9 or10*
To be determined in March
4 Junior Divisions

4 Senior Divisions

34.00 AA at Level 9 to go to Level 10

10
Reached 9thbirthday

34.00 AA at Level 9
Level 10or Elite*
To be determined in March
4 Junior Divisions

4 Senior Divisions

None




USAG website said:
B. Age Determination

  1. All gymnasts must reach the minimum age for the level in order to compete (see chart on page 19).
  2. For invitationals and qualifying meets below the State Championships, the Meet Director may determine the age divisions and must publish such information in the pre-meet information.
  3. For all meets under the jurisdiction of the State or Regional Administrative Committees, the respective committee may determine the method of determining age divisions. There are basically two options:
a. Age groups for the season: established by specific ages (i.e., 8-10 yr. olds, 11-12, etc.).

  1. In this case, the age divisions should be determined and published PRIOR to the competitive SEASON and the only adjustments that may be made during the season are sub-divisions of the age groups.
    § Exception: At Level 9 or 10 State meet and below, age divisions may be combined if the number of athletes is small.

  1. The gymnast must compete with the age division as designated for the entire season.
    Provided that the gymnast has reached the minimum age for her level, the gymnast's age for the competitive season is determined by the date of the final day of competition at the culminating championship meet for that level.
a) For Levels 1, 2 & 3 – age is determined by the date of the culminating competition as directed by the State Administrative Committee
b) For Levels 4, 5, 6 & 7 - age is determined by the date of the last day of the State Meet (or Sectional, if no State meet is held).
c) For Level 8 – age is determined by the date of the last day of the Regional Meet.
d) For Levels 9 & 10 State meets and below– age is determined by the date of the last day of the State meet.
  1. All results must include the gymnast’s birth date.
b. Age groups for each competition: established by dividing the athletes by actual birth date into approximately equal groups according to a pre-determined number of age divisions or by a pre-determined maximum number of athletes per age division.
- Meet Directors must publish or post online the meet schedule/age divisions as soon as possible after the entry deadline.

 
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gym law mom

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Almost sounds like someone got confused on the way they do age cutoffs for TOPS and the Olympics. I know people questioned Ivana Hong being able to compete in the Olympics(should she make the team) since she won't be 15 during the Olympics, but will turn 15 in the Olympic year.

Have to agree with everyone else that no competition for you dd this year(stinks that her b-day is so close to states), but she is so young that another year of training and growing will really benefit her in the long run. I would really question coaches who suddenly get "confused" about age requirements for L4----nothing had changed recently and the rule is very straightforward.
 

mariposa

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Here is another post with similar situation. turns out they are in FL and compete AAU at their gym, and she competed as a L2. Are you in FL? Someone on this thread said they thought that AAU in FL lets 5 yos compete L4, I think maybe using the age at states thing.

http://www.chalkbucket.com/forums/technical-talk/7045-age-minimum-requirements-l4.html

As for your situation, it sucks. It would suck more if she got out there, competed one rotation and then was told she was too young. (I think that happened to someone here?) I would call your states gymnastics association and if they compete AAU, the states AAU contact. Then you can find out for sure. I agree that you don't want her little heart to get broken by thinking she can all these months and then finding out she can't in January.

Good luck figuring this all out. Maybe post the question on the coaches forum?
 
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Jan 22, 2008
437
our gym competes in USAG, we don't do the AAU. I thought it was odd that things had changed all of a sudden. I swear it stinks for DD. Even with them wanting her to train and then compete L5 next year that wont happen either. I swear this girl will be training L4 like forever. I just wish they could get the plan together for DD and have us all on the same page. I swear it looks cut and dry that she won't be competing for another full year and then she will have to do some time as the L4.

Can you all tell I am a planner? It stinks that DD is so young and so close to the cut offs. Poor thing isn't going to understand all of this. All she wants to do is be like the rest of her team. It is hard to explain to her she is a special situation.

This summer if I leave her on Pre-team she will be board out of her mind. Moving her up with her team will only confuse her as to why she isn't able to do everything like them (compete). I have a feeling this is going to be a LONG year.

Thank you everyone for talking me through this.
 

mariposa

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Does your gym uptrain? If so, once she turns 7, she will be able to move faster if that is what she is ready for. So she can be competing level 4 while training level 5 and be ready to go with L5 once she turns 7. Her coaches should be able to keep her from being bored.

Is there any way you could have her be on team, but maybe do less days/hours and add a day of dance somewhere that does recitals? Then she has something she can do that is fun since she is missing out on competing. Or some other sport she might have fun doing?

Ingymmom might be one to talk to as her DD has been training on team for a long time now and will just be turning 7 this year and competing as a L5 since they don't compete L4 at her gym. Her daughter is doing amazing and training L5 and L6 skills. She has a youtube account, I think it is on the videos thread. She is really cute and very talented. And she seems to have survived not being able to compete, yet training team.
 
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starmaker

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update

I was in the exact same situation as Gymnasticgirl521. I was told back in december that my then 4 year old would start training L4 to compete '08 august. They insisted they could make some sort of exception for her. I researched and concluded gymnast has to be 6 years old to compete no exceptions. I told them repeatedly and each time promised me she would and not to worry! (at one point a coach said: "do you want her to compete or not? because she won't compete.) I was competely annoyed. The next class I printed the USAG rules and regulations and gave it to her coach. The following week they were training L3 floor rountine. After class I was told that dd was too young for L4. They held dd and the rest of her team (about 4 other girls) at L3. DD knows all of her L3 rountines ( needs to clean them up though) and has most of her skills (missing her millcircle, decent straddle jump on beam and her leap on floor) and trains L4 and L5 skills. She still trains 9hrs a week in 3 days. And she is very happy with schedule. Conditioning is still her favorite part.
IMOH I think it is difficult for coaches to always know how to handle really young talent. I ran into a problem at our old gym that they just didn't know where to place dd. She was the exception to many rules over there. At her current gym they had a niche for her right away and she adjusted easily. She is happy and progressing while not pressured or bored. She still conditions with an older gymnast and on saturdays they do all basic floor excersizes including FHS, FWO, straddle presses etc.) with the whole team and so far all is well.
 
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Billy

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That's one thing that I like about our gym. They do AAU for levels 2-4 and then switch to USAG for level 5. That way the younger girls can still compete. It has done my DD a world of good. She has wanted to be on "the team" since she was very young and this has allowed her to do that. She competed level 2 as a 6 year old and is now (still 6) training level 4. She has seven meets under her belt and will not have that new-to-competing nervousness when she begins competing L4 in January.
 

Gymmonkeymomma

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For USAG Level 4, a gymnast must be 6 by the date of the competition. My DD turned 6 on July 25th and her first meet was mid-Sept. The age by States determines their age group for the season.
 
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