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txgymmom

New Member
Jan 12, 2007
9
Tx
Hi to everyone! I've read your threads for a while, but just really decided to post. Need a bit of help from any veteran gym moms. My daughter is 10 yrs. old and a level 8 gymnast. Recently, her coach decided to test some of the girls (who were of age) for TOPS. My daughter is not going and she thought she was. Apparently, she is lacking in the cast handstand area and can only do 5 press handstands instead of 10. Is TOPS really necessary for their growth as a gymnast? Or can she pursue it without TOPS and have other opportunities? Not because of her coaches telling us anything (no communication there), but we think her body is disproportioned. She is very very muscular, and 4'9". I wonder if it is just more difficult for her to pull herself up. Its just the bars that seem to give her a few more problems(upper body strength). She is an awesome power tumbler on floor though. Any suggestions? She was just so let down. We were never informed of anything from coaches; areas of weakness, what she needs to be working on, not being able to go to TOPS testing. I wish we lived in an area where there was another gym to take her to, but there is not. We are here and she has a passion for this sport. ;./
 

bogwoppit

Former Admin
Gold Membership
Former Gymnast
Feb 26, 2007
16,718
Country
Canada
Welcome to the Chalkbucket, your DD sounds very talented to be at such a high level so very young. I know Texas is very competitive and things are hard when you only have one gym to choose from.:confused:

I cannot help you with your Tops question as I am from Canada, but I am sure there are a few Moms and coaches here who can address your concerns. You could post your question under "questions and answers" as not everyone reads the introductions threads. ;)

Just an aside, I don't think that Shawn Johnson was a Tops kid, I think she came to the notice of Marta K. when her coach sent a video. So there are many paths to Elite if that is your little girls dream.:cool:
 
F

flippymonkeysmom

Guest
We have a few gyms in our area that have elite gymnasts and none of them do tops. As you mentioned tops looks for very specific skills, strength, flexibility, etc. That doesn't necessarily mean those girls are the best gymnasts - they are very strong and flexible though. There was a girl by us who at the state meet scored over a 39 AA (level 6 I think) and was 9 - she tested for tops and didn't make it. Obviously she is a very talented gymnast. If your dd is already a level 8 at 10 years old she is obviously very talented as well - I wouldn't worry about tops - it is one avenue some girls take, but not the only one.
 

txgymmom

New Member
Jan 12, 2007
9
Tx
I appreciate that! We felt really bad because of her let down. We don't eat, sleep, and breathe gymnastics, but she does. We try our best to support her
 

bogwoppit

Former Admin
Gold Membership
Former Gymnast
Feb 26, 2007
16,718
Country
Canada
She's 10, it is so hard for someone so young have to deal with not being chosen. When it is all they dream about, let downs like this are very hard to take.

You can tell her that someone from all the way up north in Canada is so incredibly impressed by all that she has achieved.:D She is a star.
 
Jun 11, 2008
60
Region 1
Maybe she doesn't need it?

Maybe she is so good, she just doesn't need it. I'm by no means a TOP expert but can share what my daughter does at her gym.

They have a TOPs practice that they do in addition to the team workout. It is by invitation and is usually the younger gymnasts (7-10) showing potential to go all the way (both physically and mentally). the workout is very basic but intense. The team girls say they get sore the day after the TOPs class. They work on basic conditioning drills and some mental work. Our gym handles the "mental" part by having some girl talk as a team at the end. They talk about what they like outside of gymnastics and share how they handle different situations to ease their minds, etc.

For conditioning they work on these:
splits (both right and left)
straddle press handstand
holding regular handstands longer
sprint (speed)
cast to handstand on bars
vertical jump
rope climb (speed)
Bridge (shoulder flexibility)

Honestly, it sounds like fun and a great opportunity to go to the ranch if you are that good (tough to make it!!) but the actaul workout is not what I'd call fun. My daughter loves it but I think she is weird :rolleyes: It is also good for the coaches to get recognized and help build their coaching skills.

My daughter just turned six and they put her in the TOPs class when she was 5. She is too young to test (must be 7) so she is there unofficially. I think for our case, they put her there so she could see and immitate the odler girls (she is a visual person) and to help her mentally. She is not competing yet, not becasue of physical ability but more for mental readiness. I am very pleased with what the program has done for her although I don't know if she will be in it every year.

In more relation to your situation, we have several older (10-11) girls who are amazing gymnasts and they are not in TOPs. They do just fine, always medal, and I don't see them missing out on anything. Unless your coach says otherwise, she is probably advanced for TOPs as a level 8.

I hope my description helps you to understand what the TOP girls are doing and hopefully to give you some assurance that you are not missing much in the way of physical ability to get to elite.

~Kara
 

txgymmom

New Member
Jan 12, 2007
9
Tx
Thanks! It helps alot! I told her she is an incredible gymnast and its great that she absolutely loves something she spends so much time doing. I think as long as she believes in her abilities, she can really go as far as she wants. How far is that? We just take it year by year. It was just kind of a let down for her to not be allowed to go. She said she is going to work on perfecting her cast handstands getting to 10 press handstands. We'll see how it all goes. There is always next year!
 
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