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How Can I Fix This Situation?

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bigtiny

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My daughter is a 6-year-old Level 4. She is currently scoring in the 37's with 2 months to go until states. I asked her coach the other day what she anticipated for my daughter for next year, and she said that she thinks she will have her repeat Level 4.

I do not want my daughter to repeat Level 4. She thrives on challenges and does best when she is pushed. When she saw that another girl in her group do a kip, my daughter was determined to get hers, and she got her kip the same day. When a teammate made a cast to handstand, my daughter made sure that she made one the same day. I am afraid that if she is put back on Level 4 that she will just work at that level instead of pushing herself to what she is capable of (I don't care how far she goes with gymnastics, but I would like her to learn positive life lessons from it).

Right now she has her kip, cast/squat on, front handspring, robhsbhs, and her cartwheel on high beam (some of the time). The coach told me she wants to keep her back because of "fear issues." The only fear issue I have seen is the fear of jumping to the high bar. Yesterday, my daughter was doing kip, cast squat on, but then she would jump off instead of jumping to the high bar. She is a small girl, and the bars were set on FIG.

Since the Level 5 year doesn't start (for our gym) until mid-June, why would the coach be expecting her to LEARN to jump to the high bar on FIG (when she is only 46 inches tall)? Wouldn't it make more sense to start her on a closer setting, build her confidence, and then move the bars out when she is actually on Level 5?

I am getting the feeling that they want her on Level 4 again, and they are just finding reasons to keep her there. I'm not sure the best way to handle this situation, and I would appreciate any advice.

Thanks.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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That does sound odd; it's odd that they would take a kid who seems to be doing so well (37s? a cast handstand at level 4?) and making her repeat a level because of -- from what it sounds like -- one skill, which she still has several months to work on.

On the other hand, your daughter's 6; it's not like there needs to be any big rush to move her up.

If your head coach is the approachable type, you might try bringing up your concerns with him/her. Otherwise I don't know what to tell you.
 

gym mom

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Sep 8, 2007
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I would talk to the coach about what you feel.Is there anyway she could move to L5 and just not compete until she is ready .Our head coach would not hold a kid back in L4 if they had all there skills he would have them in L5 and compete L5 when they where ready.Good Luck
 

gymch34

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Based on my experience- there MUST be a reason or reasons they feel another year of L4 is best for your child. L4 to L5 is a BIG jump in my opinion, and just because you score 37's in 4, it does not mean the child is ready for L5.

A big one I can think of is her age/ maturity level. I dont know her, but her coaches know what she is like in the gym. Does she cry or get easily frustrated? Is she very small? Can she control her emotions when she receives a bad score or a coaches criticism? What is her attention span like?
What is her attendance like? What are her basics (handstands, etc) like? What about her form/ body tightness?

To be honest- the COACHES opinion to the above questions mean more than your opinion. They know what she is like in the gym, you know what she is like outside of the gym. I say trust your coaches and their experiences- they bring a totally different side to things, just as you do as a parent.

There is nothing wrong w/ having a 6 yo repeat level 4- esp if its to allow her to become stronger and more mature. It will benefit her in the long run. It sounds like they are training other skills rather than just routines, so she will continue to be challenged.
 

Gymdad2

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Im just a parent, but one who has been around this sport for a lot of years, and I agree completely with gymch34. You are paying a professional coach to teach/evaluate your dd's gymnastics and unless you want to take her to another gym (there is a lot of discussion here about the pros and cons of changing gyms), then you should trust their judgement. There are so many things that coaches (and judges) see and know that we parents don't. And then there is the age/emotional/maturity/hours issue that also can be a major factor in making the moveup decisions. Rememeber gymnastics is a marathon, not a sprint.
 
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bigtiny

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Based on my experience- there MUST be a reason or reasons they feel another year of L4 is best for your child. L4 to L5 is a BIG jump in my opinion, and just because you score 37's in 4, it does not mean the child is ready for L5.

A big one I can think of is her age/ maturity level. I dont know her, but her coaches know what she is like in the gym. Does she cry or get easily frustrated? Is she very small? Can she control her emotions when she receives a bad score or a coaches criticism? What is her attention span like?
What is her attendance like? What are her basics (handstands, etc) like? What about her form/ body tightness?

To be honest- the COACHES opinion to the above questions mean more than your opinion. They know what she is like in the gym, you know what she is like outside of the gym. I say trust your coaches and their experiences- they bring a totally different side to things, just as you do as a parent.

There is nothing wrong w/ having a 6 yo repeat level 4- esp if its to allow her to become stronger and more mature. It will benefit her in the long run. It sounds like they are training other skills rather than just routines, so she will continue to be challenged.


I do respect and appreciate your opinion and feedback. To respond to your comments, my daughter never cries during practice - the coach has commented to me about this many times. She handles the running, strength training, and even injuries without any tears. I do see what she is like in practice because, with three kids on team at various practice times, I spend quite a bit of time in the gym. She has never cried or become upset at a meet or over scores. She acts more mature than her age, I think, because of having two older sisters.

I am not opposed to the idea of repeating a level in general. My oldest daughter has a very different personality. She thrives on perfecting skills and does best when she feels very confident in what she is doing. I am hoping HER coach recommends that she repeats Level 6 this year.

These comments are helpful, and I can see I should go talk to the coach. She likes my daughter, and I know that she sees her need to be challenged. I guess I am just worried about my gym's reputation for holding back kids who should be moving up:rolleyes:
 
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Megley

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Bigtiny, I've seen your daughter compete and I don't know why they would want to have her repeat Level 4. When does she turn 7? My dd, as you know, was a 6 yo level 4 last year and not nearly as good as your little dd. She definitely would have repeated at your gym, but she is doing okay as a Level 5 (just qualified to state last weekend) and enjoys the challenge of getting to learn Level 6 skills. She may well repeat Level 5, but our gym won't make that decision until the end of the summer when they see how she's doing with Level 6 skills. What about the little girl from your gym who did so well as a 6 yo at State last year? Did she move up to Level 5? If so, I cannot see why they'd hold your dd back. At the very least, they ought to give her the summer to get her skills and reassess in the fall.

As for the bars, our gym made L practice on the bars set far apart and she never could make the jump. I think they did it because the other girls are all taller (my dd is 7 and just now 46 inches tall). Finally, toward the end of the summer they started setting the bars closer for her and she could make the jump. Now she's got the confidence that she can do it and can jump with the bars further apart. I don't see why they won't set the bars closer for your dd, at least every now and then. They need that so they can become confident in their ability to jump. Once they are confident, they lose the fear and the bars can be moved farther apart again. But again, judging from posts here on Chalkbucket this is a problem at many gyms so maybe there is something we as parents are missing about the issue?

Anyway, I'm sending you positive vibes for your talk with the coach! Hope it works out and we get to see your dd rocking Level 5 next year.

Meg
 
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bigtiny

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What are her basics (handstands, etc) like? What about her form/ body tightness?

This will give you an idea of about what she looks like now (though some of this video was taken a couple of months ago and she has improved some):

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TeamDad

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Loved the video!!!! She looks great...poised, confident and graceful. I'm not sure why they'd hold her back. Definitely let them know that she loves to be challenged and that this set-back could discourage her to the point where she may want to quit.
 

gymdog

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Talk to the head of the compulsory program. Your gym is big. They may not be able to move every kid up. That's one of the tradeoffs of such a successful program.

If you can set up a specific time, you'll probably get more specific answers. However the jump to the high bar and vaulting can really hold back smaller kids, and they can even be dangerous in some cases (peeling, the new table is difficult to get over). I'm not saying I would hold back in 4, but it could be a balancing act even if the 4 routines are good. It's too bad our state doesn't have more prep-op options that can be done in addition to USAG compulsory but we don't really have that, so it can be hard to tell what to do in these cases.

They also might plan for her to skip 5 or 6 in a year. It's a good program...I think they can get her where she's going...but the coach may not have fully thought through the situation yet or might be able to give you a more accurate picture of what the next year will look like.

Still if it were me...I probably wouldn't keep her in 4...I think you'll need to set up an official meeting.
 

mariposa

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I have seen your DDs videos and watched her progress and she has beautiful form, really nice skills and I can't see why they would make her repeat level 4, especially when she has all her level 5 skills except the jump, and plenty of time to get that.

I know many gyms like to be known as winners and do hold back girls that are high scoring, even though they are ready to move up. I think many girls quit before they normally would from boredom at those kinds of gyms, unless they have a very good program for keeping them challenged, uptraining, etc.

My DD is a lot like yours. She strives on being challenged and does better when at the bottom of the bunch. She also has a teammate/best gym bud that she tries hard to keep up with. She is not even close to scoring as well as your DD (but none of our compulsories ever get those kinds of scores, highest is 36), but she is saying that she will be done with gym if she has to do level 4 again. Our gym does not do a good job of keeping them challenged during meet season and she is bored now except on days they uptrain. I feel your pain, except that yours is actually justified, and my DD could definitely use another year at level 4, but at a gym that uptrains and keeps them busy, challenged.

I would be persistent that you do not want her to do level 4 again. Coaches don't always really know a girl. I feel like DDs coaches don't see her at all. I have seen her with coaches that expect a lot and push her and she gives what you expect of her. Not all their fault of course, but I think that they overlook her because she is the youngest one competing and she isn't the super talented one, loses focus when she has to wait forever for a turn, etc. Frustrating. I know that she is the most focused and hard working at the gym. She never cries when she can't get something like she does with anything else (school work, other activities) and she keeps working at it until she gets it. It is that reason that keeps me taking her to the gym and hopes that she can continue.
 
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NOG

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I guess I am just worried about my gym's reputation for holding back kids who should be moving up:rolleyes:


1st, when does she turn 7? I know that in OH, you have to be 7 to compete level 5. Each level has an age requirement. Level 4 is 6yr. old, Level 5 is 7yr.old.

Second....
I can really understand that fear. I know of a gym in our area that is notorius for holding girls back. It is nothing for this gym to make a girl repeat a level 3x, and in at least 1 case, 4x. Talking to parents who have left that particular gym, in most cases they weren't being held back for the benefit of the gymmie. The parents (all of them) claimed that it was making sure that their team "ruled" the compulsories" by every girl scoring 37s and 38s. This meant that they wanted the good ones to repeat (so that only those girls' scores would count towards team scoring, that the new level 4s wouldn't count) and wouldn't allow a move up until they (coaches) were confident that the gymmie would be scoring ALL 9s at the level that they wished to move up to.

As a result of this tactic, this particular team DOMINATES the compulsaries, but has very few optionals. Because the keep girls SO long at a level, the gymmies get bored, or get to Jr. High and go into other sports. A lot of them just get fed up and switch gyms. My dd used to compete against a little gymmie from there and it was always so disturbing to see her go up, take 1st in every event and AA, and be so bored, that she couldn't really be bothered to salute. This gymmie did L4 for 3 yrs. as a 6yr, 7yr., 8yr., and was told that she was going to repeat it again as a 9yr. Her parents were totally fed up with the sport and just quit all together. It's such a shame too, that little girl was very talented! Had she continued at their rate though, she would have seen optionals until she was 13!

I'm all for repeating a level when it needs to be repeated, just so that it's in the best interest of the gymmie. Some girls thrive on a challenge, and maybe they won't score top of the podium at first, they're okay with that. Some girls really need that extra year of polishing skills before moving on. Some need the confidence of repeating, knowing that it's their turn to be on the top of the podium. BUT, if they are already on top of that podium all the time, AND they have the skills to move to the next level, my opinion is that it's best to challenge them. No gymmie likes to be bored. I think that you should schedule a meeting with the HC, see where they see her next year. Explain your concerns and talk to your dd. It isn't uncommon for a shorter stature gymnast to have an issue jumping to high bar. At most meets that I've been to this year (level 5) the coaches move the bars in a little closer for those smaller gymnasts, not a big deal. I agree that she is probably too small to be making that jump at the FIG setting and probably shouldn't attempt it, for safety reasons. Talk to your HC and see how they feel about it. If you still feel that they are just holding her back to "boost their team scores"...... then you'll have to decide how to handle that.

GL
 
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NOG

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She will be 7 summer 2009, so she would be old enough to compete Level 5 next year:). I agree with everything you said in your post:):).

Good luck in the talk with your coach! Hopefully you get the answers you're looking for. Limbo is never very fun - kinda lost my taste for it when I was a kid, lol.
 

gymdog

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She will be 7 summer 2009, so she would be old enough to compete Level 5 next year:). I agree with everything you said in your post:):).

Your gym has a good optional program though, and a pretty big one. I think they actually just moved a bunch of kids through 6, no? They aren't going to move up girls as readily as some gyms (won't even accept them onto team as readily). That's just how a gym like that works. I've done that before, you have to decide whether you're going to go with a program like that that consistently produces top gymnasts and has higher standards that might be harder to meet at times, or if you're going to take a lower key route. Also, the compulsory program from what I know trains up a fair amount, the level 6s working on some optional skills and lots of drills.

I'm not saying you shouldn't question it, I think you should absolutely set up a meeting. But being familiar with the situation and having been in similar ones, I would expect more of these situations to occur. It can be difficult. There's definitely a trade off to having great coaching and a successful program. At some points there are going to be standards that are very difficult to meet. There are trade offs to going the lower key route. I was exasperated with my gym situation from time to time as a teen but I would go back and coach there in a heartbeat if I still lived in that part of the state. The more I work in other programs the more I realize how much I prefer their approach for a lot of reasons. It's almost daunting for me to approach other set ups that are so different because the low key atmosphere just makes me bristle. I have no idea how to handle it because I want extreme order and standards that are enforced. I can definitely relate to my former coaches a lot better and understand their decisions weren't arbitrary. I'm not saying they were always right, which is why I think you should discuss it.
 

Tumblequeensmom

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Hi BigTiny. Megley, Gymdog and I are all familiar w/your team. If someone is consistently scoring in the 37's, then they need to move on. Whether it's up to competing Level 5, or not competing, but uptraining, she needs more than what Level 4 is giving her.

I think there's definitely something else going on there. Talk to HC more specifically. Safety issues aside, I've seen teeny, tiny girls make beautiful vaults over that table, and the bars can easily be adjusted for her beginning jumps to the high bar!!! I don't think that those two issues are valid for keeping her back.

As GymDog said, there may be another agenda for her, but you need to know what that is to make an informed decision about what she should do!

Good luck.
 

Aussie_coach

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There can be other reasons for not moving a kid up that have nothing to do with her ability. They can have to do with ligistics. Perhaps there is onlly a certain number of spaces available in the level 5 team and they have decided to give them to the older girls first.

Perhaps they don't have enough new ones coming up into the level 4 program and so have decided to keep the younger ones back to keep a solid level 4 team.

It sounds unfair for you and your child. But gyms don't just think of the kids. They think of the future success of their gyms, making programs profitable and so on.

Staying back doesn't have to be bad. A good coach will recognise when a child needs more. Repeat level 4's can spend less time on routines and more time on learning harder skills. Some gyms do this to accelerate gifted kids. have them repeat the level 4 season so they know the routines back the front and need very little practise while working on some great advanced skills. Then even testing out of level 5 annd skipping to higher levels. If they moved them up to level 5 they would have to dedicate much of their training time to perfecting the new routines.
 
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