Gym move-ups are very difficult to compare. Kids are all different, they move along different paths, some move slow, some fast, some start off slow and then move fast and some start off fast and then slow down. In the end, the only thing that matters is that the gymnast is happy and challenged and moving along the path that is right for him/her.
Move ups also vary from gym to gym. Some gyms move kids along pretty fast and the kids are just barely hanging on. Some keep them in each compulsory level for a year or two regardless of their scores. Some have set move up guidelines, others seem to have no rhyme or rhythm to them. I think most gyms fall somewhere in between.
At DDs old gym, she was moving to level 5, she hadn't even done a whole year at level 4 (looking back, she wasn't ready for level 4 when she was moved up). She wasn't ready (IMHO) and the extra year at L4 is going to be a very positive thing for her (old gym and new gym have different views on the compulsory levels, the importance of good form before moving on, etc). On the flip side, we have a talented little gymmie on here (age 6) that did extremely well all year and finished well at States, has her L5 skills and gym still wants her to repeat level 4. You just never know.
It varies from gym to gym. There are gyms that are usually known in an area for holding back level 4s (and perhaps other levels) to have a strong team that takes first all year, I have heard gym people call it sandbagging. So maybe similar to what you have seen in cheer. I don't know how common it is.
The level 4 repeating debate is always interesting. Since level 4 isn't required, many feel it is unnecessary. Here are some threads that discussed repeating level 4.
The jump from level 4 to level 5 is pretty big. Bars adds the kip (which can take some kids a year to learn or more) and also they jump to the high bar, which is hard for some girls as is the squat on, which can be scary for some. Floor has a front handspring, full turn, back extension roll, dive roll and RO to 2 back handsprings. Floor routine also has more choreography. Beam has the cartwheel and holding the handstand vertical and for a certain amount of time. Vault is a huge jump for some as well as they go over the vault table instead of just landing on their back on a mat.
Many kids, although they are excelling in level 4 are not ready for the move to level 5, so they repeat level 4 while (hopefully) working on the level 5 skills to keep them motivated and challenged. I feel my daughter fits into this category, she wasn't excelling at level 4, but she had all the skills. I think she would have been able to do level 5 this fall, but it wouldn't have been pretty. I think another year at level 4, while still learning level 5/6 skills like she is doing now, will be the most beneficial for her.
Great informative posts Mariposa!!! I don't have much to add except the line we've all heard a million times...gymnastics is a marathon, not a sprint. At 6 yrs old & L4...the goal should be to keep the gymmie progressing in skills, form & technique, but mostly to learn a LOVE of the sport. To stick with it for the long haul, no matter how fast or slow they go...they have to LOVE it.
Great post!!! I can see you are an extremely level headed parent and the situation you describe with your dd is one I am sure I will deal with. I want my dd to succeed and if it takes repeating a level then so be it.
I don't have a view on keeping L 4's down yet. I know in Cheer it's so frustruating when a Level 3 team competes as a Level 2 just to win. Is that what is done in gymnastics as well? Or is more for their maturity?
unfortunately that exists in gymnastics too. I can think of one gym right off the top of my head that does that.
I voted less than one year. But, it comes with 2 asteriks.
* Pixie competed L2 last season. In L2 the gymnasts are awarded with flags after each routine, instead of a score. A blue flag for excellent, a red flag for good and a white flag for needs improvement. The whole season Pixie scored blue flags on each event. It was obvious that she could have competed L3. So, after the season was over her coaches moved her to pre-team L4. And skipped L3. That was this season. She started out the season competeing the 1st two meets as a pre-team L4. They compete the exact same routines as USAG L4. Then she was moved up to team L4 and competed the rest of the season as such. So, it was almost a full team L4 but not quite.
* Pixie and her other L4 team mates are all working on L5 routines this summer. They are referred to as the L5 girls but an official decision will not be made until the end of the summer. They do that so if one of the girls just doesn't grasp the L5 skills then they will keep them back with the L4 group.
So far, all the girls are coming along really well. I think Pixie is probably having the hardest time so far because she just got out of her splint and L5 takes a far amount of strength that L4 doesn't require. Also, Pixie is so tiny that she is struggling with the strength skills like vault and some of the bars skills. She's 8 but people think she is 6. She made need to repeat L4 again. We'll know at the end of the summer!