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JO Event specialists

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bogwoppit

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I saw a small article on this and it linked it to the region 5 website, check it out.


State and Regional Update
*Event specialists are allowed at State meets and Regional meets.
*Qualifying score is equal to the qualifying all-around score divided by
the number of events they are competing.
*They must enter the State meet as a Specialist.They will qualify to regionals as a Specialist.
*The entry fee is the same as the all-around fee.


We have this at our Quebec school level competitions, but not at the Canadian/Quebec provincial/national levels. Right now I like the concept, as the parent of an injured gymnast, because this way DD would have a chance to qualify on the apparatus she can compete on. To compete and know that you don't have any chance to qualify is a bit demoralizing.

What do you think of the idea? I am sure that it will spread and will not stay just in region 5.

 

bogwoppit

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You know I do!!!!!! : - )
 

lannamavity

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The US has a petitioning procedure for injured athletes...provided they compete AA and fulfill the requirements.

Athletes with permanent physical problems can compete on events they can do.

It's about USAG keeping kids in the sport to make money.
 

bogwoppit

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It seems in lots of ways that USAG is about making money. The fact that level four is now the beginning level for most gymnasts in USAG is another example of this. Seeing so many level 2 and 3 meets on youtube also is indicative of lots of people making lots of money out of low level gymnastics.

Do you think the fact that gymnasts at the Elite level, college and international, can specialize has influenced this change in region 5 JO gymnastics? Or do you think that there is also demand from parents or coaches?

Even at the Olympics we don't have as many AA's, with many girls just doing two or three events. Injury seems to play a role in this, but some girls,just aren't the "complete package".

What are the positives and negatives of this system?

In Quebec only the top 32, or less, in any category go to Provincials, I don't see how it could work here as the numbers just wouldn't fit. However in the US where most girls qualify to States with a certain score it might work, numbers wise. It seems as though State meets are massive and each flight goes on for hours.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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I think it's about time the women's side started allowing for specialist. This is one area where the women's side is WAY behind the men's (though admittedly the need to allow specialists isn't as strong in women's gymnastics, since they only have four events, and three of them are floor).

If somebody doesn't want to do all events but still wants to continue training and competing, why not let them?
 

lannamavity

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I think it's about time the women's side started allowing for specialist. This is one area where the women's side is WAY behind the men's (though admittedly the need to allow specialists isn't as strong in women's gymnastics, since they only have four events, and three of them are floor).

If somebody doesn't want to do all events but still wants to continue training and competing, why not let them?

Wow...a little ***ist. I'm actually tempted to think that if men had to to high bar the way women do uneven bars they couldn't do it.

The Mens Program is WAY behind the Womens Program in terms of organization, education and numbers...not to mention scores and rankings. I once went to get an MAG FIG rating at a keg party a while back and decided I'd rather not judge or coach Men's gymnastics...so mens' gymnastics is not inherently the leading force in the sport today.

Some States have 400 competitive female Level 7's and almost as many Level 8's...almost 100% All-Arounders. How are they going to fit specialists on random events in full sessions all weekend long? As perviously stated, meets would drag on from Friday throught Monday...which is not good for kids.

So the need to involve specialists for the States and Regions is not there on the womens' side. It would just be a pain in the butt for all involved...except USAG. Specialists would be a dream for them...they pay the same and compete less. USAG doesn't have to deal with it directly because they will not allow specialists at JO Nationals or East/West Championships any time soon, so they make it "up to the Region to decide" and rake in the dough.

All-Arounds have to train four events and still compete with specialists who could spend all of their time focusing on one event, which is not fair. Because is would be unfair to All-Arounders, fewer of them would be compelled to compete AA, and AA will deteriorate.

Will specialists train full hours? If not, income for clubs will go down. Club teams will have to have to recruit specialists from other clubs to fill weak spots in their lineup.

And the main problem I have with it is (and this is just my opinion):

Without a medical reason, being a specialist is avoiding a challenge instead of confronting it. The whole point of gymnastics was to see who was the best athlete based on the disciplines on the different apparatus. I'm just not impressed by someone who can do one event...even if they are the best in the world on that event. If that's all they do, then they should be the best...

I competed as an All-Arounder, struggling thought horrible pommel routines, praying I didn't make it to event finals on pommels, rings and p-bars...but I competed anyway, and I'm glad I did, because I learned humility and appreciated winning floor or vault, and the occasional AA place...and my obscurely colored ribbon for getting last on pommels.

The truth is that I don't understand the point in having specialists for USAG...besides money. There are other sports like tramp/tumbling/track/diving/acro/rhythmic for ex-gymnasts to move on to. This whole "specialist thing" is sounds like a way to prolong an exit from the sport... a way to make the sport "easier".

NCAA is a great place for specialists...and it should be a sort of reward to those athletes who struggle through all the events.

I don't mean to offend any specialists...in fact, I wanted to be one at one time...but it's really sad to see how watered down the sport is becoming, even at the beginning levels.

And that is the end of my thoughts on specialists. You asked.:rolleyes:

Hmmm...can I say "5eXist" or "S3x1st"?
 
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Geoffrey Taucer

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Wow...a little ***ist. I'm actually tempted to think that if men had to to high bar the way women do uneven bars they couldn't do it.

The Mens Program is WAY behind the Womens Program in terms of organization, education and numbers...not to mention scores and rankings. I once went to get an MAG FIG rating at a keg party a while back and decided I'd rather not judge or coach Men's gymnastics...so mens' gymnastics is not inherently the leading force in the sport today.
Wow, um, seems like I touched a nerve with my post.

I think you're misreading the intentions behind that post. What I meant when I said that was ONE area in which the men's program is ahead of the women's program, I meant in contrast to the MANY other areas where the women's is ahead of the men's. I assumed it was accepted fact that the women's program is currently far more successful than the men's, and does a number of things much better.

I don't meant to imply that male gymnasts are better than female gymnasts either. Merely that men's gymnastics involves more different events, a point which I don't think can even be disputed.

Some States have 400 competitive female Level 7's and almost as many Level 8's...almost 100% All-Arounders. How are they going to fit specialists on random events in full sessions all weekend long? As perviously stated, meets would drag on from Friday throught Monday...which is not good for kids.
So your argument is that specialists are bad because it means more kids will do the sport? If there are a ton of participants, that's GREAT in my opinion!

So the need to involve specialists for the States and Regions is not there on the womens' side. It would just be a pain in the butt for all involved...except USAG. Specialists would be a dream for them...they pay the same and compete less. USAG doesn't have to deal with it directly because they will not allow specialists at JO Nationals or East/West Championships any time soon, so they make it "up to the Region to decide" and rake in the dough.
And if the kids want to compete, and are willing to pay, why not let them? Just because USAG makes money from it doesn't automatically make it a bad thing.

All-Arounds have to train four events and still compete with specialists who could spend all of their time focusing on one event, which is not fair. Because is would be unfair to All-Arounders, fewer of them would be compelled to compete AA, and AA will deteriorate.
How would it be unfair? Yes, specialists would have the advantage on individual events, but all-arounders would still be the ones taking home the all-around medals. The number of all-arounders may decrease a bit, but it won't be eliminated entirely -- just look at the men's side. There are plenty of JO specialists, AND plenty of all-arounders.

Will specialists train full hours? If not, income for clubs will go down. Club teams will have to have to recruit specialists from other clubs to fill weak spots in their lineup.
Income for clubs won't go down, because more kids will stick with the sport longer. A club will make more from a team of 5 all-arounders and 5 specialists than they will from just 5 all-arounders.

And the main problem I have with it is (and this is just my opinion):

Without a medical reason, being a specialist is avoiding a challenge instead of confronting it. The whole point of gymnastics was to see who was the best athlete based on the disciplines on the different apparatus. I'm just not impressed by someone who can do one event...even if they are the best in the world on that event. If that's all they do, then they should be the best...

I competed as an All-Arounder, struggling thought horrible pommel routines, praying I didn't make it to event finals on pommels, rings and p-bars...but I competed anyway, and I'm glad I did, because I learned humility and appreciated winning floor or vault, and the occasional AA place...and my obscurely colored ribbon for getting last on pommels.
I agree, I'd rather see a kid do all events than specialize. But I'd rather see a kid specialize than quit.

The truth is that I don't understand the point in having specialists for USAG...besides money. There are other sports like tramp/tumbling/track/diving/acro/rhythmic for ex-gymnasts to move on to. This whole "specialist thing" is sounds like a way to prolong an exit from the sport... a way to make the sport "easier".
Not sure if it's like this in all states, but there are very very very few tramp and tumbling teams in NC. That simply isn't an option for many kids, because the programs aren't out there -- or they aren't out there enough.

NCAA is a great place for specialists...and it should be a sort of reward to those athletes who struggle through all the events.
Which is exactly why we should allow them at the levels which will hopefully lead kids up to the NCAA.

I don't mean to offend any specialists...in fact, I wanted to be one at one time...but it's really sad to see how watered down the sport is becoming, even at the beginning levels.
With how many people are complaining that the sport is getting too hard and too dangerous, I think it's safe to say that there is no risk of it being "too watered down." And there's nothing wrong with making it easy at the lower levels -- it gets more kids to do the sport.
 
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Billy

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Just my $.02 but it seems like the AA gymnasts would get disillusioned if they never placed on the individual events because of the "specialists". Sure, they'd place in the all-around but they'd lose out over all. It doesn't really seem fair to them. They work hard to excel at all aspects of the sport and then they get beat out by someone who only does 1/4 of the work? I think the AA girls would get really frustrated by that.
 

bogwoppit

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Lanna, you're a man!!!! That name is well confusing!

I also discovered last week that you can't type ***, **** and ****, tried the filter out for fun. Though you can type stalker, murderer, hacker and best of all slasher!!:D

Word filters can be so funny. Just put dots or spaces between the letters and you can do it, s.e.x. just like that.
 
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gymnellie

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Thought that I would add my opinion also! If a child sticks with the sport long enough to go elite or go NCAA, that's where they should be allowed to be an event specialist. They hung in there and they're good enough to deserve to pick which event they specialize in. In the JO, how many of them would be disappointed to do all events just to lose every event to a specialist? Speaking from experience with my dd, at a meet this year she didn't place in any event( meaning no medals) and missed being in the all around by one placement. She was absolutely miserable. Disappointed is not even the correct word. I think that gymnasts as a whole are perfectionist and when they feel like they didn't do well enough to get a medal, they are the first ones to be hard on themselves. So I guess what I am saying is that at the JO level they don't need the disappointment of feeling like they didn't do well because the ones on the podium are all event specialist.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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There seems to be this widespread notion that if we allow specialists, they'll take over the sport, and discourage all-arounders.

Look at boys JO. Specialists are allowed at any level, and yet almost all kids do all six at least up to level 8, and even then specialists are the minority. There are some specialists, but most kids still do all-around. And the specialists don't always win their events. I have seen no evidence whatsoever that allowing specialists has had any negative effect on those who do all six.

Here's why I support specialization: I know a large number of girls that loved floor and hated bars and beam, so they quit and went to cheerleading. Had they been allowed to specialize, they could have continued as floor specialists. I have flat out asked several, and they've said they would still be gymnasts if they could be floor specialists.

In my opinion, anything that keeps kids in the sport is beneficial to the kids, beneficial to their club, and beneficial to the sport as a whole.
 

bogwoppit

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Just to continue GT's train of thought. Many girls have to quit gym due to injury, it may happen to mine.:( But if she could reduce her hours and focus on beam and bars and still get to Provincials she'd be thrilled. I am sure she is not the only child in the gym this applies to.

All gymnasts want to compete AA, but it isn't going to happen for every gymnast. Should they stop competing to make it "fair" for everyone else?:confused: My kids will probably only compete bars and beam at her next meet, she won't be winning the AA will she? But it would be nice if she could make it to Provincials, it ain't going to happen here.:rolleyes:

The whole event specialist winning on everything has no logic either. In any given city with multiple gyms there are multiple training schedules and set ups. One level six may train 25 hours a week with many coaches who are specialists themselves on each event, they may also have privates and attend open gym or even home school at the gym. Another level 6 in the same city might train 12 hours a week in a group of 10 girls and have 1 coach who manages to coach all around. Tell me how this is any more fair than allowing girls to specialize on an event or two or even three!

Gymnastics will never be equal or fair, but it should be fun and accessible to as many kids as possible.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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bogwoppit, I think you just said exactly what I was trying to say, and much more succinctly than I did.
 

lannamavity

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I have no problem with specialists competing at whatever meet they want...as long as they don't qualify to a meet to which AA's have to qualify...by multiplying their score by 4. That is ridiculous and unfair.

Currently, girls can compete individual events at invites all they want...and that's fine, if the coach is okay with that.

By "watered down", I am not referring to the level of difficulty, but the caliber of athletes...such as those who posess strenght, speed, flexibility...all of the qualities for an AA, some of which are no longer necessary for an event specialist.

And as for NCAA specialists...warning for girls: specializing too soon may actually cost an athlete a possible scholarship when recruiters may be looking for a three-event or solid (but not stellar) all-arounder.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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What if they used a system like the men's side uses for qualifying for regionals or nationals?

In order to qualify for regionals as a specialist, you must be top 3 on your event. In order to qualify for nationals on 3, 4, or 5 events, you have to have a particular percentage of the required all-around score -- but it's more than just that fraction. For example, somebody wishing to qualify on half of the events has to get more than half the qualifying score (I forget exactly how much more).

I'll see if I can find the specific numbers later tonight.
 

lannamavity

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What if they used a system like the men's side uses for qualifying for regionals or nationals?

In order to qualify for regionals as a specialist, you must be top 3 on your event. In order to qualify for nationals on 3, 4, or 5 events, you have to have a particular percentage of the required all-around score -- but it's more than just that fraction. For example, somebody wishing to qualify on half of the events has to get more than half the qualifying score (I forget exactly how much more).

I'll see if I can find the specific numbers later tonight.
You know, it sounds like it could make sense for the men's program...especially at the upper levels. The problem comes with the numbers, organization and training.

In California, for example, there are 1300 USAG male athletes registered...including specialists.

At the same time, California has 5400 female athletes, and very few are specialists.

The WAG coaches/judges in California work every weekend from August through May.

Compulsories compete a separate season from Optionals.

Teams are turned away from meets because there is no way to fit them all.

State Meets spill into the weekdays...even when L7 and L8 State are held on different weekends. State meet directors sweat an entire month trying to fit all of the kids.

The qualifying score for State can be as low as 32.0, and Regionals is a 34.0.

It just seems that it is REALLY EASY to qualify as an AA, and over 5,000 girls have the opportunity. The easier it is to qualify, the less competitive the athletes will be. It's about rising to the occasion, not lowering the expectations.

I'm not sure that adding more gymnasts is the biggest problem right now. I understand that it is not the same everywhere, but this has to be a consideration.

To quote one of my athletes from a few years ago, "The great satisfaction in being a gymnast is participating in a sport which not everybody can do."

A whole team of "floor specialists" is a tumbling team, a team-gym team, or a cheer squad. Why not let it be that...or the dreaded "recreational gymnastics"?

My questions for the MAG coaches are:

Who decides who gets to be a specialist and when?

Can they change their mind?

What if your team is small to medium sized and short a score on an event? Does someone have to compete that event, or do you take a zero while the specialists rest between their events? Who would decide who has to compete? Would the specialists have been training all events just in case this happens?

What if a parent has their own thoughts as to whether a kid should compete AA or not, and they don't agree with the gymnast? Who decides?

These are some of the questions which would inevitably come up. I'm interested in how they are dealt with.
 

bogwoppit

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Maybe it should be harder to qualify to States? How is it special if just about everyone qualifies? Then there would be room to specialise.

But, I do see what Lanna means, gymnastics is huge in the States, with flights going on for hours. I would go nuts as a coach dealing with that. Plus most clubs seem to go to so many meets.

All of those facts should not prevent specialists though, it would just become another piece of the pie.

Perhaps we can ask someone from Region 5 to comment after they have survived States.
 
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Billy

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To quote one of my athletes from a few years ago, "The great satisfaction in being a gymnast is participating in a sport which not everybody can do."
I like this. And I think this says it all. If an athlete cannot compete in all aspects of the sport, why should the sport change to accommodate the athlete? That just doesn't seem fair to the athletes who work hard to be able to compete in all events. And it encourages athletes to avoid those events that are too challenging (due to fear, inability, or whatever) for them. Furthermore, there are alternatives to girls who don't want to (or can't) be an all-around gymnast. They can do tramp/tumbling teams or sport acrobatics, for example. I think the bottom line is that women's gymnastics is about an athlete's abilities in four areas: floor, bars, beam and vault.
 
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