We don't compete levels 1,2, or 3. We have "fun meets" twice a year. It's normally just our gym & occasionally another gym near by. The kids get to experience what it's like to compete but with no pressure. My thoughts on the advantages to competing starting at level 1 is that most kids don't stay in gymnastics long enough to compete if you wait too long. Also, gymnastics is one of few sports that you have to pay a monthly fee to participate in as a child & the parents want to see their kids perform. i.e. - basketball, baseball, swimming, soccer, etc.. there are no tryouts at that age & small fees (if any) to join & they start competing right away. Does that make sense? However, I don't feel that competing that early should be done to get more trophies on the gym wall or anything. I believe it should be done for the experience, the sense of accomplishment, & so the parents can show off their childs progress to the family by playing the homemade video of their first meet on the tv at Christmas get togethers!
I agree with flpflp7...We try to have a performance a few times a year so that the kids can show off their skills; however, we also allow parents to watch practices (something I'm not completely for, but it's the owners rule). I think that if the program is recreational; then the kids should be able to give a performance, but many kids are not out to "compete." Although, for the kids who do want to compete, doing a performance helps them get out in front of people and what not.
If you're talking about this in regards to future competitive gymnasts (L5 and beyond), then no...this is a waste of time. You'd be better off training gymnastics as opposed to worrying about teaching Level 1, 2, or 3 routines.
If you're in a recreational-based program or you're considering this just for the recreational part of your program, then it's a good idea from a financial perspective. It will help to keep kids in the program. It's no different than a dance program offering a dance recital. Give the kids the experience of competing, send them home with a bunch of trophies, medals, and other goodies, and they'll keep filling your classes each week.
But, as I said, I wouldn't mess around with this with my more talented kids who have a shot of going farther in the sport. It's a true waste of their time and not productive to their long term gymnastics career.
Our rec kids do two "meets" a year. Ours and five other clubs get together and make it fun. The girls compete in our rec levels 1,2 or 3 (routines our region developed based on our comp levels), they do only two apparatus out of 6 including tramp and mini tramp. All girls get medals, top third gold, 2nd third silver and final third get bronze. There are trophies for the top girls on each apparatus. This is purely for the rec crowd and their parents.
Our developmental girls do have an evaluation on the same day twice a year. These are the girls that could go on to competitive team later. They get a certificate and the coach gets an evaluation of each childs progress.
This means parents get to see the progress being made, the girls have a blast and the develop. girls get a feel for a real meet without the pressure of judging. The format also makes it easy for the clubs involved to give the parents what they want.
Having watched the level 1-4 routines in the US, I think I would prefer to work towards level 5, but that would mean having "something" else for the girls to show off their progress. Demonstrations and in house meets doing skills that they have mastered, without working on some of the less necessary skills.
The cost is another huge issue, watching vids on youtube of 4 & 5 years olds compete level two in their very expensive Alpha Factor Leo's and warm ups makes me cringe, so much money for such a little thing. It is always very cute, but a 5 year old can be cute just having fun in the gym. Parents should not be sucked into this. It is hard to see how a child can progress and have fun if they spend all their time perfecting these little routines and not building skills.
Just my not very humble opinion.
Happy Christmas, watch out for the turkey. Ours came with only one wing, so we are feeling bad about eating it!!!
Where I am from it seems the system is quite a bit different. I am from Melbourne Australia, and I havent heard of a Club where their Competetive stream doesnt start competing at Level 1.
In my Club we have 2 quite specific streams of gymnastics at that age:
The recreational Gymnastics (once a week, fun gym whilst still learning the basics and basic shapes)
and the Competitive Gymnasts.
The Competitive stream generally start in "Junior Development at about age 5 or 6, and they generally stay there for 1 year, occasionally 2. This level is a "pre competitive" level, they are taught the basics, body shapes, presentation, and begin to get their skills up for level 1. Most kids in this level come once a week for an hour and a half, but they have the option to do 2 of these classes a week. This level does not compete.
They then move to level 1, which are generally 2 hour classes, and whilst we encourage them to do twice a week, some only do 1. From Level 1 the gymnasts begin to compete compulsary routines, and they are able to choose between Level 1A, Level 1B or Level 1C.
Level 1C is for your average Gymnast and is aimed to lead on to the State stream.
Level 1B is for the better than average Gymnast (generally the kids that come twice a week) and leads to the National Stream
and Level 1A is for the Elite Gymnasts and is very very difficult.. and leads to International Elite stream
Level 1-3 works in this way with A B & C..
None of our kids do the A stream though, I cant remember level 1, but i know level 2A requires, roff bhs, fsault and bwd roll to h/s on floor.. a kip on bars as well i believe.. and these kids are usually about 7.
In contrast, at that age, our Recreational Kids come once a week for 1 hour and get to play with the equipment, learn all the basic crab and bear walk etc.. and dont have to worry much about presentation or pointed feet at all.. its more about the fun and body awareness.
I suppose the way we make this work, is there is an open ability for the kids to move between the 2 streams (although they can only move INTO the competitive stream through invitation or assessment).. so if they arent ready for competitive or dont have the mindset or will, then there are other options..
Then theres our competitive Rec Stream, but thats quite irrelevant.. lol