Level 4 meets...what to expect?

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Petunia

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Apr 16, 2008
29
VERY VERY new to this.
We'll be starting meets at the end of Aug. I believe. Our gym has not given us a schedule and I need to know if I pretty much need to clear my work schedule for the weekends!!!
USAG (we're in Texas).
I was just wondering the other day...I have NO idea what these meets are like.
Does anyone know how long they last? Are they normally all day? Mainly morning, afternoon etc.?
Last question: At level four I doubt we'll go anywhere outside our city? If you happen to travel, when do you leave? Friday night?

I'm wondering what our weekends will look like starting in the fall....

THANKS!!
 
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gymjourneymom

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Mar 9, 2008
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Welcome to the world of gym meets:)! Congrats to your DD on moving to L4! Here's a general over view, just off the top of my head. Meets may last a whole weekend(Fri, Sat, Sun). But they are broken into sessions by levels & age. Doing USAG L4, your DD will only compete in 1 session out of the whole meet weekend. So meets shouldn't take up your whole weekend(unless you want to watch other sessions). Also, many gyms try to keep the L4's local with competitions. Your gym should be able to give a schedule of the meets they plan to attend. So you should know well in advance what weekends meets are scheduled(our gym only does 1 or 2 meets per month). But finding out exactly what session your DD is in( in other words what day & time you actually need to be there), is a little trickier. The session schedules are often not posted(on the host gyms web site) until 1 or 2 weeks prior to the meet. Waiting to find out the session time is always the stressful thing for me, b/c I work weekends. Once I find out the session time, if it conflicts with my work schedule, I have to scramble to find someone to work for me:(. A session usually last around 3-3.5 hours including;check-in, stretch-warm-up, competition & awards. As far as traveling, staying over, etc. L4 probably won't be too bad. But it mostly depends on the session times. If I can remember back that far, I recall a lot of 1st session time slots in L4. 8AM Sat morning check-ins. So we did do some Friday night traveling & stayed over, just to avoid really early Sat. morning travel. But that was our choice, so we could all sleep a little later:p. Hope I answered some of your questions. This will be such an exciting time for your DD & you! Good luck & enjoy!:D
 

NotAMom

Active Member
May 27, 2009
894
Region 6 (Northeast)
It's hard to give you detailed answers without knowing your meet schedule and the particular assigned rotation at a meet (usually not known until 2 weeks or so ahead of time)

In general, if you're competing locally (meaning less than say an hour drive), no hotel stay is needed. If her rotation is early, get there early. All groups are given a stretch time. Just make sure you're there about 15 min or so before that, so set aside time for traffic, getting lost, etc. And, don't forget you need time to do her hair.

If you have to stay over due to an early morning start, you may choose to stay over the night before. But, it's not a must. Every kid is different when it comes to the kind of sleep the night before. We have a kid in our gym who performs her best time after time if the family has to get up for a early morning drive (say around 4:30am or 5am).

Also, in the world of competitive gymnastics, meet fees are due way in advance and no refund is usually given, including illness and emergencies. (not all competition sports are that way) So, if you put in for a meet, do your best to make it there.
 

Gymdad2

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Jul 11, 2008
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Ohio
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Good advice. One more note to a L4 Mom. I do session scheduling for our meets, and in Region 5 (Ohio), if the meet is large with both compulsories and optionals, I often put L4 on Friday. Not always the case, but it does happen, so be prepared for a Friday meet now and then.

And yes, all kids are different about the wake up times. DD hates to get up early for a meet so we did a lot of overnights back in the compulsory days.

Good luck to your dd and welcome to our world.
 
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cher062

Guest
VERY VERY new to this.
We'll be starting meets at the end of Aug. I believe. Our gym has not given us a schedule and I need to know if I pretty much need to clear my work schedule for the weekends!!!
USAG (we're in Texas).
I was just wondering the other day...I have NO idea what these meets are like.
Does anyone know how long they last? Are they normally all day? Mainly morning, afternoon etc.?
Last question: At level four I doubt we'll go anywhere outside our city? If you happen to travel, when do you leave? Friday night?

I'm wondering what our weekends will look like starting in the fall....

THANKS!!

Congrats!!!!

Lets see now length of the meet will depend alot on how many competitors there are. The more they have the longer it will take usually you can plan on 3 - 4 hours. They can be any time of the day usually there are 2 - 3 different sessions a day. The usual break down is usually in 4 hour incriments - 1st session starts at 7am until 11. 2nd session 12pm - 4pm and last session 4pm - 8pm. In my area there are usually any where between 50 and 70 girls at a given session. and they can be from any of the compulsory levels (4 - 6), but there are so many L4 girls that usually the L4 girls have their own session.

Usually our meets are on Saturday or Sunday. The final schedule we never get until just before Labor day and that only covers from Sept - Dec. The Jan - May we get around Thanksgiving. Our gym does alot of meets so I just plan that every weekend is a meet week (it usually is) in each session. You can check your state gymnastic web site also some states do put the meets for the current season on their pages.

You never know what time slot or which day you are in until about 1 - 2 weeks before the meet. That is usually a week after the deadline to sign up for the meet. Which day and which session you end up in will depend on how many teams signed up and how many at each level are signed up. The bredkdonw can either go by teams where your team all levels from 4 - 6 are at one time slot or it can be broken down by levels were all the L4 go at a specific time all the L5 go at a specific time all the L6 go at a specific time. You don't know which break down it is until the host gym puts out the rotation schedules.

So i just plan that every Sat and Sun from Mid Sep until Mid May we have a gymnastic meet.

Travel for our team will be usually anywhere in the state but we do go a few times in the season to other states (all levels go).
 
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cathiann

Guest
Chiming in too--our level 4s only travel to one meet--the rest are in town. And when Beth was a 4, she didn't travel at all (just started recently). As others have said--meet last all weekend, but your particular session will be about 3 hrs and can be any time. You find out 1-2 weeks ahead of time what your session is. As someone else mentioned, our 4s get put on Friday evenings frequently, but I don't know if that's common elsewhere too.

When we travel, we always traveled the day before--or two days ahead of the session. Our coaches wanted the girls to bed early, so we had to get in to town early enough for an early bedtime (this applies more towards Optional levels now, but if your 4s travel more it might fit you too). We never had to travel for 4 as even our early morning sessions were close by.

Just a warning--if people want to come watch her meets, I always get "Well when is she competing?" as they think they can come just for a few minutes during that 3 hr time slot--she'll compete for a minute or two periodically throughout the 3 hrs, so people can't just come for a few minutes--gotta stick around all day!
 

Tumblequeensmom

Active Member
Proud Parent
Feb 19, 2007
1,453
Everyone here has had great advice. The only thing I want to add is that we never seem to know WHAT session we will attend until the WEEK before. I would LOVE to know 2 weeks in advance... but anyway. What we usually do is actually book a hotel room for both Friday AND Saturday night (for those meets that are several hours away). Then, once the session times are posted, we cancel the night we don't need.

Have fun with your first Level 4 season!
 

Panda-girl's Mom

Active Member
Jan 9, 2008
781
I would ask the gym coaches about what to expect because every gym is different. I know last year when my daughter was a level 4 we just competed meets within the state but our state is pretty big so many of the meets were 2-3 hours away. There were league meets and invitationals but I do not think every gym does both. Usaually the league meets were at the same time on the weekend but the invitationals could be on a Friday night saturday or even sunday night. The meets last for a good 4-5 hours with awards so if you have to travel far it is pretty much an all day event. For me it was alot more exhausting than just going to watch my daughter in a local softball or soccer game, I would try to avoid working the days of the meets if possible.
 

Gymdad2

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Jul 11, 2008
438
Ohio
Country
USA
Tumblequeenmom,

I think I hear a little frustration in your post about not knowing what session you are in until just before the meet. I understand. I'm sure we have all felt the same way, especially when it involves making hotel and airline reservations. As I posted somewhere else once, I have done session assignments for meets our club has held so maybe I can shed some light here. The reason you have to wait to find out what session you are in is because I have to wait until the last possible time to accommodate the late entries, scratches and level changes that always come in at the last minute. 90% of the entries come in well ahead of the meet and never change, but you have to try to keep all of the sessions and age groups within sessions as nearly the same size as possible. I have had parents complain to me that they had counted all of the age groups in their session and the saw that their dd in the 9 yr olds had 10 girls in that group, but all of the other age groups only had 9 and that's not fair. So I wait until the last minute to do the assignments to try to get it as even as possible. It does make planning more difficult but that is the price you pay for age-group equity.
 

snowbound

Member
Jan 2, 2009
179
I would ask the parents of the higher level kids in your gym what to expect. They will know approximately which meets you will be going to and how far away they are. Here there are tons of level 4s, so we frequently had our level split between two sessions, and for some reason we almost always had Sunday mornings. I've heard a lot of people say they didn't have to travel, but we had to travel to all of ours except the home meet. (probably because of where we are)

As for staying over, you need to decide whether your kid can get more rest by staying in a hotel (mine has trouble sleeping in a strange place) or at home and having to get up early to drive there (many will sleep in the car unless the adrenaline keeps them up;))

It is really frustrating that you might not know which session your child is in until 6 days before the meet. The people who schedule the sessions can't really do it until all the entries are in because they need to know how many girls are in each level.

Hope this helps!
Snowbound
 

Granny Smith

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Jun 21, 2007
1,444
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A couple of things that I would add. Usually there is an admission charge to get into the meet. In my dd's state (NJ) an invitational meet the gym hosting it can charge any amount they want. For the lower levels it was usually like $5 for an adult and $3 for a child. The bigger meets, usually upper levels admissions normally can be about $10 an adult.

Most of the meets that are for the lower levels 4, 5 and 6 don't be surprised if you can purchase a candy gram or something small that will be delivered to the gymnast after the meet while they wait for the scores to be tallied and announced. The little ones always love to get these sort of things.

Being new to comp gymnastics, this will not be the last time you hear this - there is absolutely no flash photography. You can use a flash during awards, but not during competition. So if you do bring a camera, make sure you can turn your flash off if you would like to take pictures during competition.

Have fun and enjoy her first yr!!! :D
 
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