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Levels and meets

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Billy

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I have been reading a lot of posts here and I have a question (if I can figure out how to ask it). Several people have mentioned things like competing one level for a couple of meets and then competing the next level in the next month or two. How does this work?

At our gym, the girls are put on whatever level team for the entire year. Then, if they get their scores, they move up to the next level for the next year. There is no changing levels during the year and there is specific differentiation between which girls are on which team (ie level).
 
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Megley

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Shawn, at our gym this might be done in order to skip a girl to higher level. As I understand it, a gymnast has to compete at least one meet at the lower level and score a certain score in order to move to a higher level. We have the occasional girl who starts Level 4 as say a 9 year old and turns out to be super talented. She picks up skills so quickly that it becomes evident she can skip through Level 5 so the gym will have her compete one or two meets as a 5 to get her score to move up to 6. We do this at Level 6/7 too. Some of the girls are talented enough to move right from 5 to 7 but they must compete one meet at 6 to score out to Level 7.

Meg
 

Blackie6

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Not sure I understand how that works either & was also curious. I don't think our gym does anything like that. Maybe it is something that bigger gyms do with talented girls that move thru levels quickly. However, our L4's that just moved up are doing a "double season" meaning that the L5 season starts right after 4. We were told to expect that for our DD's next year as well so I guess I will start saving my money now to pay for 2 sets of meets.
 
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Billy

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Shawn, at our gym this might be done in order to skip a girl to higher level. As I understand it, a gymnast has to compete at least one meet at the lower level and score a certain score in order to move to a higher level. We have the occasional girl who starts Level 4 as say a 9 year old and turns out to be super talented. She picks up skills so quickly that it becomes evident she can skip through Level 5 so the gym will have her compete one or two meets as a 5 to get her score to move up to 6. We do this at Level 6/7 too. Some of the girls are talented enough to move right from 5 to 7 but they must compete one meet at 6 to score out to Level 7.

Meg
So does this mean that you don't have a "level 4 team", a "level 5 team", etc? Do all your girls practice together and work on whatever specific skills they're on? Or, if you do have specific teams, how does it work if 5 or 6 girls are competing level 4 and 3 or 4 of them are ready for level 5? Do they change teams completely in the middle of the season? Sorry for all the questions. I just want to know how this works since our gym doesn't do it.
 
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Megley

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Shawn, we do have Level 4, Level 5 and so on teams. The decision to skip a girl is usually made in the off season so she would not skip up in the middle of the year unless the circumstances were truly unusual (we had one girl move up midseason from 4 to 5 because she turned 7 and became old enough to compete Level 5). If a girl is going to skip Level 5, she will train with her eventual Level 6 teammates and be on the Level 6 team but she will have to compete at least one Level 5 meet to get her mobility score.

As for training, our gym trains the next level and so on skills so it usually becomes pretty clear during the current season and off season which girls are talented enough to skip forward and they will be prepared to do it at the beginning of the following season. For instance, on our Level 4 team we have a couple of Level 4s that may skip to 6 as they have all Level 5 skills now and are working Level 6 skills (back tuck, front tuck, flyaway, etc.) The Level 4 coaches work whatever skills the girls are ready for so if the girls have a good front handspring, they will move them to the Level 6 step out fhs, fhs series. The Level 4s still all train together, but some of them are doing fhs, some are doing fhs step out, fhs. The decision to skip them will be made some time this summer when it becomes clearer whether they will get all the skills they need. I hope that makes it a bit clearer.

Meg
 
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Gymmonkeymomma

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At our gym, we have specific level teams (4, 5, 6, etc) but for the first time last year (Jan 07), the head coach decided for girls to move from Level 7 (fall 06) right into Level 8 (Jan 07). He also had all of the Level 4's (except my DD who was only 6 and not allowed to compete L5) do one level 5 meet for mobility and started training them for Level 6 (Fall 07). Out of I think 8 girls, only 3 scored out. While the new L8 girls did compete the spring 07 season and scored decently, the L4/5/6 transition was a bit harder. The new L6's did not have strong kips (in my parent-watching-for-3-yrs-opinion) nor did they "get" their clear hips. They struggled in L6 and only 1 of the 3 made it to Sectionals, and 1 ended up quitting the team. This year (07-08 season), we didn't have any "skipping".
 
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Megley

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I agree that wholesale skipping is not a good idea. Our gym only offers the option to those girls that are clearly ready for the next level, i.e., have strong kips, clear hips, etc. moving to Level 6 or have giants, chs, clear hip to hs, bhs on beam, etc. moving to 7. Even then, it remains an option - the girls and their parents make the ultimate decision, not the coach. We had several girls who could have skipped Level 6 but decided not to for various reasons. Of those that did skip forward, all are doing well - scoring 9s on pretty much every event. Two of them are only 8, but they are the two that consistently win. I think it has to be an individual decision, based on the strength of the gymnast's skills, her desire, her coaches' and parents' input.

My dd is a 6 yo Level 4 so she will not be skipping anything anytime soon!

Meg
 
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flippymonkeysmom

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I think skipping happens more depending on how the seasons run too. Where we are the compulsory season is in the fall and the optional season starts in January. My dd had her level 6 state meet in December. During the optional season there are plenty on compulsory girls still competing though - either for experience for the upcoming season or to score out of a level. We have 3 girls in our gym that did really well at 5 and are going to qualify out of 6 so they can start training for level 7 in January. With short competition seasons you see more of it I think. My dd is doing a level 7 meet (after the optional state meet) - so it won't matter for this year except for the experience. Her coach did say though that if she scores high enough and has all her skills she could go right to 8 in January (highly unlikely, imho) Anyway - I rather see them move girls up IF they are ready than hold them back just so the gym can claim the most amount of state champions - which we see way too often around here.
 
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Billy

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Thanks everyone. I think I'm understanding better now. I just haven't seen any of this in our gym. That's not to say girls don't skip levels (at least at the lower levels- skipping from level 2 to level 4, for example) but I've never seen them compete at only one or two meets in order to "score out" of a level. Thanks for the explanations!
 

gym law mom

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Shawn--The mobility score or "score out" is not required until moving from L5 to L6. So for girls competing L4 and below they can just be moved up if the coach feels they have the skills. The score needed for L5, 6, 7 is 31AA and then it goes up to 34AA to move up to L9 and 10. Those scores are set by USAG. So, every girl in the US must do at least 1 meet at each level to get those AA scores---they are reported to USAG. Of course, just because a girl scores a 31 at L6 doesn't mean she is automatically ready to compete as a L7.

Our gym does a 6/7 for 2nd year Level 6s. Our compulsory girls compete in the fall and the optionals start in Jan. These girls do not do all the L7 meets. They hold them back until early Feb. to give them more time to work on routines. We did have 2 girls decide not to go this route after trying to cram all those L7 skills in while practicing for meets in the fall.
 

Ingymmom

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Jul 12, 2007
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Thanks everyone. I think I'm understanding better now. I just haven't seen any of this in our gym. That's not to say girls don't skip levels (at least at the lower levels- skipping from level 2 to level 4, for example) but I've never seen them compete at only one or two meets in order to "score out" of a level. Thanks for the explanations!
Our state does no L2, some L3, but most gyms start at L4. Most gyms do at least 1 yr for each level & many do 2 yrs from L4 and L5 in our area. - the 1st yr for experience and 2nd to win. Also, the vast majority of gyms do seperate their levels. But some, my dd's gym included do not.

My dd is in a smaller gym with strong optional level coaches & our gym does not compete until L5. The 5-10's all warm up together, but do get separated (compuls. & optionals) for each apparatus. We also have a seperate pre-team (L's 1-4) that come in before team. Our coaches (same for both) can take the majority of pre-team to L5 in about 1 yr & put up pretty decent scores - especially on bars, vault & beam. They do let some gymnasts advance levels in one season if they have their skills. (A nice perk about being in a small gym, because the coaches know the girls so well) But only if they can be successful at the next level... they also hold them back if they feel they need to, but most don't need to. Every year someone "skips". This year 2 gymnasts did. A 7 yr old L5 (first yr competing ever) went from 5 to 6 (she has taken 1st, 2nd or 3rd scoring 36's & 37's at L6 in a 7 - 11 age group from her 1st meet) and a 10 yr old 1st yr L7 moved to L8 after a couple of meets and has also taken 1st or 2nd 36's & 37's at all of her meets. It depends on the gymnast, but the coaches probably make the most difference.
 

kristilyn73

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Jan 17, 2008
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Our gym starts competing at L5. So, to move up the girls just need their skills. Although, they do not move L4 to L5 During the fall. It interrupts their season too much.

In our gym, once a girl gets her pass up score from 5 - 6 they have 2 decisions. They can continue to compete L5, Or if they have their skills they can compete L6. Most of the time they finish the season as a Level 5 and compete in the state meet. You will see more girls move from 5 to 6 in the spring season since state is over.

Now from L6 - to L7, that is a little different. The skills are harder to move up and it can only be after the optional season is over.

All Team Girls warm up together (including prep team and Level 4). But then after warm up the girls break up to Optionals and compulsories. On Fridays only Optionals practice on Friday.
 

Aussie_coach

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We frequently have girls move up at different times in the season. Girls are ready to move up at different times. Sometimes they do a year each level but more often they do not. At level 1,2 and 3 our girls usualy compete a year at each, but many don't need to. They may do 6 months on each.

Level 4 generally needs at least 2 years if not 3 (I am in AUstralia so it is different to the US). Most girls tend to do level 5 for about a year and a half. many skip a level and do no more than one competition to test out to the next level.
 

gymmomntc2e6

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Aug 25, 2007
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Our gym has pre-team which is L3 then team L4 & up. They all warm up together and then split to groups based on level. There is a coach w/ each level and they rotate through each event.

Our gym is also small which I really like. The owner / head coach knows each girl, their personality, what skills they have, what skills they are working on etc.

My dd is L3 and probably moving to L4 soon. It is my understanding that their final meet will be in May and they will compete at the level she wants them to compete in for fall season. We have a meet this weekend then nothing until the May meet. The L4 & up have states coming up, but NC does not have L3 at states so we are not going.
 
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Billy

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Do the girls get to work on separate skills based on what they can already do or does the whole team work on the same skills? For example, if one girl already has her shoot-through on the bars, do they teach her the mill circle or does she keep practicing the shoot-through until the whole team is ready for the mill circle?
 

kristilyn73

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Jan 17, 2008
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Typically (Especially during meet season) the Team/Levels will work the skills they are currently competing. Then if there is extra time, They can start working their next level skills.

A typical apparatus practice would go like this:

  • Warm up each skill individually
  • Do a routine
  • Get feedback from coach
  • Work the skill that the coach said to work on (sometimes they say do 4 Split leaps then show me the 5th or whatever)
  • Show the coach that skill
  • Do another routine
  • Follow same process until all routines are done (sometimes they have to do 1 routine sometimes 5 routines depending on the day)
  • If there is extra time - work your next level skills.
If it is Not meet season, they usually set up stations to work skills. If you are competing Level 5 for a second year, you would work your Cartwheels. If you are in Level 6, your walkover.

Make sense?
 
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Billy

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That does make sense. Right now, DD's team is finishing up competing their L2 season so they are working on L3 skills in practice in preparation for moving up in May. But, DD already knows most of the L3 skills and learning L4 is out of the question because it's not the next level. So, she spends her time practicing skills she already knows and not feeling like she's making progress. That's why I was trying to figure out if/ how a more personalized, rather than team-oriented, training program would work.
 
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gymgramma

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How old is your DD? If she already has her level 3 skills, would her coach let compete a level 3 meet and "score out" of level 3 and then move her to level 4? Does your gym compete Prep Op? I have heard parents at meets saying that their DD competed let's say level 4 during the Fall and then was going to compete Prep Op during the spring and then in the summer concentrate on level 5. With Prep Op they get their own routines and music and they get to work on skills that the rest of the teammates on the level 4 team might not be ready for.
 
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starmaker

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My dd gym runs things differently than most gyms I think. They break up the team as TEAM and SPECIAL TEAM (preteam). Classes start every day at 4:30pm and they can be three hour classes or 4 hour classes. The Parent decides what days to bring child, how many days they want to bring them and long they want them to stay. Lots of flexibility as far as scheduling. For instance there is one girl L4 that is dd that goes to gym 6 days a week 4 hours a day. Another girl comes twice a week 3 hours a day and they are on the same team.

At 4:30pm when class starts one of the girls will run the warm up and stretches. All girls warm up together (special team, compulsory,and optional). 15 min

Then they pair up to condition. There is a conditioning book in the middle of the gym with different cycles of conditioning. They walk around the gym doing the exercises. There is no coach supervising. the team girls are all very motivated, deciplined. They do this for the first hour of class. They do: ropes, pullups, handstand hold, presses, hollow holds, squats, and things I don't think even have names.

After conditioning they split up into compulsory and optional. Special team trains with compulsory. On saturdays morning the gym is only opened to team including special. They condition alot of satuurdays but they also introduce more advanced skills. Last saturday my dd who can do a straddle press was asked to do 10 straddle presses with out butt touching the floor. Head coach spotted her and she was able to do it. IMPRESSIVE!

Then she spotted her doing 10 standing backhandsprings and on bars she worked on kips...

She loved it! and she did so good. then on tues it was back to regular schedule.
At this gym the girls do skip levels often. I believe our head coach does not like certain levels like 3 and 6. Very rarely will we have gymnast at thoses levels.

Most of are team girls right now are all L9. We have a stronger optional team then compulsory team.
 
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Billy

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The scoring out seems to be the problem. First, my DD is 6 and while she knows the skills, she does not know the routines. Also, DD will not have the option to go to any level 3 meets until the rest of the team goes next January as they don't compete in the fall. And since the level 3s and the level 4s train on different days and different times, working on both wouldn't be an option either. What she really needs is something that's kind of between levels 3 and 4.
 
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