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Lower levels (1-3) compared to middle levels (4-5)

Teammom

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Just curious, my daughter is average but not knocking it out of the park with lower levels. But, conditioning and picking up new skills is her strength. She is a long lean power house gymnast. But in level 1-3 I feel like the girls scoring high are graceful dancer types. Does anyone have a gymnast that was average in 1-3 but really excelled in 4 and above?
 

OrchidZ

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I know of one who was more like below average in compulsory. Her perseverance started to pay off toward the end of level 8. She knocked it out of the park at 9 and seems to be doing well at 10. I can't tell you the end of the story as it's still in progress, but I remember a coach saying around level 4-5, (let's call her B) "B.. oh, B, bless her heart." And B's training to qualify Elite this year. B found her style. She was not terribly graceful artisticly, but they found a style that works well for her and she can tumble, vault, and swing.

So there's hope :) Your girl just needs a good environment and perseverance. Good solid, consistent hard work pays off, one way or another. :)
 

gymisforeveryone

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Yes! My daughter was a less than stellar level 3, scoring mostly 6s and 7s. Got a little better in level 4, but level 5 was where things really started to click. She is now a 13 year old 3rd year level 10 and junior elite hopeful.
I was in awe when I saw your video compilation of her level 3 season as a 7 year old. Seriously, the cutest thing I have ever seen!!! And her waving the audience after her floor routine, is there anything cuter than that!?? And those salutes?? My hear melted. Every new gym parent should see that video and then your more recent videos.
 

Cmumgym

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I think there’s two ways when training lower levels. Competition season training lengthened and gymnasts spending extra time to perfect their routines to gain those higher scores. Or competition season training minimised to allow gymnasts more time in uptraining skills for higher levels which may end up with less perfect scores at lower levels but once they get up those levels they have that extra knowledge to excel towards higher levels.
 
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MuggleMom

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My daughter did alright in compulsories (3&4 and tested out of 5) only ever really medaling on Bars and is doing much better in my opinion at level 6. For her she got a lot of text errors I think that just dinged her score. I dont think she will ever be a 9.7 on every event kind of kid and that is perfectly okay she loves her sport and she continues to advance so she and (me) are happy. I do think there are alot of gyms that hyper focus on the compusories and knock those out of the park but there is a higher burn our rate cause the kids dont uptrain and get bored and/or dont do as well when they get to optionals (no longer in 1st place). I wouldnt worry too much about the compulsory scores and placement more about good solid foundational skills!
 

LJL07

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Absolutely! I will offer the caveat that we do not have great upper optional gyms in our area. But that being said, my older daughter who does have a good bit of raw talent was a fair compulsory gymnast. She was actually pretty darned close to being dead last at the state meet on level 1. Was a so-so level 2. Skipped level 3 and did well on level 4 due to repetition and hours, but she wasn't the super top scoring level 4/5. But both she and my younger daughter started to shine as optionals when their power and speed started to become an advantage. Pretty much none of the compulsory gymnasts my older daughter competed with still do the sport anymore at all. I would agree that the compulsory levels favor very tight and controlled dancer types, but this does not always translate well to being a good optional gymnast.
 

LJL07

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I was in awe when I saw your video compilation of her level 3 season as a 7 year old. Seriously, the cutest thing I have ever seen!!! And her waving the audience after her floor routine, is there anything cuter than that!?? And those salutes?? My hear melted. Every new gym parent should see that video and then your more recent videos.
I totally agree. 38s and 39s on levels 3 and 4 are not really a great predictor of who will be a great high level gymnast!
 
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Tmacs

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One level 8 at our gym was bottom of the pack in compulsories and now scores super well in optionals! 2nd at state last year.
 

Aussie_coach

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It’s very common for kids who excel in lower levels to be very different to kids who excel in higher levels. The thing is, what it takes to excel in low levels is quite, quite different to what it takes to excel in higher levels.

In the lower levels kids who excel tend to be more flexible, perfectionists who focus on the finer details, those kids to practice, practice, practise etc.

Optionals tends to favour strong and fast gymnasts, who are prepared to take risks and do the scarier skills.
 

ldw4mlo

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There are many high scoring lower level gymnasts who are out of the sport before level 7
 
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A's Mom

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There's a lot of good stuff here, so I'll just point out that the sample size is small. Many (maybe even most) gyms don't compete until level 3 or 4, and then it's becoming more and more popular to test out of 5. So you just don't have a large group of kids working through all the compulsory levels. I'm fascinated by some of your stories, though! Like, how did a few of you go from having a low-scoring level 2/3 kid to being fast-tracked to optionals? What happened in between?
 

FlippinLilysMom

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There's a lot of good stuff here, so I'll just point out that the sample size is small. Many (maybe even most) gyms don't compete until level 3 or 4, and then it's becoming more and more popular to test out of 5. So you just don't have a large group of kids working through all the compulsory levels. I'm fascinated by some of your stories, though! Like, how did a few of you go from having a low-scoring level 2/3 kid to being fast-tracked to optionals? What happened in between?
I can only speak for my daughter, she was a very low scoring level 3, I wouldn't say that she was fast-tracked to optionals. She did a full year of level 3 (as a 7 year old), a full year of level 4 (as an 8 year old) and a full year of level 5 (as a 9 year old). She skipped level 6 and competed level 7 immediately after her level 5 season was done (her compulsory season was done in December, she began training level 7 in January). I honestly don't think they saw anything special in her while she was a compulsory gymnast, at least not until level 5. They started a TOPS program when she was a level 4, she was not invited to join until she was a level 5. When she was a level 5 things just started to click for her and that's when the coaches saw her potential.
 

LJL07

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There's a lot of good stuff here, so I'll just point out that the sample size is small. Many (maybe even most) gyms don't compete until level 3 or 4, and then it's becoming more and more popular to test out of 5. So you just don't have a large group of kids working through all the compulsory levels. I'm fascinated by some of your stories, though! Like, how did a few of you go from having a low-scoring level 2/3 kid to being fast-tracked to optionals? What happened in between?
I think the speedy, powerful kids have to learn to control their speed and power. The compulsory levels are pretty easy skills and the high scoring kids seem to be very slow and controlled with their routines. So, for instance, my older daughter was tenthed to death on the compulsory routines. She would fly through the bar routines (had no difficulty executing. Just fast and sloppy at times), had extra foot movements on those simple floor routines (all of that is a deduction), and that sort of thing. Both of my daughters were also fast tracked after level 4. I honestly can’t speak to whether or not my girls have “elite potential.” We don’t have elite gyms around here. My guess is no to my older daughter because she still forgets to point her feet and has bent knees at times. My younger one might have the physical potential but not the head for it—she’s not the bravest kid. That being said, they both have level 10 potential and did not score 38s ever in Compulsories, but we have been doing this for six years now, and year after year I have observed the compulsory superstars melt down and quit around level 7/8. As an aside, I wonder if it could also be related to getting such high scores on Compulsories and then freaking out when it gets hard and it isn’t as easy to score super high. Go look at @FlippinLilysMom ‘s videos. That is a great example of a ton of potential but not a high scoring compulsory. I mean this as a compliment!
 

mls529

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but we have been doing this for six years now, and year after year I have observed the compulsory superstars melt down and quit around level 7/8
This is my exact experience as well. This is my DD's 5th year, so we have seen a bunch of kids come and go. Of all the 8s, 9s and 10s left in the gym, I don't think a single one of them was a superstar 38+ compulsory gymnast. But also, in our area, no one competes level 1 and 2. The lowest level I have seen compete is Bronze (Xcel) and JO starts at level 3. So to the OP, just looking at the "odds," and what people are saying, high scores in level 1-3 mean absolutely nothing for future success. I love the stories of Elite gymnasts finding their way, but even those who will never go Elite can have plenty of success in higher levels with low scores in early years. If your daughter's strength is picking up skills, I have a feeling she will be very happy in higher levels!
 
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CLgym

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Honestly, I think it really depends. So much more than scores/skills goes into long term gymnastics success. There are plenty of examples of middle-of-the-pack compulsory gymnasts becoming top optional gymnasts. But I've also seen plenty of gymnasts who have been successful all along.

Out of curiosity, I checked out my state's 2012 L4 state meet, youngest age division. It's a small sample size for sure, but interesting nonetheless. Of the top 5 finishers, four competed L9 last season and one had quit. Out of the middle 5, last season one was L8, one was L9, one was L10 and two quit. Of the bottom 5, four had quit and one was L10 last season. The only gymnast in the bunch to have competed last year at the national level (Easterns) was the L9 in the middle group. Based on this very limited pool, it seems that gymnastics longevity might be slightly greater among higher scoring compulsory gymnasts, but optional success can emerge from any of those groups (top, middle, or bottom). If I had more time, I'd check my theory against other years/age groups. But alas, I am not that dedicated to the topic!
 

GymDadWA

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As the levels go up so do the mental and physical challenges. My DD's group lost 70% of the gymnasts either due to frustration/boredom with lots of drilling to learn things like a kip, or mentally just couldn't get past things like tumbling backwards, including some that did score very well at the lower levels, and some kept going when they had good strength and shapes just had lots of deductions due to textual type errors.
 

Aussie_coach

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Honestly, I think it really depends. So much more than scores/skills goes into long term gymnastics success. There are plenty of examples of middle-of-the-pack compulsory gymnasts becoming top optional gymnasts. But I've also seen plenty of gymnasts who have been successful all along.

Out of curiosity, I checked out my state's 2012 L4 state meet, youngest age division. It's a small sample size for sure, but interesting nonetheless. Of the top 5 finishers, four competed L9 last season and one had quit. Out of the middle 5, last season one was L8, one was L9, one was L10 and two quit. Of the bottom 5, four had quit and one was L10 last season. The only gymnast in the bunch to have competed last year at the national level (Easterns) was the L9 in the middle group. Based on this very limited pool, it seems that gymnastics longevity might be slightly greater among higher scoring compulsory gymnasts, but optional success can emerge from any of those groups (top, middle, or bottom). If I had more time, I'd check my theory against other years/age groups. But alas, I am not that dedicated to the topic!
And therein lies the true advantage of scoring well as a compulsory gymnast. If the kids do well in their earlier competitions they see themselves as “good gymnasts”, which makes them more likely to stick with the sport in the long run. Talented gymnasts may not do so well in the lower levels, and drop out before they have the chance to see their true potential grow.
 

Teammom

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Thanks for all the insight! I think if my daughter sticks with it, her power and strength will be an advantage.
 

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