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New to competition level gymnastics, is this normal?

Mab3537

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Jul 19, 2019
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I have two girls who have been doing gymnastics for a little over a year. My oldest daughter whose 7 was on a pre competition team for a little under year and a few months ago she was moved up to competition team. I’m finding now that her and the other new girls who moved up are being left out of drills and almost segregated from the other girls. It is a USAGIC team so my daughter is considered cooper 1 and the girls with her were all competing at that same level. However the new girls are told to do handstands against a wall for up to 20 minutes while they do things with the other girls that they are plenty capable of doing. They’re left out of being praised for new skills because they aren’t allowed to work on new things. My daughter works hard and made tremendous growth on pre competition team and is capable of many things but now is feeling left out and that it’s unfair they’re treated differently from the other girls by being separated and not allowed to do drills with them. So I guess my question is am I reading into it too much? Is this normal and will it change after some time? Or is it a valid concern I should bring up to coaches? Thanks in advance!
 

NutterButter

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Jan 24, 2013
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It's not unusual to have separate training groups within a level so that the coaches can best address the needs on the entire group. For example, the girls who can kip may be in a separate group from the girls who don't have their kip. In my DD's gym, it's not unusual to have the girls who just moved up to a level stay in a separate training group from those who already competed that level. It's easier for coaches to work with a smaller group of girls who have similar needs. In my DD's gym, the groups change somewhat frequently. In the lower levels this was a cause of stress for some parents who worried that their kid wasn't getting the 'best' instruction by being in the 'lower' group. This is usually never the case though.

It's possible that in your situation, they are trying to get your DD and the other new girls caught up to a certain level of strength. It's not unusual that when kids move up, the amount of time spent on conditioning/strength increases too. This could be why you aren't seeing them do the exact same drills with the rest of their group. I would expect that this will change sooner rather than later.
 
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CLgym

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Dec 22, 2014
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At my daughter's gym, it is very common for girls at the same level to be working on different skills (because, well, different gymnasts progress at different rates on different events). Often girls with similar strengths are broken into smaller sub-groups and rotate through drills and stations together with their sub-group. So, for example, one sub-group might be working double back dismounts on pit bar, while another is still working on getting higher layout flyaways when they rotate to pit bar. Sometimes same-level gymnasts are separated into totally different groups (different events). Sometimes levels are mixed.

It is a little weird to me that your daughter and her friends are being told to do handstand holds against the wall for 20 minutes while everyone else is working on skills. At least at our gym, conditioning is usually the one thing that everyone does together (give or take -- some girls are given more reps if they are particularly strong in one area of conditioning). I imagine that 20-minutes of wall handstand holds could get a little boring for a 7 year old (unless made into some kind of game or contest), and could be perceived as punishment. If you wanted to ask about it, I don't think that would be a problem. There may very well be a good explanation (increasing strength?). I definitely wouldn't assume it was unfair -- but also think that parents should feel free to speak up if they have a question.
 

Mab3537

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Jul 19, 2019
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It's not unusual to have separate training groups within a level so that the coaches can best address the needs on the entire group. For example, the girls who can kip may be in a separate group from the girls who don't have their kip. In my DD's gym, it's not unusual to have the girls who just moved up to a level stay in a separate training group from those who already competed that level. It's easier for coaches to work with a smaller group of girls who have similar needs. In my DD's gym, the groups change somewhat frequently. In the lower levels this was a cause of stress for some parents who worried that their kid wasn't getting the 'best' instruction by being in the 'lower' group. This is usually never the case though.

It's possible that in your situation, they are trying to get your DD and the other new girls caught up to a certain level of strength. It's not unusual that when kids move up, the amount of time spent on conditioning/strength increases too. This could be why you aren't seeing them do the exact same drills with the rest of their group. I would expect that this will change sooner rather than later.
The girls are all coppers so technically they’re all at the same level. I get separate groups and would be totally fine with that if someone was actually training with them. However they aren’t getting any instruction during these times and are sometimes basically sitting things out. Maybe it’ll even out, or gym currently only has two sometimes one coach per practice and word is there will be more added. Thank you!
 

KipWinger

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Aug 5, 2018
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Have the girls who are allowed to do the drills competed as Copper 1s before? Technically, the IGC rules say that girls aren't supposed to compete Copper 1 for more than 1 year if they scored higher than a 28-29, which nearly all do. (Though not all gyms follow this rule.) Could these girls be Copper 2s? If so, Copper 2 has several options for more advanced skills that aren't allowed in Copper 1 (back handsprings, jump to high bar, cartwheel on beam, vault over a mat stack). Is it possible that they are doing drills for those skills? Regardless, if it happens a lot, I can understand your frustration.
 
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Aussie_coach

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It’s quite possibly a safety issue. Sometimes a certain group of kids (especially at lower levels) may look like they are a similar level skill wise, but they may be missing certain strength/flexibility elements required to start working specific skills.

For example if the new skill is walkovers and a gymnast does not have enough shoulder flexibility to do it, it would be dangerous for her to try the walkovers, it would mean she would have to compensate by overarching her back, which could end in injury.
 
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