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Question for a Coach in the US

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gymnicetics mom

New Member
Aug 25, 2008
18
My daughter is 9 years old and a L6. Her coaches approched me the other day about putting her in the TOPs program. They were also talking about having her compete in Australia. Is this normal to push a child this early? She is competeing compulsery. Seems to me if she were that talented. They would be traing her at a higher level. As a concerned parent I would like to know more about TOPS and her age Mentally and emotionally.:eek:
 

gym law mom

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Dec 23, 2006
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USA
I know I'm not a coach, but thought I would at least try and answer some of your questions. TOPs kids start at age 7(as far as testing) so most are compulosry in the beginning. The structure for the 7-9yos is based on strength and flexibility. After age 9 the emphasis is on learning higher level skills. TOPS is VERY specific on the way everything is done and the testing is tough. To get to national testing, your dd must be in the top percentage of girls from her state and then her region. Obviously learning all the things to be tested and getting them ready for testing takes extra hours in the gym and more money from you. Testing typically is done in the summer for each state. There have been mulitple threads on here regarding the benefit(or not) of doing the TOPs program. Some gyms love it and others don't. The USAG site has alot more info on exactly what is required and how the testing works. It could easily take your dd until next summer to be ready to test, so I imagine the coaches are looking at the test for a girl over age 9. Does the gym have a TOPs group? If so, stop by and watch their practices.

As for the competing in Australia---don't really get that one. The systems are different so levels don't transfer exactly and why take a young girl there(not saying anything bad about Australia---I would love to visit!!!)? There are many many nice invitationals in the US where she could go to get her feet wet in doing larger meets in front of judges from across the country.
 

gotgym

Coach/Proud Parent
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Parent
Jun 11, 2008
275
Illinois
Everyone implements the tops program diffently in their club.. Some do not have a separate group but challenge the entire level /team to do the tops conditioning.. Then take kids they feel may make the testing requirements Others single out certain kids and work just with them. Each State has a tOPS director that you or your coach can contact with specific questions. Each state also hold a tops testing. The testings are done in the summer months and trying to Qualify for the regional testing in Nov.The Tops info and manual is online and you can see what exactly it is she'd be tested on. They compete the age they will be as of December. The youger girls compete just conditioning the older ones compete conditioning and skills..
 
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