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GymMomma2019

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Jan 20, 2019
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Ok I have had a question or a few questions about the xcel program since day 1 and now it has drawn more concern for me.
I’m so lost! Where we are from a lot of gyms are somewhat abusing the purpose of the Xcel program.
From my understanding, the program was primarily for gymnasts who wanted to stay with gymnastics without such rigorous practice schedules and scoring of the JO program, it also helps the parents financially due to it not being as expensive as the JO program, etc.
However, here in our state- a lot of gyms I think “abuse” the xcel program.
Some use the xcel program to completely replace their compulsory program levels 4-5, compete XG and XP and have an “in house score out” that I guess is only documented at that gym because no scores or sign of their score are on meetscores or anywhere publicly. (Which I’m guessing it doesn’t have to be publicly documented because this gym always does this)
And,
When they are in XG they tell their girls they are actually in level 5 and when they are in XP they tell their girls they are in level 6. The girls actually believe this and even though they are clearly competing Xcel they think they are level 6 gymnast which I know it is a difference because one is JO and one is xcel. Even the parents believe this but this is how they feed it to their gym.
Then there is one gym who competes their girls throughout the year- competing XG twice- sometimes 3 times (2-3 years/competition seasons), then going to JO competing levels 4 and 5 at least 2,3 (2-3 competition seasons) times then back to xcel, etc, etc.
So I have a few questions-
1. Has USAG come up with more specific rules for xcel regarding transitioning from Xcel to JO? If Xcel is supposed to be an easier requirement but has the same benefits as JO then what’s the point of the JO program? Are these girls (xcel) able to do TOPs, elite, Hopes, go to the olympics, are they chosen for collegiate? Because if the xcel program has the same benefits as JO then I will gladly switch my DD over to xcel to pay less, practice less and not be as stressed regarding skill requirements related to the junior Olympic Program??

2. Does Xcel really hinder you if your child wants to go Olympics or Collegiate? Looking into a lot of collegiate and Olympic gymnasts I really don’t see any girls especially recent collegiate and Olympic gymnasts that have been in the xcel program?

3. Is the judging different? One meet recently I saw the levels 6 and 7 compete with XP gymnasts with the same judges judging across the board. Of course they had different awards ceremonies but they were competing during the same session. Do they judge the girls the same or do they know which girls are JO and which are Xcel and automatically score different due to required skill levels being different?

4. Are the skill requirements different? For example, if there is a gymnast that is a level 6 and one that is a XP -are the same skills required for both? If so, are deductions as strict with Xcel as it is with JO?

5. Do you guys feel all meets should be publicly documented whether they are “score out” meets or not? Some gyms don’t have the privilege of having judges/meet directors as gym owners and have to actually go to meets. And if scoring out of level 4 & 5 is a requirement for USAG prior to entering optionals- is the gym required to send the score out scores to USAG?

6. Lastly, does any other parent feel as though certain gyms in your state have sort of a “favoritism” shown to them at meets-where you can tell that certain judges favor certain gyms? In my state a lot of gym owners are judges that are older in age who either judge and give their fellow gym buds an up on other gyms with scoring or are in cahoots with other judges. Several gyms from our area travel out of state now because it has really turned into a “who you know” show. One coach who is also an older gym owner and judge for our state felt so comfortable one meet that while her girls were competing at beam she sat down AT THE JUDGES TABLE the ENTIRE TIME laughing at talking with the judges who were judging that event. She did this at floor too!

Sorry to go into this spill but it has been such a huge confusion around a few gyms in our area about these topics I just wanted to maybe get more input and possible explanations regarding some things. My daughter has been in gymnastics a little over 3 years in August but I’m kind of new to the whole logistics behind the sport and I’m trying to be properly educated as much as I can as a parent. Any positive feedback is greatly appreciate! Thank you in advance!!!!!!
 
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Sk8ermaiden

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1. Has USAG come up with more specific rules for xcel regarding transitioning from Xcel to JO?
The only requirements are that Xcel can not just pop into any level of JO. The required mobility score must be achieved in each JO level. SO far, Xcel girls don't really do Tops, Hopes, College, or the Olympics, that's pretty much for JO tracked girls at this point in time. I think it's technically possible, but it's not a *thing* that really happens yet.

3. Is the judging different? One meet recently I saw the levels 6 and 7 compete with XP gymnasts with the same judges judging across the board. Of course they had different awards ceremonies but they were competing during the same session. Do they judge the girls the same or do they know which girls are JO and which are Xcel and automatically score different due to required skill levels being different?

Yes, the judging is different. They do know which girls are Jo and Xcel. Our golds frequently compete with level 4s. 9s, 10s, Diamonds and Platinums frequently all compete in the same session and are judged by their level's requirements.

4. Are the skill requirements different? For example, if there is a gymnast that is a level 6 and one that is a XP -are the same skills required for both? If so, are deductions as strict with Xcel as it is with JO?

Level 6 and platinum can be pretty close, requirement wise. Deductions seem to be widely variable by state. In some states Xcel and Jo are judged very similarly. In my state, Xcel seems to be scored more generously most of the time.

5. Do you guys feel all meets should be publicly documented whether they are “score out” meets or not?
I think it is good for all meet scores to be documented. I don't know whether I feel they should be publicly available. I like checking in on people, but I hardly think I'm "owed" the ability to see other gymnast's scores.

6. Lastly, does any other parent feel as though certain gyms in your state have sort of a “favoritism” shown to them at meets-where you can tell that certain judges favor certain gyms?
There is one meet we attend where the hosting team's gymnasts get BY FAR their highest scores of the season. We are talking bottom of the age group everywhere else and top of the podium at this meet. I use it as one of the (many, many) examples to my daughter of why you don't get hung up on scores or placements and just focus on having fun and doing your best.

I have never noticed it elsewhere, but I'm not looking for it either.

My only advice would be to decide if you are happy with the coaching your daughter is receiving. Is her gym a good place? Is she happy? These are the only things you can control and the only things that really matter. Everything else will just make you crazy.
 

Gymmom0824

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Hello.

From what we have experienced, every gym uses Xcel to how it best suits them. For instance our gym uses it alongside compulsories (silver and Gold) and optionals (Platinum and Diamond). My daughter is platinum and trains with the 6/7 girls because that’s where her requirements and skills best match up. When we go to meets they are generally competing at the same time as the 6/7 girls as well. They are considered to be part of the team as everyone else. She’s in xcel for now because she started older at age 9, did a season of three then switched to Xcel. Xcel has helped her to advance in her skills quicker than she would have if she stayed in compulsory. She has scored out of level 4/5 during meets so she can hopefully go back to JO next year after she fixes some things and gets some skills mastered that she has goals to get.
Her routine requirements are almost identical to those of level 6 except for the split angle on beam and cast angle on bars. Her routines also have also some the elements of level 7.

They get judged just as strictly on their form and execution of the skills they do at meets. So do I think Xcel is easier, no I don’t. Can it be, yes, because the gyms can choose to do the basic super simple routines and elements do and make it easier if they want. The judges know which girl is which because they get given their scorecards and it’s also written in the sheet for judges. The judges at our meets have the Xcel codes and JO codes and score them according to their level requirements.

As far as unadvertised score out meets I do not see an issue with it. We had a mock meet at our gym with judges and it wasn’t advertised. At the time some optionals scored out of levels. To me if the accrediated and trained judges are willing to go than that’s that. They don’t need to be advertised. It’s the integrity of the judges at stake if they score girls at in house meets incorrectly and I choose to trust the judges.

I do not agree with those that say Xcel girls can’t go to college or even get scholarships. First of all, I’ve seen some very amazing girls at meets and any girl has the opportunity to gain the interest of a college scout. Do I think they have Olympic chances, probably not but neither do 99% of JO athletes. I say let girls chase their dreams because anything can happen. But in reality, there’s far more academic and merit scholarships than gymnastics ones so really that should be a more solid focus.

I have not seen favoritism in our area, but there’s clear gyms that produce better athletes and score better but it’s deserved.
 

GymMomma2019

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Jan 20, 2019
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1. Has USAG come up with more specific rules for xcel regarding transitioning from Xcel to JO?
The only requirements are that Xcel can not just pop into any level of JO. The required mobility score must be achieved in each JO level. SO far, Xcel girls don't really do Tops, Hopes, College, or the Olympics, that's pretty much for JO tracked girls at this point in time. I think it's technically possible, but it's not a *thing* that really happens yet.

3. Is the judging different? One meet recently I saw the levels 6 and 7 compete with XP gymnasts with the same judges judging across the board. Of course they had different awards ceremonies but they were competing during the same session. Do they judge the girls the same or do they know which girls are JO and which are Xcel and automatically score different due to required skill levels being different?

Yes, the judging is different. They do know which girls are Jo and Xcel. Our golds frequently compete with level 4s. 9s, 10s, Diamonds and Platinums frequently all compete in the same session and are judged by their level's requirements.

4. Are the skill requirements different? For example, if there is a gymnast that is a level 6 and one that is a XP -are the same skills required for both? If so, are deductions as strict with Xcel as it is with JO?

Level 6 and platinum can be pretty close, requirement wise. Deductions seem to be widely variable by state. In some states Xcel and Jo are judged very similarly. In my state, Xcel seems to be scored more generously most of the time.

5. Do you guys feel all meets should be publicly documented whether they are “score out” meets or not?
I think it is good for all meet scores to be documented. I don't know whether I feel they should be publicly available. I like checking in on people, but I hardly think I'm "owed" the ability to see other gymnast's scores.

6. Lastly, does any other parent feel as though certain gyms in your state have sort of a “favoritism” shown to them at meets-where you can tell that certain judges favor certain gyms?
There is one meet we attend where the hosting team's gymnasts get BY FAR their highest scores of the season. We are talking bottom of the age group everywhere else and top of the podium at this meet. I use it as one of the (many, many) examples to my daughter of why you don't get hung up on scores or placements and just focus on having fun and doing your best.

I have never noticed it elsewhere, but I'm not looking for it either.

My only advice would be to decide if you are happy with the coaching your daughter is receiving. Is her gym a good place? Is she happy? These are the only things you can control and the only things that really matter. Everything else will just make you crazy.

I understand completely! Thank you so much for responding! I’m not getting caught up trying to make myself crazy whatsoever but I was just curious to know because my daughter has goals so as a parent I want to be able to support her dreams the correct way. That’s why I mainly was curious about xcel because if it was an easier option with the same results I was going to look into that. She is happy for the most part however my daughter has an old soul and she wants to make sure she’s on the right path as well. I truly understand I cannot control a lot of things but honestly I was only venting and trying to get others input-that’s pretty much it. Thank you so much for giving me feedback. I truly appreciate it!
 

GymMomma2019

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Jan 20, 2019
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Hello.

From what we have experienced, every gym uses Xcel to how it best suits them. For instance our gym uses it alongside compulsories (silver and Gold) and optionals (Platinum and Diamond). My daughter is platinum and trains with the 6/7 girls because that’s where her requirements and skills best match up. When we go to meets they are generally competing at the same time as the 6/7 girls as well. They are considered to be part of the team as everyone else. She’s in xcel for now because she started older at age 9, did a season of three then switched to Xcel. Xcel has helped her to advance in her skills quicker than she would have if she stayed in compulsory. She has scored out of level 4/5 during meets so she can hopefully go back to JO next year after she fixes some things and gets some skills mastered that she has goals to get.
Her routine requirements are almost identical to those of level 6 except for the split angle on beam and cast angle on bars. Her routines also have also some the elements of level 7.

They get judged just as strictly on their form and execution of the skills they do at meets. So do I think Xcel is easier, no I don’t. Can it be, yes, because the gyms can choose to do the basic super simple routines and elements do and make it easier if they want. The judges know which girl is which because they get given their scorecards and it’s also written in the sheet for judges. The judges at our meets have the Xcel codes and JO codes and score them according to their level requirements.

As far as unadvertised score out meets I do not see an issue with it. We had a mock meet at our gym with judges and it wasn’t advertised. At the time some optionals scored out of levels. To me if the accrediated and trained judges are willing to go than that’s that. They don’t need to be advertised. It’s the integrity of the judges at stake if they score girls at in house meets incorrectly and I choose to trust the judges.

I do not agree with those that say Xcel girls can’t go to college or even get scholarships. First of all, I’ve seen some very amazing girls at meets and any girl has the opportunity to gain the interest of a college scout. Do I think they have Olympic chances, probably not but neither do 99% of JO athletes. I say let girls chase their dreams because anything can happen. But in reality, there’s far more academic and merit scholarships than gymnastics ones so really that should be a more solid focus.

I have not seen favoritism in our area, but there’s clear gyms that produce better athletes and score better but it’s deserved.

Thank you!
In our area it’s sort of new and a lot of parents don’t really know the big difference because most gyms don’t thoroughly explain. I do believe as well it depends on the gym. I have seen some really talented xcel gymnast then I have seen some gyms do the bare minimum so I guess it just depends on the gym. A lot of our parents were wondering that if it was possibly somewhat easier on our girls schedule wise, financially and the scoring not as strict then maybe our gym could use it for mobility to allow our girls to maybe learn. Not sure but I’m just glad to have you guys input! Thank you!
 

GAgymmom

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I'm surprised at how much is still misunderstood about Xcel. Even these answers aren't accurate.
Yes, it is designed as an in-between level for the off-season, if gyms want more competition time. It is also supposed to be for gymnasts not quite ready for the next level in JO, or that may never make it onto a JO level, or who need less hours, aren't old enough for a specific JO level, or who can't afford regular JO. It has also been stressed so often that it is NOT the path to optionals and is not meant to replace compulsories (that is why I believe Level 4/5 mobility scores were raised, because so many gyms were using Xcel to basically skip compulsories).

The Xcel levels have less rigorous requirements. No, platinum and level 6 are not almost identical. They are pretty different. They may look the same to spectators, but the requirements and judging are different. There are things that are not allowed to be deducted in Xcel, but must be deducted in JO, plus angle requirements, execution requirements, and connection and dismount and skill requirements. Gyms should not tell Gold gymnasts that they are level 5, because they're not.

Yes, skill requirements between JO and Xcel are different and are judged differently. Xcel scores will be higher as there are less deductions and less rigorous requirements.

Any mobility score achieved must be achieved at a sanctioned meet. Even in-house meets must be sanctioned to use a score for mobility. Scores will be checked, so if a gym doesn't sanction the meet and have a 2-judge panel, the scores can't be used for mobility.

There are a lot of gyms now who are "abusing" Xcel in the ways you've described. They are telling the girls they're the same as JO, they are telling them and the parents that they can skip compulsories, they are training Xcel the same amount of hours as JO teams, etc. That is also why Xcel requirements are getting stricter and judging is getting tougher.

I've always wondered why gyms opt for Xcel, but train like JO, and often the entire bronze and silver teams have the exact same routines? If you're going to have the exact same routines, why not just do compulsories?

I enjoy watching and judging Xcel, and often the gymnasts are quite good. I do agree with the OP, however, that often it's not being used as it was created to be used.
 

MILgymFAM

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I'm surprised at how much is still misunderstood about Xcel. Even these answers aren't accurate.
Yes, it is designed as an in-between level for the off-season, if gyms want more competition time. It is also supposed to be for gymnasts not quite ready for the next level in JO, or that may never make it onto a JO level, or who need less hours, aren't old enough for a specific JO level, or who can't afford regular JO.
In many places JO and Xcel share a season, so I think it’s locally-focused when you say it’s meant to be an in-between season for JO girls. Also, I’ve never seen anything official from usag that states it’s for girls who are in between levels, nor for those who can’t make it in JO. It seems you’re making assumptions like everyone else. The official usag stance is, “The Xcel Program is designed to offer a broad-based, affordable competitive experience outside the traditional Jr. Olympic Program to attract and retain a diverse group of athletes.” Anything more than that is conjecture.
 
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GAgymmom

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In many places JO and Xcel share a season, so I think it’s locally-focused when you say it’s meant to be an in-between season for JO girls. Also, I’ve never seen anything official from usag that states it’s for girls who are in between levels, nor for those who can’t make it in JO. It seems you’re making assumptions like everyone else. The official usag stance is, “The Xcel Program is designed to offer a broad-based, affordable competitive experience outside the traditional Jr. Olympic Program to attract and retain a diverse group of athletes.” Anything more than that is conjecture.
Ok, I guess I haven't been studying and going to congresses and clinics and taking tests for 6 years. Thank you for setting me straight. I've sat through several Xcel clinics/classes, I get constant updates, emails, newsletters, tutorials, practice tests, and experience, but I'm just conjecturing. Glad we got that straightened out. I guess the Xcel Region coordinator misspoke at the last congress I attended.

FYI, "In-between" means compulsories in the fall and Xcel in the spring, for example.
 

John

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I will take this opportunity to simply give my parental point of view. USAG while good in theory to make three separate tracks for athletes failed at the implementation. USAG primary goal was/is to win the worlds and Olympics. While I am a proud American and want nothing less the primary goal of the USAG should be a positive competitive experience for every athlete on any of the USAG competitive tracks. I do not feel they accomplish this.

MY 2 Cents.
 
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MILgymFAM

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Ok, I guess I haven't been studying and going to congresses and clinics and taking tests for 6 years. Thank you for setting me straight. I've sat through several Xcel clinics/classes, I get constant updates, emails, newsletters, tutorials, practice tests, and experience, but I'm just conjecturing. Glad we got that straightened out. I guess the Xcel Region coordinator misspoke at the last congress I attended.

FYI, "In-between" means compulsories in the fall and Xcel in the spring, for example.
It’s really nice that you know everything and everything is standard everywhere. I actually do know the meaning of in between. All levels of JO and Xcel compete the same season where we live. There is no in between season. I’m not guessing either, and you are rude.
 

moogacat

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There's no in-between season here either (KY) and as far as I can tell, in all of Region 5. I think it's region-specific. Here the Xcel and JO seasons are simultaneous, with state and regional meets all in the same six week period.
 

GAgymmom

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There's no in-between season here either (KY) and as far as I can tell, in all of Region 5. I think it's region-specific. Here the Xcel and JO seasons are simultaneous, with state and regional meets all in the same six week period.
In between means compulsories in fall and Xcel in spring. Or Level 6, then Xcel platinum or diamond, then level 7. It's in-between 6 and 7, or an extra competition season in-between compulsory seasons.
 

ego248

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Many girls at at DDs gym do xcel so they can try and compete other sports at the same time - such as swimming, diving, track & field and lacrosse. I consider these girls high performance athletes.
 

GAgymmom

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It’s really nice that you know everything and everything is standard everywhere. I actually do know the meaning of in between. All levels of JO and Xcel compete the same season where we live. There is no in between season. I’m not guessing either, and you are rude.
No, your answers are very condesending, and Iit gets old. But you're saying there's no compulsory in the fall where you live? That's pretty standard nation-wide. In-between means they compete level 3 in the fall then Xcel in the spring. Then the next season they compete Level 4 in the fall and Xcel in the spring. That's an Xcel season "in between" compulsory seasons. Or they can compete Level 6 and the next season not be ready for 7 so they compete Xcel, then the next season compete Level 7, making that Xcel season "in between" levels 6 and 7. THAT'S what is meant by "in-between."
 
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profmom

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In my state, JO compulsory state meets are all in the spring, after the optional state meets are over. It really wouldn't work very well to do JO in fall and XCel in spring. There are meets in the fall, but the bulk of the competition season is late fall/early winter through late spring for compulsories.
 

Mish

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In NY compulsories start competing in late Fall and go all the way through til Spring. So it seems it is a local thing. My dd is lv 7 but we have never had xcel at our local meets. The other option here is IGC which seems to be used truly as intended. We have seen xcel compete at meets outside of our local area.
 

mommyof1

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Where we live, the competition season runs from fall through spring for all levels. Compulsory and Xcel states are later than optional states, so their seasons are actually longer. It would not be possible to compete two different “seasons “ in the same year. Xcel and JO compete at the same meets, sometimes in the same session.
 

Freddy's Fred

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In between means compulsories in fall and Xcel in spring. Or Level 6, then Xcel platinum or diamond, then level 7. It's in-between 6 and 7, or an extra competition season in-between compulsory seasons.
Except that's often not the way that it is. Our compulsory team -- in Georgia -- competes in the spring.
 

Gymx2

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In our state the seasons are exactly the same. Usually the same meets, so it wouldn't be possible to do Xcel during the "off season".
 

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