Questions to ask Coach why DD is repeating level 4

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drivingmom

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I need help with talking to our Coach/Owner why my DD is not moving up to level 5. She had a good first year in level 4 (not great, a couple 1st and 2nds) has some of her 5 skills, which she just started working on. She really wants to move up. None of the girls in her group have been told they are moving either (even the really good one). The 2nd year level 4's are now training w/the 5's. She would love the chance to at least train to be a 5.

I want to approach her coach, but don't want to look like a pushy parent. I need help with this one.
 
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grizzoline

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Sep 19, 2008
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Have they been told that they're definitely not moving up? because if they are training with the 5s it doesn't seem too bad. at least they'll be uptraining, and I guess if they have the skills it would not be a big deal to move them up?

As far as talking with him goes, I'd try to be subtle. Like, emphasize the benefit of working with the 5s and how much it makes your daughter want to move up...
 
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gymnastics07849

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How old is she? The coach may want her to stay in level 4 because she is not old enough. I would just talk to the coach. Its not being pushy, its just a question you want to know the answer to.
 

gymch34

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Aug 2, 2008
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Just ask. As a head coach, I would rather have the parents ask me (make an appointment, please dont just ask the coach as they are walking into workout), instead of wondering or just talking about it w/ other parents. There are lots of things that coaches take info consideration for move ups,and skills are not the only thing we consider. Dedication, maturity, work ethic, and physical readiness (are they strong/flexible enough) for the next level are just as important as the skills.
 
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gymgramma

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I have heard of gyms that have all their gymnasts do 2 yrs of level 4 - perhaps your gym is like that?
 

mariposa

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Could it be that your DDs gym usually has girls repeat level 4? Some gyms do this automatically, but they still uptrain that 2nd year. I think the only question to ask them would be what their plans for your DD is for the next year?

Maybe talk to the repeat level 4 parents and see if the general philosphy at the gym is to do 2 years at level 4 and whether or not they kept the girls challenged. My DD is repeating level 4 at a different gym than she did level 4 at. She has 2 girls repeating with her, the rest are new level 4s. They do a very good job keeping her challenged, she has her kip, cartwheel on beam, other level 5 skills.

They might also rather a child do pretty well at a level rather than barely scrape by. There is a pretty big leap from L4 to L5, so that extra year to just relax while competing and perfect the little things while still learning level 5 skills and getting them solid can be a good thing. Then when they go into level 5 they aren't just barely getting a command on the skills, they have them nice and solid, good form, etc.

Good luck! Hope you can get some answers and understand what their plan is for her. :)
 

gymnastics xx babe

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i think that you should either talk to her coach alone and explain your situation . I am a level 5 and i remember after my first year of level 4 wanting to move up really bad but after my second year of level 4 i started doing all the harder skills and i was getting first . So maybe another year is good for her.
 
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socko

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Does your daughter have her Kip? If she doesn't have her kip, then that would be the reason she might be staying a 4 for now. She absolutely has to have a kip to move successfully. If she has her kip on bars; cartwheel on the beam; 2 back handsprings on the floor and they still won't move her for sure ; I'd move gyms because she'd be wasting her time repeating Level 4. How old is she by the way?
 
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drivingmom

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Thanks for the advise. I talked w/ her coach instead of just wondering and wondering and eating at me. My DD and I feel better now. :p

He has most all girls repeat level 4 and 5 unless they are exceptional which is not the case w/ my DD. She is one of the top 3 in her group, but the not best one. Only one from her group MAY move up. He wants them to be successful rather than move up and just scrape by. I can understand that, but at the same time I can see he also wants a winning team and by having repeaters you get that. It's some politics :mad:and some individual truths.

It is what it is and we can move on and have a great year:).

Thanks!

 
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NOG

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At dd's gym if girls do not have 75 percent of their skills by May for the next level they normally remain in the same level training group that they competed. However, they still uptrain and then at the end of summer, depending on how their skills have improved, they may be allowed to move groups. .
Our gym also does this. That way they have the summer to prove whether they can get the skills to move up. I like this, that way they can work all summer and they have a chance for the next level, instead of going on what skills they have in the spring. The kids like this also.

She gives great advice, I would agree that scheduling a talk with HC about where they see your dd next season is a good idea. They may have a plan for her that you're not aware of.
 

gym law mom

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Alot of timing on move up depends on when your competitive season is. Here the compulsory girls are done in Dec., so they spend from Jan to May working on skills/routines for the next level. Since the compulsory season here starts the 1st weekend of Sept. move ups have been done and the new compulsory teams are set.

As to the OP. I personally don't like the idea of girls spending 4 yrs before getting to L6(2 yrs each at 4 and 5). Just trying to stack the team with 2nd yr. girls to place well at meets doesn't really benefit the gymnast. Some kids are ready for the move to the next level after 1 yr. and others do need 2 yrs, but it should be based more on what skills they have, focus and work ethic----not what will make the gym look good.
 

gymalex

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Jan 3, 2009
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repeating compulsory levels

Okay, you guys may disagree, but I think it's completely silly to have the "rule" that all L4s (or 5 or 6s) have to compete the level twice. The program is designed to spend one year per level (in normal circumstances), and that should be very doable if the coaching is competent, the athlete is healthy, and the team is working out an appropriate number of hours. Will some kids need to repeat? Absolutely. These levels can be harder for some kids than others, or sometimes there's an injury or other extreme circumstance. Competing 2 years at L4 is just plain silly if the child is even reasonably talented and dedicated. What-- the kid really needs to perfect her stride circle? Come on. If you MUST spend two years somewhere, spend it on L5. If the skills are a little rough, compete achievement the first season. But seriously, I think it's ridiculous to say as a general rule that the team (or even the majority) will be repeating compulsory levels. Just my opinion.....
 

mariposa

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Okay, you guys may disagree, but I think it's completely silly to have the "rule" that all L4s (or 5 or 6s) have to compete the level twice. The program is designed to spend one year per level (in normal circumstances), and that should be very doable if the coaching is competent, the athlete is healthy, and the team is working out an appropriate number of hours. Will some kids need to repeat? Absolutely. These levels can be harder for some kids than others, or sometimes there's an injury or other extreme circumstance. Competing 2 years at L4 is just plain silly if the child is even reasonably talented and dedicated. What-- the kid really needs to perfect her stride circle? Come on. If you MUST spend two years somewhere, spend it on L5. If the skills are a little rough, compete achievement the first season. But seriously, I think it's ridiculous to say as a general rule that the team (or even the majority) will be repeating compulsory levels. Just my opinion.....
I definitely think that it is silly to have a set rule about repeating ANY level. I would hope that a gym could take each child on an individual case basis and treat them as such. 100% agree that it is silly for it to be a general rule to compete 2 years at each level, which is why at many gyms I imagine a lot of kids quit. Especially if they were ready to move on and had to spend another year at that level. Worse when they don't get to uptrain while repeating. I think that gymnasts should be able to progress through the levels at their own pace, not one that is set by the gym.

As for competing 2 years at level 4 being silly, I disagree. There are many kids that don't need to repeat level 4 and I also think many that do and can benefit from it. My DD is reasonably talented and dedicated, but she isn't quite ready for level 5. Sure, she might be able to have all her skills by fall, but we don't have achievement L5 here. If you compete 5, you compete against all the others competing 5 and I am happy she will be having a good year repeating level 4 while still uptraining. Hopefully, when she does move on to level 5, her skills will be solid, not just barely there and she can have a successful year at level 5. Even though she just loves to be out there, constantly being at the bottom of the pack isn't much fun.
 

Chalky

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I definitely think that it is silly to have a set rule about repeating ANY level. I would hope that a gym could take each child on an individual case basis and treat them as such. 100% agree that it is silly for it to be a general rule to compete 2 years at each level, which is why at many gyms I imagine a lot of kids quit. Especially if they were ready to move on and had to spend another year at that level. Worse when they don't get to uptrain while repeating. I think that gymnasts should be able to progress through the levels at their own pace, not one that is set by the gym.

As for competing 2 years at level 4 being silly, I disagree. There are many kids that don't need to repeat level 4 and I also think many that do and can benefit from it. My DD is reasonably talented and dedicated, but she isn't quite ready for level 5. Sure, she might be able to have all her skills by fall, but we don't have achievement L5 here. If you compete 5, you compete against all the others competing 5 and I am happy she will be having a good year repeating level 4 while still uptraining. Hopefully, when she does move on to level 5, her skills will be solid, not just barely there and she can have a successful year at level 5. Even though she just loves to be out there, constantly being at the bottom of the pack isn't much fun.
I think mariposa has some excellent points in both paragraphs above.

Firstly, although ideally a gym would always do what is best for an individual child, unfortunately life is rarely that simple. For example, imagine a gym uses the USAG compulsory levels and their state primarily competes these in the fall (Sep - Nov).

Gymnast Gilly comes to the gym as a beginner in January, she makes rapid progress through the classes and is put on Level 4 in May. Throughout the summer, she learns her skills and routines and starts to compete Level 4 in September. The gym likes to uptrain, so by October she has her kip and RO 2 BHS as well as C/W on beam. Should she now be moved into USAG Level 5 even though they are half way through their season? How will she have time to learn and polish the routines when all her Level 5 team mates know them inside out and are perfecting the tiny details?

Some parents here might argue that she should progress mid-season, but what about the effect on the other Level 5s? Their competition preparedness might suffer if the Level 5 coach has to spend extra time teaching Gilly routines. What about the coach to gymnast ratio. Say her gym tries to keep a max of 8-10 gymnasts per coach. If they allow Gilly to move up, there would be 11 Level 5s, so should they hire another coach? (with more hours to pay than Lv. 4) What if that extra hire pushes the team program into the red. Gilly's gym owner will have to recruit more class kids to compensate. Meanwhile their are now 7 kids in the Lv. 4 group, but without Gilly's scores the team is not doing as well. As a result the gym get's less recognition in the local press (free advertising) and when the team program is less sucessful, fewer parents sign their kids up for classes.

Meanwhile, Gilly is struggling in Lv. 5 meets. Although she has her skills, her C/W is wobbly, her routines look unsure and wooden. She gets over the vault, but it's much harder than Lv. 4. Her kip has bent arms, so her bar routine is choppy, not to mention her squatty FHS on the floor. After state, when she finishes in the bottom third at state, Gilly feels sad and decides that she is not so good at gymnastics anymore and quits!

Alternatively, Gilly could stay at Level 4 until the Christmas break. Since her team is doing well, they get to spend the last 10 minutes of every event working new skills. Her kip is getting better; she can work on keeping those arms straight without worrying about connecting it to that darn FHC! On floor she works on lengthening her round-off and 1 BHS, so that when she does 2 they will be great. Her coach sets up a special station on vault where she can practice the second flight of a FHS vault, w/o worrying about running full speed to the table. Finally she is having cartwheel "stick-it" contests on the beam with her teammates.
Her team has won several meets and come 3rd at state. Gilly comes 5th AA and wins Lv. 4 vault. Now she and her team will be Lv. 5 after Christmas. They will spend the spring learning skills, do routines over the summer and compete Lv. 5 next fall. They are now better prepared for 5, so they will start to learn some Lv. 6 skills that will get them ready for optionals in a couple of years.

Moving up to Lv. 5 with Gilly after Christmas is her friend Sandy, who just repeated Lv.4. She had to repeat because she came from a gym that didn't stress correct technique and form. Since she has been at the new gym her vault run and hurdle have improved, plus she is hitting the board correctly and not piking-up. She worked hard on floor and now has a great RO-BHS. Also her bars is stronger with good body positions and she has great form and confidence on the beam. Most importantly, Sandy loves feeling confident in her gymnastics and finds getting on the podium much more fun than being last place!

If anyone thinks that it is easier to correct bad habits at Level 5 and 6 than Level 4, plmk why. If a child cannot run, hurdle, arm-circle and stay tight on a Level 4 vault, scoring well at Level 5 and 6 vault is going to be extremely difficult. The longer a child has bad habits, poor form and incorrect technique the harder it is to fix - believe me. Some kids need to repeat and very ocasionally, a kid who gets into gymnastics late may benefit from scoring-out of a level, but IMO that's rare. Take the time with the basics and it will pay off down the road.
 
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mariposa

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Chalky

Thanks for letting us see it through the eyes of a coach. A lot of what you said makes sense. I am not sure most parents here would want a girl moved mid-season how you have it in your scenario of Gilly. I think gymnasts should have the next level of skills before they are moved up and that uptraining should be done, even during meet season. Gymnastics is a team sport and I do completely agree with keeping Gilly at level 4 until December in your scenario. :)

My issue is only with gyms that have girls repeat simply because that is how they do things. :) I don't think girls should be moved mid-season all the time because gymnastics IS a team sport and they should finish the season up with their team and focus on really making their routines look polished while still working those next level skills.

My daughter is like Sandy. She came from a gym that wasn't as focused on form or strength and is coming along nicely. She is repeating level 4, still getting her 5 skills and will hopefully have a great level 4 season this year and be super ready for level 5 when she gets there. I am so glad I don't have to watch her struggle through level 5 meets this year. And I love how she is coming along as a gymnast and how proud of herself she is. :D
 

gymjourneymom

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I agree with both mariposa & Chalky. These kids are individuals & should be looked upon as such. There are some who will benefit by repeating levels(yes, even L4) & those who it will frustrate. But the whole child must be evaluated for proper placement. Struggling to compete at a certain level(even if the child has the skills), can have negative impact on how the child views the sport as a whole. Everyone needs some positive reinforcement to keep them going. These kids put in crazy amount of time & dedication & they need to have some tangible proof that it's all worth it(especially the young ones). If attaining that means they have to repeat, then that may be what is best for that child. I think a child should compete where they will be successful in skills, form, technique & have a high level of self confidence. And there should always be some uptraining going on to keep them motivated & looking to the future. This combination is key to the child's long term mental outlook in the sport. To me "having" the skills alone are not the only reason to move up. We all know there is a big difference between "being able to do a skill" & "owning it". JMHO.
 
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drivingmom

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Moving up to level 5

:):):)UPDATE:

Well repeating level 4 was an amazing year for our DD. She really polished her skills, however I think she could of did that as a 5 as well. She placed in the top 3 at almost every meet and won at state's. So repeating was a great confidence builder and winning at every meet was very nice, which would not have happened moving to 5 last year. So all in it worked out and now she is truly ready for level 5, even though she is considering prep op since you get the challenge of optional routines. She is dieing to do other skills that are not in compuslory routines. So who knows.
 
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NGL780309

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Glad it worked out for her.

This is a very old thread, but it made me think. It seems everyone agrees that kids should be uptraining. What about a situation where the gym doesn't uptrain? Is repeating a waste of time?

DD's gym almost never has anyone repeat as level 4. They did have one girl this year because she never scored above a 7 on bars the past season. They use Level 4 as an introduction to competing and usually do achievement. They do have kids repeat at L5 if they aren't successful. In a situation like this would you have a chid do another year of level 4 if she had all her skills?
 

Tumblequeensmom

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Just to add some "sugar" to the pot. It REALLY is important to get that good, solid foundation at these lower levels. If not, they really get dinged as they move up in levels. Once they've got that good solid form, they don't forget it and learning the higher levels skills really does become easier for them.
 

gym law mom

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Glad it worked out for her.

This is a very old thread, but it made me think. It seems everyone agrees that kids should be uptraining. What about a situation where the gym doesn't uptrain? Is repeating a waste of time?

DD's gym almost never has anyone repeat as level 4. They did have one girl this year because she never scored above a 7 on bars the past season. They use Level 4 as an introduction to competing and usually do achievement. They do have kids repeat at L5 if they aren't successful. In a situation like this would you have a chid do another year of level 4 if she had all her skills?
To me it would come down to why this girl was scoring 7s on bars. Was it lack of strength, got hung up on the mill circle, lack of focus? If she now has her L5 skills consistently and with good form, I don't see a reason to make her stay at L4. There are always lots of variables with move ups, so there is no easy answer. I certainly would not move her up if she doesn't have a kip or isn't ready to work on the high bar, but otherwise she might do just fine as a L5.
 
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