Repeat level 4 or prep opt

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drivingmom

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My daughter is not crazy about repeating level 4 (age 8). Her gym is having all the girls repeat. She did good her first year, avg. 35 all around. She knows she will do very well repeating level 4, but wants to learn new skills and not have the same training as last year. She is thinking about prep opt, so she can try new skills and her own routines.

I would love to her your thoughts on this before we talk to her coaches. Thanks
 
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cheryl1960

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If your daughter is going to stay with the compulsories, she probably needs to be scoring a 36 AA. Most gyms want that as a minimum before mobility into the next level even though AAU and USA both require less. It's so the gymnasts are proficient at skills before moving, not just doing them.
However, if you think she will not enjoy that I would put her in a prep program. The girls that do this seem to really enjoy it and at 8 one of my goals would be to make sure it is still something she looks foreward to and not a chore.
There seems to be alot of diferent opionion about going through compulsories, as some feel that the gmnasts don't really learn many sklls they need in the optional and elite levels. Some gymnasts don't go through these and petition to be an elite when they are ready, and others (like mine) do prep and score out of the USA compulsory levels as they aquire skills.
It really comes down to what your daughter wll be happiest doing and you may have to change gyms to find one that will help her fulfill her potential. Good luck-I know it's hard making these decisions-been there!
 
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drivingmom

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Thanks. I guess I should have added elite is really not realistic for most girls and I doubt we would got that route, so what is the point of compulsories and following such strict and guided rules when you can have more fun, try more skills as you can get them in prep opt. My daughter thinks of course she can be elite, but she is 8. I finding no real reason to stay compulsory other than the status and moving up. love to hear commets. Thanks:rolleyes:
 

bogwoppit

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Feb 26, 2007
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I have to say in Canada our whole system in like prep op, so we get the benefit of own routines and music from day one, we also get to decide which skills girls can use to accentuate their strengths. We do have an elite stream in Quebec that girls can go into at an early age as well, though there is a compulsory aspect to the testing the girls still have their own routines.

If you feel that your child is not headed to trying for either Elite or a college scolarship, she also seems to want to train skills rather than perfect old routines why wouldn't you let her try prep op for a season and if it isn't a good fit she can always return as she is still very young.

I decided long ago that gym would not be a massive part of my girls lives and it was a good choice as the oldest has struggled with injury, so the fun side of our system really works for them.

MdGymMom has some experience with this hopefully she chimes in as her DD is moving from L4 to MDL, which sounds very much like prep opt, I am sure she'll have some great advice.
 
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cher062

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You know your daughter best and what really will make her happy.

With that said there are pros and cons to each program. you need to talk to the coach and discuss your feelings your DD's feelings and what the coach thinks on this.

I know there have been girls at my gym that although scored very well at a level were held back and girls with lower scores moved on. Sometimes its not just a matter of do they have the skills but does the coach think they are mentally ready for the next level. This could be a concern for the coach but you will never know unless you ask the coach why your dd is being held back and discussing it.

As far a Prep Op vs USAG well from what I've seen Prep op I think it's definitly an easier track than USAG and usually less of a time commitment and less money. Most of the preops in our area i've seen compete seem to be the girls who want to be on a competitive team but just don't have the drive or what it takes to be on the regular UASG teams. The Advanced levels seem to be Level 8,9 or 10's who hit high school didn't make the high school team and want to compete without all the hours so they can have a high school life too. From what I've seen of the program in my state I would rather keep my DD in the USAG program and have her repeat a level.

The best thing you can do is find out what the prep op program is like in your state and gym before you make that decision. Every states program is different.
 

UnoMas

Well-Known Member
Proud Parent
Aug 16, 2008
3,736
My DD is also 8 and doing her "second" year as an L4. (she competed in one meet plus state meet at the end of the year and finished in the 34's AA.)

Her state meet was in MARCH and so I was very worried about all the repetition of skills all spring and summer and into the fall (our first meet is in October but the majority of our season is in Feb-March).

Our gym does not do prep-opt so that was not an option for us...so we just kept plugging away. Well, after all those months DD is still happy (she is one of the top scorers at our gym), she is VERY excited about the season and expects to do well, and also gets to uptrain L5 skills when she has finished her L4 training each day. Our girls have to get a 36AA to move up to the next level, so she's really excited about (hopefully!;))doing that early in the season, and then competing as an L4 while starting L5 hours and training as soon as she gets that 36.

I think it is going to be really good for her confidence and we have a LOT of gyms and girls who repeat L4 so the scores are really high. She got to stand on the podium only once last year and once she got a taste of that she decided that it was worth it to "perfect" those L4 skills.

But if we had the option to do prep opt with all those fun new routines...the decision would be harder. IS your daughter one who likes to win? Because it sounds like she could have a awesome L4 season. Would she be able to uptrain L5 while competing L4?

All things to think about...good luck with your decision! :)
 

mariposa

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Sep 25, 2007
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USA
Tough decision. Not sure how prep-op works as it isn't an option here. If the girls practice the same hours and eventually get tracked back to USAG optionals successfully, then I would probably consider it. I know my DD would much rather get her own routines and show off those uptrained skills she has than do level 4 again. LOL.

My questions would be:

1. If she does prep-op, when will she transfer back to USAG and how does that work? How do the girls do at the gym that go straight USAG compared to those that go the prep-op route? Do they devote as much time to getting good solid skills to the girls doing prep-op as they do for USAG girls? Are they in same or different training groups? Are hours decreased? Do they sacrifice form, solid skills for fun?

2. If she repeats level 4, will she be uptraining for level 5/6 skills to keep her challenged? Do they do move ups mid year or will be be in the level 4 group for the next full year?

My DD is repeating level 4. She wasn't excelling at level 4, so it is the best thing for her. Her new gym uptrains and does progressions for L5/6 skills even now that they are also working the routines for meet season that starts next month. She has her kip, squat on and jump to high bar and long hang kip, working on FHSs, flysprings (prep for layouts), front and back tucks, etc. I worried she would be bored doing level 4 again, but at her new gym, she is loving it and is looking forward to having a good solid, hopefully confidence boosting level 4 season. :)

If the prep-op program is just as solid as the USAG program, it sounds like it would be a lot of fun. I wish they had something here besides USAG sometimes. Not sure my kid will make it out of compulsories and it would be nice to have some options so she could taste having her own routines, show off her strengths, etc. :)

Good luck making your decision!
 

Caligirlzz

Member
Jun 4, 2009
155
Chicago
What is a prep program? How do you know when it's a good idea to start thinking about it?

If your daughter is going to stay with the compulsories, she probably needs to be scoring a 36 AA. Most gyms want that as a minimum before mobility into the next level even though AAU and USA both require less. It's so the gymnasts are proficient at skills before moving, not just doing them.
However, if you think she will not enjoy that I would put her in a prep program. The girls that do this seem to really enjoy it and at 8 one of my goals would be to make sure it is still something she looks foreward to and not a chore.
There seems to be alot of diferent opionion about going through compulsories, as some feel that the gmnasts don't really learn many sklls they need in the optional and elite levels. Some gymnasts don't go through these and petition to be an elite when they are ready, and others (like mine) do prep and score out of the USA compulsory levels as they aquire skills.
It really comes down to what your daughter wll be happiest doing and you may have to change gyms to find one that will help her fulfill her potential. Good luck-I know it's hard making these decisions-been there!
 
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cher062

Guest
What is a prep program? How do you know when it's a good idea to start thinking about it?
the PREP OP program varies from State to State so what might be acceptable in one state may not be in another but over all USAG has this document

http://www.usa-gymnastics.org/PDFs/Women/Rules/Rules and Policies/part3-prepopt.pdf


Don't know what state your in but In NH you can go here and get the rules used for Prep op
New Hampshire Gymnastics - Rules and Policies

Im sure your states site must have similar rules posted
 

gymmomntc2e6

Moderator/Proud Parent
Aug 25, 2007
2,842
North Carolina
What is a prep program? How do you know when it's a good idea to start thinking about it?
From what I understand, Prep-Op is kind of like optionals but for levels 3-6. There are required elements for each level on each event. These elements must be in the routine but each gymnast gets their own routine and own music. I am pretty sure the would still have to score out in each compulsory level before switching to USAG L7, but that could likely be done at an in house meet with USAG certified judges.

If I totally blew that explonation someone let me know. DD's gym does compulsory in the fall and Prep-Op in the spring.
 

NotAMom

Active Member
May 27, 2009
894
Region 6 (Northeast)
If you were to keep her at L4 for another year (which isn't necessarily bad at the expense of a bit of ego hit), here are some of the keys (some of which hijacked from what's already mentioned):

  • uptraining is a must to keep her interested in the sport. If they are not doing that, it's definitely time to move her out of that group.
  • advancement is not necessarily based on scores. Many gyms do it purely according to readiness which includes one-up skills, age, maturity (which includes fear factor and assertiveness).
  • Scores will likely be a lot higher this season. At this age and level, this may work better as a confidence booster over moving up before she's ready and scoring low. This may also be one of her last chances to confidently place high on the podium as competition can only get tougher as she moves up the ranks.
  • Often a kid who scores well at the previous level due to good execution and form will carry the same success into the next level. (I have seen that plenty of times)
  • she will be training with the same kids she is familiar with. I don't think it would hurt her ego too much if no one else is moving up either. This could have been the coach's intent to keep the team together.
 
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drivingmom

Guest
Well DD is bored repeating L4. She knows she will have a great year so that keeps her going. She only uptrains on bars and really after seeing the bars L4 is where she should be at. I do wish they uptrained on floor on beam, but maybe down the road they will. Thanks for all your inputs.
 

gymmomntc2e6

Moderator/Proud Parent
Aug 25, 2007
2,842
North Carolina
I am sorry that your DD is bored. It sounds like if she could at least upteain more it would be better. My DD actually repeated L3, had all her L4 skills but was sloppy. She did well her second season. Whether it was good / bad in the long run I don't know. I am planning for two years of L4, if she stays with it, still some form issues and I don't know if that kip will show up.
Ourgym does uptrain though. My DD is actually the only L4 ( we have 4) that does not have her back tuck. But she does have cartwheel & BWO on beam and squat on, jump to high bar and flyaway. Has vaulted over the table with a spot, but not much.
 
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gymgramma

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How about doing level 4 in the Fall and then Prep Op in the Spring? I have seen a lot of girls do this
 

mariposa

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Sep 25, 2007
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Sad to hear she is bored. That is no fun. My DD is repeating L4, but needed to for sure since she ended with a 33AA. She has most of her L5 skills, but they wouldn't be meet ready and we only have USAG here. Her gym does a really good job of keeping them motivated though, they focus on routines, but also uptrain and have fun.

Have you talked to her coaches? Boredom can lead to quitting. Is it meet season? I know many gyms only do routines and their level skills during meet season, that can get boring fast.

Hope they can keep her challenged and happy. Is prep-opt in the Spring an option?
 

dmytv

Coach
Coach
Nov 17, 2009
258
region 8
I would not do prep op but move her to lv 5 when she gets the skills ( kip, real vault ) get out of USAG compulsarys as early as u can and then train optionals and tops. Thats the way to nationals or college.
 

CoachTodd

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Nov 4, 2009
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If your daughter is going to stay with the compulsories, she probably needs to be scoring a 36 AA. Most gyms want that as a minimum before mobility into the next level even though AAU and USA both require less. It's so the gymnasts are proficient at skills before moving, not just doing them.
However, if you think she will not enjoy that I would put her in a prep program. The girls that do this seem to really enjoy it and at 8 one of my goals would be to make sure it is still something she looks foreward to and not a chore.
There seems to be alot of diferent opionion about going through compulsories, as some feel that the gmnasts don't really learn many sklls they need in the optional and elite levels. Some gymnasts don't go through these and petition to be an elite when they are ready, and others (like mine) do prep and score out of the USA compulsory levels as they aquire skills.
It really comes down to what your daughter wll be happiest doing and you may have to change gyms to find one that will help her fulfill her potential. Good luck-I know it's hard making these decisions-been there!
I couldn't disagree more. Many gyms base their levels on scores not most and I think it's a poor practice. Go by what skills they can do cleanly an work hard to improve. Never focus on score.
 

MdGymMom01

Active Member
Mar 5, 2008
2,236
North America
I have to say in Canada our whole system in like prep op, so we get the benefit of own routines and music from day one, we also get to decide which skills girls can use to accentuate their strengths. We do have an elite stream in Quebec that girls can go into at an early age as well, though there is a compulsory aspect to the testing the girls still have their own routines.

If you feel that your child is not headed to trying for either Elite or a college scolarship, she also seems to want to train skills rather than perfect old routines why wouldn't you let her try prep op for a season and if it isn't a good fit she can always return as she is still very young.

I decided long ago that gym would not be a massive part of my girls lives and it was a good choice as the oldest has struggled with injury, so the fun side of our system really works for them.

MdGymMom has some experience with this hopefully she chimes in as her DD is moving from L4 to MDL, which sounds very much like prep opt, I am sure she'll have some great advice.
Hi Drivingmom!! My dd, Dani, who is 10 yrs old, just started the "Prep Opt" program with the Mason Dixon League and she loves it!!! She is basically doing Level 5 skills for the Level she is at now--Level A, so she still is learning some compulsory skills, but she gets her own routines and has some input on what she has in each routine. Dani really loves the creativity that the optionals bring and it seems to be more fun for her type of personality. Also, since Dani still struggles with fear issues, she can interchange skills to accentuate her strengths. It is a great program--I love it. Plus, the MDL is more low key and I think that generally all MDL teams (even at other gyms) train at lower hours than USAG. We train 7 hours a week. This allows the kids to have plenty of time to do other activities and have it not interfere with schoolwork.

I think your dd may end up having more fun and may learn more in the prep opt program. You can always try out the prep op and see how it goes for her. The important thing about gymnastics is to make it enjoyable for the kids. If she repeats Level 4 and is bored, then that can be enough to have her gymnastics spark burn out.

Good luck and keep us posted!!!
 
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LolaBellRVS

New Member
Nov 13, 2009
3
My daughter attends a small gym in northwestern pa. Her coach uses the Prep optional program as a spring board towards USAG optional level. Our girls can choose to work the required 12 hours a week or take extra hours. Most of her team can also choose to do level 7 meets as they have all scored out of level 6. The coach desires the girls to have competed one level 5 season. This team is coached by the head coach (same coach that coaches our Level 10 national champ!) and even practices right along with the "upper level" optionals. They are considered optionals in our gym and treated as such. Many of our upper level state and regional champion level 8s and 9s went through our prep optional program. Prep Optional is a fun and challenging level. My girl is having a great time!
 

bookworm

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Oct 3, 2009
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There is no way I would have my daughter repeat Level 4 if she was scoring decently (which 35 AA is) . Our old gym wanted my daughter to repeat Level 4 (and she was scoring high 36s) because "she was young" and I said to them "she will not repeat Level 4 in THIS gym; she either moves to 5 or we'll go elsewhere". I should preface this with the fact that she had her Level 5 AND 6 skills and they basically wanted to keep her at 4 as a ringer for the state meet.

Bottom line, she did one meet at 5 and went Level 6 that year and did well!! Level 4 isn't a level that they NEED to go level 5 ...many gyms start right off with Level 5 (and the rest are considered pre-team) . If your daughter has the skills for 5, I would insist she progress or check out a gym that would accomodate her skills.
 
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