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Repeating levels

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momof5

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Oct 26, 2007
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I was reading on another thread a discussion about repeating levels and was wondering more about it. The gym my daughter is currently at seems to repeat a lot of levels. As they progress through the levels they all seem to repeat either 4, 5 or 6 and some girls repeat more then one level. What the reason for this? Is it because they are not ready for the next level yet? Or are their other reasons for this. About half of our level 4 are repeating and most of the time they spend working on the level 4 skills and not the next level of skills so how can a coach judge whether they have the next skills or not. Our gym seems to keep the girl so long on the compulsay levels that most girls drop out by the time they can compete as an optional gymnast. Wouldn't it make sense to push through the compulsary levels as quickly as they were able so that they could compete as optional? Or am I wrong- Hey I a newbie at this.
 

gym law mom

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Dec 23, 2006
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One reason(and not a good one) for girls repeating levels is to load up the teams with experienced girls, so the gym does well at meets. Other reasons for repeating obviously are: not having some of the skills for the next level, child not ready emotionally/mentally, poor work ethic by the gymnast. Some kids get injured during the season and may have only had limited exposure to that level.

This is such a controversial area in gyms. I don't think there can be a hard and fast rule that all the girls do 2 yrs. at each level---the decision on moving up needs to be individual. Some girls will move more quickly through the compulsory levels than others. I agree with you that if they're not working skills for the next level then a coach can only make an assessment on the current level skills which is not the best way to judge if a girl is ready to move. I've seen a few girls just rock L5 and then struggle with the L6 skills and have to repeat L5. And really that is all meet scores show---how a gymnast did on a certain day at a certain level. They are not something to base future success or failure on.

Don't know if any of this helped. Hopefully, your gym will start working on the next skills soon.
 
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momofagymmie

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My daughter started at a new gym. It is the policy of the gym that any new gymnast repeat their last level. This will be the first time she's repeated. So even though my daughter did fairly well last year she is still doing the level over again. I've seen it give her more confidence in a new situation. It's nice when learning with new coaches and gymnasts to have a comfort level with your skills. It's actually been a good thing.
 

gym law mom

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I think whenever you set a policy that says "all" and "must" its going to cause a problem at some point. Basically the gym backs themselves into a corner with that type of thinking. In our area we have 4 military bases plus many defense related companies so there are always girls coming/going from the local gyms. Both gyms have any new team girl come in for a tryout. When my daughter changed gyms, she had done L6 for 1 season. The new gym let her practice with their optional girls(she had been training L8) and felt she had too many skills(7 and 8) to do anymore time as a L6. She lacked some dance training which showed in her leaps, turns etc, and needed a little more work on to get her front tumbling more consistent, but was strong in other areas. So, she will start the season as a L7 and may get to try some a couple of meets as L8 at the end of the season.

What we appreciated was they took the time to let her practice with the optional teams and see where she seemed to be a good fit. We do have a girl on the L5 team who just finished her 2nd year as a L5 and will be moving in the spring. Her mom started contacting gyms and has visited the area where they will be living. She talked with 1 gym that said they didn't like letting new girls move to the next level, so at this point that gym is not on their list of gyms to consider----by their policy this girl would be doing her 3rd yr. as a L5 simply because she is new to their team. They didn't even offer her a tryout and by the time she moves, she will have been working on L6 skills for 5 solid mos. plus all the uptraining she's had over the last year.
 
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gymmomntc2e6

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Aug 25, 2007
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My dd is level 3, so we have yet to experience most of the team issues. But the level 3's are competing this year. They did two meets in Nov and will do 2 more in Feb. From speaking w/ team parents is it seems that most of the girls do 2 yrs at level 4 then move to level 5 and up as they earn it. I don't think they HAVE to do 2 yrs at level 4, just that most seem to.
 

Aussie_coach

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In Australia we use a similar scoring system for the girls as they use in the elite program. The girls have set skills in their routines but can replace them with bonus skills and encouragement skills which make their start value's higher. Which means you can have a level 4 competing a round off and cartwheels in her floor routine against another level 4 doing round off back handspring back tuck, and front handspring front tuck in her routine.

You have one level 4 doing back hip cirlces, horizontal casts and pullovers in her bars and another doing cast handstands, clear hips and layout flyaways. Same on beam some doing a handstand and some doing a back handspring and everything in between.

The idea of the system was to allow girls to develop with in their level and work on some harder skills. If for example a girl struggled with bars but excelled on floor and was quite good on beam. She could do the basic level 4 requirements on bars and compete level 4 but still get a challenge doing the slightly harder bonus skills on beam and the much harder encouragment skills on floor. Or something similar.

But this is causing huge problems with level repitition. Many coaches are now keeping their kids in level 4 until they have every single encouragement skill and bonus skill and increasing their hours. So that there are level 4's training 22 hours a week.

It is very rare to see a kid in level 4 for less than 2 years, and 3 is common, 4 or 5 is not uncommon. It is crazy as newer level 4's or those who train less than 16 hours a week find it impossible to compete and are feeling down and quitting. Those spending years and years at the same level are also quitting as they feel they are not progressing.

Competitions have hundreds of girls competing in each of the level 1, 2, 3 and 4 divisions and around 10 in level 5 and 6, and around 3 in each of the higher levels.

It's crazy. For example level 5 the girls have to pick an acro skill on beam out of - cartwheel, back walkover, front walkover, tic toc, back handspring, front handspring or back tuck. Imagine that, a level 5 doing a cartwheel competing against one doing a back tuck.
 

Ingymmom

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Jul 12, 2007
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Wow - tx for sharing that Aussie_coach, the program you described certainly adds a new spin on repeating levels. I am curious, do they perform their routines to the same music at the lower levels?
 

Aussie_coach

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In level 1,2 and 3 they have set routines on beam, bars and floor and a set vault. Each child does perform the same routine to the same music, but there are bonus skills that can be added into the routine to replace the easier skills.

In level 4, 5 and 6 the kids have their own routines. Each child on floor has their own floor routine to their own music which is great we find music that suits the child and coreograph steps that suit their personal style. They also have their own beam routines. There are a number of skills that must be included (about the same standard as the USAG equivolent levels) but the skills can be in any order in any place in the routine.

It does make competitions more enjoyable because each child has their own unique routines and music, it also is exciting for the kids as they get their own routines from level 4. But it does cause a little more difficulty for coaches as we have a LOT of routines to coreograph and only one child can practise at the same time.
 
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gymgirl0805's Mom

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Chelsea repeated L4.. This is her second year. She only repeated because she wasn't quite ready for L5 (not because it's a rule at the gym that you have to do a level more than once) .. She is now though so she'll go up to L5 when they move up in April or May.
 

Blackie6

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Our gym does not believe in holding girls back. As a matter of fact half our L4 team is training L5 now too and those ready will start competing right after L4 states. At our last coaches/parent meeting we were told that they would rather see our daughters get to L7 as soon as they could to be able to go for college scholarships. They feel they loose too many good/talented girls in these early levels because they spend way too much time there or become frustrated with the compulsary routines. My daughter will do L4 again next year and so will a couple others. My daughter is still 6 and sort of got thrown into it (competitons) quickly. She did fine, but would benefit from another year. I am not sure she is ready to add a 4th night of practice either. Those doing it another year like my daughter will probably be working L5 skills (my DD is learning kips and sometimes does them sometimes not, LOL) and also do the double season next year.

As a parent I appreciate this philosophy. I posted a USAG chart last week and I can see how the numbers change so dramatically as the levels go up. After going to some meets I saw some girls with unusually high scores. When I asked the coach why they were so high she said that it is because some girls are actually on their third year of level 4?? She came from a gym where talented girls who should have moved up & on were forced to repeat.

I guess that makes me ask the question (and this should probably be put into another thread) What makes a gym successful? When you say a gym is successful is it because they have a HUGE L4 team? Or is it because they produced one good athlete after starting out with a gazillion L4 girls that eventually retired after repeating so many times? Is it how many girls they can move thru the levels up to L10 or Elite? College scholarships? Or, is it just braging rights about maybe having the beam, vault, floor UB champion at States? And nobody need know it took 3 years to get to that podium? Gymnastics is sure confusinmg at times for us parents!
 
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