Scoring better in optionals than compulsories?

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mamaS

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Nov 25, 2012
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My daughter will be competing level 7 this year. She was pretty good at lower levels, but not dynamite. We have been told that the coaches believe she will shine at L7 because she won't be doing cookie cutter routines. She is good on bars, beam, and vault, but just ok on floor. She is a great tumbler, but not a natural dancer. She is extemely flexible. The thought is that she can show off her strengths at the optional level. Anyone else experience this?
 
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cbifoja

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There are lots of threads that have discussed this very topic. Pretty divided with lots of anecdotal evidence on both sides. I've been told the same thing about my DD.....that she is not a compulsory gymnast. Haven't had a competition yet so no good stories from me. Bookworm has a very powerful one about her DD if she comes here to share.
 

iwannacoach

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My daughter will be competing level 7 this year. She was pretty good at lower levels, but not dynamite. We have been told that the coaches believe she will shine at L7 because she won't be doing cookie cutter routines. She is good on bars, beam, and vault, but just ok on floor. She is a great tumbler, but not a natural dancer. She is extemely flexible. The thought is that she can show off her strengths at the optional level. Anyone else experience this?
It's not a standard, but it happens. The skills in the compulsory routines are easy enough that a high percentage of kids will have polished routines, compete them well, and suffer only the occasional fall. That creates a situation where a fairly talented kid may not shine because there's nothing but shine surrounding her, well sorta.

Level 7 work is more demanding and tends to expose each childs weakest event, but allows them to use their best event to rise above the rest of their peers. More than that is the increased difficulty of the skills and the event requirements. Marginal kids are forced to find ways of fulfilling requirements, but kids that learn skills more easily can quickly adapt (relatively speaking) and go beyond that....... and that builds confidence and a sense of purpose that drives them to polish their routines and compete well.

Another factor is the way some, if not many, clubs will put kids that aren't completely invested in the sport onto their teams. These kids who blindly believe they can "have it all" and mix gymnastics with other activities as well as doing little else to help make their gymnastics time as effective as it can be. Sure, they're all dedicated and work hard, but they'll miss the occasional practice, come in with insufficient rest, or are supported by parents that are "iffy" about the sport. Sadly for them it takes more dedication and sense of immersion at the optional level and these kids tend to struggle at meets..... or just get by. Sad thing too, because some of them could be great gymnasts, or soccer players, track athletes, or amazing scholars.

So no, it's not a standard, but it happens quite a bit.
 
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gymgal

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Bookworm has a very powerful one about her DD if she comes here to share.
I could be mixing up people here, but I believe bookworm's dd was fast-tracked through the levels, so the emphasis was not on trying to perfect the compulsory routines or achieve high scores in the lower levels.

As for the OP, some kids just don't do well with the cookie cutter routines where there is no room for error (forget a pose, take one to many steps, etc), but they have great gym skills. Those are the kids that tend to do better at optionals than in compulsory. Sounds like your dd may be one, but it really depends on how well her new routines fit her style and abilities.
 

cbifoja

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I could be mixing up people here, but I believe bookworm's dd was fast-tracked through the levels, so the emphasis was not on trying to perfect the compulsory routines or achieve high scores in the lower levels.
Hmmmm......I could be mixing people up too. I admit that I have a hard time remembering which gymmie goes with which parent.
 

Gymmonkeymomma

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My DD was a below-to-average compulsory gymnast. She is strong and powerful, even as a 6/7 year old, but has little flexibilty. She started to shine at L7 and really took off at L8 and 9. As she gains more skills, she's been able to 'substitute' skills/combos for ones which were weaker.
 

bookworm

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I could be mixing up people here, but I believe bookworm's dd was fast-tracked through the levels, so the emphasis was not on trying to perfect the compulsory routines or achieve high scores in the lower levels. .

Well sort of...she competed a season of 4, and was scored out of levels 5, 6 and 7 so that she could go 8 for a season and her highest compulsory score was a 32.3....I'm sure they would have "liked" her to get higher scores but she just didn't as a compulsory. I don't know what they saw in her to decide to push her through to optionals but they were right, she did much better as an optional. She definitely came into her own as an optional gymnast, which was weird because it was the year after she scored out of compulsories, and then she was scoring 36s and 37s as an 8. Fast forward, she had many years as a successful 10 and is now doing gymnastics in college at a D1 school on a full ride.

To answer the OP's question, yes, we did experience that:)
 
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level9mom

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Apr 30, 2013
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My daughter did "ok" in compulsories but has done much better in optionals. She's a power gymnast but has long, long legs which makes some skills look either gorgeous or terrible. I think optionals allows her coaches to use her strengths and de-emphasize her weaknesses. And this is exactly what the coaches told me would happen her first year in competition.


Every awful story begins with "we were on beam and..."
 

wallflower

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May 16, 2012
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There are a couple of things that I noticed having just watched my DD go from 6 to 7. Definitely a kid that doesn't have the skills in compulsories won't suddenly shine in level 7. If you can't do a straight arm kip and your have froggy tumbling that will still matter. But a kid who is getting "tenthed" to death on beam for things like the scale, the leap, lack of leg flexibility in the BWO, etc can avoid those deductions. My daughter for example had a kind of crappy leap on beam. So when she did level 7 she did a split jump instead of a split leap to fulfill the requirement of 180 split. She also never had a good straddle jump on floor and would often do a bad back extension roll that incurred deductions. The biggest difference I saw for most of the girls DD competed with was on bars. They did very poorly on level 6 bars because they couldn't hit the cast requirements. But as soon as they are allowed to straddle cast in optionals they can cast to handstand. And once the cast higher their free hips are much better. So a lot of kids that were not good at level 6 bars were scoring very well on level 7 bars.
 

vagymmomma

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Generally yes primarily of the ability to substitute skills that match abilities. However, I know of many exceptions as well. Your coaches should know though. A girl who struggled at old level 6 bars will benefit from the lowered casting requirements but it's not going to get them too far without giants. And it's pretty hard to do giants with a poor cast. Plus, the skills get harder and the fears can grow with the difficulty. And I see fall potential everywhere on L8 beam! I'm already scared to death about watching it in meets.
 
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dmytv

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Nov 17, 2009
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my oldest dd is an example of 1 who did better at optionals. She scored well at old 4 but struggled at old 5 and 6 with a new coach who did not know the book. She did not do well at 1st yrlv7 because her gym fell apart. 2nd yr at 7 she struggled with growth issues and new coach, but she did improve her scores. This year she rocked lv 8. She is well on her way to 9 but still has issues. I would say the biggest determining factor is the ability to listen to corrections and the hunger and drive to be better. I have seen kids in my gym who have great talentt, but no drive, and that is the single most indicator.


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Gymfinn7

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Jul 15, 2013
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I was better at optionals than compulsory. Compulsory kept me in a box, and it was a struggle. But once I was free and could work on different skills, my routines, confidence, happiness, and my skills just flourished. Everything got so much better for me.
 
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Dka

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Feb 23, 2013
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My dd is a mix of both, she scored 34-35 at level 4 and never above a 34.5 at level 5 but then she scored 36-37 in level 6, she is going to do one meet of level 7 this year and then compete level 8. It is strange. Bars and vault were her strongest events at level 6 she scored 9.5 in both many times, but floor and beam we low 9... The coaches think she will do very well in optionals...
 
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