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For Coaches skipping level 6?

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isaelijohjac

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Hi.

My daughter just left her Y program to compete with a private club. She is 8 years old. She did really great at the Y and loves gymnastics! Her new coach has said that she should probably just compete 1 meet as a 6 and move to a 7. She has all of her 6 skills-not all pretty (clear hip needs work). She is 8 years old, and I am not really seeing the rush to move her. Her coach has said it is better to have them compete optional faster before any fear sets in.


I am not sure what is best for her right now. I am inclined to think she should be a 6-maybe have a great season, and then move on. I have heard varying answers to this and would appreciate any thoughts...
thanks.
 
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gracefulone

Guest
Just from my experience, I'd say if you have any apprehensions, keep her at 6. The two girls I know of at my gym who skipped 6 now are level 8's, both with severe mental blocks on backhandsprings. They haven't done one comfortably in about 3 or 4 years! The coaches kind of regret pushing them too far too fast, but that's just what I've seen.
 

TDiver

Member
Jul 21, 2007
133
TN
I skipped level 6 and went straight to level 7, but something that usually holds people back is their bars and that is the event I was ahead on. I'm not sure if her gym requires giants to compete level 7 so that could be a challenge as well for some people.

If she wants to move to level 7 there are advantages and disadvantages. I was only 9 in level 7 and I never had too many mental issues, and what I did I could work through with a little patience.

She is young so there is no rush unless she wants to get to the elite level. I have friends that are going to be sophmores in high school and are going to be competing their 4th year of level 10. Sure they are continuing to improve, but it can get a bit boring if you just continue to have the same skill level.

I've never been too much of a fan of level 6, but I think it was mostly the bars. I was so thankful to only have to do that baby giant one time! Plus she would have her own routines as a level 7.

Whatever you both choose, good luck!
 
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Geoffrey Taucer

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Jan 21, 2007
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At my gym, our girls would almost always skip level 6 (even before we switched to only doing prep-op). They'd do one meet at 6, then spend the rest of fall getting ready to compete 7 in the spring.

Level 7 is not a huge step above level 6. I don't know the exact requirements off the top of my head, but as I recall the only thing that really separates 6 and 7 is a layout on floor and an acro with flight on beam (ie a backhandspring). And besides, 7 is more fun because you have your own routines.

When in doubt, talk to the coaches. Make sure they're aware of your concerns. But also be ready to trust their judgement. That is, afterall, what you pay them for.
 
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lannamavity

Member
Sep 13, 2007
409
way out West
Hi.

My daughter just left her Y program to compete with a private club. She is 8 years old. She did really great at the Y and loves gymnastics! Her new coach has said that she should probably just compete 1 meet as a 6 and move to a 7. She has all of her 6 skills-not all pretty (clear hip needs work). She is 8 years old, and I am not really seeing the rush to move her. Her coach has said it is better to have them compete optional faster before any fear sets in.


I am not sure what is best for her right now. I am inclined to think she should be a 6-maybe have a great season, and then move on. I have heard varying answers to this and would appreciate any thoughts...
thanks.

You are right to question this one.

The only good reason I can think for an athlete to "skip" anything is because they can already do it well...and is that really "skipping it?" I have seen many kids race through these levels where they are supposed to learn their basics, and in the end almost every single one of them moved up a level, cried for a full season and then quit. Often the move is made to appease parents, even out groups or make coaching "easier" for the short term.

The red flag to me would be the "fear" thing. Does this coach avoid fear by skipping skills, and basics? In the long run, the lack of foundation skills and fewer numbers will catch up and that same fear will arise from lack of experience. Why is this coach anticipating fear?

Your daughter is lucky to have a parent who is willing to step back and ask whether this is something which should be rushed in a world where almost everyone will do anything to get "bigger, better, faster, more, more, more..."
 
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isaelijohjac

Guest
Thanks so much for all of your responses! It's so good to get all of the input!
 

Gym-Nice-tics

Member
May 14, 2008
115
US
At my gym, our girls would always skip level 6 (even before we switched to only doing prep-op). They'd do one meet at 6, then spend the rest of fall getting ready to compete 7 in the spring.

Level 7 is not a huge step above level 6. I don't know the exact requirements off the top of my head, but as I recall the only thing that really separates 6 and 7 is a layout on floor and an acro with flight on beam (ie a backhandspring). And besides, 7 is more fun because you have your own routines.

When in doubt, talk to the coaches. Make sure they're aware of your concerns. But also be ready to trust their judgement. That is, afterall, what you pay them for.

I completely agree with you. The jump from six to seven is small, just a few minute tricks. For the past two seasons we have sort of skipped six at the gym I coach at. The girls compete six from November to January then move to seven.

In most cases I think it was beneficial to the girls. They enjoyed seven more than they ever would have enjoyed six and often their seven scores were higher than their six scores. Only one gymnast struggled with the jump, and that is because she actually jumped four to seven. She did one five meet, two six meets, and bumped up. We thought she might have an issue, but her mom and her told me that she would be too bored with five and was ready for the challenge. While her first half year of seven was rough, she did score 37's this season, so it worked out in the end.
 
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BlairBob

Guest
If you have you or your child or your athlete has any desire, possibility, and inkling towards a college scholarship or Elite, don't waste too much time in compulsory. Especially if they are young.

If however, you were very far away from any gym that competed that high to the point it was never going to be a possibility, then it wouldn't matter so much.
 

gymdog

Well-Known Member
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Relative
Jul 5, 2007
5,121
I'm always surprised when I hear on message boards about how many gyms skip L6 or think L6 to 7 is no big deal. None of the gyms around me skip 6 as a rule (i.e. they only do it with exceptional gymnasts) and I perceive L7 to be very competitive, perhaps one of the most competitive levels here. Many girls have very polished routines particularly on bars and it's difficult to compete at states unless you have a free hip handstand and good giants. This was true even when I was a L7. My gym did not really (and still doesn't) "allow" L7s to compete two free hips below HS so the extra year in compulsories is usually used to work on getting a cast HS and a free hip HS, both of which can be incorporated in the L6 bar routine, and beginning giants.

I can think of one girl who skipped 6 and had a really difficult time. She was frustrated with the success gap between her L5 performance and her L7 performance. In the long run this did not help her. Elite is one story but most of the girls I know doing NCAA gymnastics (even with scholarships) in fact did both L5 and 6. It's not necessary to skip L6 if NCAA is the goal.
 

lannamavity

Member
Sep 13, 2007
409
way out West
I'm always surprised when I hear on message boards about how many gyms skip L6 or think L6 to 7 is no big deal. None of the gyms around me skip 6 as a rule (i.e. they only do it with exceptional gymnasts) and I perceive L7 to be very competitive, perhaps one of the most competitive levels here. Many girls have very polished routines particularly on bars and it's difficult to compete at states unless you have a free hip handstand and good giants. This was true even when I was a L7. My gym did not really (and still doesn't) "allow" L7s to compete two free hips below HS so the extra year in compulsories is usually used to work on getting a cast HS and a free hip HS, both of which can be incorporated in the L6 bar routine, and beginning giants.

I can think of one girl who skipped 6 and had a really difficult time. She was frustrated with the success gap between her L5 performance and her L7 performance. In the long run this did not help her. Elite is one story but most of the girls I know doing NCAA gymnastics (even with scholarships) in fact did both L5 and 6. It's not necessary to skip L6 if NCAA is the goal.

All of my experience in gymnastics is right in line with this post. The compulsories are something for future optional gymnastics to do while they learn their optional skills, not something to avoid.
 
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hammy

Guest
I think you're right to question this, and when in doubt talk to the coach about how you're feeling and what not. Also, talk to your daughter about it. As others have said, there is no real big difference between 6 and 7, so generally what I would recommend is doing compete 6 but train 7 skills then skip over level 7 and compete level 8. If the bar skills and backhandspring aren't there then I wouldn't skip level 6. The compulsory levels are meant to train and prepare them for optionals, and they can be skipped as necessary if the gymnast i able to successfully and correctly do the skills.

Long story short, talk to the coach and your daughter--she's only 8 and it sounds like she's doing great. Maybe she can compete 6, train 7 and 8 skills then skip right to level 8.
 

CoachL

Member
Apr 9, 2007
217
I'm always surprised when I hear on message boards about how many gyms skip L6 or think L6 to 7 is no big deal. None of the gyms around me skip 6 as a rule (i.e. they only do it with exceptional gymnasts) and I perceive L7 to be very competitive, perhaps one of the most competitive levels here. Many girls have very polished routines particularly on bars and it's difficult to compete at states unless you have a free hip handstand and good giants. This was true even when I was a L7. My gym did not really (and still doesn't) "allow" L7s to compete two free hips below HS so the extra year in compulsories is usually used to work on getting a cast HS and a free hip HS, both of which can be incorporated in the L6 bar routine, and beginning giants.

I can think of one girl who skipped 6 and had a really difficult time. She was frustrated with the success gap between her L5 performance and her L7 performance. In the long run this did not help her. Elite is one story but most of the girls I know doing NCAA gymnastics (even with scholarships) in fact did both L5 and 6. It's not necessary to skip L6 if NCAA is the goal.

It really depends on how you train your gymnasts to be honest. We always have a our kids do one level 6 meet to get the qualifying score then they bump immediatley to 7. My girls as levels 4's are in the straps learning giants, casting to hs everyday as warm-up, low bar straps working free hips etc. I strongly believe in training up on every event at least 2 levels, even if its the basic drills. It is a requirement for our 7's to be able to free hip to handstand, giants through to layout, and have a BHS on high beam.

I guess it really comes down to what the goal for your program is, we try to get the kids out of compulsory and into optionals as fast as possible. And we gear that from our level 1 rec kids all the way to our elites.
 

gymdog

Well-Known Member
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Relative
Jul 5, 2007
5,121
It really depends on how you train your gymnasts to be honest. We always have a our kids do one level 6 meet to get the qualifying score then they bump immediatley to 7. My girls as levels 4's are in the straps learning giants, casting to hs everyday as warm-up, low bar straps working free hips etc. I strongly believe in training up on every event at least 2 levels, even if its the basic drills. It is a requirement for our 7's to be able to free hip to handstand, giants through to layout, and have a BHS on high beam.

That's true, but I feel like a lot of gyms aren't doing that. For example I would consider level 4s doing cast to HSs as a daily warm up to be performing pretty exceptionally at that level. But that doesn't seem to be the case to me when people are saying they skip L6 because "L7 is basically the same thing." I don't think L7 is the same thing. Maybe I am wildly misinterpreting it. To me, a (competitive) L7 bar routine is kip cast hand, good free hip well above horizontal, and giants (possibly connected to the free hip). That is, to me, not really the same thing at all as the L6 bar routine. So I don't really understand the school of thought that skipping 6 is no big deal because L7 only has one more requirement. If you do the bare minimum, and I would probably move a "bare minimum" older girl up maybe, but in general I wouldn't want to be setting a kid up for failure in an extremely competitive level doing two horizontal free hips when they are under 10 years old and L6 is not extremely easy for them.

I am not saying this is the case with the OP's child as there is no way I could possibly evaluate that, I am just confused by some statements that if you want to do L10, NCAA, you should skip compulsories. It can work many different ways and different programs go through different ways of getting there, but in general I just feel like the level program is not so wildly off track as to require skipping some of it in order to progress to the end of it as a general rule.
 

lannamavity

Member
Sep 13, 2007
409
way out West
That's true, but I feel like a lot of gyms aren't doing that. For example I would consider level 4s doing cast to HSs as a daily warm up to be performing pretty exceptionally at that level. But that doesn't seem to be the case to me when people are saying they skip L6 because "L7 is basically the same thing." I don't think L7 is the same thing. Maybe I am wildly misinterpreting it. To me, a (competitive) L7 bar routine is kip cast hand, good free hip well above horizontal, and giants (possibly connected to the free hip). That is, to me, not really the same thing at all as the L6 bar routine. So I don't really understand the school of thought that skipping 6 is no big deal because L7 only has one more requirement. If you do the bare minimum, and I would probably move a "bare minimum" older girl up maybe, but in general I wouldn't want to be setting a kid up for failure in an extremely competitive level doing two horizontal free hips when they are under 10 years old and L6 is not extremely easy for them.

I am not saying this is the case with the OP's child as there is no way I could possibly evaluate that, I am just confused by some statements that if you want to do L10, NCAA, you should skip compulsories. It can work many different ways and different programs go through different ways of getting there, but in general I just feel like the level program is not so wildly off track as to require skipping some of it in order to progress to the end of it as a general rule.

I'm right there with you. If a coach is so great, and and an athlete is so great, why would they have to "skip" things? Why not "do" things and train up as well? There are gyms who can do both compulsory and optional training through L6 and 7, and more and more, I think they have the right idea in the long run.
 
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