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Stuck at Regional Grades?

Learningaswego

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Apr 8, 2019
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I'm not from a gymnastics background and so I'm here looking for advice from others with more knowledge! My daughter just turned 9 and has been taking gymnastics classes for 3 years training 11 hours a week for a small local club.
She has taken Regional Grade 6 and Regional Grade 5 most recently. On both occasions she came first place and received the Champion shield. I have been told by her club that they don't tend to enter National Grades - I don't want to appear pushy but feel she'd benefit from the challenge of National Grades next year? We love the club she trains at and wouldn't want her to go down the compulsory route - gymnastics is a hobby a few evenings a week - Nationals seems like middle ground? I haven't felt confident to challenge them yet or should I just be happy that my daughter has won gold and the shield two years in a row?
 

Jenny

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There is quite a big jump from Grade 5 to National 4. Most obviously bars is upstart cast handstand, 3 giants on shiny. You also have to bear in mind that once she has passed national 4 she has to compete level 4. So you would be looking at flight series on beam, giants on wood bars, and twisting somersaults on floor. So realistically you would be wanting more than 11 hours training.

How does she feel about pushing forwards? Would she be prepared to move to another club to achieve national grades? Would she be prepared for more hours of training? If the answer is yes I would approach your club / coach and let them know she is interested in national grades and would there be any opportunity for her to do them there. If they say no then look elsewhere at least for a trial assessment. Your club may even suggest somewhere if you ask them nicely.

They have obviously done a very good job with her so far so if your daughter isn't bothered about National grades then I would stay and enjoy her journey. What level is she competing?
 

Learningaswego

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There is quite a big jump from Grade 5 to National 4. Most obviously bars is upstart cast handstand, 3 giants on shiny. You also have to bear in mind that once she has passed national 4 she has to compete level 4. So you would be looking at flight series on beam, giants on wood bars, and twisting somersaults on floor. So realistically you would be wanting more than 11 hours training.

How does she feel about pushing forwards? Would she be prepared to move to another club to achieve national grades? Would she be prepared for more hours of training? If the answer is yes I would approach your club / coach and let them know she is interested in national grades and would there be any opportunity for her to do them there. If they say no then look elsewhere at least for a trial assessment. Your club may even suggest somewhere if you ask them nicely.

They have obviously done a very good job with her so far so if your daughter isn't bothered about National grades then I would stay and enjoy her journey. What level is she competing?
Thank you for your reply. Her coach has mentioned her competing level 4 in the autumn. I'm not sure what she can do on vault at the moment but on bars she can do upstart-upstart, upstart straddle handstand - but hasn't connected this to her giants yet which her coach supports (I think she can do three in a row now with coach starting her off over the foam pit) on beam she can do Russian lever to handstand, backwalkover flick and a tuckback dismount, floor is only round off flick tuck back and a punch front round off (terminology from my daughter). She definitely doesn't do any twisting somersaults.

I don't think she'd want to move clubs - she loves it there - but she would spend everyday in the gym if she could so would jump at more hours (though I know they can't offer this). I can see that they challenge her and she's learnt so much I just worry about managing her expectations for the future - I haven't told her about national Grades it's just something I became aware of through other mums and asked at the gym. Maybe we should just enjoy the journey she's on?
She's loves every minute she spends there - even conditioning!
 

rd7

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In our region giants and twisting somersaults are not a requirement at level 4, although they are a bonus. She would need to upgrade her tumbles but otherwise she sounds good to go for level 4 already. She sounds talented for her age, it depends on how far she would like to go with her gymnastics, regional grades, even at the top grade 1 does not have giants in the routine.

Perhaps you could arrange a meeting with the head coach to see if they would consider taking her the national grades route, don't see it as a "challenge", there is nothing wrong with having the discussion. Then take it from there to make your decision.
 
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Learningaswego

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I had a look at a few videos of National Grade 4 last night and she could do the things they were doing but as I understand Gymnastics is all about neatness of moves and because she finds the Regional grade moves easy they are very precise hence the high scores. Maybe this is why the gym are reluctant? However they haven't had anyone since my DD started win the shield once, let alone two years in a row. She's also self motivated (which is why I think she's done so well). She doesn't work hard for her coaches approval she works hard all the time whether someone is watching or not - she does become obsessed with certain things / details (I think she's on the spectrum!) - so she wouldn't need that much support just direction about what she would need to do. AS for how far she wants to go - she understands that girls her age train far more hours in other clubs and these are the children in with a chance of the Olympics etc (she corrects people when they say "you'll end up at the Olympics" - I just haven't used the words Regional, National, Compulsory). From what I understand if she does well at National Grades she could compete with the Regional Team at Nationals? I think she's far off that at the moment but it would be something for her to aim for as she understands she won't be an Olympian - but then again she is self motivated so maybe it won't bother her either way - it would just stop people saying "you'll end up at the Olympics" as she wouldn't be winning everything!
 
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Jenny

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In our region giants and twisting somersaults are not a requirement at level 4, although they are a bonus. She would need to upgrade her tumbles but otherwise she sounds good to go for level 4 already. She sounds talented for her age, it depends on how far she would like to go with her gymnastics, regional grades, even at the top grade 1 does not have giants in the routine.

Perhaps you could arrange a meeting with the head coach to see if they would consider taking her the national grades route, don't see it as a "challenge", there is nothing wrong with having the discussion. Then take it from there to make your decision.
If she competes level 4 this autumn she will be in age and will be up against all the compulsory kids from her region. So she will be competing on in age rules which are set nationally. So straddle cast is a banned move and giants and a close bar are each a 0.5 bonus. On floor a 2 somersault run is a CR. Last years rules but I'm not sure if anything has changed. Sounds like she is close already if she can upgrade tumbles and bars.
 

Jenny

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Thank you for your reply. Her coach has mentioned her competing level 4 in the autumn. I'm not sure what she can do on vault at the moment but on bars she can do upstart-upstart, upstart straddle handstand - but hasn't connected this to her giants yet which her coach supports (I think she can do three in a row now with coach starting her off over the foam pit) on beam she can do Russian lever to handstand, backwalkover flick and a tuckback dismount, floor is only round off flick tuck back and a punch front round off (terminology from my daughter). She definitely doesn't do any twisting somersaults.

I don't think she'd want to move clubs - she loves it there - but she would spend everyday in the gym if she could so would jump at more hours (though I know they can't offer this). I can see that they challenge her and she's learnt so much I just worry about managing her expectations for the future - I haven't told her about national Grades it's just something I became aware of through other mums and asked at the gym. Maybe we should just enjoy the journey she's on?
She's loves every minute she spends there - even conditioning!
Sounds like it would be ideal if she could have a go at National grades at her club. I really think you ought to at least ask about it. Maybe ask about their plans for her for next year and ask if national grades are a possibility.
 

Annikins

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From what you've said I would think national grades were certainly worth asking about. And actually you technically can go from those to the Olympics via the challenge cup although it's not the most 'direct' route!
 

Learningaswego

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From what you've said I would think national grades were certainly worth asking about. And actually you technically can go from those to the Olympics via the challenge cup although it's not the most 'direct' route!
Thank you everyone - highlights my lack of knowledge! But I'm going to ask about National Grades again as she would have another year to get there - so if she did national 4 she wouldn't need to compete level 4 until after Grades if I've got that right? As everyone says she's not there yet and I'm sure the things she can do are far from perfect - unlike the easy moves of Regional Grades. I'm not going to move clubs either but I'll ask again about Nationals - they seem to be moving her on compared to the others in her age group - often putting her with the older girls for certain things - so they are challenging her and she's so happy there and as a family she has a balance of gym and other hobbies (football!).

She's at gym tomorrow so I'll update you all. Thanks again I've learnt a lot
 

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