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The "Elite" track

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jgymkidmom

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I am sorry if this has been posted on already but, I cannot find it anywhere...Can someone please explain the difference between "the Elite Track" vs progressing normally through the levels? My daughter's coach said he wants to jump her from 5 to 7 and possibly 8 this year and then put her on the elite track....What is the difference between that and progressing 8,9,10, then elite???
Then, once you are officially on the "elite track" do you still compete in the regular meets or do you only go to "elite" meets?
Thanks
 

lannamavity

Member
Sep 13, 2007
409
way out West
The "elite track" is a separate program from the Junior Olympic Program, but athletes may participate in both until an athlete is considered "an elite gymnast" according to the USAG.

The elite program includes TOPs, Hopes and the Jr and Sr Elite Levels, all depending on age.

The JO Program is based on ability level.

Competitions which are designated "Open" have sessions for both Level 10s and Elites combined.

JO athletes at any level can go to elite qualifiers to try to achieve Elite status.
 

gym law mom

Active Member
Proud Parent
Dec 23, 2006
2,527
Country
USA
What is sounds like he is talking about is fast tracking her through the levels. Any L10 can go to an elite qualifying meet and if they get the required score(done under the FIG code) then they get the elite designation. Usually about 100 girls/year in the US are competing as elites. I've know quite a few from our former gym that did the fast track, got to elite status and burned out------too many hours, lots of injuries, gym was their life and as they got to be 14 and older, wanted some time away from it all. Some stayed and were able to drop back and compete as L10s and get college scholarships. Its a huge committment for the gymnast and the family----not an inexpensive one either.
 
B

BlairBob

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Let's say L4 do 10 hours a week, L5 do 12, L6 do 14 and optionals do 16-20. An elite track will put them probably at the minimum of 20-30 and possibly 2 practices per day requiring homeschooling or tutors.

Through the JO program it is very progressive, except you lose time in the preseason and competitive season practicing routines and refining them. It's good and all, but the Elite track puts an emphasis on physical preparation and skill learning so you can learn at a faster rate typically.
 
M

myjalark

Guest
You have to be careful too, our DD is 10 and is training for hopes this year, this is a very regimented program and if you are not careful burnout can be very high. You are talking about 20-30 hours (closer to 30-35) at this level of training you are talking about a very big potential for injury. You have to weigh your options and understand what you are getting not only your DD into but your family. Gymnastics is a wonderful sport and can do wonders for children but elite gymnastics has become about harder and harder skills. The attitude is that they sky is the limit.

When you have a young child on an "elite track" there is a serious balancing game to play to make sure that the child is healthy and happy. Happiness comes first in my mind, and although no one likes to admit it as gym mom's we do get over involved and sometimes forget that this is our childs sport, not ours. If your child wants to go elite and she knows what that means then go for it. Just make sure she really knows what it means - not just the end result. Coaches are going to push kids they see talent in and sometimes unintentionally they push them before their little phyche's can handle that much pressure so again, I caution you about moving up that fast.

I think about it in these terms... Right now my DD is 10, she's training for USAG level 9 and also hopes. If she continues to train for elite she will be 11 at level 10, 12-13 as an junior elite and still have to wait 5 years to go to college. That's five years she has to train 30-35 hours a week and beat the heck out of her body.

With all that being said, I don't think it's necessarily bad for kids to go elite. I just think people need to go in with ALL of the information not just the thought of how wonderful it will be to have an elite gymnast because the truth is there are very few elite gymnasts for a reason.
 

LemonLime

Active Member
Proud Parent
Jul 16, 2007
776
I am sorry if this has been posted on already but, I cannot find it anywhere...Can someone please explain the difference between "the Elite Track" vs progressing normally through the levels? My daughter's coach said he wants to jump her from 5 to 7 and possibly 8 this year and then put her on the elite track....What is the difference between that and progressing 8,9,10, then elite???
Then, once you are officially on the "elite track" do you still compete in the regular meets or do you only go to "elite" meets?
Thanks


I believe there are as many "elite tracks" as there are elite gyms. An elite gym is not one who wants to have elites, an elite gym is one who has elites or has had them in the recent past (I don't mean one year, but over ten years ago would probably be too different from the current environment). When a coach gets stars in their eyes about a child, the parent needs to watch what is going on with other kids on this track who are older and perhaps more skilled. Are they successful, happy, placing well among their peers, have great basics, etc.? A coach need not have coached elites in the past to be a potential elite coach, but they do need to have a plan and a realistic approach. Sometimes a child is pushed up levels simply to be a high level at a young age and placements and basics are irrelevant in that progression. Sometimes kids chuck skills without a balanced approach to basics and conditioning. That may be the "elite path" at a particular gym, but it is one to be guarded against as a parent.

Many kids on elite "track" participate in the Tops and Hopes programs. These are not essential by any means and JO is truly one of the best developmental programs imaginable. Participation in them, however, gives a gym and their gymnasts solid feedback on execution and elite skill progression which is good information to have as a gymnast develops.
 
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dadingym

Member
Oct 10, 2008
111
Wow. I couldn't agree with this statement more. We are struggling with the balance between the demand of elite gymnastics and "normal" childhood. We struggle with it every day... are we doing the right thing? Is a 9 year olds dream even real or does she feel this way because she knows nothing else? It is so hard. We pray a lot and hope the Lord will guide us in the right direction. Along the road, we simply listen to her body and try to expose her to as much as possible outside the gym.


You have to be careful too, our DD is 10 and is training for hopes this year, this is a very regimented program and if you are not careful burnout can be very high. You are talking about 20-30 hours (closer to 30-35) at this level of training you are talking about a very big potential for injury. You have to weigh your options and understand what you are getting not only your DD into but your family. Gymnastics is a wonderful sport and can do wonders for children but elite gymnastics has become about harder and harder skills. The attitude is that they sky is the limit.

When you have a young child on an "elite track" there is a serious balancing game to play to make sure that the child is healthy and happy. Happiness comes first in my mind, and although no one likes to admit it as gym mom's we do get over involved and sometimes forget that this is our childs sport, not ours. If your child wants to go elite and she knows what that means then go for it. Just make sure she really knows what it means - not just the end result. Coaches are going to push kids they see talent in and sometimes unintentionally they push them before their little phyche's can handle that much pressure so again, I caution you about moving up that fast.

I think about it in these terms... Right now my DD is 10, she's training for USAG level 9 and also hopes. If she continues to train for elite she will be 11 at level 10, 12-13 as an junior elite and still have to wait 5 years to go to college. That's five years she has to train 30-35 hours a week and beat the heck out of her body.

With all that being said, I don't think it's necessarily bad for kids to go elite. I just think people need to go in with ALL of the information not just the thought of how wonderful it will be to have an elite gymnast because the truth is there are very few elite gymnasts for a reason.
 
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