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Third year level 7

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jenjean70

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The decision was just made last night that my son is going to do a third year at level 7.....Every year he is one of the first gymnasts to make skills and do them consistently for a week or two and then he suddenly gets scared of them and freezes and won't do ANYTHING...not even start a routine. He has some crazy hard skills for level 8 and while he can do them all, he's not consistent and now he's scared. I believe it's the right decision, I just don't know if this is the right sport for him. He's very talented and strong but this fear issue and freezing- I don't know how he'll be able to overcome it. Part of me thinks he should quit after this season, although he says he doesn't want to quit....I don't really know how to approach this.....Help.
 

skschlag

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first of all, it sounds like you have a son with some talent. I would just go with it. If he is happy at 7, then that is great. Boys have so much more time to get everything done. There really isn't the push to get to higher levels faster at all. In fact, many higher levels you can't do until you are old enough!

Not sure how old he is,but I bet he will get it. It will click soon for him, and he will move up. But if he needs a 3rd year at 7, then that is his path :)

Good luck to him! Can't wait to hear how his season goes!
 

profmom

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How old is he? It sounds like one more year at L7 is just the ticket -- take the pressure off and give him some confidence. It's great how the levels with the boys allow for growth and expansion within the level. He will have the chance to clean up and add some bonuses.

It's not uncommon in DS's gym for boys to hit a period of stalling out on stuff between approximately age 11-13 or so and then pick up and start moving forward rapidly again. Frustrating, but if they can hang in, it pays off.
 

jenjean70

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Thank you for your help. He turned 11 in July so he can do level 8 this year and I know he wants to but his brain won't let his body do it. He was much happier yesterday knowing that the pressure to do the giant on pbars (which he could do this summer and a couple of weeks ago), double back off pbars (landed on feet once), the koz on vault (hasn't landed it yet), the whip one and half and double full on floor (hit or miss on both), plus the healey on high bar (never done in a routine) and his double back dismount on high bar (stuck a few times) was off.
On Saturday he was doing his healey and double back off high bar into the pit when his coach asked him to try a full twisting double back into the pit and he couldn't make himself try then on Monday he became scared of his layout off of the high bar all because he was scared of the full twisting double back....my boy is different. :)
 
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GymDad23

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Our gym recently had a free workshop with a sports psychologist, which received decent feedback, so she is now coming back periodically throughout the year (for a small fee for each additional workshop, of course). My kids have the attention span of a grapefruit, so they hardly listened and probably goofed around while the initial presentation was going on, as it was conducted near the end of the practice, but they did not want to sign up for any further workshops. Though, hearing from other parents and some more "mature" kids, it was helpful and informative, which is why they are continuing the workshops.

But, from what you described above, it seems like it touches all aspects of the gymnast's mind. From the emailed handout we received, here are a few excerpts that seem to fall in line with a lot that you hear about on CB.....

...... a presentation about mental skills training and why it is important for success in gymnastics. She will provide information about the different types of mental skills and how they can be applied in different situations such as prior to meets, during competition, post-injury, or when encountering skill-specific fears.

Utilizing her experience as an athlete (marathon/track runner, gymnast, swimmer) along with her sport psychology knowledge, she uses both general and sport-specific interventions to assist athletes in enhancing performance, improving mental skills, overcoming mental obstacles, and reaching their personal goals.


.... psychological aspect of injury, fear of reinjury, skill gaining/maintaining confidence, and return to sport. The mindset of being injured is often one that is not thought of or respected enough, as it changes one's personal identity as an athlete to a sidelined supporter, and returning to the gym includes more than just getting skills back. The "ah-ha" moment will be realizing that all athletes go through the same trepidations and thoughts, some just more internal than others.

Not sure if this is something for you, but it's out there. Could be something to approach to your gym if you don't want to make it an individual thing for your child's comfort level.
 
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skschlag

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Thank you for your help. He turned 11 in July so he can do level 8 this year and I know he wants to but his brain won't let his body do it. He was much happier yesterday knowing that the pressure to do the giant on pbars (which he could do this summer and a couple of weeks ago), double back off pbars (landed on feet once), the koz on vault (hasn't landed it yet), the whip one and half and double full on floor (hit or miss on both), plus the healey on high bar (never done in a routine) and his double back dismount on high bar (stuck a few times) was off.
On Saturday he was doing his healey and double back off high bar into the pit when his coach asked him to try a full twisting double back into the pit and he couldn't make himself try then on Monday he became scared of his layout off of the high bar all because he was scared of the full twisting double back....my boy is different. :)
So, my son did well at 8 without most of this. He did not do the double back off hb, just pbars and rings. He did a tsuk on vault, very few did anything else. HE still doesn't have a giant on pbars but will do well at 9. He did not do the whip one and 1/2 on floor either. And I am not sure what a healy on hb is. I know what one is on pbs. And a full twisting double back? At 8? I saw, maybe, 2 of those.
 

profmom

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My son won't be competing most of that stuff as a first year L9. Your guy has plenty of time. As a veteran of pbar giant woes, let me tell you that he should take all the necessary time to build that skill. DS's been competing it now for two years and it is still a hot mess that probably shouldn't be in his routine.
 
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skschlag

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Are these requirements for your gym? These seem like very high requirements for a 1st year level 8. I know many successful 9s that do not have those skills.

My ds will be competing double fulls this year as a 2nd year level 9.
 

jenjean70

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So, my son did well at 8 without most of this. He did not do the double back off hb, just pbars and rings. He did a tsuk on vault, very few did anything else. HE still doesn't have a giant on pbars but will do well at 9. He did not do the whip one and 1/2 on floor either. And I am not sure what a healy on hb is. I know what one is on pbs. And a full twisting double back? At 8? I saw, maybe, 2 of those.
I know...our gym doesn't like to "water down" routines so they can compete a certain level...They want them to do the most difficult skills possible to get the highest scores possible so NOT doing some of the skills is not an option with them. The full twisting double is something they were thinking about adding in the second year of level 8 or first year 9 so it was just a "hey, why don't you try this for fun" sort of thing- Unfortunately, it overloaded and short circuited his brain even more. They wanted him to go to nationals as an 11 year old level 8 in JE, but that won't happen now. Hopefully he'll be able to run through a couple of level 7 routines each practice then focus on level 8 routines....We'll see how the season goes!
 
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jenjean70

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Are these requirements for your gym? These seem like very high requirements for a 1st year level 8. I know many successful 9s that do not have those skills.

My ds will be competing double fulls this year as a 2nd year level 9.
Yes. Our gym wants them to compete the most difficult combinations of skills available.... :( Unfortunately it's too much for him to learn and feel confident competing this year....That's why he's freaking out all over the place and freezing up....
 
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jenjean70

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My son won't be competing most of that stuff as a first year L9. Your guy has plenty of time. As a veteran of pbar giant woes, let me tell you that he should take all the necessary time to build that skill. DS's been competing it now for two years and it is still a hot mess that probably shouldn't be in his routine.
:) Thanks! I hear it's a scary skill!
 
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skschlag

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WOW. I don't see what D did as watered down. He met all the requirements, and then some. What I have seen over the years is higher difficulty does not always equal higher scores. It is usually the opposite....
 

jenjean70

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May 11, 2016
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Our gym recently had a free workshop with a sports psychologist, which received decent feedback, so she is now coming back periodically throughout the year (for a small fee for each additional workshop, of course). My kids have the attention span of a grapefruit, so they hardly listened and probably goofed around while the initial presentation was going on, as it was conducted near the end of the practice, but they did not want to sign up for any further workshops. Though, hearing from other parents and some more "mature" kids, it was helpful and informative, which is why they are continuing the workshops.

But, from what you described above, it seems like it touches all aspects of the gymnast's mind. From the emailed handout we received, here are a few excerpts that seem to fall in line with a lot that you hear about on CB.....

...... a presentation about mental skills training and why it is important for success in gymnastics. She will provide information about the different types of mental skills and how they can be applied in different situations such as prior to meets, during competition, post-injury, or when encountering skill-specific fears.

Utilizing her experience as an athlete (marathon/track runner, gymnast, swimmer) along with her sport psychology knowledge, she uses both general and sport-specific interventions to assist athletes in enhancing performance, improving mental skills, overcoming mental obstacles, and reaching their personal goals.


.... psychological aspect of injury, fear of reinjury, skill gaining/maintaining confidence, and return to sport. The mindset of being injured is often one that is not thought of or respected enough, as it changes one's personal identity as an athlete to a sidelined supporter, and returning to the gym includes more than just getting skills back. The "ah-ha" moment will be realizing that all athletes go through the same trepidations and thoughts, some just more internal than others.

Not sure if this is something for you, but it's out there. Could be something to approach to your gym if you don't want to make it an individual thing for your child's comfort level.
I have thought about trying to find a sports psychologist for him...he doesn't talk much or open up about anything....
 
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jenjean70

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WOW. I don't see what D did as watered down. He met all the requirements, and then some. What I have seen over the years is higher difficulty does not always equal higher scores. It is usually the opposite....
I agree...especially for my son who gets very loose and sloppy when he's learning or competing a scary skill that he is not confident with. I have talked to them about their skill requirements before but it's just how they do it....
 

profmom

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I know...our gym doesn't like to "water down" routines so they can compete a certain level...They want them to do the most difficult skills possible to get the highest scores possible so NOT doing some of the skills is not an option with them. The full twisting double is something they were thinking about adding in the second year of level 8 or first year 9 so it was just a "hey, why don't you try this for fun" sort of thing- Unfortunately, it overloaded and short circuited his brain even more. They wanted him to go to nationals as an 11 year old level 8 in JE, but that won't happen now. Hopefully he'll be able to run through a couple of level 7 routines each practice then focus on level 8 routines....We'll see how the season goes!
I don't know. It seems like that is a lot of unnecessary pressure. I wonder if his fears are a kind of sensible psychological reaction to slow things down. If anyone needs a sports psychologist, I think it's your head coach if what you're reporting reflects how they are coaching all their athletes. Pushing a kid to add twisting to a double-flipping skill if the double-flipping skill isn't solid seems like a great recipe for creating vestibular problems. (DS has only just started twisting his doubles into the pit after a full year of doing the DB dismount in competition on rings.)

I can tell you definitively that most difficult routines does not equal highest scores, both from my son's experience at L8 last year and from seeing other athletes compete as optionals in boys' JO/JE. Doing a C or D skill that will take .3 or more in deductions will lose out to the clean A or B every single time. That will be even more true this year with them tightening up on awarding credit for skills performed with bent arms. (Spaghetti boy REALLY needs to lock it out!)
 

sce

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I wonder of this gym's philosophy is altogether not a good fir for your boy. Repeating 7 might be the best choice, but a different approach to level 8 might have also been possible. The skills they are asking of him are pretty high level. As well, "just try it" is not always the best way to approach a skill like that.
 

samsmama

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You are getting great advice from much more experienced moms than myself. I'll just add that I agree that it might be worth considering another gym that takes a less pressured approach. For a kid with fear issues, the type of style you're describing doesn't sound healthy.

My son developed fears as a L5 and while he had a very talented coach, that coach's approach to dealing with the fear wasn't working for my son. It got so bad I didn't think he would stay in the sport. A gym switch 6 months ago did wonders for him -- he's still cautious, but he's able to move past his fears. Ironically, the new gym is a bigger, more competitive program that some might view as more intense, but this particular coach has been a miracle worker for my kid and he is on track to be a great L6.
 
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gymboymom

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That's a lot to ask of an 11 year old. Our 11-12 year old L8s are going to start with easier routines and add skills as the season progresses. They could have done L7 but the coaches decided on this approach to L8 instead. I'm thinking my ds's L8 routines will look more like L7 routines with some of the bonuses.
Obviously this is not a choice at your gym, but I'd be concerned with the coaching style if they are asking him to try things and his fear level escalates that much.
 

jenjean70

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I wonder of this gym's philosophy is altogether not a good fir for your boy. Repeating 7 might be the best choice, but a different approach to level 8 might have also been possible. The skills they are asking of him are pretty high level. As well, "just try it" is not always the best way to approach a skill like that.
I agree but he loves the gym, the coaches and his friends. The coaches are young, enthusiastic and VERY competitive. Our gym is up and coming and our 11 year old level 8s both made Nationals in JE out of region 3....Now both of those boys will compete this year as 13 year old level 9s. We will have 3 first year 13 year old level 9s this year. I think the coaches see we will have a super strong level 7, 11 year old team but my son was a little upset because he's never done 3 years at one level....I think it will fine as long as he gets to really learn and get comfortable with the harder skills.
 

krc

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Level 7 is perfectly fine for an 11yo - probably where he should be. There will be VERY few 11 yo JE's. (remember most would be 10 under the old age date)
The skills you have listed are a lot for an 11yo mind to process. Stay at L7 and enjoy the sport. Why no Future Stars?

KRC
 
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