Welcome to our Gymnastics Community
Wanting to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.
Sign up

Though it's been asked many times, many ways (Xcel to JO)

Status
Not open for further replies.

Gymx2

Active Member
Proud Parent
Oct 9, 2015
551
Country
USA
I realize this topic has been covered repeatedly (I've even asked this question about a year ago!), but I'm still going to solicit some advice from the more experienced parents on this board. DD (9) is doing Xcel, and when she started a year ago she was very clear to me that she hoped to eventually move to JO. We are at a very competitive, high hours gym where they do not move kids from Xcel to JO, but last year she was new to all of it (came from the 1 hour rec class), and was very middle of the pack, so I didn't see her as ever heading down the JO path. Somewhere along the line things have really clicked for her and she had improved tremendously both with form and skills. I'm well aware that she is not the most talented kid in the gym- I'm not envisioning future scholarships or great accolades in the sport, but she is a very hard-working, very determined, and very physically strong kid who has quickly improved to the point that she feels held back by the slower pace and lower hours of the Xcel program.

At 9 our gym won't move her to JO. It would be so much easier to leave her in this Xcel program, but I have no idea if that's the right path. How the heck do you know? I feel like if she really had the talent then our gym would have picked that out and tracked her to JO (they don't seem to ever after age 7). She loves her team, her coaches, and this gym, but has been very clear that she'll move in a heartbeat to find a JO program that will work for her ("I want to do more hours, and I want to work on harder skills"). Advice?
 

amiandjim

Active Member
Proud Parent
Former Gymnast
Apr 18, 2015
1,466
42
Country
USA
I'm going to say there are many kids that have the talent that don't start gym before the age of 6 or 7, so don't let the fact that your particular gym has rigid requirements lead you to think your DD cannot do JO. I know of one local girl who was plucked from rec last year at the age of 10, did a year of level 3 (won pretty much everything) and is scoring out of 4 and 5 this year to move to 7. At your gym, that wouldn't have been possible. If it were my DD and she wanted to try JO and was willing to put in the work, I would certainly look around and see what is available for her.
 

cadybearsmommy

Active Member
Proud Parent
Dec 31, 2010
1,683
Region 8
Country
USA
My dd has just moved from Xcel to JO this year. Our gym uses Xcel in place of compulsories so we didn't have the issue of having to switch gyms, however the optionals program at our gym is small and currently has no one above an L7. She made quite a jump going from Xcel Silver to L6. She is getting hammered pretty hard in deductions so far in L6 (especially on bars and vault) even though she technically has the skills, the skills are newer to her and not as clean and the judging is a good deal pickier on things like leap and cast requirements. She was easily in the 37's and 38's in Xcel Bronze and Silver and she has been steadily in the 33's since starting L6. Her teammates that came from Xcel gold (scoring 37's) are doing a little better but only within a point or so, so they have seen dramatic drop too and are also getting tenthed to death on the small things. They have went from sweeping the podium and winning or placing high on team awards to last or next to last place team. I think they are a little discouraged but so far they are hanging in there. Just wanted to give you the heads up that it can be a tough transition at first.

Before you switch gyms (especially since you love her gym) have you thought about having a meeting with her coaches and seeing if switching was even a possibility? I know you said they don't normally do it for older girls (although 9 is by no means too late to start JO IMO) but if you told them that you have realistic expectations and that she just wants the opportunity to train more hours and learn more advanced skills, it's possible they might consider giving her a chance. You never know until you ask. It's possible they may not think compulsories are right for her (and they aren't right for everyone so many gymnasts struggle through compulsories), but they might be willing to let her try JO in a couple of years depending on her progress when she is ready for optionals (after scoring out of L4 and L5 of course.) That possibility might be enough to keep your dd happy at her current gym.

If they say no, then yes you might have to consider switching gyms if it's something your dd really wants. Just be sure to factor in all the pros and cons. It will be a lot more of a time and financial commitment for your whole family not just your dd, and you have to make sure the whole family is on board. But if it's what she really wants and your family is willing to make the sacrifice to get her there, than I would switch gyms in a heartbeat if your current gym absolutely refuses to consider any possibility of JO for her now or in the future.

Best of luck with your decision!
 

Gymx2

Active Member
Proud Parent
Oct 9, 2015
551
Country
USA
Thanks! These are all great points! I've talked to DD about the sacrifice the additional hours would require, and the fact that she'd be likely to score much lower if she moved to JO, but she's convinced it's the path she wants to be on. At our gym the hours begin to diverge pretty dramatically between Xcel and JO, so I think it would be difficult to move up in the higher levels, but it's certainly worth exploring with the coaches. For some reason I think I'm a little over-awed by them- as if they're the gods of gymnastics and have already made their decision on my kid, but I need to get over that!
 

cadybearsmommy

Active Member
Proud Parent
Dec 31, 2010
1,683
Region 8
Country
USA
Thanks! These are all great points! I've talked to DD about the sacrifice the additional hours would require, and the fact that she'd be likely to score much lower if she moved to JO, but she's convinced it's the path she wants to be on. At our gym the hours begin to diverge pretty dramatically between Xcel and JO, so I think it would be difficult to move up in the higher levels, but it's certainly worth exploring with the coaches. For some reason I think I'm a little over-awed by them- as if they're the gods of gymnastics and have already made their decision on my kid, but I need to get over that!
You never know! Even though our gym uses Xcel instead of compulsories, they work out true Xcel hours, silver did 6.5 hours and gold did 9 hours and somehow these girls managed to get optional level skills in those low hours. The difference is that they are not as polished as the ones who have been working out the higher hours longer and now they are playing catch up lol. But it's not uncommon to see Xcel gold/platinum girls with L6-7 or even higher skills even working out very low hours. So there's a possibility they might be open to her switching later even if they won't take her in compulsories right now. Or perhaps they would let her have a trial run working out with the JO team for a couple of months after the season is over and see how she is progressing? I definitely understand the intimidation of asking them but it's a fair question and I guarantee you they have parents that bug them much more about much less important things! LOL! :p
 

Seeker

Well-Known Member
Proud Parent
Former Gymnast
Aug 30, 2012
6,673
USA
Country
USA
I would ask them and based on their response, your decision becomes quite clear. My dd didn't even start gymnastics until she was 8 and is L9 at 13, so if your current gym won't work with her, I hope you can find one that will. Maybe a JO gym with not quite as many hours would be better anyway. Might make the transition a bit easier.
 

raenndrops

Well-Known Member
Coach
Proud Relative
Former Gymnast
Oct 24, 2009
6,348
The 'Wood, Ohio
Country
USA
I agree with the others. Talk to your gym. See what they say. If they say no, start looking around. Pay attention to area teams you encounter at meets. Do they have older L3s/L4s. You said your daughter is in Silver. Depending on her current skills, some gyms may offer either L3 or L4.

When you do leave your current gym, do it on good terms. They should understand that you are leaving because your daughter wants JO and they couldn't offer her that. Don't burn that bridge just incase at some point, she needs to change back to them (depending on how high she goes).
 
  • Like
Reactions: cadybearsmommy

CLgym

Active Member
Proud Parent
Dec 22, 2014
1,052
Country
USA
Sounds like my DD was in a very similar situation as yours. She was at a gym with a very selective JO program, and was moved from rec to pre-team to Xcel around age 6-7. She competed one year of Xcel Bronze at age 7. In our gym, the Bronze kids did the JO L3 routines (slightly modified to fit the Bronze time limits). My DD did well (AA scores mostly 37's) and was very interested in more hours/JO. I approached the gym about it, but was told no. So we found another gym. Competition/scoring is definitely tougher in JO (L4) than it was in Xcel, but DD is hanging in there. And the gym change was tough for other reasons too (e.g., old gym was only 5 minutes away while new gym is 35 minutes one-way). However, changing gyms and allowing my DD to try JO was ultimately necessary. My DD may not be standing on top of the podium -- but she is in charge of her own gymnastics journey now (instead of a gym with super selective JO criteria/body proportion requirements deciding what she can or cannot be at age 7-8). Maybe that journey will lead my DD back to Xcel, or maybe not. But at least now she has the opportunity to try!

Stepping off my soapbox :oops: -- I agree with @raenndrops about leaving on good terms. We did. And I'm so happy about that. At my DD's last meet, the JO head coach of old gym (the very one who didn't want DD on the JO team), was cheering for DD while waiting for the next session to start. Even in a big city, it's a small gymnastics world!

Good luck with your decision.
 

Texasmomof3

Member
Proud Parent
Dec 29, 2015
488
Texas
Country
USA
I will join the chorus to say she is not at all too old for JO. My dd didn't even start gymnastics until she was 10. Compulsories were rough on her; she never got over a 35. But she loved it and stuck with it. By 13, she was level 6 state champ on floor and is Still doing well in all four events as an optional gymnast.

I get so sick of hearing kids are too old to try when they are still in elementary school.
 

BachFlyer

Active Member
Proud Parent
Mar 29, 2010
1,091
Country
USA
If you have the ability to support your dd in her pursuit of JO, and that is what she wants, I hope you will believe in the possibilities and try! She is in no way too old. My dd started rec gymnastics at 7, competed old L5 at 8, and competed level 10 for the first time at age 12. I think she can definitely achieve some optional skills in Excel, but imho it will be much harder. SO much of making it to optionals is about strength. It's not just a matter of getting the skills, it's a matter of fine tuning every single muscle in order to develop the proper form that will allow for the more advanced flipping and twisting on floor and eventually vault, and the precise body control for successful bars and beam. For this reason, I think it's rare to achieve many upper level skills in such a small amount of hours. My dd had the benefit of 1) a gym that was willing to believe in her and 2) access to TOPs training. The TOPS program is not necessary, but the targeted conditioning absolutely gave her the strength in a relatively short amount of time, which allowed her to progress faster.

If your gym is already unwilling to let her try at age 9, I'm guessing that won't be change their policy even if she were to get the right optional skills after another year or two. I'd wish that for her, but gyms can be pretty set in their ways. Either way, good luck to you guys!
 

Gymx2

Active Member
Proud Parent
Oct 9, 2015
551
Country
USA
Thanks for the replies! Her first couple of meets this season have gone extremely well, and the more I see her working hard and putting in her all, the more I want to help her have a chance to give the JO path a try.
 

Gymx2

Active Member
Proud Parent
Oct 9, 2015
551
Country
USA
RTT, what skills is she competing with right now?
Still pretty basic stuff in competition. Vault is just the fall flat, although she can land and loves practicing the front handspring. On beam I think it's a half turn, a tuck jump, CW, then a round off dismount. Floor she has ROBHS, and back walk over, and bars is glide, pull over, back hip circle, squat on dismount.
 

wnl256

Active Member
Proud Parent
Sep 26, 2013
687
Country
USA
She loves her team, her coaches, and this gym, but has been very clear that she'll move in a heartbeat to find a JO program that will work for her ("I want to do more hours, and I want to work on harder skills"). Advice?
My advice is that you listen to your child. :)

But make sure she is aware of the time commitment for JO. It's typically much higher than Xcel.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RTT

Gymx2

Active Member
Proud Parent
Oct 9, 2015
551
Country
USA
My advice is that you listen to your child. :)

But make sure she is aware of the time commitment for JO. It's typically much higher than Xcel.
I've shown her the JO training schedule for our gym and talked to her about the demands and sacrifices, and she says she's ready for that. So far she's been 1st and 2nd AA in her first meets this season, which seems so cool to me (why not try to move forward on the Xcel path with that kind of success?), but she is focused on training more and learning harder skills at a faster pace than Xcel allows. I've told her that if she moves to JO she might find herself at the middle or bottom of the pack (I'm not trying to talk her out of anything, but I really want her to have a realistic picture), and I've told her the coaching will be more strict. She is determined. She has affirmations she's handwritten and posted around her bedroom. One says "In great attempts it is glorious even to fail", so even if she ends up back in Xcel I do feel like I should try to help her have a shot at trying JO.
 

gymbeam

Active Member
Proud Parent
Mar 18, 2014
1,931
Country
USA
i'll add that moving back to Xcel from JO is always an option whereas the option to move to JO gets less likely the longer you wait. so i say go for it! if JO is too much, she can always switch back. i would venture to guess that even if you switched gyms for JO that your gym would understand and let you come back there for Xcel later if you ever wanted to. moving for this reason isn't the kind of thing that gyms get upset about so don't let that worry you.

anyway, my daughter went through a very similar journey so i'm totally rooting for your dd! mine walked in a gym for the first time at 8 and due to her age she also got tracked into Xcel. she competed bronze and silver and proved to her very selective/competitive gym that she was capable of more. they did something they rarely do and allowed her to switch to JO almost 18 months ago. since then she has scored out 4, competed a season of 5, competed a season of 7 and she's now 11.5 and has her first level 8 meet in two weeks.

i really you're able to figure out her best path soon. now's the time to switch if she'd move into compulsory levels as they just finished their season in a lot states. but, even if its not the ideal time it couldn't hurt to begin conversations with your gym and other gyms to find out the process and timing that would work out best.

good luck!
 

Gymmom0824

Member
Proud Parent
Jan 19, 2017
100
Country
USA
I'm in a similar situation with my DD who was level 3 and after this meet season her gym started an xcel program where they seemed to have tracked all the older (anyone over 9) girls. My daughter is not happy with the new program and wants to go back to JO. I also feel like her gym is acting like the "gym gods" in their placement of the girls. My daughter would be in the gym 20 hours or more a week if she had the chance. Please keep us up to date on your outcome. I'm currently trying to figure out how to handle my own similar situation. Good luck!
 

raenndrops

Well-Known Member
Coach
Proud Relative
Former Gymnast
Oct 24, 2009
6,348
The 'Wood, Ohio
Country
USA
I've shown her the JO training schedule for our gym and talked to her about the demands and sacrifices, and she says she's ready for that. So far she's been 1st and 2nd AA in her first meets this season, which seems so cool to me (why not try to move forward on the Xcel path with that kind of success?), but she is focused on training more and learning harder skills at a faster pace than Xcel allows. I've told her that if she moves to JO she might find herself at the middle or bottom of the pack (I'm not trying to talk her out of anything, but I really want her to have a realistic picture), and I've told her the coaching will be more strict. She is determined. She has affirmations she's handwritten and posted around her bedroom. One says "In great attempts it is glorious even to fail", so even if she ends up back in Xcel I do feel like I should try to help her have a shot at trying JO.
Any update yet?
I looked upthread to see the skills she is competing. I would hope your gym or another gym would give her a shot to train for level 4 (didn't see kip or front handspring on floor, but there should be plenty of time to get them).
Good luck with your decision.
 

Gymx2

Active Member
Proud Parent
Oct 9, 2015
551
Country
USA
Any update yet?
I looked upthread to see the skills she is competing. I would hope your gym or another gym would give her a shot to train for level 4 (didn't see kip or front handspring on floor, but there should be plenty of time to get them).
Good luck with your decision.
The head coach asked her on Sat. if she would like to try JO. I only found this out as we were leaving the gym and they haven't spoken to me about it, but he was asking her exactly what her skills are and talking to the Xcel head coach about where to place her. She's been having a fantastic season, and is 100% committed to moving to JO if given the chance, so I'm hoping to talk to the coaches this week. Thanks for asking about the update! :)
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Similar threads