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Thoughts on Challenge Cup

Jimjac

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With the challenge cup completed for 2019 and quite a few threads about Challenge cup just wondered what people's thoughts were on the competition.
I noticed a few girls that qualified to compete at challenge didn't compete. I know 1 was definitely injured and another was stopped by her club because they didn't think she would passed (yes a very upset girl at being told this!).
As expected due to the tough pass mark requirements, only a few girls passed. Also noticed a large number of girls (mainly juniors) who scored below the qualifying mark in the actual competition. Personally I feel this highlights the issue of relying on 1 competition (both in a good and bad way). Maybe the pass mark (from Challenge) should be lowered but to be achieved at 2 national type competitions (I think regional judging is to variable)

Pass Mark ( I think I have this correct?)no. competedno. Passed% passedno. less than qualifying mark% less than qualifying mark
Seniors
48.5​
28​
1​
3.57%​
8​
28.6%​
Juniors
47.5​
53​
1​
1.89%​
25​
47.2%​
Espoirs
47​
58​
5​
8.62%​
12​
20.7%​
Total
139​
7​
5.04%​
45​
32.4%​


I just thought for interest I'll add some figures (hopefully reasonably accurate) from my daughter's year on those who have qualified for the British.
44 qualified for the British
19 passed compulsories in Age
7 passed compulsories out of Age (some 3 years out of Age)
18 passed though challenge, 17 as Espoirs, 1 as a junior
 

Learning Parent GB

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I was at the Challenge Cup this year. My daughter is one of your statistics of the juniors who didn't meet the qualifying score on the day. (She is painfully aware of that!) But actually, having just come back from injury we felt she had earned her place to compete and didn't look out of place - just had some falls from lack of comp practice in the run up.

Now I know that is just one case, and doesn't help look at the overall picture. Or does it? From what I saw most of the seniors have been through their growth spurt, and you only have the real contenders left. How many of those juniors are going through growth and puberty issues? Maybe not all, but from what I've seen every gymnast tends to have one 'tricky season' and if I had to guess when that was I would put it in that junior age category.

I did feel watching that there were 2 types of gymnasts there. Some pleased to reach such a prestigious competition and those who are just below the compulsory level and would be hoping to qualify to the British. For that second category, there were a couple who to my eye had one unfortunate out of bounds, or wobble and just missed out when they were clearly deserving. So I'd love them to have a second opportunity.

There was lots of talk about changing the rules with regards to the British and requiring some to re-qualify if they drop below a certain score. How they manage that to ensure fairness between the top Challenge girls and bottom British girls will be interesting to see.
 

Jenny

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@Jimjac it's not really a 'pass' mark it is a qualification score. Pass makes it sound like if you don't pass you fail which is not the case here. Challenge is a valid and prestigious competition in its own right. Many girls are not there to try and qualify to the British. Indeed there are girls who make the qualification score but choose not to move up to the British. For their own personal gymnastics journey this is where they are happy to be. We do these girls a disservice by only talking about qualification or passing. It is really not why a lot of girls are there.

A couple of years ago a lot of espoirs qualified through challenge. This might be the year group you mention. Previously only a few would qualify each year in each age group. The qualification score was raised the year after to address this. I would be interested to see the same statistics you listed for all year groups of birth from 07 to 01. See how they have changed with the addition of out of age compulsory passes allowed and the introduction of compulsory 1.

There are some changes for next year outlined in the WTC updates which include raising the qualification score to get to Challenge to 43.

It is always going to be difficult to move girls between Challenge and the British fairly and efficiently as every competition has it's own unique set of circumstances and every gymnast their own unique journey.

A very big well done to all the gymnasts and their coaches who competed.
 
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Annikins

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This really shows up how it is virtually impossible to qualify for the British via the Challenge Cup. Only one gymnast in two of the age groups, in the entire country, and only five in the other, managed to qualify. It really makes it not a viable route. I find it really disappointing and frustrating, because the only realistic route becomes the compulsories, which means that not being able to do one or two skills can prevent you ever being able to compete in the top competition in the country, and stops you being able to even aim for national squad at an extremely young age.

My daughter would really like to aim for this, but coming from a small, young (new) gym club, who have never done compulsories before (although it is their eventual aim), it looks incredibly unlikely to happen. She's only just turned 9 and has some talent (not quite sure how much!), so I don't really think she should be written off quite yet, but looking at these statistics, there really is no alternative route, which is pretty demoralising to be honest.
 

Learning Parent GB

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This really shows up how it is virtually impossible to qualify for the British via the Challenge Cup. Only one gymnast in two of the age groups, in the entire country, and only five in the other, managed to qualify. It really makes it not a viable route. I find it really disappointing and frustrating, because the only realistic route becomes the compulsories, which means that not being able to do one or two skills can prevent you ever being able to compete in the top competition in the country, and stops you being able to even aim for national squad at an extremely young age.

My daughter would really like to aim for this, but coming from a small, young (new) gym club, who have never done compulsories before (although it is their eventual aim), it looks incredibly unlikely to happen. She's only just turned 9 and has some talent (not quite sure how much!), so I don't really think she should be written off quite yet, but looking at these statistics, there really is no alternative route, which is pretty demoralising to be honest.
You are right, it is very tricky if you are not going the compulsory route. But an ideal set up for a new club with a seriously talented gymnast would be to partner with a nearby elite club.
However, the other way to look at it is that the British is just one competition a year. Children do lots of sports competitively and can still be successful without competing at the top national competition. I liked Jenny's response above in that actually competing at the Challenge Cup is a major competition and a true sign of success. And for a gymnast who is at the very top of the sport, there is at least a route available.
 

Faith

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This really shows up how it is virtually impossible to qualify for the British via the Challenge Cup. Only one gymnast in two of the age groups, in the entire country, and only five in the other, managed to qualify. It really makes it not a viable route. I find it really disappointing and frustrating, because the only realistic route becomes the compulsories, which means that not being able to do one or two skills can prevent you ever being able to compete in the top competition in the country, and stops you being able to even aim for national squad at an extremely young age.
I agree. I also agree with @Jenny that challenge cup in itself is a great comp and a big achievement for many gymnasts.

However I do think compulsories are the only realistic option, purely because in many clubs, those are the gymnasts being given the hours and the coaching needed to reach that standard. It is intensive and it does burn many out, relies on spotting ability very early and concentrating on those few..

That doesn't leave many resources for the slower burners to take an alternative path but reach the same level as a junior.

It is difficult for clubs and coaches as having successful compulsory kids will attract other potentially good kids. Focussing on alternative pathways may be good but means you need parent properly on board as sometimes it is difficult for them to see the long view- they may percieve their child as "behind" or should be doing compulsories. It's a long term plan and a difficult on because it also keeps kids outside the British Gymnastics squads and away from potential funding.

Compulsories I believe were introduced to slow talented gymnasts down and stop coaches pushing very young kids and burning them out, back in the days when we had 12 year old World Champions who had 5 minute careers. It seems to have evolved into the opposite somewhere along the line.

Hypothetically, if BG scrapped compulsories what would you like to see instead? Everyone doing the NDP route and challenge cup? Maybe a pass mark for the highest NDP grade to British, so a chance to qualify there or through challenge? Or a more level 1-10 US style? Or two or three "open" competitions where you get the chance to qualify a pass mark? More movement in the system between compulsories and NDP? ie pass NDP grade x and move to compulsory 2 or 1..
 
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coach1234

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@Jimjac Challenge is a valid and prestigious competition in its own right. Many girls are not there to try and qualify to the British.
This 100%! only a small amount of girls here are even trying to qualify, most of them this is their British Championships and just to make it to this competition is a massive achievement!
 
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Annikins

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Learning Parent GB - yes, the challenge cup is a huge achievement in itself, and my daughter and we would definitely see it as such. But I suppose what I'm saying is that at such a young age, I feel like she should still be thinking that if she works hard and everything falls into place, she could aim for the very top, but actually it's just not true, even at 9! I would like to see more help from the bigger clubs to the smaller, but the reality is that you're competing against them, so they are unlikely to help your gymnast beat theirs. But I would really love to see the more experienced coaches mentoring the all younger ones, and not just those at their own clubs.

Faith - I think the compulsories do rely on seeing potential so young (especially flexibility and co-ordination) and it rules out some with other strengths. For example, my daughter is very powerful, and I think is showing more potential the harder the skills get, but struggles with the control at this age on some of the compulsory skills, particularly the R&C (which isn't even competed in FIG, yet this might be what prevents her qualifying!).

What I'd like to see instead - I suppose it would be much greater movement both ways between British and Challenge. In tennis, the WTA tour has a main end of year championships for the top 8, and then a secondary one for the next 8, and it would be great to have the British and Challenge like that. So maybe everyone competes the challenge qualifiers (maybe two or three regional comps per year?) Then take the top 40(?) scorers in the country, and they go to the British and the next 40 go to Challenge finals (obviously there will be some issues with regional scoring varying, but there is already anyway. So every year, you have 2 or 3 chances to get a good enough score, and you can genuinely see how you are doing against the rest of the country. Eg tenth in the challenge is equivalent to 50th in the country, which is still amazing! And it means each year you have the same chance as everyone else to qualify, if you can score the best scores with FIG rules. It would genuinely give the late bloomers a decent chance to shine.

The grade/level system - I think I would go more toward the US system, yes, with only the very low levels having required skills, which are basic skills all gymnasts need anyway eg flics/split jumps/leaps. Then switch to optionals so everyone can build their own routines based around their own strengths. As long as you can build difficulty somehow, surely it doesn't matter precisely which skills you include? Maybe even have the levels built around difficulty bands?

As for the idea that having worked incredibly hard to do three years of compulsories, you finally make it to the British, then you have one bad day and the entire three years work are wasted as you then are sent back to the Challenge Cup to try to do the almost impossible task of re-qualifying - that would be just devastating!! I really don't think that's a good idea at all, unless the easier movement goes in both directions!

I am not from a gymnastics background, so I might have the wrong end of the stick here, but they are my thoughts for what they are worth!
 

Jenny

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People seem to forget you can do compulsories at any age and compulsories include the basic building blocks for the harder skills that you would want to be doing at FIG. Late bloomers can go this route too. The skills in compulsories are easier than the skills they would want to be doing in FIG really. I can't think of any skills off the top of my head in compulsory that you wouldn't want your FIG gymnast to be able to do?

Focusing on control at a younger age is only beneficial to the long term development of excellent technical skills at an older age.

All gymnasts have strengths and weaknesses. Compulsory grades encourages working on weaknesses as well as strengths. It is very important that we encourage this. Gymnasts are able to offset their weaker pieces by scoring more on their stronger pieces.

@Annikins if your daughter is 9 she has many years ahead of her to do either route to the British. However it doesn't matter how hard she works or how much talent she has if she isn't at the club that will take her on a route to the British. That is something worth finding out.

Saying then 'you can genuinely see how you are doing against the rest of the country' sounds a bit mean but I'm sure you didn't mean it that way. I could answer that by saying ' all the girls at the British have passed their compulsory grades which shows they are proficient in the basic building blocks desirable to create good routines at FIG level' . Any girl with those skills can pass compulsory grades in a year and go to the British. Any gymnast who thinks they should be at the British could do that couldn't they?

But we all know its not as simple as that. The things that are stopping them - lack of coaching expertise, lack of hours, lack of training facility, lack of support, lack of skills, injury, lack of funding, etc etc - all those things will also stop them making the qualification score / scoring well at FIG. It is what it is. There are no shortcuts in gymnastics.
 
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Annikins

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Jenny - no I certainly didn't mean it to sound 'mean', sorry if it came across that way. Maybe it's coming from a different sport, but in my sport there was a national ranking list going all the way down to 1000th position plus, so you could set targets for yourself that way. For example, someone ranked 80 (or even 800th) in the country at the end of one year could set the target of being in the top 50 (or 700th) by the end of the following year, but with all the different types of competition in gymnastics, it's not as clear (to me at least). What I meant was you could actually see clearer where you would 'rank' in the country, and hopefully see improvements each year to encourage you, so even if you never made it to the British you could have different aims. Does that still sound mean? It doesn't to me at all, it's just a ranking system, used in many sports, but maybe it's not accepted in gymnastics?

As I say, I'm not from a gymnastics background, so I think I don't entirely understand why some of the compulsory skills are necessary. I sort of look at the end result on TV, and not see those skills obviously being used! I'm certainly no expert, but that's why it's helpful to be able to question things and have them explained by someone who knows what they are talking about! I find generally that parents are not expected/wanted to try to understand the way things work, but I find it really interesting and want to understand what I can about it. My daughter spends enough hours training it!

I am not sure whether my daughter's club would be able to take her a route to the British, whether the coaches (although great) are experienced enough, or whether she would be given enough hours (or whether she has the mental and physical attributes to get there anyway). On the other hand, she is very happy there, with her coach and her squadmates, which matters more to me than those things, and is progressing well in her own way. I'm not sure whether she would be accepted for the elite path at a big club anyway due to her lack of control and confidence. I just wish we didn't have to tell her at such a young age that she is unlikely to be able to get there no matter how hard she works, it feels like the wrong message. Does that make sense?
 
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Jenny

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Which compulsory skills do you not think are important to create a well balanced and technically strong FIG gymnast?

As coach I see all of them as a progression to something else I think but maybe there are some?

"I just wish we didn't have to tell her at such a young age that she is unlikely to be able to get there no matter how hard she works."

I wouldn't tell her, no need. And as discussed the reasons are not to do with the system as much as her coaches, where she lives, ability, resources, attitude, strengths and weaknesses etc etc etc. I'm not saying this is you as you seem to have a good idea of her strengths but I think it is easy to blame the system/ club/ coaches when if we look deep inside our child does not have the attributes to take her there, regardless of the system/ club / coaches. And that is OK. It is OK not to be 'elite', it is OK not to be FIG. As you rightly pointed out being happy, working hard, making progress, having great teammates, great coaching relationships, great experiences is far more important and will impact on her life far more deeply.

As for national ranking then at Challenge you would have a national ranking for challenge gymnasts each year, At the British one for British gymnasts each year. At the English you would get a ranking for all gymnasts each year (open entry so Challenge, British and non challenge). In region you would get a ranking in your level. So plenty of opportunities to set targets and see where you are and aim to move up. I don't see that anymore ranking is required really. Each competition is a ranking isn't it. No national ranking is perfect because the best competitor could be ill that day or compete under par. So ranking doesn't mean you are the best, 5th, 50th in the country full stop, it just means you are the best, 5th, 50th at that one competition , that one day from that one pool of people.

You can't really compare scores from one competition to another. They will be very similar but even a difference of 0.1 on each piece each competition would add up to a lot over 4 pieces over several competitions. Enough to make the ranking inaccurate where 1 mark is like the difference between 10 or more places. In tennis it is clearly win or lose a match.

Please don't assume I think this system is perfect. There are areas where improvements can be made and better solutions found. And I do see that adjustments are made towards these each year. Which is good.
 
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Annikins

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As I said, I'm definitely no expert, so I couldn't possibly say I think any of the skills are unnecessary as I simply don't know enough to make that judgement, but one of the skills I hardly ever see on TV (at least it's not mandatory anyway), and I think she will struggle with this year, is the control back down from the straddle lever to handstand on the beam, but in FIG there are so many other mounts she could do. Only one mount is very restrictive, but on the other hand on bars there seems to be quite a lot of choice in the skills, so I'm not sure why there is a different approach to the two apparatus.

The 'ranking' is tricky, as I think for little ones it's confusing with all the different competitions. For example, my daughter really lacks confidence, so we try to boost it by showing her a map of how big her region of the country is, and then saying she came in the top 'x' in that area, with 'y' number of girls living there, so she must be pretty good! I think if you are winning lots of medals at regionals maybe this is less necessary, but if you often come towards the lower end of regionals, it helps them to realise how well they've done to even get there. But it's never quite that straightforward, with the different age groups, levels, grades, etc, so it's a bit tricky. For example, the regional winner of the club grade 5 would probably think (as they tend to view it very black and white at that age) that they are the best gymnast for their age in the region (on that day), but actually the ones that did club 5 a year younger, or the gymnasts the same age that did national preliminary grade and compulsory 4 are probably more advanced/better, so it's harder to explain it. I think the Challenge and the British would be similar, although at least the gymnasts are a bit older so maybe could understand it better.

I was going to ask what the entry requirements are for the English - that sounds great actually, that everyone can enter, because that sort of answers what I was looking for - to be able to 'rank' yourself and aim for higher next time (of course only based on your and everyone else's form that day, as in all sports there are ups and downs). I wasn't sure if there was some sort of qualification.

I could choose to not tell her that she is unlikely to 'make it', but she has already been asking so many questions, and she puts so many hours and so much effort into it, and I don't want her to continue to do that under sort of false pretences. It would feel like lying to her, if she thinks she can make it when I know all along how unlikely it is. She is very black and white at the moment, and it's British team or not as far as she's concerned. (Maybe as she gets older this will change, as it's certainly not our view!) If she knew she was unlikely to achieve that in artistic though, she might choose to switch to something else (eg tumbling?) where she might have a better chance. Or she might continue because she loves it so much. I feel like she should have all the information to make those kinds of decisions - I just wish she could defer them a few years!

But as I said, I don't profess to be any kind of expert, I just compare it to my sport (which was also not perfect!), and read other people's opinions, and see which make sense to me. Perfectly ready to be told I have the wrong end of the stick!
 

Jimjac

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I was at the Challenge Cup this year. My daughter is one of your statistics of the juniors who didn't meet the qualifying score on the day. (She is painfully aware of that!) But actually, having just come back from injury we felt she had earned her place to compete and didn't look out of place - just had some falls from lack of comp practice in the run up
Congratulations for your daughter coming through injury, it is so tough for to keep mentally strong. I was just throwing out some stats for discussion. Just looking a stats and not individual circumstances can be misleading. I agree there are plenty of reasons (as you state injury, growth, etc) why the score on the day is not what a gymnast is capable of, I was just surprised at the number of juniors getting below the qualifying mark. One of the reasons for mentioning these stats, was to highlight that using 1 competition may not be the fairest system, perhaps the average of 2 with a lower qualification mark maybe more representative. With regards to the qualifying mark to Challenge, I would like the rule that once it is achieved the gymnast doesn’t need to re-qualify (especially as this is the same across all age groups).

Interested to see whether they bring in re-qualification scores for the British, I can see arguments on both sides for this, personally I don't like the idea as a gymnast can have a bad year/day due to all the reasons you mention.
 
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Jimjac

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@Jimjac it's not really a 'pass' mark it is a qualification score. Pass makes it sound like if you don't pass you fail which is not the case here. Challenge is a valid and prestigious competition in its own right
I agree challenge is a valid and prestigious competition in its own right. Despite using the word pass, I hate the idea it’s a pass/fail competition. Any gymnast competing at this level is amazing and should be recognized. I guess my wording stems from that fact at the clubs that I have been involved in, they predominately see it as a qualification route and have not allowed gymnasts to enter if they don’t think they have a chance of “passing”, which I think is wrong.
 
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Jimjac

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I think gymnasts is really hard and although there have been changes to the system with the out of age route but it still depends on where you are based and whether it possible for parents to spend the hours to transport them to a larger club. As an outside observer, I like the US system (especially the modified one adopted by Australia and New Zealand), it appears to allow gymnasts to develop at their own pace while still maintaining the rigour of the compulsories. Although some of skills are not used "as a skill" they form the base of other skills.

I would also like to see a league type competition between clubs similar in style to NCAA (not sure how practical this is), after all most sports you compete regularly not just a handful of times throughout the year (yes I accept you need some time to build up skills)

I accept no system is perfect, but I feel it needs a big overhaul. Some of my reasons are
(1) Sport and how people participate in sport has changed
(2) Clubs needs to be more positive and encouraging , at the end of the day they are the ones implementing the system and determining the gymnasts future.
(3)There is very little support for smaller clubs and coaches to develop higher level gymnasts. Even if a coach is qualified to a suitable level, if they are not used to coaching at that level or don't speak to other coaches to bounce ideas off, it is really difficult for them. I think there some be someone form BG touring all the clubs to ensure coaching standards.
(4)Coaches once qualified don't need any refereshers, this can be very dangerous.
(5)Gymnastics is changing (more power based) which results in gymnasts being prone to more injuries. Many sports evolve in their approach to fitness and injury protection, I see very little development in gymnastics
(6) The decision to which path a child takes has to be made too early
(7) The elite path burns gymnasts out too early
(8 Very little incentive for older gymnasts
(9) The hours gymnasts are expected to train just seem to be increasing even at club level, there is an expectation that it’s fine to miss school and in many cases hardly go.
 
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Jenny

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I think gymnasts is really hard and although there have been changes to the system with the out of age route but it still depends on where you are based and whether it possible for parents to spend the hours to transport them to a larger club. As an outside observer, I like the US system (especially the modified one adopted by Australia and New Zealand), it appears to allow gymnasts to develop at their own pace while still maintaining the rigour of the compulsories. Although some of skills are not used "as a skill" they form the base of other skills.

I would also like to see a league type competition between clubs similar in style to NCAA (not sure how practical this is), after all most sports you compete regularly not just a handful of times throughout the year (yes I accept you need some time to build up skills)

I accept no system is perfect, but I feel it needs a big overhaul. Some of my reasons are
(1) Sport and how people participate in sport has changed
(2) Clubs needs to be more positive and encouraging , at the end of the day they are the ones implementing the system and determining the gymnasts future.
(3)There is very little support for smaller clubs and coaches to develop higher level gymnasts. Even if a coach is qualified to a suitable level, if they are not used to coaching at that level or don't speak to other coaches to bounce ideas off, it is really difficult for them. I think there some be someone form BG touring all the clubs to ensure coaching standards.
(4)Coaches once qualified don't need any refereshers, this can be very dangerous.
(5)Gymnastics is changing (more power based) which results in gymnasts being prone to more injuries. Many sports evolve in their approach to fitness and injury protection, I see very little development in gymnastics
(6) The decision to which path a child takes has to be made too early
(7) The elite path burns gymnasts out too early
(8 Very little incentive for older gymnasts
(9) The hours gymnasts are expected to train just seem to be increasing even at club level, there is an expectation that it’s fine to miss school and in many cases hardly go.

There is indeed a league in the SW already and has been for years. I hope others may start.

The problem with the American system is it is totally separate from FIG. You cannot work your way up the levels and hey presto you reach the American Team. Most elite gymnasts in America specialise early and do many many more hours than girls do here. I would not want us to lose our modified fig system. And the American system is far far less flexible than ours skills wise. A bit like only having grades. Because we have grades and levels if you have a child who can't do one skill in a grade they can just compete levels. And they have to pass each level to progress. Here you can rock up in full FIG if you want.

I agree about refresher courses for coaches and a more positive coaching atmosphere.
All top clubs and many many others take injury prevention and prehab very seriously. It is quite normal to have a specialist come in regularly and work with gymnasts on strength and conditioning, mechanics of movement etc etc. That is definitely going on everywhere that I have seen.

The decision about which path a child takes is the clubs decisions. Not the systems. That is a club issue. I agree about more and more wanting to come out of school. I'm not sure it's a good thing.

And a lot of hours will always lead to burn out. Elite or not. I think a lot of non elite kids do a very high number of hours now. It is the same in the US. I'm not sure that is a good thing either.

More incentive for older gymnasts would be good. But I think that girls just grow out of the commitment needed to keep training so many hours.

You have lots of points.
 
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Jenny

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As I said, I'm definitely no expert, so I couldn't possibly say I think any of the skills are unnecessary as I simply don't know enough to make that judgement, but one of the skills I hardly ever see on TV (at least it's not mandatory anyway), and I think she will struggle with this year, is the control back down from the straddle lever to handstand on the beam, but in FIG there are so many other mounts she could do. Only one mount is very restrictive, but on the other hand on bars there seems to be quite a lot of choice in the skills, so I'm not sure why there is a different approach to the two apparatus.
If you think about the movement from handstand down to a closed shoulder angle there are bar moves which replicate the same movement. Short clears etc. So working one helps the other. Handstand control in and out of different shapes is useful and desirable everywhere in gymnastics. It is definitely a move you would want even if it wasn't a requirement.
 

Jimjac

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There is indeed a league in the SW already and has been for years. I hope others may start.
Sounds great - needs to be adopted in other regions

The problem with the American system is it is totally separate from FIG. You cannot work your way up the levels and hey presto you reach the American Team. Most elite gymnasts in America specialise early and do many many more hours than girls do here. I would not want us to lose our modified fig system. And the American system is far far less flexible than ours skills wise. A bit like only having grades. Because we have grades and levels if you have a child who can't do one skill in a grade they can just compete levels. And they have to pass each level to progress. Here you can rock up in full FIG if you want.
I have no experience of this but from the outside it looked fairer for those at the top end of the sport but I guess it has its own problems. I know gymnasts in the US seem do a lot more hours but I think that is happening here as well for all levels. I think it is easy to forget when talking about challenge v level, we are talking about are those who are very able gymnasts, there are many (the majority of gymnastic participants) who will never be able to achieve this and I do think BG system is good in providing alternative achievable route. This issue is moving to the elite path if you weren't selected early on. The system does provide options in the form of challenge or out of age but does rely on clubs being on board.

All top clubs and many many others take injury prevention and prehab very seriously
Certainly not our experience, may be we have been unlucky or maybe we just need to move regions. I can't think of a club within 100 mile radius of me that has this facility and uses it effectively. I know of a couple of clubs who do say this but the reality is nothing like they promote. We were at a top club which we left as my daughter was forced to train while injured and was likely to do further damage or end up with a serious injury from not being able to execute a skill correctly. The club had 'access' to a physio and when we asked if we could see her, we were told that they wouldn't advise it because if the physio said to rest, my daughter wouldn't be able to compete, not all concerned about her long term health. If my daughter has ever mentioned something hurt (which normally meant it was absolutely agony and had been for a prolonged period), she was told she was just trying to skive (and generally very nastily). We eventually found a brilliant sports physio who has sorted out the chronic conditions.
I think BG should be monitoring injuries more closely. Rugby did this and have brought in rules to minimise injuries.

But I think that girls just grow out of the commitment needed to keep training so many hours
I think they could train a reduced number of hours and still compete possibly dropping a couple of apparatus. I think the choice at the moment is all hours or nothing.
 
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Annikins

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Aug 16, 2017
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Jimjac - agree about a physio or similar...I have never heard of any club around here that has had one visit or work closely with a club on injury prevention or conditioning. Would be good though!

I also think it would be good to allow specialisation at the lower level. Many girls I know quit because of the beam when they really enjoy the other pieces but they can only compete all or none.

And I would love to see some sort of easier movement to the elite path later, however that is achieved.

We do not have a league around here. It would be great but only if it is not invitation only. Otherwise it's just another way to widen the gap between the big clubs and the rest.

I would love to see more mentoring of younger coaches by those that have built up years of experience. I think it happens within clubs but rarely inter-club. Coaches can be very well qualified but would still maybe appreciate some practical pointers here and there to further their training even more.