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Thoughts on Challenge Cup

Jenny

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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.

What a horrendous experience. I'm so glad you removed your daughter from that. I hope you made a complaint to BG too. I'm pleased you found a better club for her.


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.

Also depends on your club of course and region. Many clubs allow older girls to drop hours and still compete. Competing a couple of pieces should also be an option. Also Team Gym is one of the best options. Most girls want to drop bars and beam. Team Gym is tumbling on a track (more giving than a floor), trampette (with and without a vault in) both to soft landing mats . And a group floor routine. Lots of fun and ideal for those older girls. All this needs to grow of course!
 

GymBeamRisky

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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.
Well I have to totally concur. There really is nothing that you have posted that I disagree with , particularly concerning refresher courses for coaches who may have fallen back on old or bad habits as British Gymnastics continues to evolve.
From reading various threads it is clear that some parents know of or have experienced a certain “culture” within BG that shall we say is not particularly attractive.Indeed clubs do need to be more supportive and encouraging to get the very best out of the girls. Using old USSR tactics which would still seem to prevail amongst certain clubs is not particularly endearing when very young and sometimes delicate girls are involved .

As others have said there is WC league that consists of 3 league meetings a year but unfortunately not every club makes the effort to attend all of these meetings despite the work and dedication put in by the selfless organiser. The A and B leagues for the younger girls, away from total fig rules at C league also make it extremely difficult to judge a gymnasts true ability position wise since harder disciplines are not awarded any more bonus points than the lower difficulty disciplines . It’s a bit of a lottery really since the girl who looks the most accomplished can often score less than the girls doing the more basic routines due to special WC league rules that would not apply under an independent “open” competition. Of course as always there will be valid reasons for all of this but none the less the most “green” of gymnastic parents( I’ll count myself in) will find it all rather confusing. I think most clubs regard the league as a good training tool more than something that has to be won from a prestige point of view.

Back to your main points, I feel you have clearly demonstrated what could be addressed to further improve GB gymnastics. I also feel that the amount of interest shown in threads concerning the challenge cup and the difficulties the girls face also for the most part vindicate that the system could be in need of an overhaul or at the very least a few tweaks.
 

Annikins

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rd7

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I think that regional voluntary 2 is run by the respective regions, the update is only concerning in-age or out-of-age gymnasts on the national compulsory route. So I would think that regions will continue to have their own regional voluntary level 2 comps but they won't qualify to national finals.
 
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Annikins

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Ok well that's something although would have been nice to have the national final too. I can understand it's a lot to prepare for though.
 

Gymparent5

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My daughter is also one of these statistics. Although she is a ‘lucky one’ having achieved the magic score this year. She has her own unique success story... not been picked when she was young, was never considered as a child capable of the compulsory route for various reasons.

However what she had was an ability to work hard 100% of the time. She did a lot less hours than the compulsory kids but was happy and content and gave other sports a try and made her own choices. She loves gym, has a healthy balance in relation to hours and days training and we are sensible in being realistic that school is so important!

The challenge route is super tough.... you are not allowed to make mistakes, the system needs some major tweaks definitely. How a compulsory kid can fall 3/4 times and still pass to qualify for the British yet a challenge girl with all the requirements is barely allowed a wobble makes the system pretty demoralising for these girls.

However, my reason for sharing is that there are success stories out there, be it only a few!
 

Jimjac

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Text from the WTC

Level 1
The National Coaches proposed removing Voluntary Level 2 and replacing it with Compulsory Level 1 so that there are less hoops (and rules) for the gymnasts to jump through and give them adequate time to be prepared for the demands of the Espoir Level. The National Coaches proposed moving both the Compulsory Championships and the Voluntary Age Group Championships slightly later in the season to also accommodate this development. This will commence in 2021. It should be noted that if a gymnast did not pass Compulsory Level 1, then they can retake the following year (approx. 6 months later) to attempt to enter the subsequent Espoir British Championships. This scenario provides the gymnast with more time to prepare properly, versus having to do Compulsory Level 2 in Spring, Voluntary Level 2 in Autumn, Compulsory Level 1 in Winter, and then (if qualified) adjust to the Espoir British Rules. Therefore, in 2020, there will be Compulsory 1 in February to qualify for the British Championships 2020, and in November 2020 in order to qualify for the British Championships 2021. Please note the dates below: Compulsory 1 8 th February 2020 (to qualify for British Championships 2020) Compulsory 2 qualifier 3 rd October 2020 Compulsory 1 qualifier 14th & 15th November 2020 (to qualify for British Championships 2021) with Age Group Finals for Level 4 & 3. There will be no Voluntary Level 2 competition.
The Compulsory 1 qualification mark to progress to the British Championships 2020 & 2021 will be 57.00.

British Championships 2020
Senior British Championships 2020 - This competition will be on full FIG rules. There will be no additional GB bonus or penalties applied.

Senior gymnasts who have already qualified and are looking to enter the 2020 British Championships must have either: • competed at a British Championships since 1st January 2018 • or scored a minimum of 47.00 at their respective Home Nations Championships or at a full FIG National Competition since 1st January 2018 • gymnasts that do not compete on 4 pieces and have not competed at a British Championships since 1 st January 2018 will need to write to the WTC for consideration.

Junior and Espoir British Championships will remain unchanged with GB Bonus and penalties.

Compulsory Finals 2020
There will be no change to the content for Compulsory 4,3,2 in 2020. The first 4 gymnasts at Regional qualifiers will represent the Region at the National Finals for Compulsory 4 & 3, irrespective of their score, providing they have passed the grade.
For individuals to go to National Finals they must score 60.00 or more at Compulsory 4, or 57.50 or more at Compulsory 3.

Challenge Cup 2020
The Regional qualification score to National Finals will increase to 43.00 for all age groups.
 

Jimjac

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My daughter is also one of these statistics. Although she is a ‘lucky one’ having achieved the magic score this year. She has her own unique success story... not been picked when she was young, was never considered as a child capable of the compulsory route for various reasons.

However what she had was an ability to work hard 100% of the time. She did a lot less hours than the compulsory kids but was happy and content and gave other sports a try and made her own choices. She loves gym, has a healthy balance in relation to hours and days training and we are sensible in being realistic that school is so important!

The challenge route is super tough.... you are not allowed to make mistakes, the system needs some major tweaks definitely. How a compulsory kid can fall 3/4 times and still pass to qualify for the British yet a challenge girl with all the requirements is barely allowed a wobble makes the system pretty demoralising for these girls.

However, my reason for sharing is that there are success stories out there, be it only a few!
Massive well done to your daughter. Its great to hear about the successes. In the latest update, the pass mark for level 1 has increased, making it harder.
 

Jimjac

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British Championships 2020
Senior British Championships 2020 - This competition will be on full FIG rules. There will be no additional GB bonus or penalties applied.

Senior gymnasts who have already qualified and are looking to enter the 2020 British Championships must have either: • competed at a British Championships since 1st January 2018 • or scored a minimum of 47.00 at their respective Home Nations Championships or at a full FIG National Competition since 1st January 2018 • gymnasts that do not compete on 4 pieces and have not competed at a British Championships since 1 st January 2018 will need to write to the WTC for consideration.
Gutted with new rule as my daughter has this affects my daughter. She suffered a terrible injury in the week of the English 2018 so couldn't compete at either the English or British. Due to the severe ligament damage, recovery took a long time and although she was training for 2019 English/British her routines weren't really competition ready. If we knew of this rule, she probably would have entered with watered down routines. She then re-injured herself so hasn't competed in 2 years but was planning on competing in both English & British next year. She can only compete in the English now, I'm yet to find out if she achieves the score whether she can compete a week later at the British. This rule definitely discriminates against gymnasts who get injured and I feel this is being implemented too late as our planning may have been different. I also think, it may encourage gymnasts to compete at not 100% (or as close to that as a gymnast can be). I get the feeling this may be the start of bringing in a minimum achievement mark for those already qualified.
 
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Jenny

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The challenge route is super tough.... you are not allowed to make mistakes, the system needs some major tweaks definitely. How a compulsory kid can fall 3/4 times and still pass to qualify for the British yet a challenge girl with all the requirements is barely allowed a wobble makes the system pretty demoralising for these girls.

However, my reason for sharing is that there are success stories out there, be it only a few!
If you can fall 4 times and still score 57 at compulsory 1 you must be pretty good!!! Especially since you can't hide weak skills by replacing them with stronger ones.

Compulsory 1 is not easy. Several girls on British Squad have failed it and some more than once. There are different pressures to each route and each suits different girls maybe. Fabulous that your dd has qualified through Challenge. That is a brilliant thing and to be much applauded. Good for her.
 
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Jenny

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Gutted with new rule as my daughter has this affects my daughter. She suffered a terrible injury in the week of the English 2018 so couldn't compete at either the English or British. Due to the severe ligament damage, recovery took a long time and although she was training for 2019 English/British her routines weren't really competition ready. If we knew of this rule, she probably would have entered with watered down routines. She then re-injured herself so hasn't competed in 2 years but was planning on competing in both English & British next year. She can only compete in the English now, I'm yet to find out if she achieves the score whether she can compete a week later at the British. This rule definitely discriminates against gymnasts who get injured and I feel this is being implemented too late as our planning may have been different. I also think, it may encourage gymnasts to compete at not 100% (or as close to that as a gymnast can be). I get the feeling this may be the start of bringing in a minimum achievement mark for those already qualified.
I think there is a qualifying score for the English next year too but it isn't very high. Does she have that?
 

Annikins

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jimjac - my reading of what you have posted would mean you could try writing to the WTC to see if she would be accepted based on the fact that she's been injured, they have implemented it so late, and she would maybe have competed this year despite not being quite ready had she known. Sorry, you are probably already doing that, of course, and I'd like to think they would view the situation favourably as I think it would be pretty unfair to exclude her based on what you have said. Please let us know what they say?

gymparent5 - it's fantastic your daughter has qualified! My daughter sounds like yours - maybe wouldn't be accepted for compulsories at a big club, but works incredibly hard, so it's great to know it can happen, although extremely rare. Well done to your daughter!

In my observation, those who qualify from Challenge Cup typically come in the top 10-15 at the British when they compete there. I see the compulsory 1 mark is going to be raised, yes, but also I think the Challenge Cup qualification mark should be lowered, so the girls qualifying from both routes are roughly comparable. Why should you need to be top 10 in Britain to qualify via Challenge Cup, but not via the compulsories? I don't understand that.

Out of curiosity, if a gymnast did amazingly at the English instead of the Challenge Cup (top 10?), would the selectors take an interest in her? I saw they were watching last year at the English. Is that another potential place to shine, or do they only watch the ones already in the squad?

Jenny - I get the impression you are from a highly performing club! You said there would be a 'low' qualifying mark for the English - I'm wondering how low your idea of low is as I'm a bit concerned it might not be the same as mine?! We are not near that yet anyway, but I wish there wasn't going to be a qualifying mark to be honest, as that was where everyone got the chance to do a national competition and something to look forward to once you are at FIG level. Is it for timing and space reasons?
 
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Learning Parent GB

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I think there is a qualifying score for the English next year too but it isn't very high. Does she have that?
I found the 2020 handbook. The score is 38 at a national or regional competition in the last 12 months.
For anyone needing more details, that handbook is easy too google.
 
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Learning Parent GB

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Having said that, I now have a further question for anyone in the know. For the English, lots of espoirs will have done level 2 last year. Will their scores from level 2 count to meet the '38' criteria? First year espoirs will have done in age level 2, but second year espoirs will have done OOA level 2 in their own regions - which may all have slightly different rules. Does anyone know the answer to this?
 
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Jimjac

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I think there is a qualifying score for the English next year too but it isn't very high. Does she have that?
Thanks, I wasn't aware of this. She hasn't competed due to injury so no scores for 2019 at all. Unfortunately there are no competitions before the closing date so it will have to be a special request. We wait to hear.
I feel it is very late in the day to bring in rules like this- no time to plan!

jimjac - my reading of what you have posted would mean you could try writing to the WTC to see if she would be accepted based on the fact that she's been injured, they have implemented it so late, and she would maybe have competed this year despite not being quite ready had she known. Sorry, you are probably already doing that, of course, and I'd like to think they would view the situation favourably as I think it would be pretty unfair to exclude her based on what you have said. Please let us know what they say?
I read it as if you don't do 4 pieces you could write to the WTC but that was just my interpretation. I can't see anything in the committee notes about injury perhaps there may be more info to follow. I have discussed the situation with her coach who with the head coach will determine the best way forward. I have one very upset girl at the moment!!
Having said that, I now have a further question for anyone in the know. For the English, lots of espoirs will have done level 2 last year. Will their scores from level 2 count to meet the '38' criteria? First year espoirs will have done in age level 2, but second year espoirs will have done OOA level 2 in their own regions - which may all have slightly different rules. Does anyone know the answer to this?
I though "in-age" and "out of age" were the same rules. Hopefully it will also allow entrants from those doing national grades.
 

Jenny

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Thanks, I wasn't aware of this. She hasn't competed due to injury so no scores for 2019 at all. Unfortunately there are no competitions before the closing date so it will have to be a special request. We wait to hear.
I feel it is very late in the day to bring in rules like this- no time to plan!



I read it as if you don't do 4 pieces you could write to the WTC but that was just my interpretation. I can't see anything in the committee notes about injury perhaps there may be more info to follow. I have discussed the situation with her coach who with the head coach will determine the best way forward. I have one very upset girl at the moment!!

I though "in-age" and "out of age" were the same rules. Hopefully it will also allow entrants from those doing national grades.
Out of age rules are set by region and often are quite different from In age rules which are set nationally. Out of age rules also vary from region to region.

I wonder if you could enter one of the spring warm up competitions with an FIG section like Witch of the West or Angel of the North and put her entry in for the English with a letter explaining she should have a score by the competition.
 

Jenny

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Having said that, I now have a further question for anyone in the know. For the English, lots of espoirs will have done level 2 last year. Will their scores from level 2 count to meet the '38' criteria? First year espoirs will have done in age level 2, but second year espoirs will have done OOA level 2 in their own regions - which may all have slightly different rules. Does anyone know the answer to this?
I was just talking to someone about this at the weekend. It's not very clear and doesn't stipulate that the score must be FIG. Presumably they will accept espoirs with L2 scores. I am sure they will clarify it. It is needed because the competition has become massive and unwieldy.
 

Jimjac

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I wonder if you could enter one of the spring warm up competitions with an FIG section like Witch of the West or Angel of the North and put her entry in for the English with a letter explaining she should have a score by the competition.
These are after the closing date. The plan was for her to do one of these anyway. For now all she can do is just focus on training. Any communication with EGA needs to be done via the club but I shall keep the pressure on - competing at these competitions was what kept her going through injury so it will be very disappointing. Hopefully the EGA will be sympathetic.
I am not sure if she does enter the English and gets 47 whether she can then do the British the same year (When British Espoirs was in December, they did allow espoirs to enter before compulsory 1/challenge and only compete if they achieved the relevant scores at those competitions) but this is problem 2 now!
 
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Jimjac

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It is needed because the competition has become massive and unwieldy.
It was massive but I don't feel people should be shut out, although the score of 38 is a very achievable score. Obviously, a bit personal to me, I feel the timing of the new rules is wrong. Issued 2 months before the closing date in a period of relative inactivity for the gym calendar.
 
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