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TOPS and Levels question

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AlijahsMom

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Hi, This is my first post, but have been lurking on here and some fb pages.

I've been wondering though, is there any correlation to TOPS and Levels. I've read some threads where parents mention 8-10 year olds being Level 6 or 7 testing for TOPS. Even one where the daughter was 9 or 10 and Level 1 on a TOPS team. Is it even possible to make TOPS at lower levels for higher ages? I guess I'd just been under the assumption that the older you are, the higher your level must be to test in TOPS.
 

2G1B

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I don't have a kid in TOPS; but know some kids who have done testing and done well. I think that some gyms don't push the girls as far as they could with levels so that they can concentrate on TOPS a little more; but if there is a 10 year old who is competing L1 I would think it is likely that she isn't going to do well at TOPS... I mean, there is not putting the emphasis on levels and then there is that. L1 is cartwheels stuff like that on the floor and bars is only low bar with not much more difficult than a pull over. The girls need to be doing cast handstands for TOPS.
 

mom2557

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Hi. There is no correlation between TOPs and levels. In other words, you do not need to be a certain level to test TOPs. That said, there are different physical ability and skill requirements for testing as a 7,8,9 or 10 year old. The physical abilities change a bit depending on your age but the skill requirements get progressively more difficult the older you get. My daughter tested as a 10 year old and had level 8 and some beginning level 9 skills.
 

e'smum

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TOPS is only for younger kids (ages 7-10). but there can be TOPS groups at a gym that don't do the national testing and the kids in the group may be older.
 
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amiandjim

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As others said, no correlation really. 3 girls my DD competed against at level 2 state made the diamond team a few months later. Last year 2 level 3s in our area were invited to DIC that summer...of course I think they are competing 8 this year.
 
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2G1B

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As others said, no correlation really. 3 girls my DD competed against at level 2 state made the diamond team a few months later. Last year 2 level 3s in our area were invited to DIC that summer...of course I think they are competing 8 this year.
I'm sorry, I try not to call "sandbagging"; but I find that absurd. A girl ready to actually test and do well for TOPS has no business competing L2. And aren't the girls invited to DIC the girls that did REALLY well? I can even see these kids dong like Xcel Silver and doing more difficult routines since that allows for going to the highbar, doing a tuck on the floor, cartwheel or I think BHS on beam... but to be doing L2 or L3? Doesn't seem very good sportsmanship from the gym to me.
 

CLgym

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I am no TOPS expert, but this is what I've learned: TOPS testing is different at different ages. For the younger girls (e.g., age 7), the focus is more on physical abilities (e.g., press handstands, rope climb, etc.). As you get older (e.g., ages 9-10), TOPS testing weighs more heavily on skills. At our gym, the 9 year olds that tested well were around Level 7/8. At age 9, in addition to the physical abilities, you must be able to complete skills such as cast to handstand, giants, yurchenko timers, BHS/FWO/BWO/switch leap/back tuck dismount on beam, back layout on floor, etc. These are skills that you generally do not see in the lower levels (compulsories). SO, at the younger age levels, you could conceivably have a successful TOPS gymnast with very strong physical abilities but a lower level; this is not as likely as the gymnasts get older.

Those with more expertise can feel free to correct me if I'm wrong!
 
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GAgymmom

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TOPS is more about strength, flexibility, and physical abilities than skills. I know a current elite who never made it past the first test, and she was a tremendous gymnast at a very young age (Level 10 at age 10). TOPS and levels do not matter, nor do they go together. Conceivably, a TOPS qualifier can be in classes and not on team. And it's not sandbagging if a great TOPS gymnast is still in lower levels, it could be that's where she belongs.
 

wandrewsjr

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I am no TOPS expert, but this is what I've learned: TOPS testing is different at different ages. For the younger girls (e.g., age 7), the focus is more on physical abilities (e.g., press handstands, rope climb, etc.). As you get older (e.g., ages 9-10), TOPS testing weighs more heavily on skills. At our gym, the 9 year olds that tested well were around Level 7/8. At age 9, in addition to the physical abilities, you must be able to complete skills such as cast to handstand, giants, yurchenko timers, BHS/FWO/BWO/switch leap/back tuck dismount on beam, back layout on floor, etc. These are skills that you generally do not see in the lower levels (compulsories). SO, at the younger age levels, you could conceivably have a successful TOPS gymnast with very strong physical abilities but a lower level; this is not as likely as the gymnasts get older.

Those with more expertise can feel free to correct me if I'm wrong!
Pretty accurate. Here are what I would say are the approximate corresponding JO levels to the skills tested for each TOPS age group and the balance of physical abilities verses skills at each age when determining who makes TOPs team from national testing.

7 year olds - physical abilities only
8 year olds - 50% phys abilities/50% skills; approx level 5/6
9 year olds - 40% phys abilities/60% skills; approx level 7
10 year olds - 30% phys abilities/70% skills; approx level 8
 

AlijahsMom

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Hi. There is no correlation between TOPs and levels. In other words, you do not need to be a certain level to test TOPs. That said, there are different physical ability and skill requirements for testing as a 7,8,9 or 10 year old. The physical abilities change a bit depending on your age but the skill requirements get progressively more difficult the older you get. My daughter tested as a 10 year old and had level 8 and some beginning level 9 skills.
I've known about TOPS and have read up on it and looked at the requirements long before I even had my daughter. So I guess it just dawned on me that there is no correlation between it and the levels. I'm wondering though, do the higher skills needed at the older ages not correlate with higher levels?
 
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AlijahsMom

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I don't have a kid in TOPS; but know some kids who have done testing and done well. I think that some gyms don't push the girls as far as they could with levels so that they can concentrate on TOPS a little more; but if there is a 10 year old who is competing L1 I would think it is likely that she isn't going to do well at TOPS... I mean, there is not putting the emphasis on levels and then there is that. L1 is cartwheels stuff like that on the floor and bars is only low bar with not much more difficult than a pull over. The girls need to be doing cast handstands for TOPS.
When I saw the post about the L1, it came off to me that they were selling the parents a dream. Like in the movie "Stick It."
 
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amiandjim

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I'm sorry, I try not to call "sandbagging"; but I find that absurd. A girl ready to actually test and do well for TOPS has no business competing L2. And aren't the girls invited to DIC the girls that did REALLY well? I can even see these kids dong like Xcel Silver and doing more difficult routines since that allows for going to the highbar, doing a tuck on the floor, cartwheel or I think BHS on beam... but to be doing L2 or L3? Doesn't seem very good sportsmanship from the gym to me.
Z

You know, when I originally saw the level 3 gymmie had made DIC, I thought the same thing. I will say though, she competed level 6 the next season and now will do level 8 so maybe they had reasons?? As for the level 2s, I'm not sure what that's about.
 
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Bess

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Z

You know, when I originally saw the level 3 gymmie had made DIC, I thought the same thing. I will say though, she competed level 6 the next season and now will do level 8 so maybe they had reasons?? As for the level 2s, I'm not sure what that's about.
I obviously don't know the specifics but I can see a super talented kid competing Level 3 as a 6 year old and then as soon as they turned 7 do back to back score out meets and end up as a Level 6. Sometimes, its not sandbagging...just uber talented kids that are too young to compete in a higher level.
 
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mommyof1

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I obviously don't know the specifics but I can see a super talented kid competing Level 3 as a 6 year old and then as soon as they turned 7 do back to back score out meets and end up as a Level 6. Sometimes, its not sandbagging...just uber talented kids that are too young to compete in a higher level.
If the kid were really that talented, why would a gym even bother having her compete L3? Why not just have her training to compete at the proper level when she turned 7? L3 is such a waste of time.
 

LGnyc

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To my mind, learning to compete is the fifth event. There are tons of kids who practice beautifully and fall apart at meets. Or opposite - not great at practice, but rise to the occasion at meets. If I had a talented kid who couldn't compete upper levels yet bc of age, I'd definitely want her to compete L3 to get the experience.

If the kid were really that talented, why would a gym even bother having her compete L3? Why not just have her training to compete at the proper level when she turned 7? L3 is such a waste of time.
 

sce

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If the kid were really that talented, why would a gym even bother having her compete L3? Why not just have her training to compete at the proper level when she turned 7? L3 is such a waste of time.
Competition experience. Confidence building in a young child.
 
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amiandjim

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To my mind, learning to compete is the fifth event. There are tons of kids who practice beautifully and fall apart at meets. Or opposite - not great at practice, but rise to the occasion at meets. If I had a talented kid who couldn't compete upper levels yet bc of age, I'd definitely want her to compete L3 to get the experience.
Of course, but this gymnast (actually there were 2 of them) tested as 8 year-olds the year they won level 3 state so could have competed a higher level...whether they should have, I can't say. I would assume the gym had a reason.
 
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Ginger

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I've known about TOPS and have read up on it and looked at the requirements long before I even had my daughter. So I guess it just dawned on me that there is no correlation between it and the levels. I'm wondering though, do the higher skills needed at the older ages not correlate with higher levels?
I believe the age groups in TOPS are by year of birth (so a girl born December 31, 2007 tested as 10 year old this year , though she is still only 9). In our state (we have fall compulsory season - state meet before Christmas), 9-year old level 4 would be probably still in the youngest age category (or second youngest), so nothing wrong with 10-years old TOPS gymnast competing level 4 :)
 
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