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TOPs B camp moved discussion from TOPs camp thread

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Tumblequeensmom

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Feb 19, 2007
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this is when i have a problem with tops ^^^^ all gyms should train it for all team girls, if they are going to do it. Girls who are that good will make the team without having endless extra hours. Girls who make it on extended training hours are just loading their chances, it doesn't make them more talented, just over worked. You know like winning l4 states because you train 20 hours a week!

We have a member on here who lived in japan with her dd, they moved back to the usa and her dd tested tops, without all the mega hours some gyms are demanding, she made a team no problems. Now that is a talented kid.

When gyms are having selected kids train extra hours for tops training, they are making buckets of money off parents dreams and their kids are just doing way to much. We all know tops success is not indicator of future success in the sport. We also know that too many hours is detrimental to a childs health and well being. They also create this, unecessary, illusion of elitism. That causes some ugly feelings to be expressed publically by people who have no sensitivity filter.
agree 100%!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
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SkiBumGymMom

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Pretty sure it was at Tulsa World of Gymnastics in Oklahoma. Not sure what their ties are to everything, but they held TOPs camp for a long time and I think even held a few elite meets/camps there.
And TOPs has definitely become more drama-packed in recent years. While I'm sure there were some nutty gyms in the early years, I think it was mostly about doing the conditioning as part of your program, not in addition to it. The gyms used the conditioning and skills to help develop a solid foundation and if it led their kids to make the team, great. If not, at least they knew the kids had the basic strength and foundation skills to progress. It was less about hand-picking the kids who looked super talented when they were 6 and training them specifically for TOPs.
That's it! Good to know I still have some of my mind left. I spent weeks the following year convincing Bri that Tulsa and Houston were practically the same, buggy, humid, hot place (no offense to residents of either area) so she wasn't missing out on much. To be honest, I thought TOPS was just a conditioning test USAG did for all girls if their clubs wanted to participate. I don't remember any gyms offering specific TOPS programs. I think it's become more about the parents, their chequebooks, their starry eyes. It's silly to think that 20 perfect press handstands at age 7 is a guaranteer of anything, especially if practiced 20 hours a week. Gymnastics is supposed to be a great equalizer but already has enough socio-economic and tiered blocks, I don't see why there should be more.
 
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Tumblequeensmom

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That's it! Good to know I still have some of my mind left. I spent weeks the following year convincing Bri that Tulsa and Houston were practically the same, buggy, humid, hot place (no offense to residents of either area) so she wasn't missing out on much. To be honest, I thought TOPS was just a conditioning test USAG did for all girls if their clubs wanted to participate. I don't remember any gyms offering specific TOPS programs. I think it's become more about the parents, their chequebooks, their starry eyes. It's silly to think that 20 perfect press handstands at age 7 is a guaranteer of anything, especially if practiced 20 hours a week. Gymnastics is supposed to be a great equalizer but already has enough socio-economic and tiered blocks, I don't see why there should be more.
You are all much more eloquent than I am. LOVE this response too.
 
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thnkGd4kds

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I agree with everything that has been in the last few posts about cost. When gyms charge more for TOPs, that's a rip-off; as was stated, they should be doing this, anyway. I know there are plenty of gyms that do charge. However, I'm fortunate that this has not been the case at either of my DD's gyms. We paid nothing extra except the minimal entry fee to regional testing (doesn't go towards our gym) and then National Testing. At the first gym she was at for years, only TOPs girls trained TOPs, and that was a legitimate complaint of those not selected for it. At DD's gym now, every gymnast does it as part of their regular conditioning.

My DD is similar to an earlier poster who said that her DD tested without all the extra hours (she practiced up to 15 hours a week at that time) and in fact, had only a couple months of more concentrated preparation for Nationals. During that time, she did have privates that did cost us, but our coaches never pushed those. The second year she tested, she did start working on skills a few months earlier, but it wasn't anywhere near the outlandish number of hours that people report their children practicing at that young age. While she didn't make the A camp, she did make the B camp, and I'm glad she was able to do that without the added stress to her body of what I consider outlandish hours at the gym which probably would have secured her a spot on the A camp, assuming she had a good testing weekend.
 
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hppy4u2

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Oct 12, 2010
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The problem with gyms universally training TOPs is that most little girls like the skills acquisition aspect of the sport and not the conditioning. The sad part is go to any gym in America and you will see MANY team parents complain that the girls do too much conditioning to begin with and with both the parents and the kids not wanting to undergo the necessary conditioning you will see more girls leave the sport than the "burned out" Topsters. I think most gyms have learned this and that is why you don't see TOPs conditioning at most gyms...they have learned to do just enough for the girls to gain some strength but not enough for optionals success. Most parents want to see their DD perform well at practice and eventually at meets rather than see them gain the strength to succeed at the higher levels and to also minimize injury.

In all honesty I think a lot of girsl leave the sport (outside of financial and injury) due to a lack of interest by the parents/family. I don't know how many times I see dads/moms on their phones or ignoring their DDs when all the girls want is some undivided attention. Our DD loves it when mom and dad comes to her practices and "cheers" her on with thumbs ups and smiles. And apparently so do most of her teammates because they have all said they wished their parents would watch them. Hard TOPs conditioning days equal DDs favorite food or ice cream from McDs ;-).
 
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gymjourneymom

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Thank you Bog, coterpandguidegirl & thnkGd4kds! You have stated my EXACT senitments! If one child is training 40hrs per week & another 15hrs per week & they both make it to the "ranch" A or B or as an "alternate" who is really the "most talented" of this group of children? Who is to say that on any given day of testing the results may not have come out very different, especially when there are often just fractions separating the two. For that reason I don't see why pointing out that a child "only made the B team as an alternate" is really an issue to be pointed out at all? They are ALL talented & deserving of the the right to be there. It will a wonderful experience for ALL of the talented, driven gymnast who accept the invitation.

To me there should not be any distinctions made of who is "more deserving" as Puretalent's post seem to imply is her view. But we are all entitled to our own opinions aren't we? I must say I find Puretalent's view counter productive to a "team", A or B team spirt mentality. Although I do give her credit for making her honest views known to us all, I'm chosing to respectfully disagree with her view on this.

My DD & I have never been involved in TOPS. But I do find the TOPS program interesting & from what I've seen & heard it can be very beneficial to a gymnast(if they don't end up burnt out or injured). I think some degree of TOPS training would be benefical to ALL gymnast as part of their regular training. In fact, I think I'd rather have it incorporated into regular training for all, although hppy4u2 does clearly point out the drawbacks to that. But if having TOPS training for just a "select group" brings out this type of "elitest" attitude in the parents of gymnast choosen to particpate in such a program. Then this is a scary underbelly to the TOPS program that I didn't know about. Now I think I'm glad my DD was never involved in this type of program! Gymnast have enough on their plate without this type of pressure.

I know I've already received 1 infraction on this topic. But I'm willing to accept another to have my opinion voiced here. I find this "elitism" attitude detrimental not only to CB, but to all gymnasts who encounter it during their daily work outs & meets. We are ALL proud of our kids! There is no need for anyone to put others down(whether it's done blatantly or passive agressively) to make yours look better or more deserving. If someone feels the need to do that type of thing I'm glad I can choose to avoid them or not read their posts in the future. JMHO.
 
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PureTalent

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Oct 5, 2011
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This is when I have a problem with TOPs ^^^^ All gyms should train it for all team girls, if they are going to do it. Girls who are that good will make the team without having endless extra hours. Girls who make it on extended training hours are just loading their chances, it doesn't make them more talented, just over worked. You know like winning L4 states because you train 20 hours a week!

We have a member on here who lived in Japan with her DD, they moved back to the USA and her DD tested TOPs, without all the mega hours some gyms are demanding, she made A team no problems. Now that is a talented kid.

When gyms are having selected kids train extra hours for TOPs training, they are making buckets of money off parents dreams and their kids are just doing way to much. We all know TOPs success is not indicator of future success in the sport. We also know that too many hours is detrimental to a childs health and well being. They also create this, unecessary, illusion of elitism. That causes some ugly feelings to be expressed publically by people who have no sensitivity filter.
Totally agree with all ^^ Well said, Bog!

And yes, I also agree with that where there are gyms who only have a "select few" kids train TOPS and not the rest of them. Talk about them getting after their $$! That's awful! :( It should be the entire team or nothing and those hours should already be built in with the program and not slather on another butt-load of hours on top of it.
 

flippin out

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Sep 26, 2011
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Totally agree with all ^^ Well said, Bog!

And yes, I also agree with that where there are gyms who only have a "select few" kids train TOPS and not the rest of them. Talk about them getting after their $$! That's awful! :( It should be the entire team or nothing and those hours should already be built in with the program and not slather on another butt-load of hours on top of it.
Interesting, So.... in another thread you said that your dd goes
Originally Posted by PureTalent: Ok, well so far my DD is in the gym the most amount of hours. She is 9 yrs. old (4th grade) and she trains 25 hrs. per week during the school year (35-40 in the summer). She will be competing Level 6/7 this year.
Originally Posted by PureTalent: DD's schedule is this (strictly gymnastics)

Monday 2 - 6:30
Tuesday 2 - 7 pm
Wednesday 2 - 6:30
Thursday OFF
Friday 2 - 7 pm
Saturday 12 - 6 pm
Sunday OFF
----do these hours then include the Tops training? Cause to me (and I also am in a very competitive Region) would consider 25hr/wk school and 35-40hrs/week summer to be extreme hours esp. at this level. I don't know any gym within a 3 hour radius (this include a major Elite gym) that does those kind of hours for a kid that will be competing L6-7. ESPECIALLY the 35-40 hours in the summer part. I've never heard of that at L6.
 

gymmomntc2e6

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Aug 25, 2007
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^^^^ 35-40 hours? that is a full time job, not a sport for fun & excersize!^^^^
Tops or not that is crazy, especiially for L6/7. no matter how competitive your region is.
 
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Allieonbeam

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Sep 28, 2011
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Totally agree with all ^^ Well said, Bog!

And yes, I also agree with that where there are gyms who only have a "select few" kids train TOPS and not the rest of them. Talk about them getting after their $$! That's awful! :( It should be the entire team or nothing and those hours should already be built in with the program and not slather on another butt-load of hours on top of it.
I have a question. Out of curiosity since at our gym it is the selected few girls that train for TOPs. And they go crazy hours. The rest of the team girls do TOPs conditioning, but not as consistent as the "TOPs group" and not as many hours spent at the gym.
Pure Talent, you are saying that at your gym all team kids (age eligible) train for TOPs?
 
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4theloveofsports

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The hours puretalent indicates her DD practices is very commonplace to those who made the TOPS team. They are all either homeschooled or have a modified school schedule. Apparently, that is now what it takes to make it to elite. Cut-off scores have been going up. Where maybe someone who practiced less hours before might have a chance to make the team. It is no longer. Last year's cut-off scores for 10 year olds was 76. This year it is 81. A jump of nearly 5 points. My daighter scored an 80.4 and missed B this year. The field is just getting extremely competitive. And it now takes tose extreme hours to go elite. Most girls in A team are already on elite track. So those just in for the experience have now very little chance of making it.
 

flippin out

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The hours puretalent indicates her DD practices is very commonplace to those who made the TOPS team. They are all either homeschooled or have a modified school schedule. Apparently, that is now what it takes to make it to elite.
I would respectfully disagree with the underlined. As many have stated before, there are a lot of Elite gyms (including WOGA) who do not do TOPS and many Elites who do not train those amount of hours at the level indicated. Maybe (but not all Elites) train the 25-30 (or even 40) when they are getting ready to test Elite or are already Elite... but not 35-40 hrs a week (yes I realize that those were the summer hours) when they are just about to begin their Level 6/7 season.

And congrats to your dd on that Tops score - even though it wasn't enough to make Camp, that is still an awesome score :)
 
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Tumblequeensmom

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Not so much in terms of a money maker for the USAG structure but with gyms charging money to do conditioning they should be doing anyway? I mean I guess I would understand not wanting to spend any more money after paying a bazillion dollars on top of regular tuition for TOPs training and hours all season, then testing, then national testing, and for all the coaches and travel, etc. etc. But to me, after all that, money to actual attend B camp seems somewhat trivial.

But that's just my opinion and since I'm a gym geezer mom, now grandma, I could be way off!
Geezer or not (not!), I think you've hit the nail on the head!!!! I've always had issues w/the whole TOPs thing as it currently stands. Savvy gym owners know a sucker when they see one. Parents willing to pay out lots of money for extra conditioning and flexibility training because some not so ethical owners will tell parents that they can take their child to the Olympics if only they practice 30 hours per week, pay for TOPs training, etc. ALWAYS been a pet peeve of mine.... I think I've been complaining about this whole thing ever since I've been a member here!!! Great gyms incorporate conditioning and flex. into their team training programs WITHOUT training 30 hours per week.
 
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Tumblequeensmom

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Coterpandguidegirlisn't that what TOPs is??? Not so much in terms of a money maker for the USAG structure but with gyms charging money to do conditioning they should be doing anyway? I mean I guess I would understand not wanting to spend any more money after paying a bazillion dollars on top of regular tuition for TOPs training and hours all season, then testing, then national testing, and for all the coaches and travel, etc. etc. But to me, after all that, money to actual attend B camp seems somewhat trivial."

I'm way off topic here, but I find this interesting . I had same concerns with my sons future stars program. which is basically the TOPS for boys. I debated with myself for awhile on if I should let him join it since boys grow into the sport much later than girls. They get stronger and better later in their teen years, and future stars is only from ages 8 to 13. I figured whats the hurry, its way to young to pick out who might be the best later on , and burn them out now in the hopes of getting a head start. I worried about the extra hours, money and possible burnout, before he even hits the age of getting strong and peaking in his late teens on into his twenties. Shouldn't the coaches train and condition each gymnast, no matter if their a future star, tops or team gymnast, the same. sure some might be better than others.... but that will also change from year to year. some will quit, some will get injured , some will move on to other sports and a few will survive in the sport and continue to compete. some wll be great , some good, and others will be average. thats just the way it is . There are many factors that go into gymnastics , not just talent.

so to make a long story short, my son isn't in future stars anymore. I fiigure if he is as good as the coaches think he might be, then he will get great in his own time. and when the time comes when he gets older (hes only 7) and wants to push himself further , he can train and conditon harder ( with the coach , that is what i'm paying him for) :)
Boy do I love a parent with a common sense approach to this (or any other) sport!!! Kudos to you! I hope your son continues to progress, have fun, and further his passion with gymnastics!
 
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Tumblequeensmom

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The hours puretalent indicates her DD practices is very commonplace to those who made the TOPS team. They are all either homeschooled or have a modified school schedule. Apparently, that is now what it takes to make it to elite. Cut-off scores have been going up. Where maybe someone who practiced less hours before might have a chance to make the team. It is no longer. Last year's cut-off scores for 10 year olds was 76. This year it is 81. A jump of nearly 5 points. My daighter scored an 80.4 and missed B this year. The field is just getting extremely competitive. And it now takes tose extreme hours to go elite. Most girls in A team are already on elite track. So those just in for the experience have now very little chance of making it.
I also disagree with this comment. I also live in a very competitive region... and some of the most successful gyms in my area have never done TOPs. Or in the case of one gym, they just started the program in response to... guess who? Parents demanding it!!! This, after the owner stated to us a few years ago that they would NEVER do it because a successful gym doesn't need it!!! I guess the lure of the cash cow couldn't be denied any longer! At any rate, many elite gymnasts have never done TOPs, nor those crazy hours.

The most concerning thing that I take from 4theloveofsports' post is the sense that if all of these young kids are feeling like that MUST train those crazy hours to get to elite, how quickly will the rate of injury or burnout occur among these superstars? Those young bodies cannot and should not be taking this kind of nonstop pounding day in and day out, year after year.
 
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bookworm

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Interesting, So.... in another thread you said that your dd goes

----do these hours then include the Tops training? Cause to me (and I also am in a very competitive Region) would consider 25hr/wk school and 35-40hrs/week summer to be extreme hours esp. at this level. I don't know any gym within a 3 hour radius (this include a major Elite gym) that does those kind of hours for a kid that will be competing L6-7. ESPECIALLY the 35-40 hours in the summer part. I've never heard of that at L6.
35-40 hours for Level 6 or even 7? Really? I've never heard of such insanity in my life! The body won't hold out forever with those kind of hours...
 
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4theloveofsports

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I would respectfully disagree with the underlined. As many have stated before, there are a lot of Elite gyms (including WOGA) who do not do TOPS and many Elites who do not train those amount of hours at the level indicated. Maybe (but not all Elites) train the 25-30 (or even 40) when they are getting ready to test Elite or are already Elite... but not 35-40 hrs a week (yes I realize that those were the summer hours) when they are just about to begin their Level 6/7 season.

And congrats to your dd on that Tops score - even though it wasn't enough to make Camp, that is still an awesome score :)
Thanks bookworm. And I agree with you that there are many elite gyms that may not train those many hours and do not train TOPS as I have even made those statements several times in the past. I guess what I was trying to say, and obviously did not make it clear, was that based on what I saw attending national testing the last two years, information gathered online, in chalkbucket, articles in the newspaper on aspiring elites, it seems elite bound athletes are training longer hours. I am not referring to gymnasts that are elites already. There seem to be a whole new breed of gymnasts. I do think training hours are higher nowadays than it was 5 or 10 years
ago. TOPS and elite programs continue to evolve towards a more competitive edge. TOPS just last year invited 8 yo. I can't image sending my 8 yo alone to camp, thousands of miles away. What it takes to be an elit
e, national team member,etc. is different than it was years ago. And this is a necessary evil, so tospeak, to
keep the sport progressing.

Oh by the way, I mistakenly interchange the use of TOPS and elite. Maybe because a great majority of those that test nationall for TOPS are on the elite track. I'd like to make that correction and that mynobservation as indicated on my last two posts refer to what it seems to take to make it to the TOPS team and not necessarily to be an elite.
 

4theloveofsports

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35-40 hours for Level 6 or even 7? Really? I've never heard of such insanity in my life! The body won't hold out forever with those kind of hours...
That is precisely what I was trying to say. Times are changing. These insane hours are what young aspiring athletes seem to be doing, not so much the already established one. These girls are aged 8-10, some even 7, who are already homeschooled practicing those many hours. Many conversations I overheard at the testing confirms this.

Flippin out, remember the L6 putting in tjose many hours are on the elite track and the hours are not only for training L6 skills with some uptraining. In addition, my experience is that when a gymnast is on the elite track it truly is hard to track down the number of practice hours. I think the reason summer hours are 35-40 because they are training TOPs on top of their regula schedule.

I just hope however, that these longer practice hours produce better gymnast and it is not a function of merely "upping" each other on who spends the most hours at the gym or the gym advocating these hours for more revenue.
 

MdGymMom01

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Mar 5, 2008
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If a Level 6/7 has to practice 35-40 hrs per week to be "that good or that competitive" then are they really that "talented"? To me talent is a natural and raw ability. If any kid is training 35-40 hours per week, then I would hope that at least 8-10 of those hours are ballet and dance training to help produce a more well-balanced athlete.
 
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SkiBumGymMom

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Wait... if the average elite girls are training the same and/or less hours... but all these "aspiring" elites are training double the hours at half the age.... why does that meant the sport is evolving and it's harder to become an elite athlete? These tiny little girls putting in these hours aren't the elite ones yet. I think it's more a symptom of how overly competitive parents are getting with their kids in recent years. But that doesn't mean it will correlate to success in gymnastics. Quantity does not equal quality with this sport. In 10 years if every girl at the Olympics trained 40 hours a week at age 8 at level 7 and were all on TOPs "A" team every year.... well then I'll come and eat my words.

I don't consider a 7 year old in the gym for 40 hours a week, homeschooled in a special "TOPs" group, to be fighting to keep up with the sport or doing something she loves. That's like Lindsey Lohan's mom saying she's only letting her daughter do what she loves, partying all the time with her. It's enabling, not parenting. I see it as a product of our overhyped society where parents are linked 24/7 on our forums, on their iPads, posting YouTube videos of Suzy's double back and checking meet reports every 2 seconds. These parents have an overhyped idea of what they think it takes to be successful and are so caught up with stars in their eyes (since it's even easier now to follow the careers of the junior elites, which means more potential exposure!), what's a little bit more credit card debt anyway to make sure Suzy gets to be number 1. Meanwhile some gyms are more than happy to cash in on this and the other sane coaches and parents and teachers (because they still exist!) just have to bite their tongues.
 
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