TOPS??

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Jenny

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I would not be surprised. Having such young children away from home without parents is difficult post Nassar. Safeguarding and the new issues with covid19 would make it even harder. Also the money side of it. People and gyms might not be thinking of paying so much. Now might be a good time to take a break for 2 or 3 years. I wonder if hopes might be changed in some way also.
 

LemonLime

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I have nothing specific to add, but I think USAG can afford smaller, regional camps for Tops and Development age athletes. Gymnasts will be invited by invitation, but more athletes will be able to participate at lower personal cost. USAG is headed in that direction and has been discussing this approach with coaches. Finances, the inability to settle the class action, and Covid-19 are leading to this change.

Elite-level athletes should re-rank after the first of the year.
 

LJL07

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TOPS does not require this at all.
I think she was referring to the camps: TOPS A, B, DIC camp, etc. Parents were not allowed in the past to attend, and some of the children are as young as 8 years old.

I agree with the overhaul. Our state has never been able to really get a TOPS program off the ground in the first place, but I don’t see where TOPS is spectacularly predictive of high level gymnastics ability. It is a great physical strengthening program, but even in that regard it has its shortcomings.
 
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JBS

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I think she was referring to the camps: TOPS A, B, DIC camp, etc. Parents were not allowed in the past to attend, and some of the children are as young as 8 years old.
Yes... parents were not allowed to attend camp in the past... but many parents would be very close by.

However... by the last camp I attended... parents were invited in to watch all training if they wanted. This was at Flip Fest. It was not a TOPS camp... it was a DIC camp.
 
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JBS

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I don’t see where TOPS is spectacularly predictive of high level gymnastics ability
I would agree with this. So many clubs hammer kids into the TOPS program well under 7 years old... no way to tell at that point. We didn't really get into the TOPS program until my daughter was 9. She was a sloppy level 7 as an 8 year old and suddenly the metal side of things started to click. It was a month before the first test and we cranked her into the program and made national testing. As a 10 year old she made A camp where we were told she was "too old" if she was there at age 10.

The point is... we saw the high level ability first... then fine tuned the TOPS stuff. She is a successful upper level athlete... she has outlasted many in the TOPS program because we used the TOPS program as an educational program for us as coaches... not as a predictor of upper level ability.

We see everything in the TOPS program as my wife is the state TOPS manager. We are right next to Illinois... so we get plenty of Illinois clubs up to our tests as well. Typically there are 1 or 2 kids per year that really seem to have what it takes... they rarely score well at first. There are typically 3 or 4 kids that score really well... but are obviously missing very key components. And then there are tons of kids that can't climb a rope or do a press and the question is... why? If you can't do a press or climb a rope... well... that's pretty basic... why come to the test? Even more so... what are the coaches doing during training with the whole team if their athletes can't do these things?
 

GAgymmom

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Our gym has produced 2 elites and several HOPES, over a dozen NCAA (mostly D1) gymnasts, and multiple top-3 placers at Nationals, all without TOPS. When we had it, even our best couldn’t make the score, yet made elite. Girls that did TOPS elsewhere and switched to our gym don’t seem to have any advantage or much higher success than the others. I think it’s a good program, but my opinion is too much emphasis is placed on it without proof that it helps or matters in the long run.

One reform could be that instead of the gymnasts traveling to testing sites and camps, have testers travel to the gymnasts. The scores can be recorded and honors bestowed accordingly. It could even be done virtually at the home gym with their coaches there and gymnasts live streaming.
 
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LemonLime

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@GAgymmom the reform you are mentioning is exactly the one USAG is considering, but by social distance grouping the athletes locally. The change could be temporary or long-term, but right now temporary is all anyone can consider due to costs and Covid.

TOPs is very helpful for clubs without a significant history of elites and dev/tops athletes. The program helps train coaches as much as it spots talented kids. Sometimes I see wildly talented young athletes with heads way out on bars, chopped roundoffs, and using their arms to make active split positions. Coaches working with coaches, or coaches working with athletes, can nip these problems in the bud and lead to a much more successful future. Is it required? Of course not. Is it helpful to certain athletes and coaches? Of course it is.
 

FlippinLilysMom

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My daughter did 2 years of tops, never did make it to national testing though most of her teammates did. She did do well in elite. Tops definitely helped with her strength training and allowed her to train higher level skills. I would love to see more regionally based camps. Would have saved us a lot of money, that's for sure!!!
 

LJL07

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TOPs is very helpful for clubs without a significant history of elites and dev/tops athletes. The program helps train coaches as much as it spots talented kids. Sometimes I see wildly talented young athletes with heads way out on bars, chopped roundoffs, and using their arms to make active split positions. Coaches working with coaches, or coaches working with athletes, can nip these problems in the bud and lead to a much more successful future. Is it required? Of course not. Is it helpful to certain athletes and coaches? Of course it is.
I know that was intended to be the purpose of TOPS, but sadly that was not the case in our state. We have zero elite gymnasts in our state, so you would think starting TOPS over here would be really helpful. And a couple of gyms tried and failed to start a TOPS program. My girls were involved in the efforts to start a TOPS program twice, but the gyms couldn't seem to figure out how to successfully implement that kind of a program. For whatever it is worth, neither of my kids could ever hold a handstand for over a minute, yet they were ahead of the "skills requirement" for 8 and 9 year olds. And I have seen kids who could crank out 15 presses in a row, but have skills at around a level 4/5. So the kid that can hold the handstand 10 seconds longer but can't swing bars very well would get to go to the camp? It just doesn't make much sense to me. For whatever it is worth, I think these younger kids getting personal individual coaching at gyms and maxing out on TOPS physical abilities are going to burn out and kill their bodies. It's ridiculous. And if a child needs 30 hours of gym and TOPS at 8 and 9 years old with a personal 1:1 coach, I question if she really has elite potential in the first place. How would the same child do in a club with an established elite program and tops athletes if she isn't getting the exclusive 1:1 coaching? It would be an interesting experiment. I'm veering a little off subject, but it would really be nice to see TOPS come up with a more well-rounded conditioning program and changes to skill requirements. I hope it happens!
 

JBS

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Cancelled for this season. No HOPES championships for this past season.
 
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Flicfliclay

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Cancelled for this season. No HOPES championships for this past season.
Was there something that went out to cancel Hopes championships? I still see people claiming that they are going to happen? Also, we know if they intend on changing the HOPES age groups?
 

JBS

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June 17th IEC meeting. They cancelled TOPS for 2020 and HOPES Championships for 2020.
 
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