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For Coaches USAG Age classifications?

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Billy

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Can someone please explain to me how the USAG determines a gymnasts age for competition? I was told that it is whatever age they will be on December 31st. For example, if a girl turns 9 in November, she is considered 9 for all meets that year, even if the meets are before her actual birthday. Is this true? Or do they use the gymnasts actual age (ie. compete as an 8 year old for the fall meets before November and compete as a 9 year old for any meets after her birthday)? Are the age determinations different for the regular meets than they are for states?
 

gymdog

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If you mean age determination such as age group for awards at invitationals, that is determined by the gymnast's age at the date of the state meet. So yes, a gymnast that turned 9 in Nov would compete in the 9 yo, 9-10 yo, 9-11 yo age divisions even in Sept, Oct. My birthday is in Jan for example, but the year I turned, say 16, I competed as a 16 year old at all meets including states, not a 15 year old even though I would have been 15 on Dec 31st of that year.

Dec 31st determines age eligibility in the elite system or something, I'm not that familiar with it, all I know is that although the Olympics are in the summer, if you turned 16 in sept, oct, nov, dec, that year you're still eligible to compete. So gymnasts competing in the '08 Olympics need to turn 16 during the '08 calendar year. Tasha Schwikert competed under that criteria and I remember her family saying she was born premature or something and wouldn't have made it otherwise (she turned 16 in Nov 2000). I would guess that USAG uses that system for all elite age determinations because that would just make sense.
 

lannamavity

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Sep 13, 2007
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way out West
There is no rule as to what the official cutoff date will be at invitationals. It's all up to the meet host. Some clubs will use the State Meet date to determine the age groups at their meet because the age groups at all qualifying meets (State/Regionals) are based on the culminating meet (i.e. Westerns, JO Nationals). They don't have to.

It really doesn't matter that much anyway, because the host at an invitational will split the age groups to make things most convienent for them anyway.

The minimum age requirement ages (ie. 6 years old for Level 4, 7 years old for Level 5...) are based on the child's age at their first meet. A child must be the minimum age at their first competition in order to compete at all.

State meets for Levels 4 through 7 are determined by the State Board with the meet host based on USAG guidelines. Level 8 is based on ages determined by the Regional Board based on USAG guidelines and Level 9/10 are determined by USAG National Office and published a few weeks before Regionals.
 
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lilgymmie7

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My DD is 6 yo and will turn 7 on Jan. 8th. Her teams first level 5 meet is in Nov. Her coach is currently trying to determine whether she is age eligible due to her January birthday to compete as early as the first meet in November. She thought in the past as long as the gymnast turned the age by states, they were eligible to compete. DD is at practice now, and I hope to find out yes or no because we all need to set our schedule around gym meets, wrestling meets, football, work etc.
The main concern we had was a meet that fell on the weekend of her birthday. If her birthday is on Saturday, is she eligible to compete if her session falls on Friday? If anyone can help, we would be very grateful! Thank you!
 

Ingwe

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Apr 14, 2009
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Region 8
Once my dd became an optional it was whatever age the gymnast is on the date of Regionals. I don't know if it's just a region 8 thing or not since we seem to be the only region who competes L7 in regionals.
 

bookworm

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My DD is 6 yo and will turn 7 on Jan. 8th. Her teams first level 5 meet is in Nov. Her coach is currently trying to determine whether she is age eligible due to her January birthday to compete as early as the first meet in November. She thought in the past as long as the gymnast turned the age by states, they were eligible to compete. DD is at practice now, and I hope to find out yes or no because we all need to set our schedule around gym meets, wrestling meets, football, work etc.
The main concern we had was a meet that fell on the weekend of her birthday. If her birthday is on Saturday, is she eligible to compete if her session falls on Friday? If anyone can help, we would be very grateful! Thank you!

According to the Rules and Policies of USAG, a level 5 has to be a minimum of 7 years old to compete and it says that that age must be reached by "the last day of States"...it's on page 20 of the Rules and Policies manual with a big chart
 

gymdog

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My DD is 6 yo and will turn 7 on Jan. 8th. Her teams first level 5 meet is in Nov. Her coach is currently trying to determine whether she is age eligible due to her January birthday to compete as early as the first meet in November. She thought in the past as long as the gymnast turned the age by states, they were eligible to compete. DD is at practice now, and I hope to find out yes or no because we all need to set our schedule around gym meets, wrestling meets, football, work etc.
The main concern we had was a meet that fell on the weekend of her birthday. If her birthday is on Saturday, is she eligible to compete if her session falls on Friday? If anyone can help, we would be very grateful! Thank you!

She is not eligible to compete in November. "Reached 7th birthday" is interpreted as the child being 7 years old from their DOB on the day they are attempting to compete that level. You can see the chart here but again the age is determined by the child's actual DOB :: USA Gymnastics :: Junior Olympic Program Overview ::.

To be completely clear your daughter can begin competing L5 on or after Jan. 8th, but not before.

The issue with the date of the state meet is that "age" for age division/award purposes is determined by the last day of the state meet in most cases for girls JO. i.e. if your child was competing L4 in Nov, which she is age eligible for, and let's say states was in May and there was a 6 year old award group and a 7 year old award group, she would be in the 7 year olds. But that is not sufficient in order to compete L5 where the child must have "reached 7th birthday."

I am copying the information from page 20. I bolded the important clauses, as you can see the important part is that age is determined by the culminating competition PROVIDED the gymnast has reached the minimum age necessary to compete:
B. Age Determination
1 All gymnasts must reach the minimum age for the level in order to compete (see chart on page 19).
2. For invitationals and qualifying meets below the State Championships, the Meet Director may determine the age
divisions and must publish such information in the pre-meet information.
3. For all meets under the jurisdiction of the State or Regional Administrative Committees, the respective committee
may determine the method of determining age divisions. There are basically two options:
a. Age groups for the season: established by specific ages (i.e., 8-10 yr. olds, 11-12, etc.).
1) In this case, the age divisions should be determined and published PRIOR to the competitive SEASON
and the only adjustments that may be made during the season are sub-divisions of the age groups.​
Exception: At Level 9 or 10 State meet and below, age divisions may be combined if the number of
athletes is small
.

2) The gymnast must compete with the age division as designated for the entire season.
Provided that the gymnast has reached the minimum age for her level, the gymnast's age for the
competitive season is determined by the date of the final day of competition at the culminating
championship meet for that level.
a) For Levels 1, 2 & 3 – age is determined by the date of the culminating competition as directed by the
State Administrative Committee.
b) For Levels 4, 5, 6 & 7 - age is determined by the date of the last day of the State Meet (or Sectional, if
no State meet is held).
c) For Level 8 – age is determined by the date of the last day of the Regional Meet.
d) For Levels 9 & 10 State meets and below– age is determined by the date of the last day of the State
meet.​
 
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gymnut1

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According to the Rules and Policies of USAG, a level 5 has to be a minimum of 7 years old to compete and it says that that age must be reached by "the last day of States"...it's on page 20 of the Rules and Policies manual with a big chart

It actually does not say that at all. The age at state is to determine age bandings during competition awards and still requires that the child has reached the minimum age for that level on the day of the meet.

Lilgymmie cannot compete level 5 until jan 8th.
 

gymdog

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I just wanted to add that she may be allowed to participate in the meet through "exhibition" status only (not eligible for awards, but could perform the routines and get some judging feedback). The coach would have to discuss this with the meet director and you'd probably still have to pay the normal meet fees.

My own personal feelings on this is that I am not sure how that goes through the rules, or if people are just doing it, because the rules seem quite clear cut to me and I can't see what the logic in then allowing that kind of circumventing them would be...but who knows. I have definitely heard of it happening.
 
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lilgymmie7

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Thank you Bookworm and Gymdog. My main concern was for her January 7-9th meet. It is an out of state meet and we were to give the gym our okay if she was going to do the 2 out of state meets. This one was closer so we wanted her to do it. It seems like fun. However in talking to her coaches, they said they thought she may be able to start with the rest of the team. They were going to find that out. But it has been over a week now. We would just like to know to make plans. Thank you both for the useful info. She has competed level 5 already through the rec. program because there is no age req. there. She can't wait to compete again.
 

gymdog

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Thank you Bookworm and Gymdog. My main concern was for her January 7-9th meet. It is an out of state meet and we were to give the gym our okay if she was going to do the 2 out of state meets. This one was closer so we wanted her to do it. It seems like fun. However in talking to her coaches, they said they thought she may be able to start with the rest of the team. They were going to find that out. But it has been over a week now. We would just like to know to make plans. Thank you both for the useful info. She has competed level 5 already through the rec. program because there is no age req. there. She can't wait to compete again.

USAG really needs to more explicitly state this rule in no uncertain terms because a lot of people are confused about what it means if the child is almost that age. For the January meet it is doubtful the sessions have been set (they are probably still taking entries) so if it was me I would contact the meet director ASAP (politely) and request that my level 5s be on the 8th or 9th as one is turning 7 on the 8th and we would like her to compete L5. But the coaches need to do it. Perhaps you can just contact the coaches and reiterate that your daughter is really looking forward to competing but you still weren't sure whether to make plans. They may have just forgotten or it's possible they did contact the meet director and just haven't gotten a response back.
 
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gymnut1

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Your coaches really should know that she can't compete before the 8th. I agree the sooner they get in touch and explain the situation then the more likely they can swing the session day for her. Most people would try and help out in this situation. Good luck and hope they sort it for her.
 
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lilgymmie7

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Your coaches really should know that she can't compete before the 8th. I agree the sooner they get in touch and explain the situation then the more likely they can swing the session day for her. Most people would try and help out in this situation. Good luck and hope they sort it for her.

At some degree I think they do, But the problem is that DD's beam and bars coach also coach the optional girls. These girls are all above 7. They range from 8-17. The age thing isn't so much a problem there. Her floor coach is also responsible for running the AAU program at the gym. Callie competed level 5 through that program last season. I don't know exactly why they are not 100% sure. I do find it odd, but I also trust them. When I questioned them about her age it was first in repect to the Jan. 7-9th meet. I was concerned about a possibility of a Friday session. Then DD's floor and beam coach mentioned what they thought was right from the past- about her being eligible now. I just want to be clear. The Jan. meet is always a fun one. Our old DD went to compete there and I thought it would be fun for C. Thanks for your quick response. I will ask the coaches about a possibility of talking to the meet directors of the meet.
 
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