For Parents What should I know about Optionals? first year level 7

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Flicfliclay

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So, as we are nearing competition season as first time optionals, what do i need to know? My daughter finished competing Level 5 this pas spring and is now a level 7 "optional"... Is it more competitive? Judging different? I have heard that starting in optionals is when it "weeds" out a lot of girls because of the hours, competitiveness, skills etc. My daughter just turned 9 ( gasp ) a week ago, and is becoming a more and more confident athlete. I am proud of what she has accomplished and most of all her perseverance. She set her goal to work hard after level 5 and make level 7.. Well we are here, and competition season is nearing! Advise? Interesting information?
 
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e'smum

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So, as we are nearing competition season as first time optionals, what do i need to know? My daughter finished competing Level 5 this pas spring and is now a level 7 "optional"... Is it more competitive? Judging different? I have heard that starting in optionals is when it "weeds" out a lot of girls because of the hours, competitiveness, skills etc. My daughter just turned 9 ( gasp ) a week ago, and is becoming a more and more confident athlete. I am proud of what she has accomplished and most of all her perseverance. She set her goal to work hard after level 5 and make level 7.. Well we are here, and competition season is nearing! Advise? Interesting information?
i'm new to optionals too! my dd will turn 10 in feb. she skipped 5 and moved to 6. our gym used to do 5 and skip 6 but they switched it up a couple of years ago. i feel that levels 6 and 7 are very similar. my first experience at a meet was this past weekend. we got there early to watch the tail end of our level 4s competing (some of dd's teammates stayed on 4 another year) and the judges were ridiculously tough. they were handing out 8s on floor and those were the high scores (although one of the notoriously tough judges was on floor and she must have been having a rough day - she was not giving anything away!). lol. i just looked and there were only 25 9's+ scores on floor out of 257 gymnasts who competed floor! level 7 there were 54 9's+ on floor out of 90 gymnasts that competed floor.

b/c there were two gyms/meets going on at the same time, we competed in the other gym with different judges but when our meet started, a level 7 meet was in the gym our 4s were in and they were scoring higher than the 4s. a friend of mine, who has an older gymnast in level 9 said that they score different in optionals and to watch the scores. sure enough, our 6s scored higher. i can't tell you why though. but the same judges that were so tough on the 4s were giving the 7s higher scores. so i'm guessing the judging is a bit different.

good luck to your new optional!!!!
 

QueenBee

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Welcome to Optionals! The years you start to just pray for your child to stay healthy during practices & season and realize *all* the gymnasts (at whatever level you are competing) are really good athletes. And the level where up training seems to kick it up a notch.

I didn't notice big differences in "toughness" when it came to judging because each gymnast is judged on their individual routines, but I did notice that 9.1 - 9.4 didn't guarantee a placement anywhere near the top 25% of gymnasts. Scores overall felt higher (fewer 8s, 7s represented a complete meltdown or lack of 10 SV), but they cluster near the low end of 9s/high end of 8s in Level 7. There was a big jump in the distance that top competitors seemed to have. We would see many low 9s and then there were gymnasts who consistently were scoring 9.5s or higher on 2-4 events. Biggest spreads in scoring seem to be on bars & beam. Floor and vault more closely cluster.

This was very apparent at State where it seemed like it was almost impossible to podium (top 6 here) on any event with less than a 9.5. We live in a competitive state/region, but still it was a little intimidating to see the skills some of these gymnast display.

Now saying all that, I would recommend not worrying about scoring. Because while Level 7 scoring looked like that to me - it changes again in Level 8 and above. So, don't stress about scores - make sure your gymnast is still enjoying gymnastics and is making progress. I also think this is the time to make sure you are being your gymnast's parent - not an additional "home/car" coach. They work so hard and skills are so difficult (physically & mentally) that they need safe place to not discuss or think about gymnastics. Trust your child's coaches to do the right training for your child or find coaches you can trust because skills get 'real' really quick.

Enjoy Level 7 and enjoy your child's gymnastics. It is fun to watch them compete their own routines and show off what makes them awesome gymnasts.
 

Flicfliclay

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i'm new to optionals too! my dd will turn 10 in feb. she skipped 5 and moved to 6. our gym used to do 5 and skip 6 but they switched it up a couple of years ago. i feel that levels 6 and 7 are very similar. my first experience at a meet was this past weekend. we got there early to watch the tail end of our level 4s competing (some of dd's teammates stayed on 4 another year) and the judges were ridiculously tough. they were handing out 8s on floor and those were the high scores (although one of the notoriously tough judges was on floor and she must have been having a rough day - she was not giving anything away!). lol. i just looked and there were only 25 9's+ scores on floor out of 257 gymnasts who competed floor! level 7 there were 54 9's+ on floor out of 90 gymnasts that competed floor.

b/c there were two gyms/meets going on at the same time, we competed in the other gym with different judges but when our meet started, a level 7 meet was in the gym our 4s were in and they were scoring higher than the 4s. a friend of mine, who has an older gymnast in level 9 said that they score different in optionals and to watch the scores. sure enough, our 6s scored higher. i can't tell you why though. but the same judges that were so tough on the 4s were giving the 7s higher scores. so i'm guessing the judging is a bit different.

good luck to your new optional!!!!
I am clueless about the judging! I do know we have a few judges that are certainly tougher! We have some gyms that also mandate out of 5 and skip 6, some girls don't skip 6 that don't get their Giants. It's all confusing to me! Ha ha
I'm just praying for a successful season!
 

gymbeam

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Gosh, I cannot think of anything to state that's really different. Last year was my daughter's first year in JO. She did 5 in fall followed immediately by 7 in Spring. It seemed just like one big long season with the only difference being that our gym chooses much larger meets for optionals than for our compulsaries- both in size and distance traveled. But as far as scoring, placements, formats, etc. no differences that I noticed. Maaaaybe scores were a smidgen higher in 7 than in 5, but I am not sure if in my daughter's case it was actually a difference in judging or just a sign of improving with more time on the JO team.
 
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Flicfliclay

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Welcome to Optionals! The years you start to just pray for your child to stay healthy during practices & season and realize *all* the gymnasts (at whatever level you are competing) are really good athletes. And the level where up training seems to kick it up a notch.

I didn't notice big differences in "toughness" when it came to judging because each gymnast is judged on their individual routines, but I did notice that 9.1 - 9.4 didn't guarantee a placement anywhere near the top 25% of gymnasts. Scores overall felt higher (fewer 8s, 7s represented a complete meltdown or lack of 10 SV), but they cluster near the low end of 9s/high end of 8s in Level 7. There was a big jump in the distance that top competitors seemed to have. We would see many low 9s and then there were gymnasts who consistently were scoring 9.5s or higher on 2-4 events. Biggest spreads in scoring seem to be on bars & beam. Floor and vault more closely cluster.

This was very apparent at State where it seemed like it was almost impossible to podium (top 6 here) on any event with less than a 9.5. We live in a competitive state/region, but still it was a little intimidating to see the skills some of these gymnast display.

Now saying all that, I would recommend not worrying about scoring. Because while Level 7 scoring looked like that to me - it changes again in Level 8 and above. So, don't stress about scores - make sure your gymnast is still enjoying gymnastics and is making progress. I also think this is the time to make sure you are being your gymnast's parent - not an additional "home/car" coach. They work so hard and skills are so difficult (physically & mentally) that they need safe place to not discuss or think about gymnastics. Trust your child's coaches to do the right training for your child or find coaches you can trust because skills get 'real' really quick.

Enjoy Level 7 and enjoy your child's gymnastics. It is fun to watch them compete their own routines and show off what makes them awesome gymnasts.
Queenbee wow what a great reply! A reminder that you have to be a parent enjoying watching your child do something they love!! Love it!! And it's always a nice reminder!
Thank you for the great info!
 

Flicfliclay

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Gosh, I cannot think of anything to state that's really different. Last year was my daughter's first year in JO. She did 5 in fall followed immediately by 7 in Spring. It seemed just like one big long season with the only difference being that our gym chooses much larger meets for optionals than for our compulsaries- both in size and distance traveled. But as far as scoring, placements, formats, etc. no differences that I noticed. Maaaaybe scores were a smidgen higher in 7 than in 5, but I am not sure if in my daughter's case it was actually a difference in judging or just a sign of improving with more time on the JO team.
Great! I'm hoping to change as a parent .. I say that in that I was a nervous ninny watching my child compete! NO MORE! I'm going to take a shot or two ov tequila and be calm ( really joking )!
 
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Committed

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Congrats!
L7 was definitely different than compulsories! First of all, DD was okay in L4-L5 but did very well in L7. I would have to agree that 9.5+ is generally the minimum needed to get a top 3 placement on an event.
However, in Optionals, a fall is generally not just that .5 deduction. There's that whole issue of getting credit for a skill. So, be prepared for lower scores after a fall!
Then there's that whole connection-thing on beam. Apparently, I don't know how to determine whether a BWO BWO is connected because continuous movement doesn't seem to be the key.

As a spectator, it's way more fun to watch. There are so many different routines to check out!
 

AWOL

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In our area you can expect her scores to be much lower, if you are use to getting mid 9's, she can now expect upper 8's.
 

gymbeam

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we're coming to texas for the first time this year so after reading your post i decided to checkout scores to see how i think it could affect our team's scores.

what's weird is that even though you say most score lower, i went to last year's level 7 state meet and clicked on at least 25 girls and their histories showed mostly better scores in level 7 meets than in compulsories or there was no real difference.

i wonder if the drop in scores you're seeing happens in 8 and above? (or if i just happened to randomly select girls who don't fit the pattern.)
 

ascarter1

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So, as we are nearing competition season as first time optionals, what do i need to know? My daughter finished competing Level 5 this pas spring and is now a level 7 "optional"... Is it more competitive? Judging different? I have heard that starting in optionals is when it "weeds" out a lot of girls because of the hours, competitiveness, skills etc. My daughter just turned 9 ( gasp ) a week ago, and is becoming a more and more confident athlete. I am proud of what she has accomplished and most of all her perseverance. She set her goal to work hard after level 5 and make level 7.. Well we are here, and competition season is nearing! Advise? Interesting information?
Personally, I feel compulsories are a completely different world than optionals! I felt like 6 was more tough than 7. And 8 is in a world of its own! Don't focus on scores, focus on accomplishments! It's a marathon, not a sprint. Gone are your days of "fun" and welcome to the days of praying your sweet gymmie stays healthy.
 

cadybearsmommy

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We had our first optional meet this past weekend and it was an eye opener for us! Judging was very very tough. And you saw everything from girls who were just squeaking by for L6 (like my kid lol) and then girls who were competing skills for L6 that would meet the requirements for 7 on all events and had beautiful routines with huge scores. We were surprised about how much things like leaps and cast angles on bars can hurt you. My dd didn't get her full SV on bars b/c on her cast, her legs were well above horizontal but her belly was not lol. But then again we were coming from Xcel, if you are coming from compulsories the scoring changes might not seem as drastic.
 

cadybearsmommy

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Our coaches talk about this all the time. The unforgiveness of casts and leaps.

Its why my kid is a 5 not a 6........................ Never mind 7
It's definitely killer! My only hope for this year is that she is able to get her nerves under control and hopefully get her 10.0 SV on bars by state. She can cast pretty high, but when she does she cannot connect it to her clear hip, and often ends up missing her clear hip. So she ends up playing it safe instead. The missing connections and extra casts/swings on bars are killing her too. And I'm not too sure the judges are loving her underswing dismount either but until she can recover mentally from hitting her toes on the bar during a flyaway, an underwing it is! And leaps have never been her strong point but oddly enough she got in the 9's on floor. Floor may very well be the only 9's we see all season! LOL!
 

Mish

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Same here. First lv 6 meet and saw all the same variations in skill levels. My DD also got killed on casts and leaps. Was an eye opener for her. Was used to things coming easy for her, not so much anymore! :eek:
 
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