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For Parents Xcel vs JO preteam

6yroldgymnast

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Need advice on picking a program. So we are new to all of this. My dd is 6 and originally joined preteam at an Xcel gym. She has all the required skills for silver but needs to be more consistent getting over the mat for vaulting. Shortly after joining pre team at this gym she was asked to join pre team at a JO gym where she did tumbling. Her Xcel gym didn’t have a problem with her doing pre team at both places. However her JO gym is saying she has to choose because of a usag non compete clause? I’m not sure which program to pick! I think she enjoys the Xcel program better as they let her learn new skills. For example she can squat on and jump to high bar, pullover, and two back hip circles and dismount. Her JO gym would never let her practice that. They do more form of basic skills. Which is great bc she learns the correct technique but I see her out there getting bored. My main concern with Xcel is that if she ever decides to get super serious (she already practices 6hours a week) that Xcel can’t take her as far. Any suggestions?! Or have girls that have transitioned from Xcel to jo at some point? Or should we just start jo from the beginning?!
 

cogymmom2dd

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We have experience with both tracks, DD1 did JO level 2, then XCEL Silver, then Level 3, then Gold. Last season, she competed Level 4 at one meet to score out and 1 meet at level 5 and scored out and finished the season L6 JO optionals. Her L6 floor routine needed no changes from her Gold routine.
DD2 did Silver last year and she has school friends who competed L3 last year. Her skill set is far broader than her peers. Her friends are either repeating L3, switched to XCEL Silver, or moved up to L4. Some of them have never touched a vault table. Some have never touched a high bar. Some have never done anything other than the standard levels 3-4 beam dismounts. She has a far broader skill set than her level 4 peers in all events. I feel like XCEL allows for progression of skills vs repetitive skills with the goal of achieving ‘perfection’.
Some gyms view XCEL as the ‘B Team’, that the girls that compete XCEL are lesser gymnasts. Do not let the JO gym try to convince you of this. One of the best gymnasts at our gym (L9) ‘grew up’ at an XCEL only gym because she came from a rural area where that was the only option. Her family moved and she joined our gym and she transitioned to JO optionals seamlessly and successfully. (Technically, you only need to score a minimum of 34 AA in L4 and 32 AA in level 5 once to move up)- you do not need to compete full seasons of either, however that is the norm for many gyms.
Over the years, I have learned that the most important thing is to make sure your kid is having fun. Ask her and take her lead. Every parent wonders ‘What if she gets super serious down the road?’ Don’t base decisions on that. Base decisions on how she feels right now.
 
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6yroldgymnast

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Thank you so much for your reply! I think at this point she just wants to learn and soak up as much as she can. She is definitely a “bars” girl and that is her strength. I feel like she gets so bored at JO preteam going through the rotations . I should mention that the JO gym runs practice through rotations so they basically rotate through each station at each event. The Xcel gym practices at whatever level the gymnast is at. So each girl is doing something different at each event. I think for right now this type of practice is more motivating. I also think it will
build her confidence. We actually switched originally from the JO gym because she was in rec there and bored out of her mine. The Xcel program really pushed her and she learned so many new skills in a short time! I just worry that the JO gym wouldn’t take her back in the future if she wanted to switch. But luckily we live in an area where there are other JO gyms. I also worry that her best friend, who just joined pre team at the JO gym, will eventually make comments about Xcel being “less than”.
 
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cogymmom2dd

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Thank you so much for your reply! I think at this point she just wants to learn and soak up as much as she can. She is definitely a “bars” girl and that is her strength. I feel like she gets so bored at JO preteam going through the rotations . I should mention that the JO gym runs practice through rotations so they basically rotate through each station at each event. The Xcel gym practices at whatever level the gymnast is at. So each girl is doing something different at each event. I think for right now this type of practice is more motivating. I also think it will
build her confidence. We actually switched originally from the JO gym because she was in rec there and bored out of her mine. The Xcel program really pushed her and she learned so many new skills in a short time! I just worry that the JO gym wouldn’t take her back in the future if she wanted to switch. But luckily we live in an area where there are other JO gyms. I also worry that her best friend, who just joined pre team at the JO gym, will eventually make comments about Xcel being “less than”.
Sounds like XCEL is the best fit for your DD at this point if she was already bored. And, I get the friends thing. My DD2 has close friends at a JO ‘Elite’ gym and by ‘elite’, I am implying corrupt. Last year, her friends told her that she wasn’t a real gymnast because she was XCEL. They were all level 3 at the time and most of her friends weren’t scoring well at meets. She was killing it as a Silver, not scoring below 36AA at meets. When they would talk about their meets on Monday morning after a weekend of gymnastics, her experiences were discredited as ‘not real’.
If her friend makes those type of comments, that is all of the more reason why the JO gym may not be a great fit because A. They use XCEL as a threat of inferiority for those less skilled or B. They are telling the parents that, who are telling the kids that.
I have an funny story though. This specific gym decided to add an XCEL team this year to keep their JO team size smaller due to COVID. A few of my daughters friends didn’t make the cut to even compete level 3 again this year because more talented level 2’s that made the cut before them. A few of them are competing XCEL Silver instead and my DD has progressed to Gold. So, the friends that made her feel inferior last year are actually competing below her this year. And, both of my girls have made the best of friends with their teams. Given the choice, they would rather hang out with their gym friends vs. school friends.
 

gymgal

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The basic answer to your question is that yes, you can switch from xcel to JO, with some "testing out" at various levels. The more involved answer is that it really depends on the gyms in your area. Some are very strict in not allowing xcel gymnasts to move to JO while others welcome it. It is worth calling around to a few gyms in your area to get a feel for their policies on this if you feel that your daughter would want to compete high level gymnastics someday. If you feel she enjoys gymnastics, but it's not going to be her passion/life, then there is less of an issue with staying with xcel. She will enjoy being able to move to new skills faster and competing her own routines ect. Xcel goes to a pretty high skill level, just not to the high-levl JO/college. We live in a very friendly xcel area and dd come up through the prep-op/xcel program, transitioned to JO L7, became a 4-year L10 and is now a college gymnast. So yes, it is possible but it all depends on your gym, your coaches, and your area. Well, and also your dd's motivation/dedication.
 
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6yroldgymnast

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The basic answer to your question is that yes, you can switch from xcel to JO, with some "testing out" at various levels. The more involved answer is that it really depends on the gyms in your area. Some are very strict in not allowing xcel gymnasts to move to JO while others welcome it. It is worth calling around to a few gyms in your area to get a feel for their policies on this if you feel that your daughter would want to compete high level gymnastics someday. If you feel she enjoys gymnastics, but it's not going to be her passion/life, then there is less of an issue with staying with xcel. She will enjoy being able to move to new skills faster and competing her own routines ect. Xcel goes to a pretty high skill level, just not to the high-levl JO/college. We live in a very friendly xcel area and dd come up through the prep-op/xcel program, transitioned to JO L7, became a 4-year L10 and is now a college gymnast. So yes, it is possible but it all depends on your gym, your coaches, and your area. Well, and also your dd's motivation/dedication.
Thank you! That’s kind of my concern that dd may at some point want to do college gymnastics but with her current personality I don’t think the intensity is what she wants right now. The gym she is at for JO most likely would not welcome her back if she left. But we live in an area that has several JO gyms so we could most likely transition to one of them at some point! I wish she could continue to do both for a year to really get a feel for what she likes but the JO gym is obviously not happy that she is on pre team at the Xcel gym. My 6yo told her JO coach she was moving to silver soon and the coach said “then what are you doing here”. Which I think is totally inappropriate to say to a 6yo
 

JBS

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@6yroldgymnast In my opinion (as a head coach and a parent of 3 gymnasts... one of which goes to another local club)... you need to pick. It is extremely disrespectful to me as a head coach if I had multiple systems working on one athlete.

EDIT: As a head coach I would not say that to your child... I would say it directly to you. At a certain point in my program your child would be only offered our recreational program if you were seeking competitive coaching for the same sport elsewhere.
 
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6yroldgymnast

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@6yroldgymnast In my opinion (as a head coach and a parent of 3 gymnasts... one of which goes to another local club)... you need to pick. It is extremely disrespectful to me as a head coach if I had multiple systems working on one athlete.

EDIT: As a head coach I would not say that to your child... I would say it directly to you. At a certain point in my program your child would be only offered our recreational program if you were seeking competitive coaching for the same sport elsewhere.
Thank you for your reply! I totally get that. And we would never compete at one gym and do pre team at another gym. We are just new to all of this and wanted to learn/feel the difference between JO and Xcel. Up until we discovered the Xcel gym I didn’t even know there were separate programs. Also the pre team is run through the rec program at the JO gym and team is separate from the gym where you pay “dues” to rent the gym space. Not sure if that matters! Anyways, we are anything but disrespectful and would never do something that was considered so. Honestly, I did not think pre team was a big issue. But we have chosen and will finish out the session and stick with one gym! Which is better for my dd as well.
 
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gymgal

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From a gymnastics point of view, it doesn't make much sense to be in these two programs at the same time. They have different goals and your daughter will become even more frustrated by the JO program since she is further ahead but having to do all repetitions of the basics (which will go a long way toward her success in JO, but not needed as much in xcel). If she were just in the JO program, it wouldn't be as bad because she wouldn't have that other experience to compare. Also, coaches have different ways of teaching skills/progressions and they do not want other coaches (or parents) teaching their gymnasts a different way.
 

Pineapple_Lump

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Is it worth looking at the other JO gym's for a more balanced environment that has the best of both worlds? It's possible that the reason your DD is able to learn all the tricks at the Xcel gym is because of the time spent on basics and strength developed at her JO gym.

That comment was uncalled for from the coach.
 

6yroldgymnast

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From a gymnastics point of view, it doesn't make much sense to be in these two programs at the same time. They have different goals and your daughter will become even more frustrated by the JO program since she is further ahead but having to do all repetitions of the basics (which will go a long way toward her success in JO, but not needed as much in xcel). If she were just in the JO program, it wouldn't be as bad because she wouldn't have that other experience to compare. Also, coaches have different ways of teaching skills/progressions and they do not want other coaches (or parents) teaching their gymnasts a different way.
Thanks! Yeah that makes sense as far as teaching them
Is it worth looking at the other JO gym's for a more balanced environment that has the best of both worlds? It's possible that the reason your DD is able to learn all the tricks at the Xcel gym is because of the time spent on basics and strength developed at her JO gym.

That comment was uncalled for from the coach.
Lol. Thanks. I kind of thought so too. That kind of attitude is definitely what I don’t want in a gym. But that’s just me. I want a program that inspires and builds girls up. Not one that is concerned with the coach or gyms best “interests”. I definitely have thought about looking into other JO programs! There is a JO gym 30 min away that my son did a ninja warrior class at and we were super impressed with the staff and facility. They were so friendly and welcoming. I just keep thinking if we love the Xcel gym we might as well get her feet wet in that program and let her ease into competing. If she loves it still and wants to get more serious we will definitely explore that JO gym!
 
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ldw4mlo

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Having done both at the the same gym. Our coaches like the progression of the JO program they feel it builds good foundations. And yeah that’s not as exciting. Our coaches say they teach gymnastics not tricks.

As a parent, I’m not fond of someone telling me what my kid can do when it’s on our time.

As a side note yes JO is currently the way to go if a kid wants to do gymnastics at the college level. They need the drive and the talent, and supportive coaches. If they have that, they can transition from XCel to JO at a later time. These decisions are not final at 6. Especially with the right and supportive coaches. I don’t get that feeling based on what you shared of your current JO coach.

I understand at some point you have to pick a program. Yet a case can also be made it’s good to learn from different coaches with different styles.

At 6 if you are happy with both, try to do both. It would give your child time to grow and mature. So she would be able to better verbalize her long term plan for the sport and what would work best long term.

And I would approach the JO coach with that thought process And a fixed period of time before making a decision. Like when they want to move her from pre team to team.

I would also be prepared for the JO coach to insist I choose which is entirely with in their rights. And knowing myself, I’d likely not choose someone so unmovable when it concerns little kids.

I also live in an area with many gym choices so I have the luxury of choice And saying thanks but no thanks. You might feel differently
 
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6yroldgymnast

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Having done both at the the same gym. Our coaches like the progression of the JO program they feel it builds good foundations. And yeah that’s not as exciting. Our coaches say they teach gymnastics not tricks.

As a parent, I’m not fond of someone telling me what my kid can do when it’s on our time.

As a side note yes JO is currently the way to go if a kid wants to do gymnastics at the college level. They need the drive and the talent, and supportive coaches. If they have that, they can transition from XCel to JO at a later time. These decisions are not final at 6. Especially with the right and supportive coaches. I don’t get that feeling based on what you shared of your current JO coach.

I understand at some point you have to pick a program. Yet a case can also be made it’s good to learn from different coaches with different styles.

At 6 if you are happy with both, try to do both. It would give your child time to grow and mature. So she would be able to better verbalize her long term plan for the sport and what would work best long term.

And I would approach the JO coach with that thought process And a fixed period of time before making a decision. Like when they want to move her from pre team to team.

I would also be prepared for the JO coach to insist I choose which is entirely with in their rights. And knowing myself, I’d likely not choose someone so unmovable when it concerns little kids.

I also live in an area with many gym choices so I have the luxury of choice And saying thanks but no thanks. You might feel differently
Yes! You just very well verbalized exactly how I feel. She is 6 and we have no idea where this is going. She just loves it right now. But will she in a year, 5 years? I have no idea. I really don’t want to kill the love by sticking with a gym that doesn’t support her or our choices and make it fun! But I’m also starting to wonder if I’m confusing JO with this gym. Maybe she would love JO at a different gym. And maybe it’s not Xcel she loves but the gym and coaches!
Having done both at the the same gym. Our coaches like the progression of the JO program they feel it builds good foundations. And yeah that’s not as exciting. Our coaches say they teach gymnastics not tricks.

As a parent, I’m not fond of someone telling me what my kid can do when it’s on our time.

As a side note yes JO is currently the way to go if a kid wants to do gymnastics at the college level. They need the drive and the talent, and supportive coaches. If they have that, they can transition from XCel to JO at a later time. These decisions are not final at 6. Especially with the right and supportive coaches. I don’t get that feeling based on what you shared of your current JO coach.

I understand at some point you have to pick a program. Yet a case can also be made it’s good to learn from different coaches with different styles.

At 6 if you are happy with both, try to do both. It would give your child time to grow and mature. So she would be able to better verbalize her long term plan for the sport and what would work best long term.

And I would approach the JO coach with that thought process And a fixed period of time before making a decision. Like when they want to move her from pre team to team.

I would also be prepared for the JO coach to insist I choose which is entirely with in their rights. And knowing myself, I’d likely not choose someone so unmovable when it concerns little kids.

I also live in an area with many gym choices so I have the luxury of choice And saying thanks but no thanks. You might feel differently