8 Year Old TOPs

Parents... Coaches... Gymnasts...
Gymnastics Questions?
Don't Lurk... We've Got Answers!

New For 2022
MEMBERS ONLY Parent Group!
Join for FREE!
Status
Not open for further replies.

Ingymmom

Active Member
Jul 12, 2007
981
I looked around a little, and had not seen mention of the 8 year old skills recently included in USAG TOPs, and them (8 yr olds) now being allowed to go to National Testing. So, I thought I would mention and ask:

http://www2.usa-gymnastics.org/women/tops/10skills.pdf

Are your gyms incorporating these skills for the 7/8 yr olds (turning 8 in 2010) TOPs kiddos now? How does everyone feel about this new option being presented?
 

bogwoppit

Former Admin
Gold Membership
Feb 26, 2007
16,884
I have absolutely nothing to offer!!! But I miss you! Hope all is well with you and the fam.
 

Tim_Dad

Member
Nov 3, 2008
414
Region IV (Missouri)
Are your gyms incorporating these skills for the 7/8 yr olds (turning 8 in 2010) TOPs kiddos now? How does everyone feel about this new option being presented?

Quick answer is no, we're not. In fact, Few (if any) gyms in eastern Missouri does TOP's prep at all.

I had a chance last weekend to have a conversation with the gym owner and opt coaches after the state meet tear down / beer fest. The general feeling to coaches and owners in our area is that TOP's is mostly a money maker for USAG more then anything else.

While the concepts of the program are sound, it's very hard to tell 95%+ of the athletes that test for Top's that they aren't good enough to make the cut. This becomes more discouraging to young athletes then encouraging due to the intensity of the training involved to prepare. For the few that make diamond, the gymnastics program isn't any better then the training that could be provided by the home gym. - or so I'm told.

For my DD, we used the TOP's style conditioning as part of our home workout program up until late last year. DD and I (as much as I could) did them together as a team with no aspirations of her testing out. The result to me was a better conditioned athlete that was able to pick up new skills much MUCH faster because the strength requirements for the skill were already met. For example, she picked up her Kip at the end of L3, Cast to handstand in L4, has become exempt from most handstand contests, and is the envy of even the L7-L10 girls when she climbs the rope.

I'm not sure if this answers your question.
Tim
 
Last edited:

gymch34

Member
Aug 2, 2008
322
east coast
Yes, its true, 8 year olds will be invited to National Testing. TOPs is not a big moneymaker for USAG-most of what comes in, goes right back out. (Levels 2-5 are the biggest money makers!)

Please remember this program is an elite program, so it makes sense that 95% wont make the cut. However, if the gymnasts are training correctly, the program will certainly accelerate their development in gymnastics and will provode excellent basics for optional level gymnastics. IT is A LOT of extra work however, which many gyms do not want to take on. Its not for everyone.

The camps are really for the coaches education, and are structured to address the weaknesses that Natl Staff & Marta see in the current crop of elites. Right now, the focus is on lots of handstands and pirouetting on the floor-with hopes it helps w/ the pirouetting on bars. Its working because the developmental camps are very large and the kids are making it to hopes/pre-elite and beyond.
 
S

starmaker

Hello Nic, it's been awhile. Well, I think adding skills at 8 years old only makes it that much harder for them. Olivia's gym does lots of uptraining in their regular workout. We have one girl testing as an 8 year old and she is pretty close to having all her TOPS skills. Just this week they started focusing more on some the skills. She has her kip although not pretty and still needs BWO and FWO on beam. She has alot of work to do to catch up to those skills.

Luckily Liv is still testing as a 7 year old and now has a full year to get those 8 year old skills. How's A doing?? She should be good to go!

I am still confused as to how it works. Do they make the diamond team and then the top 8yo go for national testing but don't get to go to Camp? It's seems a bit unfair if that's the case!?!?!
 

mariposa

Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Sep 25, 2007
3,529
Interesting. The skills seem reasonable.

I am actually relieved that DDs gym seems to have stopped working or worrying about TOPS stuff. They still incorportate it into workout like always, but it seems to not be a focus anymore. Abby is bummed, but I am relieved.

And HI Ingymmom!!! So nice to see you here. :) Would love an update on your little gymmie!! :)
 

mariposa

Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Sep 25, 2007
3,529
Hello Nic, it's been awhile. Well, I think adding skills at 8 years old only makes it that much harder for them. Olivia's gym does lots of uptraining in their regular workout. We have one girl testing as an 8 year old and she is pretty close to having all her TOPS skills. Just this week they started focusing more on some the skills. She has her kip although not pretty and still needs BWO and FWO on beam. She has alot of work to do to catch up to those skills.

Luckily Liv is still testing as a 7 year old and now has a full year to get those 8 year old skills. How's A doing?? She should be good to go!

I am still confused as to how it works. Do they make the diamond team and then the top 8yo go for national testing but don't get to go to Camp? It's seems a bit unfair if that's the case!?!?!

From the USAG website: :: USA Gymnastics :: Women's Elite-Pre-Elite-TOPs

8 Year Olds will be invited to the National TOP Testing
Effective for 2010, 8 year olds will be invited to the National TOP testing based upon their Physical Abilities scores from State TOP testing. National TOP Testing is scheduled for October 1-3 at the National Team Training Center. The TOP Skills for 2010 have been changed to add the 8 year old National TOP Testing Skills. Yes, the top ranking 8 year olds will be invited to attend the TOP Training Camp in December
All changes from last year are in RED
 

ZJsMom

Proud Parent
May 11, 2007
998
Pacific NW
The skills do sound pretty reasonable. It seems like TOPs had gone in the direction of adding more difficult skills so I expected it to include backhandsprings on beam and giants. I don't know that it makes sense to add more pressure to them so young though. Many testing as 8 are still 7. Most of them are competing as compulsories too, so they are basically always in season going from compulsory season to TOPs testing in the summer and now will have to prepare for skill testing in the Fall.
 

Shelovesthebars

Active Member
Dec 22, 2009
542
Ingymmom-I know this is a little of topic but what age did your daughter get introduced to presses on the high beam? I am just wondering what the reason behind it is?
 

gymdog

Coach
Jul 5, 2007
5,121
They're mostly level 6 skills. I would guess a lot of the 8 year olds that make national testing could do them, maybe kip cast to 45 3X is a little hard simply because it takes a lot of control.

Seems a little unnecessary to me but I guess I can see the value in having the kids get used to an easier skill test before they do harder ones. But theoretically 99+% are competing in regular gymnastics competitions anyway, so I don't know. I would guess they had some reason rooted in how past years have worked out though, maybe they were finding that kids were making the conditioning cutoff but skills were not up to the level desired in certain areas (I'm thinking the bar stuff - with the being able to do multiple kip casts, etc...this to me is kind of a weak spot for the US system as a whole).
 

sheplaysinthechalk

Coach
Proud Parent
Judge
Jun 19, 2008
159
united states
I was going to post on this thread yesterday but didn't really have time...so here i am today...

gymdog took the words right out of my mouth.



Only, now I'm wondering how in the world these coaches are going to be able to train these kids for TOPs and score well in compulsories...

And I also wonder if they start testing the skills for 8 year olds - wouldn't that weed some of the kids out of the TOPs program early on? I've seen lots of kids at our gym (though we don't test TOPs, we do the conditioning and flexibility) who can clock the press handstands and leg lifts and splits etc, but they can't free hip or handspring over the vault, cast above horizontal...some of them can't cartwheel on the beem consistantly or even kip...mostly because they aren't training a ton of hours on up skills - these are level 3 and 4 kids.. Would seem more productive to skip the compulsory skills training and work on fundamentals and uptraining (if the goal was tops team). BUT, most of all kids wont make tops team, if I understand correctly - would be a waste IMHO to train tops rather than rock compulsories from the kid's perspective (just to avoid a huge disappointment). I think I would rather see my dd excell in compulsories rather than bomb, or even worse, ALMOST make it at testing after training the toughest sports conditioning in the universe.

And once again, since we are not usag, I am out of the loop - is it possible for a kid to start competing level 7 or 8 without having competed or "scored out" of level 4,5,6? How do these kids have time to train all of these skills and conditioning and compete 4, 5, and 6 compulsory?
 

Tumblequeensmom

Proud Parent
Feb 19, 2007
1,453
I just have to add my two cents worth here... I don't think TOPs is a big money maker for USAG, but it IS a HUGE money maker to the gyms who offer TOPs training as part of their programs!! Whether or not it is done correctly ... most parents do not know what TOPs training is, they get sucked into the "dream" and readily agree to pay the extra 100.00+ per month (on top of team training dues) for that shot at the Olympics!!! I've seen it offered at 2 gyms around here and I have to say it is a JOKE!!!

EDIT: Wow, I really sounded negative here. I guess my point is that very few will actually make the cut for the camp, IF the gym even tries to get the testing done (which DD's last gym didn't even schedule any testing). My own personal thought on this whole thing is that this type of strength and flexbility training should be incorporated as part of every team girl's practice. Yes, I realize it would take some extra time, but one of the biggest, most elite gyms in this area does NOT believe in TOPs at all... they still have elite gymnasts and their Level 10's still get those coveted college scholarships!
 
Last edited:

gymch34

Member
Aug 2, 2008
322
east coast
To answer sheplays in the chalk- usually the goal for the best TOPs kids is to teach them the fundamentals while in compulsories, and they do quite well in compulsories bc they have good skills. Most of the 9-11 yo who MAKE the teams are competing at a level where they train/compete those skills anyway (optional levels). IMHO, the kids who do burn out are the kids who train a ton in lower levels just to get te 9.8 in compulsories, not the kids who train compulsories moderately and use the majority of time to uptrain basics. Its very rare that we see these 9.8-9.9 compulsory kids that only do routines 20 hours per week have success in upper levels (at least where I am-are other coaches seeing this too??)

There are lots of disapointments in life & in gymnastics, and kids deal pretty well with both. The upside is the extra conditioning and training does compliment the gymnast's regualr training & make them more successful (even if they dont make a team.)

To tumblequeens mom- I WISH I could make money off my TOPs program- the kids pay $30/month extra for 6 extra hours of training per week (so 24 hours per month) with the most expensive coach! I'm sure some gyms would just do it as a money maker, or not do it well, but many of us are working hard at it and know it benefits the athletes. It sounds as if you had a really bad experience w the program and that's too bad-its really a program that a lot of people work very hard to run well.

Even my kids who only train TOPs are more confident in my opinion! Also, even the kids who only make National testing have a great eperience and it really ups their confidence. I am selective of who does test TOPs however, so that helps as usually the kids do well, leading to less dissapointment.
 

bookworm

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
I agree with the poster who said that it is logical that 95% of the kids won't make the cut for testing or the TOPs team but I think the point is that a lot of parents are led to believe that their kids are IN THAT 5% and will make it. My 2 girls have both made TOPs teams and were upper level optionals when they did so I think it can be misleading to train the compulsories for testing when they need the higher level skills (and the parents don't realize that that is what is needed).

I will say that the experience at testing and TOPs camp was definitely fun and beneficial for them but you can still be a successful gymnast without TOPs. The TOPs program is supposed to train the coaches at your gym on how to produce elite gymnasts...and if your gym already has elites, then they don't really need this program per se. I agree with posters who say the TOPs type training should be part of their actual training though.
 

Tumblequeensmom

Proud Parent
Feb 19, 2007
1,453
Just so everyone knows that I don't have any "sour grapes" issues, my daugher was already too old to be included in her old gym's TOPs program... well, at least the way it's SUPPOSED to be run. No one could ever figure out WHAT the heck they were doing since they were including 11 and 12 year olds into the "program." The "TOPS" training was one extra session per week. There was no strength or flexbility training that we could see. All they did was practice more and more on their routines for competition!!! We all looked at each other in amazement (at least the parents who had an idea of what TOPs was SUPPOSED to be). I felt bad for the parents of the kids who thought what a great idea this all was!! They just sucked the money from the parents and didn't give them the promised return on their investment!! I do know that some of the parents finally pulled their kids from the program, but since we are no longer at that gym, we have no idea what's going on with it now.

I've been to other gym's websites in the past, as well as USA Gymnastics, so I DO know how it's supposed to work, I just don't think it necessarily works that way at every gym. ESPECIALLY when gyms are trying to be everything to everyone (please don't "flame" me about the economy and trying to earn a living... I'm fully aware of all that, but then again, you haven't seen the way the two gyms I'm referring to have operated over the last 2 years), and as a result, NOTHING gets done the right way.

My bottom line still stands tho... strength and flexbility training SHOULD be incorproated in any gymnastics training program. It only benefits the girls with their skills, and consequently the gym's reputation!!
 

sheplaysinthechalk

Coach
Proud Parent
Judge
Jun 19, 2008
159
united states
Just so everyone knows that I don't have any "sour grapes" issues, my daugher was already too old to be included in her old gym's TOPs program... well, at least the way it's SUPPOSED to be run. No one could ever figure out WHAT the heck they were doing since they were including 11 and 12 year olds into the "program." The "TOPS" training was one extra session per week. There was no strength or flexbility training that we could see. All they did was practice more and more on their routines for competition!!! We all looked at each other in amazement (at least the parents who had an idea of what TOPs was SUPPOSED to be). I felt bad for the parents of the kids who thought what a great idea this all was!! They just sucked the money from the parents and didn't give them the promised return on their investment!! I do know that some of the parents finally pulled their kids from the program, but since we are no longer at that gym, we have no idea what's going on with it now.

I've been to other gym's websites in the past, as well as USA Gymnastics, so I DO know how it's supposed to work, I just don't think it necessarily works that way at every gym. ESPECIALLY when gyms are trying to be everything to everyone (please don't "flame" me about the economy and trying to earn a living... I'm fully aware of all that, but then again, you haven't seen the way the two gyms I'm referring to have operated over the last 2 years), and as a result, NOTHING gets done the right way.

My bottom line still stands tho... strength and flexibility training SHOULD be incorporated in any gymnastics training program. It only benefits the girls with their skills, and consequently the gym's reputation!!


100% agreed on the bottom line. That's how things work in dd's gym. They do the conditioning and flexibility work - it's a part of their regular team practice. The conditioning and flexibility program that they run is nearly identical to TOPs as far as I can tell, but we aren't paying extra $ or spending extra hours or an additional TOPs day at the gym. The only major difference is that no one calls it TOPs, we call it "team."

The rec classes are run the same way only on a much lighter scale.
 

gymch34

Member
Aug 2, 2008
322
east coast
Of course strength & flexibility shoud be part of every team program. But the extra demands of TOPs (straight body cast to hs, 10 presses, 1 min hs hold, etc) DO require more specific training. Also, the skills work, for most kids, require the extra time, for instance if the athlete is a 9 yo Level 6, they must work on their TOPs skills bc it just wont be the same in l6 training group where they must do routines, take turns w/ all the other athletes, plus get in all their regular L6 skill work.
 

Ingymmom

Active Member
Jul 12, 2007
981
Hey girl - been forevah!!! I don't think the skills are so difficult and it may be fun for the girls to go. Livy will rock it next year! No worries there ;) As a parent I was most weirded out about sleeping away from mom if the child makes it to camp! LOL! But then again, it has been tough for me to let go of my teenagers as well. I am sure some children/parents have an easier time then others. Heck, I was going to a sleep away camp when I was 7. I actually feel the addition of the 8 yr olds is positive as it reminds clubs to start the progressions a little earlier rather then cramming 9 year old skills into their 9 yr old TOPs year.

Generally gold level girls will attend national testing and then similar to diamond level will be invited to A or B camp.

Hello Nic, it's been awhile. Well, I think adding skills at 8 years old only makes it that much harder for them. Olivia's gym does lots of uptraining in their regular workout. We have one girl testing as an 8 year old and she is pretty close to having all her TOPS skills. Just this week they started focusing more on some the skills. She has her kip although not pretty and still needs BWO and FWO on beam. She has alot of work to do to catch up to those skills.

Luckily Liv is still testing as a 7 year old and now has a full year to get those 8 year old skills. How's A doing?? She should be good to go!

I am still confused as to how it works. Do they make the diamond team and then the top 8yo go for national testing but don't get to go to Camp? It's seems a bit unfair if that's the case!?!?!
 
Status
Not open for further replies.