8 Year Old TOPs

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Ingymmom

Active Member
Jul 12, 2007
981
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?

My daughter did them on her own on the high beam, honestly, I don't remember when exactly - probably around 6. I am sure she probably just saw the big girls doing them on the high beam and took interest and then wanted to try for herself. She personally prefers to do her continuous presses on the low beam though. Which is fine for TOPs phys abilities. The skills portion is where they prefer to see the high beam work - which makes sense.
 
S

starmaker

Hi Nic, It has been a while! I hope all is well with the family.

I too think having the 8 years old test skills is a good thing. I also like the fact they get to go to camp. Liv is so independant and would feel left out if she had to wait another two years before national camp. She's been looking forward to TOPS camp since she found out about almost a year ago.

Some parents have a hard time letting go. I personally have a harder time letting go of my little one because she is much more attached to me and she's my baby. Liv has always been independant and rarely "needs" me. She'd happily and confidently stay away this year if she could. Luckliy, most camps don't start till 7-8 years old. :)
 

MissBear

Coach
Gymnast
May 4, 2009
176
I am suprised by the comments on this. I have always assumed that TOPS is not about the testing. The testing is just the method of identification,
Which gymnasts are the ones to be keeping an eye on as they head for elite?
Which coaches can use further education about training these gymnasts?

The skills are the ones that the 9-11 year olds will build on, so most will be doing them anyway if TOPs is being trained appropriately.

That said, I can't understand having TOPs as a program with any more than a few exceptionally talented gymnasts. Sure, all gymnasts will benifit from that type of strength and flexibility work, but that should be incorparated into the regular conditioning program.
 

Shelovesthebars

Active Member
Dec 22, 2009
542
MissBear,
My 4 year old was practicing her presses in her preteam class. A girl who is 6 and a level 4 was in her same class last year and now doesn't even remember what press handstands are called. Her mom said that they don't do them in level 4 at all. So does that mean that they don't do the tops conditioning in regular levels. Does that also mean by introducing presses to the preteamers that they are weeding out possible tops girls early? It just seems crazy to me to stop doing some of these conditioning skills with 6 year olds because the coaches don't think they are tops matierial. Sorry for the rant but I am curious.
 

gymcoach34

Member
Apr 5, 2010
339
I think what Missbear is trying to do is explain the difference between the physical abilities portion of TOPs (press handstands, leg lifts, etc.) and the skills portion of TOPs. ( Of course, that should be part of every gymnasts daily conditioning- I doubt you'd find a coach that would disagree w/ that! :))

The SKILLs portion on TOPs is what the gymnasts need to train extra on- the kids who I train that will most likely be ready for the national test now just "run through" their physical ablities (they have mastered them and we just do one set of everything and spend a little extra time on casts, presses and hs hold bc they are the most challenging for them) then we do an extra hour of bars during every TOPs workout and alternate betwen beam and vault/floor for the 2nd hour. We also work on either the beam dance or the floor dance during every TOPs workout for about 20-30 minutes. They also do the physical abilities/conditioning w/ their regualr workout group during the week.

I have heard through the grapevine that they will take VERY FEW 8 year olds to National Testing, and will take even fewer to camp, and will most likely have them be day campers in a hotel w/ their parents. Its definitely something the committee is trying to see if it works.

I hope this clarifies things and Missbear if I was incorrect in speaking for you, I apologize!!
 

MissBear

Coach
Gymnast
May 4, 2009
176
Shelovesthebars: I think it unlikely they are 'weeding out' the TOPs gymnasts through one skill. It seems more likely that the pre-teamers are enjoying the challenge of press handstands and it consolidates other strengthening they are working on, while the level 4s have different focus. While press handstands can be a great part of conditioning, they are not everything! I expect the level 4s do rope climb, leg lift and handstand work - also 'included in TOPs testing.
Incidently, press handstands also make a great optional beam mount and are a progression for planche (another beam mount and also used for bar skill-specific conditioning). They are not only going to be useful for a TOPs test.

gymcoach34 - yes, that is the type of program I was thinking of. Can I ask - what is the reason for you run this program this way, rather than have the TOPs gymnasts as a seperate group for all of the time? I would think with the amount of uptraining and even stronger basics these gymnasts need it would be too difficult to integrate them with 'regular' groups.
 

gymcoach34

Member
Apr 5, 2010
339
Missbear, because I also have to coach everyone else as well-I dont have the luxury of having the kids in a ton of hours or just to have them alone in a group. Many other "big" gyms do it this way as well-Hills, Parkettes, CGA to name a few. Its certainly poses its challenges, but we make it work!
 
G

gymnut1

gymcoach34 - yes, that is the type of program I was thinking of. Can I ask - what is the reason for you run this program this way, rather than have the TOPs gymnasts as a seperate group for all of the time? I would think with the amount of uptraining and even stronger basics these gymnasts need it would be too difficult to integrate them with 'regular' groups.

The physical skills are easy to integrate into general workout as they are things all gymnasts need. I would imagine most gymnasts train them anyway as part of their flexibility and conditioning. I know my gymnasts do and we aren't even in the USA. She did say they have separate TOPS sessions for the skills. However as someone already pointed out. The kids who generally get to camp A are already optionals at 9 so have most of the physical skills anyway. The huge workload comes in when you have a compulsory gymnast trying to learn the skills in a short time. That was never the point of the program.

I think one of the issues discussed before on this board is that children scoring very highly in the physical abilities at regional testing did not necessarily have the skills as well. This move to include 8 year olds is a way to introduce them abit earlier.

OT but Ingymom - I remember you were at the caquattos gym, have you moved onto their new gym with them or stayed put. I know you were very happy there. Can't wait to see some new video of A.
 
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