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Advice for a good friends daughter, Xcel Bronze or JO level 3?

Discussion in 'Parent Forum' started by Gymnast Chars mom, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. Gymnast Chars mom

    Gymnast Chars mom Member Proud Parent

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    Hi all,

    I am hoping to help a good friend with a decision. Disclaimer: This is a question for a friend who does not live in the same region, I think they are region 3 but not sure.

    Here is a little background first. My friends dd is a year older than mine, almost to the day, so she just turned 8. She has been on pre team 1 hour twice a week since September. Just this week she was invited to team and her placement is Xcel Bronze. The plan is that she would start team in July and continue pre-team through June. The Bronze training hours would be 2.5 twice a week for the summer and then down to 2 hours twice per week for the fall. This is an Xcel only gym and they typically keep their kids at each level for 2 years (unless a kid is really ready to move in 1). This particular gym scores very very well, probably the highest scoring Xcel team in the area, kids always on the podium, all kids make districts etc. My friend says they credit this to attention to detail in form/technique and a strong conditioning program. Also 2 years per level probably helps. This gym is great with communication and just very encouraging overall and both my friend and her dd are very happy there.

    Her dd has a friend at a gym down the street who is also on pre team who will most likely be training level 3 JO this summer. She may have already started, not sure when compulsories are in this region. Now my friends daughter wants to try JO because her friend is going that route. So my friend set up an evaluation at her friends gym just to see what they thought and where they would place her. It went well and they said they would have her train level 3 as well this summer. She has not signed any contracts at original gym. The concern my friend has is that this gym doesn't score all that well. Level 3 girls score between 30AA and 35AA typically and rarely someone pulls off a 36-37. My friend has heard through the grapevine it is because they don't condition as much as they should and don't perfect the details/form/technique. Level 3 at this gym trains 9 hours per week over the summer and 9 hours during school year. She said the level 4's score much better 32- 37 range. The optional girls score between 34 and high 37's typically and they have sent at least 2 girls to division 1 in the last few years.

    Apparently this is the only option for JO for her dd, no other gyms close enough that they would be willing to drive to. SO now they are trying to make a decision. Do they stay or do they go? The dd wants to do JO but my friend really worries about injury on a team that doesn't condition enough. At least she knows the conditioning at the Xcel gym is great and the gymnasts there tend not to get injured. I told her I would think a JO program training level 3 9 hours per week would have at least as much conditioning as a top Xcel bronze team training 4-5 hours per week even if they score lower but maybe I am wrong? Thoughts on this? She says her dd would not do extra conditioning on her own so it's either at gym or not at all.

    She also worries Xcel gym would not take her dd back once she leaves so that is also a concern. What should I tell her?

    As for my dd, doing well on pre-team and hoping to train level 3 this summer! For the record I don't think my dd's gym has the best conditioning program either but I can't be sure as she is preteam so maybe the real conditioning hasn't started yet!

    Thanks everyone for your help.
     

  2. ldw4mlo

    ldw4mlo Well-Known Member Proud Parent

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    You can't compare JO scores to Xcel scores.

    And there are many JO gyms that score well but don't do a lot of conditioning.

    Really, it's about what the family wants and what works for them.

    For me conditioning l, uptraining and hours are key.
     
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  3. gymbeam

    gymbeam Active Member Proud Parent

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    I'd have her look more at the higher level JO scores to evaluate the program at the JO gym. They may not score great in lower levels but end up doing fine in the end. Might be they just don't spend a lot of time perfecting compulsory routines.

    If the friend wants to leave college door open, then she'll have to go JO at some point. The JO gym may take her now but could decide in a year or two that her skill level no longer matches up to their JO team and switching there later may not be an option.

    Hard choice!
     
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  4. SHELOVESGYM

    SHELOVESGYM Member Proud Parent

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    Curious why you say you can't compare JO and x cel scores as I know you have experience with both. How do the scores/placements compare for your DD and her teammates when they compete JO vs x cel? I am curious b/c we are considering making the switch and wondering what to expect if we switch to x cel for DD.
     

  5. NutterButter

    NutterButter Member Proud Parent

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    My DD competed Xcel silver and then moved to JO4 the next season. In my area, Xcel scores tend to be higher than compulsory scoring and this was the case for my DD too. She regularly scored upper 36s and low 37s as a silver but never cracked 36 as a L4. Her placements were about the same in both Xcel and JO (and maybe even a little higher in JO despite lower AA score compared to Xcel).
     
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  6. ldw4mlo

    ldw4mlo Well-Known Member Proud Parent

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    We are talking about lower JO levels here.

    Because JO is compulsory, you can not alter the routines and avoid what you are not strong at. Xcel they did what they did well and it showed in their scores.

    When our girls did Xcel and JO they all scored higher in their Xcel meets vs their JO meets. The top girls on our team were top placements in both but scored better in Xcel. The weaker girls moved up in placement as well as scores. My daughter has Top 100 scores for her Xcel season. While she had successful L3 and L4 seasons, no scores Top 100.
     
  7. Sasha

    Sasha Active Member Proud Parent

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    If your friend is already thinking about Xcel as an option, this implies she is focused on the many benefits of gymnastics that are not related to making a college team, or reaching the highest level possible, etc.

    Xcel is a great long-term program for girls who want to commit fewer hours to gym, yet still have a fun, competitive, healthy, team experience that they can enjoy and still have room for other activities like band, cheer, girl scouts, robotics club, etc. It will not lead to NCAA, though another thread recently pointed out some more recreational-club teams at a college level that Xcel athletes may qualify for. Xcel hours vary, but most will never exceed 12 hours per week at the top levels, and 6-9 hours per week for the early years is very common.

    JO is going to get very serious, very fast. More hours, more expensive, sometimes more pressure depending on the demands of the gym (if you are not keeping up, etc). Level 3 may only be 9 hours, but soon enough, early levels (4-6) typically go 12-16 hours or more per week. The hours will top out (levels 8-10) anywhere from 16-17 per week on the low end to (more commonly) 20-24 hours per week, or at the high/elite level, 30+ per week for the top girls.

    So her decision should be based on the outlook for what fits her daughters goals, and the family's desire to support them.

    If the family is willing to support higher hours and cost, and this is what the daughter wants, then going JO is a fine choice. Since the parents are already considering Xcel as a choice, this says they are focused less on scoring potential and more on an enjoyable and safe experience for their child in a sport she loves. So the 'low scoring' Level 3 team at the JO gym shouldn't be a concern, especially if they have successful optionals. Scoring a 37-38 vs scoring a 30-35 will likely be just as enjoyable for their daughter as long as the parents don't artificially pressure her that somehow she should be doing better.

    And no, you cannot compare Xcel and JO scores in terms of who is 'better'. The routines are different, and the scoring skews higher in Xcel for similar skills. The same routine performed equally well in Xcel might score a 9.2, whereas it might score a 7.9-8.5 (or whatever) in JO. JO is harsher scoring, overall (of course regions and meets vary).

    And it is usually no problem at all for a JO athlete to decide to change to Xcel, but there are often many barriers (again, dependent on particular gym) to moving from Xcel to JO.

    If the parents are OK with both possible future commitments, and want to keep as many options open as possible, go JO first, then see where it goes as Xcel is always an option later.

    Good luck!
     
  8. ldw4mlo

    ldw4mlo Well-Known Member Proud Parent

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    ^^^^ What Sasha typed.................
     
  9. Gymnast Chars mom

    Gymnast Chars mom Member Proud Parent

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    Yes, this is exactly how she feels. It is a way for her dd to be active and healthy and involved in an activity she loves. It is not about scores per se. I think the reason she mentioned scores to me as a concern was more along the lines of safety and injury prevention. She has it in her head that because the scores at this JO gym tend to run lower than other JO gyms in the region they don't condition enough or the coaching isn't good enough and her dd may end up injured. Not sure if there is any truth to that. I told her that I assume most JO teams condition a lot and I can't imagine the conditioning would be less than at the Xcel gym if her dd goes JO. She also mentioned this gym scores low in Xcel too compared to the gym her dd is at. In her mind dd will be leaving a top notch Xcel gym for a mediocre JO program and she is worried about that. I do not believe this is the case as there are other reasons for low compulsory scores and not necessarily lack of conditioning or poor coaching.

    Also yes they understand the commitment if she ends up doing JO. They would be willing to go that route if that's what dd really wants.
     
  10. Sasha

    Sasha Active Member Proud Parent

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    Is it possible the mom could go observe a few classes at the JO gym to see how they condition, and see for herself if she is concerned about the safety of the coaching? Really, I think that's the only way to feel comfortable. A "rumor" about their lack of conditioning is just that. I know I have heard from people at another gym that our gym is viewed as not up to snuff in conditioning, and is basically "not as good" as gym X. Ha! My kiddo is a solid rock with great coaching. So maybe it's true about the JO gym, maybe it's not. Maybe they just don't focus on perfecting L3. Or maybe they are more 'inclusive' in the lower levels of JO and let more girls participate rather than "weeding out" ones who aren't the early bloomers. Or maybe they really don't have competent coaches in L3. Impossible to say. If it were me, I would find time to go observe the L3s, and maybe the 4s or other level to get a better sense of how the athletes train, and the 'feeling' of the gym. Happy parents and students? Kind coaches? Or coaches on their phones or yelling (unkindly, not just to be heard and with positive motivation)? And I'd observe more than just one class, as any one day could be an outlier.

    As for the Xcel program at the JO gym not scoring as well, that doesn't surprise me. An Xcel-only gym often has more resources to put into Xcel, and that is their 'flagship' program to attract families so they need to structure it such that girls compete where they are most successful (score highest, which in some places means advancing them more conservatively). The JO program is usually the flagship program at JO gyms. Sometimes, but not always, Xcel teams play second fiddle. Or again, it could just be the JO gym is very inclusive in Xcel as well, and lets girls compete who may not have the highest talent or best natural form, and so scores are overall lower, but training is still competent and girls are happy and safe.

    Observe, observe, observe if possible.
     
  11. UnoMas

    UnoMas Well-Known Member CBBC Board Member Proud Parent

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    Well she is 8 so if she wants to try JO, she needs to do it sooner rather than later in all honesty.

    IMHO, Scores at xcel bronze and JO 3 truly do not matter, it is more about the skills, skill progression, form (or lack thereof) that's being taught. JO 3 ultimately requires a higher level of skills than bronze, unless the xcel gym is letting them max out skills...I've seen a lot of gyms compete the bare minimum to maximize scores, which "could" be why those xcel scores are very high. Of course I don't know if that's the case for the friend's gym.

    I've had 3 kids go through xcel, JO, and a combination of both. My youngest has only done xcel, and I really believe her foundation in gymnastics will never be as strong because of it. Clearly she is not headed for college gym or anything else, but she just doesn't have the form and precision that they tend to spend more time on in JO. I wish I had let her try a year of JO, so just speaking from my experience I would tend to encourage the kid to try it with the understanding that JO gets crazy time and money consuming real quick. :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
  12. GAgymmom

    GAgymmom Active Member Proud Parent Judge

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    A few things: you cannot compare Xcel scores and JO scores because Xcel scoring is much more lenient. There are less deductions allowed in Xcel vs JO, Xcel routines have less rigorous requirements, the routines are shorter, they can do what they are best at vs having to do the prescribed text. Xcel scores are usually much higher due to the deductions that cannot be taken as in JO. There are many things that cannot be deducted in Xcel that MUST be deducted in JO compulsories and optionals.

    Xcel Bronze is very, very basic. The routines are very short and the skills are very basic. If her gymnast is more advanced than handstands, round-offs, cartwheels, and forward and backward rolls, I would lean more toward the Level 3 team if that is an option that has been extended. (eg: the requirements for Bronze bars is a mount; a cast--hips leave the bar; a circling element--sole circle, Front hip circle, or back hip circle--on the low bar; and a dismount from the low bar which can be as simple as a push-back.) She may want to watch some Bronze routines on YouTube and then some Level 3 routines before making a decision. And if she can, observe a couple practices at the JO gym. Then talk things over with her daughter and see what her expectations and commitment are before finalizing anything.
     
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  13. CLgym

    CLgym Member Proud Parent

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    We were presented with a similar (although not exact) scenario two years ago when DD was directed to Xcel Bronze at old gym. (The main difference is that there was a super exclusive/small JO team at our old gym, but DD was not "picked" for it.). Old gym is considered one of the best gyms in the area with super high scores across all teams. Next closest option had lower scores across the board, but would likely accept DD into JO program.

    We decided to wait a year, stay at old gym, and try Xcel Bronze. Since JO L3 is not required, we figured one year in a high quality Xcel program wouldn't set DD back too far. Also, my DD was 6 yrs old at the time (turned 7 by the time she was competing Bronze), and would basically be doing L3 routines in Bronze. I also figured that a year of competition would give me valuable info about DD's abilities and level of interest/passion.

    After a very successful Bronze season, it was clear DD wanted more than Xcel. We moved to the "lower scoring" gym last spring, and DD (now 8) competed L4. She did well (medaled every meet), but did not score as high as she had in Bronze. As others have said, you can't compare scores between the two programs. My DD is a much better gymnast now despite lower JO scores. Also, I learned that the "lower scoring" gym had excellent coaching, more conditioning than DD's old Xcel program, lots of up-training, and an overall really solid program. However, they allow a wider range of girls to compete JO, and the scores reflect this range. There are some very high scoring girls on DD's team, but many others are middle of the pack. At old gym, girls who most gyms would happily place in JO were pushed to Xcel, and JO was left with just a few super talents. Thus, the higher scores in both programs.

    My advice - there is probably no harm in giving it a year, seeing how Xcel goes, etc. However, if the long term goal is more competitive gymnastics, then I wouldn't write-off a "lower scoring" JO program before doing more research, observing practice, etc.
     
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  14. Gymnast Chars mom

    Gymnast Chars mom Member Proud Parent

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    Thanks everyone. I will pass all of this along.
     
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