For Parents Featured Fast tracking gymnasts

GYMNASTICS
Parents... Coaches... Judges... Gymnasts...
DON'T LURK... Join The Discussion!

Members See FEWER Ads!
Join for FREE!

JBS

ChalkBucket Founder
Staff member
Gold Membership
Coach
Proud Parent
Sep 3, 2005
7,616
Wisconsin
fast-track-text.jpg


Thanks to @Mom02 for starting this thread!

fast-track-post.png


This seems to be a hot topic at gyms everywhere so let's hear what think. After you answer @Mom02's question...

TELL US ABOUT THE FAST TRACK PROGRAM AT YOUR GYM.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT IT?

DOES YOUR GYM DO TOPS OR YOUR NATIONAL FAST TRACK PROGRAM?

 
Last edited:

Mom02

Proud Parent
Mar 14, 2021
16
I’m curious what criteria does a gym use to fast track a group of gymnasts and those that aren’t fast tracked are placed in a different level with ( different training) I’m confused by this rationale can anyone explain? Why not call in TOPs or a different program.
 
Last edited:

JPC13

Proud Parent
Mar 25, 2022
438
Gyms use different criteria. If you’re interested in how your gym, or a gym you’re thinking about, does it… you should ask. If they can’t clearly articulate a rational that makes sense to you, that should be a sign.

With that said, most reasonable gyms that I’ve been around fast track kids who (1) are capable of being fast tracked, and (2) actually want to be fast tracked. It’s not always fun, and not every kid is capable of keeping up. Either their bodies can’t handle it, or the skills come to slow.

Out of 30 or so pre-optional girls at my daughters gym, only a handful are training to fast track.
 

ReluctantGymMom

Proud Parent
May 11, 2020
354
32
One of the main criteria I’ve seen for fast tracking is lack of fear, more so than all around talent. My daughter is very talented at one event, and was always fearless so they fast tracked her. She wasn’t the highest scoring person in her level, not even close. They wanted to have her jump more levels but she took a bad fall on beam and has fear there now.

Honestly she would have been better off not skipping so many levels. Most fast tracked kids end up quitting or repeating a later level multiple times
 
Dec 6, 2022
1
45
I’m curious what criteria does a gym use to fast track a group of gymnasts and those that aren’t fast tracked are placed in a different level with ( different training) I’m confused by this rationale can anyone explain? Why not call in TOPs or a different program.
 

Tmacs

Proud Parent
Feb 19, 2019
230
Our gym doesn't fast track. They've had very few gymnasts skip levels. They uptrain quite a bit and then have the girls compete at a very comfortable level. It leads to fewer repeated levels, fewer injuries, and potentially longer careers... it's a fairly new program so we will see.
 

JBS

ChalkBucket Founder
Staff member
Gold Membership
Coach
Proud Parent
Sep 3, 2005
7,616
Wisconsin
Just linking this conversation into this thread as well... for people that stumble across this stuff in the future...

 

MuggleMom

Proud Parent
Dec 22, 2016
825
Virginia
I guess it depends on what you mean by fast track. We have a homeschool group that does more hours. It may be perceived that they are "fast tracked" but realistically they have paced fairly evenly and scored very evenly with the kids going at night that are doing less hours. Now that they are getting to level 9ish I am seeing more of a difference (also the hour differential has increased at level 9) but really only in the girls that are particularly good anyway. Some of the homeschool girls that do more hours have actually repeated more than those at night.

I will always say at levels 3-5 there is always a lot of parent talk and concern that the homeschool kids had more hours and better coaches and were going to outpace the "other" kids (admittedly I worried about this as well back then) but it really didnt happen at all. They got better TOPs training but as far as general progression, general advancement, and competition performance the differences are minimal and I think the night group has a lower burn out rate.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kartrava

Geoffrey Taucer

Staff member
Gold Membership
Coach
Jan 21, 2007
4,555
Baltimore, MD
It's not standardized from gym to gym.

I'm no longer coaching, but when I was, I wasn't a particular fan of "fast tracking" kids in most circumstances. If you're taking a young and talented kid and trying to get them to a high level as fast as you can, that to me feels like a high-risk/low-reward endeavor. Just because they can doesn't mean they should.

That said, I do believe in making sure talented kids are still challenged, and usually that takes the form of (cautious) uptraining. If the skills for their current level are clean and consistent, then I'll let them spend time on skills for the next level, pretty much any time except in the week or two before states.

I have only once had a kid skip a level at compulsories, and that was because by the end of level 3/4 summer, she had all her L5 skills better than any of my L5s, was safe and consistent to my satisfaction, and my biggest concern was that she'd get bored and lazy if I had her compete a full season at L4. So she did one meet at L4 and then moved up to L5 for the rest of the season. (Side note: if you keep track of college gymnastics, look out for Lily Goodrich in three years)
 
Last edited:

JBS

ChalkBucket Founder
Staff member
Gold Membership
Coach
Proud Parent
Sep 3, 2005
7,616
Wisconsin
One thing to note about "no fear" kids.

While many times there are no signs of issues in the gym and they are fully able to push themselves though fear with seemingly no issues to the coach... sometimes the issues manifest themselves in other parts of their life... or they just hold it all in until one day they just suddenly quit.

I do agree that "no fear" is definitely something that coaches look for though.
 

RTT2

Proud Parent
Oct 9, 2015
882
My kid had plenty of fears in compulsories (and was definitely not fast tracked), but because she loved the sport so much, she developed a lot of ways to work through those fears. Now as she hits skills that look terrifying to me, she uses all the years of mental training that she developed on her own and is able to break the skills down in her mind and tackle them. She tells me she has a lot less fears now than she did when she was younger.
 

mom2newgymnast

Proud Parent
Jul 8, 2014
1,302
49
It's not standardized from gym to gym.

I'm no longer coaching, and when I was, I wasn't a particular fan of "fast tracking" kids in most circumstances. If you're taking a young and talented kid and trying to get them to a high level as fast as you can, that to me feels like a high-risk/low-reward endeavor. Just because they can doesn't mean they should.
I agree with this and that's why it confuses me that there seems to be such a trend do so (at least based on instagram and facebook posts lol). I mean I guess it does make sense for those really, truly with a shot at elite. But so many of these fast tracked gymnasts that are training huge hours are at gyms that I seriously question could ever get them to elite. Or at least they have no history of it. And so few of them last in the sport.

So why do the non elite bound gymnasts do it? It seems like a fast track to injury or burn out. And if a gymnast is able to thrive in that environment when younger and ends up at level 10 at 10 or 11? I guess for a few years they (or their mom most likely) have bragging rights about being so young and level 10. But eventually they are going to not be the youngest anymore and their body is going to have endured how many more years of 30+ hours of very physically demanding labor than others? Which is why I don't really understand the rush.

I guess that sounds cynical, and maybe I am. I don't know. My daughter competed every level and still made it to level 10 at 13 (almost 14) and I can't imagine her having gotten there any sooner, so I don't think I'm jealous or anything. We have a couple at my daughter's gym that have been fast tracked (but at least we aren't a high hours gym thankfully) and they are really good and doing great. But if you are scoring 38+ at level 10 as a 11/12 year old at a non-elite gym.. where do you go from there?
 

rjb123

Proud Parent
Aug 17, 2013
895
DD was never fast tracked, she did a level per year starting with old 4, and still was a ten at JO nationals at age 12. There was a group at her gym (non elite) that was being fast tracked when she was like 7 years old. Every single person in that group has long since quit. Actually out of the 18 girls who started competing old 4 with my daughter only two made it to level 10. One is a freshman in college doing D1 gym and then my DD who has committed to doing D1 college gym. This road is long, hard and physically and emotionally brutal. I see no need to rush it with fast tracking.
 

mom2newgymnast

Proud Parent
Jul 8, 2014
1,302
49
Probably to a gym that can get you qualified elite.
Well in this case, there are no elite gyms in our area, and I'm not sure that she/her family wants elite anyway (I'm honestly not sure, I haven't ever really talked to her family) She's very talented. Maybe they'll end up moving..
 

mom2newgymnast

Proud Parent
Jul 8, 2014
1,302
49
To Level 10 again and again until college comes... that's the way it's always been.
Yup. Which is why I don’t really understand the hurry to get there. Lol. I mean yes I understand maybe needing several years at 10 to be competitive and to be desirable for college recruiting. But 7-8 years seems like a really long time. I do know that there are upgrades happening and trying to get bonuses with 10.1 start values and all that.

Again not talking about Elite hopefuls. I get that they need to have those skills sooner. But for all the gymnasts you see that are skipping levels and training really high hours at young ages with not much hope or chance at being elite, I don’t understand.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Geoffrey Taucer

JPC13

Proud Parent
Mar 25, 2022
438
Well in this case, there are no elite gyms in our area, and I'm not sure that she/her family wants elite anyway (I'm honestly not sure, I haven't ever really talked to her family) She's very talented. Maybe they'll end up moving..
I just looked up a few Olympic team member scores, and I’ve reconsidered my response.

An 11 year old L10 scoring 38+ AA at a more or less run of mill gym is a unicorn who should drop everything to make a run at the next Olympics. Because they’re out scoring some of the best American women of all time at a similar age.
 

mom2newgymnast

Proud Parent
Jul 8, 2014
1,302
49
I just looked up a few Olympic team member scores, and I’ve reconsidered my response.

An 11 year old L10 scoring 38+ AA at a more or less run of mill gym is a unicorn who should drop everything to make a run at the next Olympics. Because they’re out scoring some of the best American women of all time at a similar age.
I'm guessing you don't believe me. lol. I think she was 12, but she is that good honestly. At least at level 9/10 skills.. I have no idea how she would do at elite. I do know that I'm glad that my daughter isn't usually in her age group anymore though.. ;)
 

New Posts