For Parents How to evaluate XCEL program of gym

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Proud Parent
Oct 28, 2021
I have twin girls in JO program level 3 at a local gym. Coaching was split based on level, levels 1-4 were done by one coach and 5-6 were done but another coach. The 5-6 coach left and they have not found a replacement. The owner held a meeting for the JO 1-4 parents where they stated the 1-4 coach would start doing levels 1-2, once you get to level 3 they are going to move you to XCEL bronze (I think), effectively dissolving their JO program.

My girls thrive on structure, challenge, and understanding what is required for level 4 for example. They LOVE gymnastics, look forward to going, and have natural ability. I have no idea if they desire to do this in college or even Olympic levels or if they will even be good enough, how do you know that now?

I have been researching a ton and based on what I can find is your success in an XCEL program really depends on the XCEL program you are in and how well you are coached. I see posts where it seems some gyms just treat XCEL as recreational but others treat it as their avenue to JO. This gym used to treat XCEL as more recreational, but maybe is transitioning it to more of a XCEL to JO route if a student shows promise, not sure.

So my question is how do I evaluate that their current gym's XCEL program will train them well enough to move over to JO if they so choose later in life, that I am not putting them at a disadvantage now? How do I know the decision we make now does not have a ripple effect later on? Is that even a thing?



Proud Parent
Dec 22, 2016
What do they do in your gym after level 6? Do they have any upper level optionals? You have the advantage here of knowing the coach who was doing JO is doing XCEL now I would imagine they would run the team the same way so if you feel like they are getting strong instruction now they would likely continue to do so in XCEL. All that being said if your gym doesn't have a strong upper optional program you are probably limited in how far your DD can go at this gym. That doesnt mean you can keep her there until she decides what her gym goals are...but that is something to keep in mind as you evaluate pros and cons. Another thing to consider is if she stays in XCEL and decides to go JO later at a different gym will other gyms consider her for JO if she has previoulsy been in a XCEL program? Some gyms are unfortunately very shortsighted and will keep you on the same path no matter your goals. I would ask your current gym what their plans for the XCEL program are will they start JO up later will they expand the XCEL program through to Diamond and Platinum etc. Look at other local gyms and how they run their JO programs do they also have XCEL, do they allow movement between JO and XCEL. I would be keeping an eye out that your kiddo will have the chance to continue to grow in the sport.

rlm's mom

Proud Parent
Aug 21, 2021
A lot of gyms have the kids do 3, gold and then switch back to level 6. Some don't do compulsory at all and just do bronze, silver, gold and then 6. If the XCEL program in your gym is well run you may want to put your daughters into it for a year or two and then see if they want to switch back to competitive JO and a new gym or stay where they are.


Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Aug 22, 2008
I second what Mugglemom said. I would stress that you need to find whether local gyms generally accept transfers from gymnasts who were in another xcel program. Sometimes gyms will allow transfers from their own programs but not outside. Age makes a difference too so be sure to ask. My personal choice in this situation would be to move them now so they are in a better position to pursue the paths that are right for each of them.

ETA - I would also have a meeting with the HC/owner to determine if this is a temporary change or if they see a time when they will bring JO back once the girls reach L6/7 skills. What is happening to the L5/6 girls? Are they transitioning to xcel or are they moving?


Proud Parent
Dec 30, 2017
A lot of gyms switched to using XCEL bronze and silver instead of compulsories, the training doesn't change and the gym often has set gym routines for the events where everyone on the team does the same routine, so it is very similar to compulsories but the music and routine are unique to that gym.

If a gym has compulsory and XCEL then there is a chance they treat XCEL as more of a rec sort of thing. If they only have XCEL and then switch to Optionals then they are probably treating XCEL as JO1-4.
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ChalkBucket Founder
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Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Sep 3, 2005
The owner held a meeting for the JO 1-4 parents where they stated the 1-4 coach would start doing levels 1-2, once you get to level 3 they are going to move you to XCEL bronze (I think), effectively dissolving their JO program.
The owner told you that the program will not prepare them for upper levels right there. If they are starting with Xcel and transitioning to DP / JO... that's way different than what you just stated above. Xcel only tracks to Xcel unless it is just used as a training ground for the future.


Proud Parent
Feb 9, 2020
Our gym has a very well-structured XCEL program and they dissolved their JO track a few years ago. Our kiddos do Bronze as their L2 equivalent, Silver as L3 equivalent, Gold as L4 equivalent and by that time, they transition them to L6 and up. My DD1 took her routines from Gold and incorporated them into L6. We have actually had a really positive experience. My kids thrive on being pushed to perform at the top of their skill set and hate redundancy. To me, JO compulsory is so redundant. Some kids at other gyms spend 2 years competing L4. Some other local gyms do a year of L4 and then a year of Gold before L6 so that they can strengthen their flyaway, clear hip, tumbling on beam, etc. My kids would not thrive in that type of environment if they were forced to compete the same routines, same music, etc for 2 straight years. The XCEL program has allowed them to have flexibility in their routines and they can incorporate new skills as they are learned. They are currently L8 and L6 and my L6 DD never competed JO except for score out meets for L4 and 5 (competed both of those on the same day and scored out on the first time for both).
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