For Parents How to Get my 11 YO Daughter into Xcel to compete?

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PreciousJ

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Yes, tumbling and trampoline teams may be based out of stand-alone gyms, or offered at "cheer gyms", which adds another wrinkle to the complex world of gymnastics!
 

Hopeful_Xcel_Mom

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Apr 5, 2022
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T&T and acro exist, but are way less common than artistic I don't know of any gyms near me that have these teams. I'm sure they exist, but most gyms don't have them plus artistic. It's highly likely the gyms you talked to do not have these as an option.
Ha, OK, thanks, that makes me feel a bit better! Still though, it's odd that they didn't ask me about, "OK, what are you looking for?" to discuss Xcel vs. DP. It was a friend's Facebook posts of her 11 YO DD competing that drove me to learn more. She's doing Xcel Bronze & my friend provided a ton more info than 2 of these 3 gyms! 1 gym was helpful though.
 

Hopeful_Xcel_Mom

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Yes, tumbling and trampoline teams may be based out of stand-alone gyms, or offered at "cheer gyms", which adds another wrinkle to the complex world of gymnastics!
Actually, I remember a local dance studio having "acro" - hm, something else to look into!
 

Gymx2

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Oct 9, 2015
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I would do a web search for "gymnastics clubs near me" and go from there. My daughter started in Xcel and the ages for Bronze ranged from 8-14, with most kids being pretty new to the sport. Off the top of my head, I can think of about 5 gyms within 20 minutes of me that offer Xcel- only one of those has a DP program, and it is generally not that difficult for a motivated kid to join the Bronze team. I hope you find the right fit for her!
 

Hopeful_Xcel_Mom

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Apr 5, 2022
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Gym #1 evaluated her again & it's a no. :(

"At this time DD is still missing some requirements for our Xcel team including her Back Hip Circle on the bars. We are also looking for her to continue working on perfecting the execution of her skills to do them with straight arms and legs, open shoulders, and proper landings. Specific skills she should be working on to improve are handstands, cartwheels, bridge kickovers, backwards rolls, and split leaps on floors along with her back hip circle and casts on bars.

"We look forward to continuing to work with DD on these skills throughout the summer. If space allows, at the end of summer we can re-evaluate her skills to see if she is a candidate for the Xcel program at that time."
 

ldw4mlo

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Feb 13, 2015
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Aussue Coach summed it up best.

The reality is the gyms have their requirements. And kids meet them or not. Some gyms are more willingly to work with kids of different ages, body types and abilities. Other gyms not so much.

Gyms are a business and have a business model on how they operate. Us parents decide if we like their model or not and either write the check or not.

Really you dont want your kid at a gym that is not happy to have them.

And you to get to decide if how the gym does things suits your family and child. And if it doesn’t move on.

We moved from a gym whose hours didn’t suit us. Coach looked at me and said well maybe your daughter just isn’t cut out for competitive gymnastics. She was a 7yr old L2/3 . So off I went. 10 yrs later she is a L8/9. Who has more then her share of wins against that first gym.

My kid is at a low hour gym. It suits us. We have kids who move on because they want more hours, those gyms suit them.

What is not good is staying at a place that doesn’t work for you and your kid and stewing about it. Too much time and money to be miserable. And potential damage to the kid.

And if you are questioning how they do things (without getting reasonable answers and a plan) or feel dissed, it’s not the place for you and yours.
 
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Aussie_coach

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Form and technique is huge for team gymnasts. One of the first things a gym with look at is technique. Do they start and finish skills correctly? Are the legs always straight? Are the feet always pointed? Are the arms straight? Is the body tight?

These things dramatically affect score in a competition and generally most gyms will use it as a big deciding factor as to which gymnasts are suited to competitive gymnastics and which are not.
 
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Aussie_coach

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You mention that gyms have not mentioned other Gymsports.

In addition to Artistic Gymnastics there is also Rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling, Sports Acrobatics, Sports Aerobics, Team Gym, Cheerleading.

But these are less common, many gyms will only offer Artistic.
 
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Aussie_coach

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One of the reasons a gym may be hesitant to take an 11 year old into team is the proximity to puberty.

She may be small for her age but she will go through puberty at some stage and at 11 that date is sooner rather than later.

Girls go through a phase (Usually between 11-14) where their growth is accelerating even for smaller kids. Bones and muscles develop at a different rate and for a few years they are far more prone to injury and pain including things like severs.

We are patient with our gymnasts at this time and teach them to be patient with their bodies and rest as needed.

But if a child is new to team, we are significantly ramping up their training hours and intensity, at the same time their body is going through this and this really ramps up their injury risk.

Even if puberty is still two years away, the first few years in team have them step up hours and intensity significantly through this time.

Kids who have trained at this level for years have less issue because their bodies have already become accustomed to it.
 

Aussie_coach

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During this growth spurt time kids often lose skills and have to relearn them or become lanky for a while and lose technique.

If they are already at a higher level this is less of an issue.

I am not saying it should be an issue or a gym should turn away an 11 year old. Here in Australia people start gymnastics as adults and get into teams and do just fine.

But just explaining why you may get some push back, even though she appears to have the ideal physicality to you now. The proximity to puberty may concern them.
 

Em09

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Oct 13, 2020
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In addition to Artistic Gymnastics there is also Rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling, Sports Acrobatics, Sports Aerobics, Team Gym, Cheerleading.

But these are less common, many gyms will only offer Artistic.
These are less common, but I think they might be more common in Australia? Especially Tramp and Acro. I do Acro, and there are lots of trampolinists at my gym. Team gym is offered too, which I did when I was much younger.
 

Carly

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Are there any YMCAs near you? Some of them have competitive gymnastics teams.
 

twinmomma

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Jun 13, 2013
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These are less common, but I think they might be more common in Australia? Especially Tramp and Acro. I do Acro, and there are lots of trampolinists at my gym. Team gym is offered too, which I did when I was much younger.
It really is regional here. I'm in northern california and I can throw a stone and hit three gyms with Artistic and Acro, and then one of them has artistic, acro, AND T&T. It's less about the fact that it isn't there are more about not knowing where to look. If the OP wants to message me their location I can absolutely help finding either of those (DD has done both and is in year 4 of acro and turning 16).
 

LucyRobinson

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Feb 27, 2022
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Being the oldest ln your team is not a bad thing.
I was one of the oldest in DP L2 at 9. There were a couple of girls my age but mostly 6-8. I competed with most of that group through L5 and never regretted it. (I could have pushed for L3 even though I didn't really have the skills.) The other girl my age became one of my best friends and I enjoyed being "team leader." Although I understand there is a slightly different age difference/team situation for your daughter...don't rule it out. If she said the girls are 7-8 and she would still be included, it depends on the girls and the coaches. Just my two cents.
 

IreneKa

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Mar 18, 2013
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Gym #1 evaluated her again & it's a no. :(

"At this time DD is still missing some requirements for our Xcel team including her Back Hip Circle on the bars. We are also looking for her to continue working on perfecting the execution of her skills to do them with straight arms and legs, open shoulders, and proper landings. Specific skills she should be working on to improve are handstands, cartwheels, bridge kickovers, backwards rolls, and split leaps on floors along with her back hip circle and casts on bars.

"We look forward to continuing to work with DD on these skills throughout the summer. If space allows, at the end of summer we can re-evaluate her skills to see if she is a candidate for the Xcel program at that time."

Don't give up! Call other gyms in the area. There is no reason why an 11 year old with the skills you describe cannot be on the Xcel bronze team. It's the end of the season, the next season is not until next fall. There is plenty of time for her to acquire skills and correct the form. That can be accomplish much faster in the team environment rather than in the req classes. Seriously, sounds like they just don't want her and making excuses so you keep paying for those req classes.
Get the list of all gyms in the area (from google or USAG site) and call them all. I'm sure someone will give her a chance. If you want to share here what state you are in, maybe someone can recommend a gym.
 

Hopeful_Xcel_Mom

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Apr 5, 2022
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Don't give up!
Thanks, I appreciate it.
I'm not giving up! :) Another thing that annoyed me, I asked DD, "Do they TELL you to do things with straight legs & pointed toes?" Her exact words, "NO! I'm not in ballet anymore! This is gymnastics, not ballet."
.....
I had the impression from having watched classes that these were not instructions given in rec, which is what prompted me to ask. Her immediate response to not even KNOW she is SUPPOSED to do it confirmed my suspicion.

So... they are not teaching her the skills they say she needs, and then not accepting her in Bronze because she doesn't have those skills. <sigh>

Yes, thankfully we still have other options, so I'm still on it!
 

BusyMomof2

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Feb 2, 2022
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It sounds like this gym is not going to take your daughter on a team. I would definitely look elsewhere, as it sounds like you're doing. We had a similar situation last year and moved to a new gym, and now the old gym is trying to recruit my daughter back after seeing her at a few meets this season. Yeah, not happening. Point is, some gyms are just finicky even to their detriment, so move on.

Also, regarding the potential age gap -- I wouldn't worry about that too much. My daughter's xcel silver team is mostly 7/8 year olds but they have one 6 year old and one 11 year old and they are all buddies. She's very close to the 11 year old (my daughter is 8). I think with the right coaching and encouraging environment, the age gap kind of disappears when they are all together doing something they love!
 

Hopeful_Xcel_Mom

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Apr 5, 2022
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SHE'S IN!!!
Whew! I emailed the owner of Gym #3, where she started a BHS class, to ask if they had private coaching. I said from what I understand, DD is close to ready for Xcel Bronze, so I'd hate for her to miss out on competing this year if she falls just a bit shy.
Owner said they do provide private coaching, but kindly offered to evaluate DD to see if she's ready for Xcel.
After the eval, she says, "She'll make Xcel Bronze, maybe even Silver. We have private coaching if you want, but she's ready. She's strong, good on the vault & bars & she's not scared of the beam."

I did a little happy dance. Ha! Tryouts are next month, which she said she wants us to do to determine Bronze vs. Silver, and also for me to attend the parents meeting and get the "lay of the land." They require volunteer hours as part of tuition.

Thanks all for your info & support. I'm beyond thrilled that she can have this opportunity.

Although I have to admit, I still find it odd to have such divergent views on DD's readiness for Xcel. I wondered if that meant standards were lower at gym #3, but no, I've seen meet results, and they had plenty of athletes scoring as high as gyms 1 and 2.
 
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