For Parents JO level 3 or Xcel?

Saraimpriano

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Good Morning. First time poster here. My 10 year old daughter just started taking gymnastics class in January. After realizing her natural ability and love for it we asked about competitive gymnastics. Unfortunately the gym we are at only invites children at a younger age. We decided to check out another gym and after talking about what she is able to do and letting her do a workout with the girls at the gym, they said they would put her on the level 3 team. This gym also has the xcel program. We are torn with which way to go.

I am new to this gymnastics world so can everyone share the pros and cons of each.

We are headed in to the gym after their states to see what level xcel she would be but I’m guessing silver. Can’t wait here everyone’s thoughts!!! Thanks advance!!!
 

cogymmom2dd

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I’m sorry your initial gym turned her down for being ‘too old’.
I have been down both paths, and personally as a parent, I prefer XCEL over JO levels. XCEL allows for coaches to individualize routines for each girl based on what their strengths are. They can bring their own floor music, etc.
With JO levels, the routines and music are the same across the board for every gymnast and the deductions are pre-set. Also, the JO meets are not fun. It’s 3 hours of listening to the same music play over and over and the environment is a little more sterile.
Some would say that JO is the superior tract, that you can’t produce an elite gymnast from the XCEL program. However, I have reviewed the new changes to the JO program for 2021-2022 and many of these changes have already happened at the XCEL level. For example, the level 3 vault is changing to what the XCEL silver vault has been for the last 2 years. The JO L3 bars routine is word for word what my DD2’s XS routine was 2 years ago- so I don’t think this is necessarily true.
If she starts now and loves Silver, then she can work her way up to gold and if she loves that, can always bridge over to L4/5.
My DD1 did L3, then Gold, then did score out meets for L4 and L5 and went to 6 after her Gold season and it was a Pretty smooth transition.
My DD2 is following the same path, but has always done XCEL. She will spend the summer working on L4 and L5 routines, then do some meets to hopefully score out and will be able to carry most of her Gold routines over to L6.
 
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Carly

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In general, Xcel should be lower hours and a lower cost then JO. Xcel is typically not a path to competitive college gymnastics.
I would start by finding out the hours and the costs at the gym for both programs and ask if they allow girls to switch from Xcel to JO. Most gyms allow them to switch from JO to Xcel but not necessarily the other way.
To make the decision, I would take into consideration the cost, hours and your daughter's other interests and base it on what works for your family. The cost and hours ramp up very quickly.
In JO, the levels up to and including 5 are considered compulsory, so all girls do the same routine. In Xcel the girls get routines customized for them.
 

Saraimpriano

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I’m sorry your initial gym turned her down for being ‘too old’.
I have been down both paths, and personally as a parent, I prefer XCEL over JO levels. XCEL allows for coaches to individualize routines for each girl based on what their strengths are. They can bring their own floor music, etc.
With JO levels, the routines and music are the same across the board for every gymnast and the deductions are pre-set. Also, the JO meets are not fun. It’s 3 hours of listening to the same music play over and over and the environment is a little more sterile.
Some would say that JO is the superior tract, that you can’t produce an elite gymnast from the XCEL program. However, I have reviewed the new changes to the JO program for 2021-2022 and many of these changes have already happened at the XCEL level. For example, the level 3 vault is changing to what the XCEL silver vault has been for the last 2 years. The JO L3 bars routine is word for word what my DD2’s XS routine was 2 years ago- so I don’t think this is necessarily true.
If she starts now and loves Silver, then she can work her way up to gold and if she loves that, can always bridge over to L4/5.
My DD1 did L3, then Gold, then did score out meets for L4 and L5 and went to 6 after her Gold season and it was a Pretty smooth transition.
My DD2 is following the same path, but has always done XCEL. She will spend the summer working on L4 and L5 routines, then do some meets to hopefully score out and will be able to carry most of her Gold routines over to L6.
Thank you so much for this!! I was thinking the same exact things!!! I think we are definitely leaning toward xcel and they did say that she could switch over to JO later on!!
 
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Saraimpriano

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In general, Xcel should be lower hours and a lower cost then JO. Xcel is typically not a path to competitive college gymnastics.
I would start by finding out the hours and the costs at the gym for both programs and ask if they allow girls to switch from Xcel to JO. Most gyms allow them to switch from JO to Xcel but not necessarily the other way.
To make the decision, I would take into consideration the cost, hours and your daughter's other interests and base it on what works for your family. The cost and hours ramp up very quickly.
In JO, the levels up to and including 5 are considered compulsory, so all girls do the same routine. In Xcel the girls get routines customized for them.
Yes I think I need to look at all of these things! Costs don’t seem that much different maybe a little less. At level three the hours are the same for both 9 hours. But as the levels go up they jump up significantly where xcel stays at 9. They did say she would be able to go from xcel to JO if she ever wanted to. :). Thanks foe all the info!!
 

mommyof1

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It really depends on how the gym treats its Xcel program. At the gyms my daughter has attended, Xcel is a very recreational program that is mainly a revenue stream for the gym with low expectations, subpar training, and little conditioning. The cost is close to the cost of JO, with many fewer training hours. The exception is the Platinum group at her current gym, which is made up of former JO L6+ girls who train with the JO optional group and just compete Xcel. But I don't think any of the girls coming up through the gym's Xcel Gold group would be prepared to make the transition to Platinum or JO, based on what I've observed of their practices.

If you can find a gym that treats Xcel seriously, teaches good basics, does plenty of conditioning, and trains much more advanced bar skills than required for the Xcel level, switching to JO might be feasible.
 
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cogymmom2dd

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In general, Xcel should be lower hours and a lower cost then JO. Xcel is typically not a path to competitive college gymnastics.
I would start by finding out the hours and the costs at the gym for both programs and ask if they allow girls to switch from Xcel to JO. Most gyms allow them to switch from JO to Xcel but not necessarily the other way.
To make the decision, I would take into consideration the cost, hours and your daughter's other interests and base it on what works for your family. The cost and hours ramp up very quickly.
In JO, the levels up to and including 5 are considered compulsory, so all girls do the same routine. In Xcel the girls get routines customized for them.
I feel like this is gym specific and not across the board. It may be they way that your gym treats XCEL and how you have experienced it, but that is not necessarily the case across the board. Our gym has a L9 who grew up in an area where XCEL was her only option. She came to our gym a few years ago due to a relocation and transitioned very quickly to the JO optional program with only knowing XCEL. My DD1 only did levels 2 and 3 in the JO program and is now L7, soon to be training L8. My DD2 has only known XCEL and is in the process of learning L4 and L5 routines so that she can be L6 next season. Our gym is not cheaper or less hours for XCEL.
I will advocate for and squash any beliefs that XCEL gymnasts are the ‘lesser than’ gymnasts ubtil I am blue in the face or in this case, have blistered fingers from typing.
In fact, I find it quite funny that the new JO skills are exactly what the standards have been for the XCEL level equivalents for the past 2 years. In fact, someone mentioned on here that USAG tends to test out skills in XCEL before making them standard in JO. So, the skills that kids at our gym have been learning and competing since 2019 as the ‘lesser thans’ are now going to be the standard skills for the kids on the elite/collegiate path.
 
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skschlag

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I feel like this is gym specific and not across the board. It may be they way that your gym treats XCEL and how you have experienced it, but that is not necessarily the case across the board. Our gym has a L9 who grew up in an area where XCEL was her only option. She came to our gym a few years ago due to a relocation and transitioned very quickly to the JO optional program with only knowing XCEL. My DD1 only did levels 2 and 3 in the JO program and is now L7, soon to be training L8. My DD2 has only known XCEL and is in the process of learning L4 and L5 routines so that she can be L6 next season. Our gym is not cheaper or less hours for XCEL.
I will advocate for and squash any beliefs that XCEL gymnasts are the ‘lesser than’ gymnasts ubtil I am blue in the face or in this case, have blistered fingers from typing.
In fact, I find it quite funny that the new JO skills are exactly what the standards have been for the XCEL level equivalents for the past 2 years. In fact, someone mentioned on here that USAG tends to test out skills in XCEL before making them standard in JO. So, the skills that kids at our gym have been learning and competing since 2019 as the ‘lesser thans’ are now going to be the standard skills for the kids on the elite/collegiate path.

I don't think people are saying the gymnasts are "lesser than" but that the program's intention was to provide a way for kids to stay in gymnastics at lower hours/commitment/cost. And, yes, we know that tons of gyms do not use it that way, but that was the intention.
 

PeanutsMom

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I don't think people are saying the gymnasts are "lesser than" but that the program's intention was to provide a way for kids to stay in gymnastics at lower hours/commitment/cost. And, yes, we know that tons of gyms do not use it that way, but that was the intention.
You are correct..it was never intended for XCEL to be "lesser than" but it is used as the JV of sorts by many gyms. One gym in our area requires "team tryouts" and they are sorted into JO and XCEL. If they are scoring really high in JO they get "moved" to XCEL. Our gym has less emphasis on winning, but if an Optional level gymnast is struggling the common "encouragement" is "Do you want to get moved to XCEL?" So when the talk has started about making our Optional program smaller, many girls who are currently level 6/7 JO would rather quit than be "demoted" as that is how it has been sold to them. Unfortunately this seems to happen a lot.
 
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Carly

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I feel like this is gym specific and not across the board. It may be they way that your gym treats XCEL and how you have experienced it, but that is not necessarily the case across the board. Our gym has a L9 who grew up in an area where XCEL was her only option. She came to our gym a few years ago due to a relocation and transitioned very quickly to the JO optional program with only knowing XCEL. My DD1 only did levels 2 and 3 in the JO program and is now L7, soon to be training L8. My DD2 has only known XCEL and is in the process of learning L4 and L5 routines so that she can be L6 next season. Our gym is not cheaper or less hours for XCEL.
I will advocate for and squash any beliefs that XCEL gymnasts are the ‘lesser than’ gymnasts ubtil I am blue in the face or in this case, have blistered fingers from typing.
In fact, I find it quite funny that the new JO skills are exactly what the standards have been for the XCEL level equivalents for the past 2 years. In fact, someone mentioned on here that USAG tends to test out skills in XCEL before making them standard in JO. So, the skills that kids at our gym have been learning and competing since 2019 as the ‘lesser thans’ are now going to be the standard skills for the kids on the elite/collegiate path.
I am in NO way squashing Xcel. My dd is currently an Xcel gymnast that switched after competing for 4 years in JO. There could definitely be Xcel Diamond gymnasts with the skills to compete competitively in college but that was not the point of creating the Xcel program. The traditional path to college is via JO. The intent of the Xcel program was for lower hours and lower cost and to allow more girls to participate that could not do JO for whatever reason. I copied this directly from the USAG Xcel program document: The Xcel program’s purpose is to provide competitive opportunities for all athletes, regardless of their age, ability level, or training commitment in terms of hours and/or finances.
 

cogymmom2dd

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I don't think people are saying the gymnasts are "lesser than" but that the program's intention was to provide a way for kids to stay in gymnastics at lower hours/commitment/cost. And, yes, we know that tons of gyms do not use it that way, but that was the intention.
There are a lot of people who also think that you can’t be a decent JO gymnast if you were raised as XCEL.
And, yes I think that the intention of XCEL in its infancy as Prep-OP was what you just stated, but is gaining in popularity over the years and many gyms are switching their mindsets on this.
 

skschlag

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There are a lot of people who also think that you can’t be a decent JO gymnast if you were raised as XCEL.
And, yes I think that the intention of XCEL in its infancy as Prep-OP was what you just stated, but is gaining in popularity over the years and many gyms are switching their mindsets on this.

Yes, gyms are, but I don't think the intended reason for Xcel has changed. But gyms will do what gyms will do. It will make it hard for those gyms taht do use Xcel as intented, but that has been hashed out already ad nauseum.
 

cogymmom2dd

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You are correct..it was never intended for XCEL to be "lesser than" but it is used as the JV of sorts by many gyms. One gym in our area requires "team tryouts" and they are sorted into JO and XCEL. If they are scoring really high in JO they get "moved" to XCEL. Our gym has less emphasis on winning, but if an Optional level gymnast is struggling the common "encouragement" is "Do you want to get moved to XCEL?" So when the talk has started about making our Optional program smaller, many girls who are currently level 6/7 JO would rather quit than be "demoted" as that is how it has been sold to them. Unfortunately this seems to happen a lot.
Yes, this is how gyms in my area view XCEL. To the point where it has created issues with DD2 and her friends. It’s a scare tactic that gyms use as a ‘demotion’. It’s used in a negative light, when in fact it has many positive
You are correct..it was never intended for XCEL to be "lesser than" but it is used as the JV of sorts by many gyms. One gym in our area requires "team tryouts" and they are sorted into JO and XCEL. If they are scoring really high in JO they get "moved" to XCEL. Our gym has less emphasis on winning, but if an Optional level gymnast is struggling the common "encouragement" is "Do you want to get moved to XCEL?" So when the talk has started about making our Optional program smaller, many girls who are currently level 6/7 JO would rather quit than be "demoted" as that is how it has been sold to them. Unfortunately this seems to happen a lot.
Exactly. At many gyms local to me, they use the same threats and treat XCEL as the ‘B’ team. If you aren’t scoring 36+ AA’s in the JO levels, especially L3 and L4, you get moved to XCEL and it is supposed to ‘motivate’ kids (and their parents) to strive for high scores or pay lots of extra $$$ for privates to master certain skills.
 

PreciousJ

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Yes, this is how gyms in my area view XCEL. To the point where it has created issues with DD2 and her friends. It’s a scare tactic that gyms use as a ‘demotion’. It’s used in a negative light, when in fact it has many positive

Exactly. At many gyms local to me, they use the same threats and treat XCEL as the ‘B’ team. If you aren’t scoring 36+ AA’s in the JO levels, especially L3 and L4, you get moved to XCEL and it is supposed to ‘motivate’ kids (and their parents) to strive for high scores or pay lots of extra $$$ for privates to master certain skills.
It's been discussed on CB before, but it's so sad to hear that some gyms treat the XCEL track that way. In my positive (albeit brief) experience as an XCEL parent, I feel that it can be a great opportunity to open up the world of competitive gymnastics to girls that might otherwise be overlooked for multiple reasons. It can be fun, rewarding, and yet still VERY competitive. I think some gyms (and coaches/gymnasts/parents/etc.) may forget that the sport is ultimately recreational in nature - both JO and XCEL are 100% *optional*. Not every kid who starts gymnastics intends to do it at the collegiate level, or even do it for multiple years. And, the JO vs. XCEL friction may just be one more thing to keep kids from wanting to participate in the sport at all, and let's be honest, USAG in particular has enough problems to confront!
 

skschlag

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It's been discussed on CB before, but it's so sad to hear that some gyms treat the XCEL track that way. In my positive (albeit brief) experience as an XCEL parent, I feel that it can be a great opportunity to open up the world of competitive gymnastics to girls that might otherwise be overlooked for multiple reasons. It can be fun, rewarding, and yet still VERY competitive. I think some gyms (and coaches/gymnasts/parents/etc.) may forget that the sport is ultimately recreational in nature - both JO and XCEL are 100% *optional*. Not every kid who starts gymnastics intends to do it at the collegiate level, or even do it for multiple years. And, the JO vs. XCEL friction may just be one more thing to keep kids from wanting to participate in the sport at all, and let's be honest, USAG in particular has enough problems to confront!
Unfortunately, This is not a USAG issue. It is a gym issue. I have seen xcel be used as intended and positively at several gyms. They have huge Xcel teams, and celebrate them equally with the JO gymnasts. No one is forced into either track, it is totally up to the gymnast. There is no "not good enough for JO" or anything like that.
 
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PreciousJ

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Unfortunately, This is not a USAG issue. It is a gym issue. I have seen xcel be used as intended and positively at several gyms. They have huge Xcel teams, and celebrate them equally with the JO gymnasts. No one is forced into either track, it is totally up to the gymnast. There is no "not good enough for JO" or anything like that.
True, I guess I used USAG to make a blanket reference to gymnastics training in the US, since the JO/XCEL structure is not necessarily applicable outside this country. Sorry for creating confusion! :)
 

raenndrops

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Yes, this is how gyms in my area view XCEL. To the point where it has created issues with DD2 and her friends. It’s a scare tactic that gyms use as a ‘demotion’. It’s used in a negative light, when in fact it has many positive

Exactly. At many gyms local to me, they use the same threats and treat XCEL as the ‘B’ team. If you aren’t scoring 36+ AA’s in the JO levels, especially L3 and L4, you get moved to XCEL and it is supposed to ‘motivate’ kids (and their parents) to strive for high scores or pay lots of extra $$$ for privates to master certain skills.
At my gym, there are team girls who can't wait until they are old enough to compete Xcel Gold. We don't allow anyone under the age of 10 ... and to switch at 10, they have to have competed L3 for 3 years and still not be ready for L4 (very rare). Most girls who move to Xcel are getting ready for Middle School Gymnastics (6th graders can switch to Xcel at the beginning of May this year).
Since all groups will be training higher level skills starting in May, they can also choose to try L4 (or L5 if they were L4, etc).
We have 2 girls who are SUPER EXCITED to switch because they will get to be in a group with YG (the 2 girls carpool and one of them has a younger sister that is L3 too ... and there is a L3 group at the same time as YG's group). The girls are in awe of YG's skills and have looked up to her since they got on team.