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trackandfield6

Coach
Proud Parent
Nov 21, 2022
12
64
Firstly I am an old coach....LOL...heading towards 65. I had some really great, and fairly well known technicians in my life as coaches. I coach the same way and think in that same way.... old school...:) I have a mixed review kind of question. I am of the belief that to stay in JO, you have to have some degree of natural gymnastics/athletic ability. You also need to eventually have a decent degree of self motivation, and love for the sport. I feel like there are parents who are of the belief that if their child just works hard enough, they can stay in JO. I am all for that kind of thought pattern, but I have also seen it work to the detriment of kids, who would be better off in an Xcel kind of program. On the one hand you don't want to limit a child, but on the other hand I think it's kind of unrealistic to let them, and especially the parents, think that they are on the right track. What are the different ways you all screen kids? I am sure that there are a myriad of answers. I just feel like there are times when we are literally lying to the parents about what is the best track for their kids. I realize the multitude of factors that are possible.
 

raenndrops

Coach
Oct 24, 2009
6,804
The 'Wood, Ohio
Thought #1 - if the gymnast is putting in the effort, they shouldn't be forced to go to Xcel.
#2 -NOW, if they WANT to go to Xcel, that's different. Not every gymnast is going to get to level 10, and that's ok. Over the years, we have had girls who competed 3-4 years at Level 7 and were perfectly happy. If there are girls "stuck" in compulsories, Xcel is an option, but depending on how the gym "markets" their Xcel program, some people may want to switch and others my not.
When YG was 8 years old, she made up her own Xcel Gold bar routine ... even though our gym dosen't move anyone under the age of 10 to Xcel unless they are stuck at a compulsory level for 3 years in a row. Even then, it is only an option they can choose - they can stay in JO/DP if they choose.
 

Pineapple_Lump

Coach
Judge
Jan 31, 2008
1,188
I am of the belief that to stay in JO, you have to have some degree of natural gymnastics/athletic ability. You also need to eventually have a decent degree of self motivation, and love for the sport. I feel like there are parents who are of the belief that if their child just works hard enough, they can stay in JO. I am all for that kind of thought pattern, but I have also seen it work to the detriment of kids, who would be better off in an Xcel kind of program.
Great question, I think these needs to be a balance between aiming for success and reality.
To be honest the whole concept of 'if you work hard, you will succeed' is a lie. Success usually involves hard work but it takes talent and/or luck too. However this level of honestly might free you of a few paying customers.
I actually worry about the messages 'hard work' is tied in with. It's interesting that nations like Korea with a massive focus of hard work and time devoted to school/activities also have an alarming (youth) suicide rate. At want point is continuing along a path where a child is out of their depth - detrimental to their overall well-being?
How do we strike a balance of encouraging work and individual success without making individuals feel it's not worthwhile as there are others doing better than them?

As far as encouraging kids towards the Xcel path - The clubs that I have seen do this well have a culture of success in both programs (strong/similar coaches). Both paths are talked about in a positive manor and celebrated equally. It is discussed as a great option for athletes who have other commitments, before the eventual clash and decision has to be made. Camaraderie between training groups also helps from the 'loss of friends POV.
 
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trackandfield6

Coach
Proud Parent
Nov 21, 2022
12
64
Thought #1 - if the gymnast is putting in the effort, they shouldn't be forced to go to Xcel.
#2 -NOW, if they WANT to go to Xcel, that's different. Not every gymnast is going to get to level 10, and that's ok. Over the years, we have had girls who competed 3-4 years at Level 7 and were perfectly happy. If there are girls "stuck" in compulsories, Xcel is an option, but depending on how the gym "markets" their Xcel program, some people may want to switch and others my not.
When YG was 8 years old, she made up her own Xcel Gold bar routine ... even though our gym dosen't move anyone under the age of 10 to Xcel unless they are stuck at a compulsory level for 3 years in a row. Even then, it is only an option they can choose - they can stay in JO/DP if they choose.
That sounds very reasonable... we just have parents that want their kids to move up every year.
 

trackandfield6

Coach
Proud Parent
Nov 21, 2022
12
64
Great question, I think these needs to be a balance between aiming for success and reality.
To be honest the whole concept of 'if you work hard, you will succeed' is a lie. Success usually involves hard work but it takes talent and/or luck too. However this level of honestly might free you of a few paying customers.
I actually worry about the messages 'hard work' is tied in with. It's interesting that nations like Korea with a massive focus of hard work and time devoted to school/activities also have an alarming (youth) suicide rate. At want point is continuing along a path where a child is out of their depth - detrimental to their overall well-being?
How do we strike a balance of encouraging work and individual success without making individuals feel it's not worthwhile as there are others doing better than them?

As far as encouraging kids towards the Xcel path - The clubs that I have seen do this well have a culture of success in both programs (strong/similar coaches). Both paths are talked about in a positive manor and celebrated equally. It is discussed as a great option for athletes who have other commitments, before the eventual clash and decision has to be made. Camaraderie between training groups also helps from the 'loss of friends POV.
Love this! It sounds in line with my thinking.... I crack up... free yourself of paying customers.... thats an interesting way of putting it...:)
 

raenndrops

Coach
Oct 24, 2009
6,804
The 'Wood, Ohio
That sounds very reasonable... we just have parents that want their kids to move up every year.
I know the type: gymnasts (or parents) that want to move up but aren't ready ... 2 types of those in our gym.
Type 1 - Already in JO/DP Optionals, not ready for the next level ... a) some will change gyms ... and STILL have to repeat the level at the new gym
b) try to convince HC that they can just use their L7 routines in L8
c) stick it out in the current level at our gym, repeat or move up mid-season if they have the scores AND have upgrades ready.
Type 2 - In Xcel Gold (or compulsories) having previously competed in L3 and L4 and want to move up to Platinum with NO B skills on ANY event ... a) had a girl change gyms and they actually put her in Xcel SILVER for her first year there (allowed because she didn't compete States in Gold). The year after that, she got to compete Gold for them, lol.
b) work really hard to get the skills needed knowing that they can add them into their Gold routines and possibly move up mid-season.
c) quit gym altogether and start competitive cheer or dance.

All of this when our "move up" standards aren't even super intense, especially for seniors in high school. Had a girl move to Platinum after 3 years in Gold. She was missing a kip and a B skill on bars. But her beam and floor were ready. She only got to move up because she was a senior.
 
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JPC13

Proud Parent
Mar 25, 2022
459
I agree that some kids aren't cut out for high level sports. However, I think the only time that kind of kid should be moved out of JO, or more generally any team, is when their presence negatively impacts the development of the kids who are cut out for high level sports.

Two examples that I've seen IRL:
1) a gym trying to run boys/girls JO, XCEL, and T&T out of a medium sized gym without the coaching staff to support even just a good girls JO program.
2) a gym trying to push 15 kids up the levels together, I assume for money reasons, when at most a half actually wanted to be there and tried hard.

Both situations very negatively impacted the development of the kids who were on the right tail of abilities.
 

GymDadWA

Proud Parent
Dec 30, 2017
316
43
When we were parents of a very low level gymnast I would have welcomed honesty from the coaches even if it meant telling us our gymnasts projection was lower than our expectations. We would have kept her in gymnastics but also kept an equal focus on other activities.
 

skschlag

Staff member
Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Jul 19, 2011
11,286
Region 9
I agree to a certain extent. early on, we were told our gymnast did not have the body type or muscle twitch to be a good gymnast, and did not have good air awareness. We took his lead, and he is a D1 gymnast now. So....there is something to that hard work.
 
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