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Junior Olympic Level 4 much harder than 3?

Discussion in 'Women's Artistic Gymnastics (WAG)' started by TumbleTimes4, Jun 13, 2018.

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  1. My daughter competed level 3 last year and will compete level 4 next season. I know that 30% of last years’ level 4s were told they needed to repeat and half of those decided to quit. Other than the kip, is level 4 that much tougher than 3?
  2. Each level is progressively harder than the next, and which levels pose a challenge really depend on the athlete. For level 4, they need a cartwheel on beam, a front handspring vault over the vaulting table, a kip on low and high bar, two back handsprings connected on floor, and a few other skills. For some girls, these skills come easier than for others.

    For my child, the hardest levels to acquire skills were 5, 8 and 9, and it is all because of bars/beam. She struggled with the bwo on beam for 5, the flight connection and pirouette on bars for 8, and the release on bars and double flight connection skills on beam for 9.
    sce likes this.
  3. Honestly, yes.

    As the levels progress the expectations increase, regarding scoring. The details become more important. Things like time in handstand, angles and shapes have less wiggle room. The tumbling..... Whats easy to some is not to many others. A handstand on beam is very different then a cartwheel on a 4 inch beam. Kids no longer only on the low bar. They need to get to and dismount from the high bar. And the vault, huge difference pancake (candlestick)??? forgive my lack of proper term, landing on a nice cushy mat to flipping over the table landing on their feet. These are big progressions. So yes as the levels go up, less kids will continue. Again, many a kid can do a cartwheel, heck even I can still do a decent cartwheel. Bar releases and double rotations in the air, not so many can.....

    But its not just "having the skills". There are many reasons/factors.

    Also the competition increases as this is the first required JO level. So there are more gymnasts and gym competing. More kids to compete for the same medals.

    The training time increases. Conditioning increases to be able to be strong enough to get those skills. And conditioning is not just "fun" its "serious" and "boring"

    Kids and parents who are more inclined to immediate gratification and are externally motivated by things like bling(medals) are more likely to move on. They see repeating as a waste of time and money.

    I am always shocked when I hear a parent say if they don't get medals why bother. I hear this in some way a few times every year.

    But if your concern is L4s having to repeat, that is not about L4 being hard. It's about what is coming next that is hard. It's about not being ready for L5/6/7.
    Aero, Lisbeth, M2Abi and 2 others like this.
  4. I think level 4 is one of those pivotal levels when things get "real". In our state, it is the largest level and it tends to be quite competitive. Girls who were very good in 3 may not make the podium in 4 because it is a lot more competitive.

    The skills are a step up from 3, but of course all levels are like that. the kip, getting over the vault table with a good block cause problems for some girls (just like the giant in level 7 or the flyaway in 5, etc. etc.) Lots of girls drop after 4 for many reasons, but not because level 4 is too hard. My DD "skipped" 3 and repeated 4 despite making state and having the move up score, just because level 4 is so important as a foundation. If a girl is just barely getting by in level 4, I think she will have a lot of problems progressing in future levels. Coaches realize this so you will see a lot of repeating of level 4, especially at certain gyms. I don't think it means those girls aren't cut out for gymnastics, it just means that more work on the important basics would be good for them.
    Aero, sce, duyetanh and 1 other person like this.
  5. This is all great information. I was curious because level 4 seems to be the “make or break” level at our gym. Since we have been there, if a girl quits it’s almost always after a year of level 4. The last three years, those that are at 5 or higher have continued. I just wondered if it was something particular about that level or if a high drop out rate after 4 was common everywhere.

    In the six meets that we went too last year, level three always had the highest number of competitors. Maybe it’s just our state.
  6. The other thing a lot of parents don’t realize about level 4 bars is that it’s not just getting the kip. It’s getting the kip with straight arms, connecting immediately to the horizontal cast, etc... rhythm deductions are huge in level 4.
    Aero, M2Abi, jamieintexas and 3 others like this.
  7. I would say yes, L7 to 8 also has a very high drop out rate as well.
    Aero, Lisbeth, jamieintexas and 4 others like this.
  8. I think drop out after 4 is the most common, but the 2nd most common is L7 to L8, at least at our gyms that is how it was. Some of this is the transition to the next levels are a big jump, but there are other reasons too like the typical girl's age, moving into junior high/high school, etc. I think a few months ago, someone had a thread where they analyzed typical numbers per level which was interesting. :)
    sce and duyetanh like this.
  9. I'm just a mom, not a gymnast, but I think level 4 is way harder than 3. It's not just about the skills either, like someone said above. Yes you have to have your kip, CW on beam, BHSx2, etc. But it's all the details that are super important too. Form will kill a score. And in level 5 it's even worse.
    ldw4mlo likes this.
  10. Level 4 is when it all gets real.
    Bars: kip, and holy crap jump to high bar and then have to kip yet again oh and drop from high bar!

    Beam: trust yourself to do a cartwheel and omg that darn turn

    Floor: two back handsprings and the beginning of blind landings on floor

    And vault? Bahaha! Going over a table!

    So...not being sarcastic, but level four is craploads harder. And yes this all happens again at the level 7/8 transition. My kid says moving from level 3 to level 4 separates the babies from the kids and level 7 to 8 separates the girls from the women. Lol. But honestly? It’s true.
    Aero, sewgood, Lisbeth and 19 others like this.
  11. this cracked me up!
    Jard.the.gymnast likes this.
  12. Well, it is 2 kips ... some girls can do one of them and not the other.
    And the squat on... AND the jump to the high bar (very scary for some)... and tap swings
    And going over the vault table... and the beam cartwheel
    And holding your handstands on beam ... and doing the grapevine on beam
    And the FHS on floor .... and connecting an extra BHS is difficult for some... and back roll to handstand
    And needing 34 to move up!
    So much harder for different girls for different reasons.
  13. Just to echo what others have said, level IV was a true litmus test for the gymnasts at my DD's gym this past year, out of the 10 girls in level IV, only 3 progressed to V, 1 repeated (my dd), 4 moved to excel (to do gymnastics for "fun"), and 2 quit completely. So 60% drop out of JO rate. The girls all liked each other and the coaches, no drama with the gym, the season was hard but fun, the team won a couple of trophies, the better girls won medals, but it is a huge wake up call where a lot of the girls just feel like they are at their limit with what they can do where in II and III the skills are less challenging and there is a lot more optimism with what they can do someday.

    Additionally the bad scores in IV are so much lower then a bad score in II or III, my daughter had to be spotted on vault for her first meet and that 6.XX score was just brutal for her confidence and heartbreaking to watch her see on the big screen. Her coach prepped her, and she tried to smile and be OK with the score, but I could see her holding back the tears. One of those "would do just about anything to make her feel better" moments. So yeah harder on the gymnasts but be prepared for it to be harder on the parents too.
    Flyaway and mommyof1 like this.
  14. This was absolutely true on my daughter's team as well. Only a small handful of girls are moving up to compete L5 next year. My daughter and a couple of others will train with the L5 group while competing L4 again, one quit, and several switched to Xcel because they didn't feel successful at L4 (despite having won tons of medals at L3) and/or because they didn't want the intensity of JO any longer. Most of them are 11 years old and just finished fifth or sixth grade, which seems to be a critical decision point in any kid's gymnastics career no matter the level. My daughter decided that she still wants her life to revolve around gymnastics and she will continue with JO as long as she can, but a lot of the girls did not feel the same way.
  15. Yeah, I'm with a lot of the other replies. My kid competed L4 very successfully but is on the struggle bus with her transition to L5/7. There are times when I can see the benefit in repeating L4, really just to give her time to feel comfortable with the L5/6/7 skills (her gym tries to skip 6 unless a kid lacks a L7 skill), not so much because level 4 was super tough.

    That said, I think that the toughest things for her on L4 were related to bars (the squat on and jump to high bar) and the "text" details on floor (apparently kids can really get tenthed to death due to "text errors" - whatever that means!).
  16. That's funny! My kid seems to find the 4/5 transition much tougher than the 3/4!
  17. The scoring is significantly harder. Plenty of 38 scoring level 3's are stunned when they do not receive 38's on level 4. As mentioned above, form is very important. The kip has to have straight arms, the casts need to be at horizontal (I think? There is an angle requirement), tap swings a certain shape, etc. The vault is tricky too. And then 5 is mucccchhh harder than 4 with the scoring. I actually think the scoring on 6 (first optional level) is in many ways more generous...
    QueenBee likes this.
  18. My dd repeated 4 this past season, but most of the girls on her team were first year 4's who had scored high in level 3. The first meet at 4 was a shock for nearly all of them. I saw many tears after the awards. It can be jolting if you're not prepared.
  19. I never scored below a 36 and was 2nd AA at states in level 4 (so what is now level 3). At my first meet my first year of level 5 (now level 4) I had a scary fall on the squat on, scored somewhere in the 31s, and spent the next few months crying over bars before almost every practice. I had a lot of upper body strength but for some reason could not do a straight arm kip to save my life. This was when I was 10 and it was the only time I ever seriously considered quitting for an extended period of time.
  20. L4 is much harder than L3... L4 is really the first useful level in the JO system. L3 is just way to aggressive to be useful.

    This is why we are no longer competing L2 or L3. All of our athletes will start with the Xcel program... as they move toward Gold... the ones that are committed and mentally / physically able will have the option to compete L4. This system will keep us from getting stuck in the win... win... win mentality of compulsory gymnastics too early.

    We don't need to win at the low levels... we need to do very vague things like...
    • Learn to learn
    • Learn to train
    Once we can do the above two... then we can get into other things like...
    • Train to train
    • Train to win
    Aggressive L3 makes L4 much harder... athletes that train straight to L4 are better off in my opinion.
    Aero, aerials, Flipfloppy and 7 others like this.
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