Level 5 bars advice

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OK, so here's an update. I emailed her coach last nite and brought up the frustration, the confidence (lack of), suggested the stacked mats (like they did for her last yr when she first started) and did not even mention moving the bars closer. So the reply was that DD "does very well on bars except the jump" HELLO that is a necessary skill for this and all successive levels????!!!?!?!? She said that DD is "very negative" about the jump and will make a deal with her to move the bars closer IF she shows more confidence. Of course she is negative if she knows she is going to fall everytime! I'll have a talk with her before practice today and may have to offer some kind of bribery!!!

Since she had already learned the initial drill with the mats stacked last year and she is making the jump at times during practice, I say let it go and trust the coach to do their job. The coach is right she just needs the confidence. just my 2 cents, but I would say don't focus on it at all when talking to your little one. She will get more and more confident over time. Feeling the pressure could keep her "negative thinking" in place.... Make sure you let her know, if you think you can, you can :D

As to the parent that suggested it was lazy coaching - I beg to differ. It has nothing to do with lazy coaching... but rather more effective, organized coaching.
I'm a little concerned about the assumption that a coach is "lazy" when he/she doesn't adjust the bars for each kid.

The truth is that it is in the TEAM's interest to have as few bar settings as possible so that the kids can get more time to warm up on bars at a meet.

Most (high level) gyms have two bar settings and stick to them (one is usually FIG). The kids need to fall into one of the two settings...and that's that.

Many hard working coaches use this strategy, and it's not to avoid moving the bars.

I never assumed that DD's coach was lazy, and I know they are pressed for time during warmups. However, when they see a child struggling, why not take the time to work with her on whatever the issue is - whether it's fear, lack of skill, etc. Also, we are not allowed to approach the coaches (after practice) so I've learned more here in the past 2 days from all of you, than in the 4 yrs since my oldest started at this gym, or the year that my little one has been struggling with this skill!!

Our gym does have 2 sets of bars, one set for the smaller kids.
I have a girl with the same fear and issue. She is tiny. (These are LV 4's but they are now working the new skills for 5) She was the only one that wasn't catching the bar. After reading this thread, I tried putting our big mat under the bar (is as tall as the low bar basically) and letting her see that from that she can actually touch the bar and there isn't really any height difference. She caught the bar last night and now it all makes sense!
Thanks for the advice..... and good luck with yours mom... she will get it!
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This could stem from a number of problems. Unfortunately, not all cases of no catching the high bar are the same.

First of all, has your daughter caught the bar before? Has she ever even been able to tap it? I usually work with the girls who are new to the skill and tell them to hit the bar with their palm after the squat-on. If they can get their palm on the bar, they can fit their whole hand. Also, some kids when they do try to grab it try to grab with with their fingers only. If she trying to get her thumb over the bar, as well?

In terms of bar settings, I used to set bars to accommodate height. This can work for and against the gymnast. The better and longer the jump, the easier it is to kip out of it. Also, it is more progressive.

This is what I would do: If she had caught the bar before, and goes backa nd forth between catching it and not catching it, then it is mental. The coach should know this and decide what to do. Stack mats? Spot? Put bars in? If your gym teaches that all kids jump on the same setting, then that is just how it is. I have worked in gyms that do that and gyms that don't. I cannot say that one way is better than the other, as both systems had their problems.

Is your child touching the bar at all? Are they diving towards the bar, rather than jumping up and trying to get their hands on top of the bar? If the child jumps with all her might and simply cannot tap it with her palms, then there is strength issue.

If she jumps and can touch it but chooses not to hold onto it, it is purely mental. It becomes her decision at that point.

I have had kids that were capable of reaching the bar but would not catch it. All throughout private lessons you could move the bars in, stack up mats, spot, etc., and they still wouldn't catch it.

A child that WANTS to catch it will. I had had kids at the age of six and seven - all of them were short - that could jump to the bar.

My suggestion? schedule a private lesson and see if the coach can work with her and so some things the coach doesn't have time for in practice, like bar settings, mats and the like.

Otherwise, she is still very young, and it is a scary skill. Give her time.
TuesdayPillow - thanks for your detailed reply. I'll try to answer your questions as best as I can. Sometimes it is difficult to find out the exact details from a young child (i.e., where the thumbs are, etc.)

First of all, our coaches do not believe in giving privates just because you ask for one. The last time either of my DD's had one was hmmmm, probably close to 2 yrs ago. Older DD needed work on her clear hip, and I threw younger one in just to give extra help/gym time with mill circle. Our head coach believes there is no reason why all training cannot be done during pracitce.

DD can jump and touch the bar. She has gotten her fingers on it, although I have no clue about where her thumb is. Where is it supposed to be?

I don't think strenght is an issue. She is strong and powerful - you can tell by the way she tumbles & vaults.

Is it mental? According to her coach (when I finally brought the problem to her attention), she believes it is definitely a lack of confidence. My problem is why was this never addressed before? She has been training this skill for over a year, and has competed in 3 meets already. She caught the bar once (first meet) when the bars were set closer. Each time I would ask the coach whether she was 'ready' and they would say yes, she'll be fine.

There is the problem of inconsistency as to whether the bars get moved or not. In our gym there are 2 sets with different settings. At meets, it is a guessing game.....

When my older DD was a Level 4, there was a Level 5 gymnast who was small like my little one. She WOULD NOT jump to the high bar. She used to have to stay at practice when everyone else went home and was not allowed to leave till she jumped/caught the bar X times. This is how I would handle a situation (not as a coach, but an everyday life problem if one of my child would not or could not do something - make them repeat it till they "get it".

Anyway, I've posted an update on the Parents forum. Long story short - she has been getting extra attention from the coach and is gaining confidence and has been able to jump and catch the bar.

i agree with the others. you should talk your daughter's coach and ask to have the bar moved in especially in training to help her gain confidence in getting her bar transfer, as she progresses, move it out a little more.

maybe you talk to her and make up some kind of reward system to encourage her to getting her bar transfer.

i hope this helps = ]
and good luck to her :)
As a compulsory bar coach I can say I never moved a bar for any gymnast. A team of the same level should be able to handle a baseline bar setting. It may help to think of it on a more exaggerated scale. Imagine having a team of 5's 6's 7's and 8's all working out together. Now consider all the time wasted resetting bars, springboard setting, springboard distance, and table heights. Not to mention the coach having to change gears in coaching everytime they addressed a different gymnast. That would be crazy and insane. The same thinking applies on a smaller scale within a team of the same level though. If you cater to individual gymnasts strengths or weaknesses too much, that translates to time lost and an atmosphere of chaos, not a good thing. There's an overall expectation of skill for each level, thats why the gymnasts are grouped together. It's not a coach being lazy, it's a coach being efficient and holding to a team-wide expectation.

Thats not to say the gymnasts problem should be ignored. I don't know what went into teaching her the jump, but I'm 100% sure it's a fear of height and not distance. Personally when teaching this, I do the squat on to a stand, no jump. I turn it into a contest to see who can balance on the low bar the longest before hopping off onto a mat below. One 8 inch mat, I do not stack a mountain beneath them. When they can all stand confidently is when we move to the high bar jump. During the standing the girls can gauge the strength of their jump by eyeballing the bar. If you don't go standing first, then you throw the girls into a situation where their jumps are all over the place due to fear or insecurity. Not the pretty, tight, controlled jump that you want to see.

The team baseline standard is the one that determines a child getting to that level. With team scores, event finals, and all around opportunities in competition, there is plenty of room for each gymnasts individual strengths to get recognized while minimizing their struggles. Working out issues on one event is very common during the competitive season. The goal should be to perform to standard, the expectation on the coach should be to give the girls a way to do that. Not to look immediately to changing equipment, which could actually lower the standard if thats not the problem.
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Simply put the coach should be setting the bars per size. Unless of course you only have one set of bars for a group of 5-8's. I had this where the kids were between 9 and 15. What a pain. Sucks to be little. Sometimes that's how it is with small gyms.

If you have two bars, set one at max and another at F or 5. We don't need to start teaching the munchkins to frog jump at the bar which means they hit arched and it's just a matter of time before they peel and you will have to deal with the whole issue of getting them to jump and not be scared and that is a huge pain. Huge.

For most L4 or 5's I set it at F or even closer depending where they were at in the skill and how tall they were.
Have her practice squat ons, without catching the bar. I used to do this all the time, and I've noticed that if I KNEW i was going to jump to the high bar, I had a 50/50 chance of making the squat on, while if I told myself that I was just going to practice the first part of my routine without the jump, I'd always make it. I'd have her practice doing the squat on and trying to stand up, then just jump off.
I'm a little concerned about the assumption that a coach is "lazy" when he/she doesn't adjust the bars for each kid.

The truth is that it is in the TEAM's interest to have as few bar settings as possible so that the kids can get more time to warm up on bars at a meet.

Most (high level) gyms have two bar settings and stick to them (one is usually FIG). The kids need to fall into one of the two settings...and that's that.

Many hard working coaches use this strategy, and it's not to avoid moving the bars.

I'm wondering what the standard bar setting is at the original poster's gym? Is it JO or FIG? It can probably be figured out by watching all of the tallest/oldest/highest optional level gymnasts in the gym. Are they are on exactly the same setting as the L5s? If so, it's JO. Even if a gym is not an "elite" gym, many use the FIG/elite setting for the kids below and up to L8 through age 12/13. It really IS a long way to the high bar for younger/shorter gymnasts on a JO setting. It can be done for sure, but it would be more difficult or intimidating to jump farther. It is a pain to adjust vault height and bar settings, but it helps the little kids quite a bit to do so. If there's only one or two sets of bars in a gym, I'm sure it's harder to do. At dd's gym, there is a full set of FIG and a full set of JO competition bars (plus other training bars), so that everyone can be on the setting that's best for them.
when i used to compete i used to have a very small girl in my team.
she could do it at normally setting but she dived for the bar so our coach got everyone in our rotation to warm up and then compete and then move the bars closer let her warm up and compete and then move it straight back out to were it was
My dd has the opposite problem. She is the tallest on the team, and the bars are set for the shorter girls. She just ends up standing on the low bar and leaning in to catch the high bar. Her bar routine looks so bad, and she can't seem to get above an 8.5 due to the height of the bar. Even the low bar is set so her butt is about 1 foot off the floor during her kip. I'm really hoping he sets the bar higher for her at state which is her next meet. I've tried talking to him, and he swears its at the right setting.
She is 5'1. I'm not sure what the settings are though. I do know we have a very old set of bars at the gym, so it's different when she goes to meets since they use newer equipment. I see some of the other gyms stretching the girls out to see if their feet hit the low bar, and I don't think her coach has ever done that.
I have the opposite problem! At my gym the bars are usually set for short kids, and that's no fun!

Try to help her think of the jump in a positive way. What's the worst that could happen? You miss the bar. A little disappointing... But not scary.

If she really just cannot catch it no matter how hard she tries and fear is not the issue, the bars will need to be adjusted.
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