level 5 or 6

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Hello, I am the mom of a tiny 8year old gymnast. She is 42 inches tall, 32 pounds, and has hands the same size as her 2 year old brother. She has always struggled on the bars. Last season she competed at level 5. She scored 8 and 9s on the floor and beam. When it came to vault she scored no higher than a 7 on vault and no higher than a 6 on bars. She came in last place at every meet but 1. Her coaches are giving her until May to get her level 6 skills. They want to move her on but the only level skill she has on the bars is her flyaway. She does not have any level 6 skills on the high beam yet. She has the vault skill and all but the the back tuck on the floor. She does not want to move up and wants to stay at level 5 for a second year. She begins competing again in August. Any advice to give her or for us her parents.
If she wants to stay level 5 and you think she would be most successful at that level, I would tell the coaches. They may be thinking she expects to move up and you want her to move up. Making the decision now to keep her in level 5 will take the pressure off and let her perfect the L5 skills and work on the L6 skills as they come rather than rushing them (which could lead to fear or problems down the road).
My DD repeated level 5 because we switched gyms. She had decent scores the 1st year, highest AA was a 34.75 (we didn't have a very strong coach). She is 11, and we are realistic of what her future is. You never know, and I saw no reason to push her if she wasn't ready. She has improved so much this year. She has really strengthened her bars. She has been scoring well at meets, even a couple of 1st AA, although that is not our goal in her repeating L5. She has much more confidence in herself and her performance. I feel this will carry over well to next year, when she moves to L6. If your DD is asking to repeat L5, she obvious would like more time to work on her skills and perfect them. I think you should do what will make her happy.
I would let her stay in L5 it is a good skill level to repeat, bars are hard and those skils need to be strong before adding to them. She will probably have a very succesful 2nd L5 season, that is never a bad thing. She is also very young and will benefit from more time too.

Welcome to the Chalkbucket.
Welcome to the Chalk Bucket!

Sounds like you have a tiny pixie of a gymmie there... I would talk to her coaches and say DD isnt sure she wants to go to L6. There is nothing that will end a gymnasts career than being pushed into a level they dont want. The one and only time my 13 year old ever said she wanted to quit gymnastics was where her coach was pushing her to Level 8. She said she didnt want to go, she stayed in Level 7 for a second year. When it came time to compete L8 this year, she wanted it more than anything.. It was on her terms, she was dedicated and driven...

I am sure your DD will be the same.. driven by her own desires, not her coaches!

Good luck!!!
Flippersmom gives some great advice. We had almost the exact situation as they did, w/ my dd. She moved to a new gym after her 1st year of L5, and had to do a 2nd year L5. It was a great year for her, she gained confidence and better form. She even ended up being State champ on 2 events, which is not what it's all about, BUT it IS a great memory that she is very proud of, and no one can ever take that away from her.

L6 is hard! Don't have your dd do it if she is not ready. She's only 8, and still has plenty of time to move up thru the levels at a respectable rate! Good luck and let us now how it goes! :)
Powerhouse -

For what its worth from a Dad's perspective.

Do a second year of Level 5. My DD did and it has turned out to be the best thing ever.

She has now just-finished Level 6 and wouldn't have wanted to jump to 6 after her first 5 year. Level 6 is very tough! It took her half of the season to just get comfortable with the skills. Luckily she did and finished 2nd in the state meet.

Lvl 6 bars are killer, floor is killer, and so is beam. To top it off, the judges seem to be more picky at 6 than at 5.

Keep things simple; let her perfect skills to build on for the next tough levels in the progression.

Good Luck.
Everyone has given great advice and I agree. I would follow your daughter's wishes on this. Talk to her coaches and let them know that she really would feel more comfortable doing L5 again, to really work on the vault and bars. It all does build on eachother and judging just gets tougher. Maybe she will have a growth spurt! LOL. Sounds like you have a super petite little gymnast. I am sure she is adorable.
It might be good to have two more years at vault too by repeating. Level 7 vault judging seems to be stricter..if you aren't scoring high 8s-9s by level 6 on vault, then hard to place well on level 7 FHS vault. As your DD grows and gets stronger her vault will improve.
If your dd is reluctant to move up then I would tell the coaches she doesn't feel ready and would like to work hard on being a very good 2nd yr. L5. She may just need some time to physically grow into doing better on vault and bars. If she had problems with L5 bars then rushing to L6 makes no sense---bar routine is tougher and requires more strength, not to mention how much pickier the judges are.

I know its not all about scores, medals and placements, but being last or at the bottom all the time can wear a child and her confidence down to the point, she gives the sport up. I would say she is one smart little girl who already seems to know what her body can and can't do at this point and follow her lead.
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