WAG Level 7

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Proud Parent
Sep 2, 2013
Is it possible to compete level 7 bars without a giant? Or are they a strict requirement ?
Not a USAG requirement, but in some gyms it is a requirement, especially now with L6 as an option, many gyms use Giants as one of the gatekeepers to L7. I don't think it is always necessarily because giants score much better than a clean clear hips, but rather because if you don't have giants by 7 it will be hard to start training the bar skills you need for L8 and up and may be stuck at 7 for a while. Bars gets really difficult in the upper optional level.
DD did 2 years of level 7 without competing her giants. Scored 9+ and placed in top 5 at state on bars both seasons. Beat many many kids with giants. However, she had free hips to over 60 degrees and very solid controlled cast handstands.

More importantly, she was fast tracked to Level 7 at age 9 during the first year of new 6 because her coach at the time didn't know what 6 would be like, and DD had never tried a giant even on strap bar until she was Level 7. Hindsight being what it is, I wish she'd done a year at L6, then gone to level 7. Her giants have been touch and go for several years now, and when she changed gyms it was one of the things that really messed with her confidence as the bars coach there would not let her train L8 bars until she was doing giants well and consistently on her own (which I understand, but being as she had her free hip to hand stand and almost her pirouette and was working release moves, plus scored better than all the other L7s on bars, and was a pubertal 11 year old, she DID NOT...and that along with other training differences really messed with her confidence).

We have a girl who competed L8 last year without giants - but her routine was much more difficult than the standard L8 routine to make up for that and both she and my DD are back to trying to get their giants off pit bar and consistently solid this summer. DD HC has said she can do L8 without them too, but the routine without is probably more out of her reach than the darn giants (she's getting around some on her own - and her form is good - she is tap/wrist flick challenged....) after she took 3 months off and then dilly dallied for another 4...

So, if I had any say, I'd vote for NOT doing level 7 without giants unless there is a good reason (older kid almost done with gym and already did L6 a couple of years...stuff like that), because even for my DD and the other team girl in similar position, both of whom are strong bars workers and have excellent natural form as gymnasts, its been a big hurdle to overcome as they tried to continue into higher level optionals...
My daughter competed L7 without giants last year, and may this year too. So it is absolutely possible. She out scored some of her teammates who were competing giants as well. Cast heights are HUGE in L7 as is the clear hip angle. Of course, having the giant eliminates the need for a second clear hip, so it is probably better to have a giant unless clear hips are beautiful.
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It's possible to do L7 without Giants, but (as mentioned) many gyms use it as a requirement. Ours does. No giant, no L7, and we don't do L6 so it means repeating L5.
Now I wouldn't like to see kids who are strong 7s with a bars starting value of 10 (so big free hips and full cast handstand) and solid on other events forced to repeat level 5 over Giants....that can't be good for them long term..... I really like new level 6 for those kids so they can keep progressing
Oh, I like the idea of new L6 for those kids with a setback on ONE event too, who can't quite make it to our (or whatever gyms) requirement for L7. Not my call, and I see the coaches point at our gym (we saw a lot of L6's in our area with weak routines, from gyms that seemed to take the easy way out and stick kids in optional who couldn't perform the L5 routines.... But I do of course realize that is definitely not the norm! Just we saw quite a bit of it last season...).
Now, I shouldn't say that it's only hinging on giants at our gym, but they always, always include a giant>>flyaway in the L7 bar routine, and to be L7 you must be able to perform the bar routine, so... It's something our gym has set as the standard they like and feel the gymnast must have in order to have success in optionals.

Now my own gymmie..? She can do Giants (not perfect by any means, but she can do them) but her CHS is pretty atrocious...!
I really think it depends on your region.

Our region is highly competitive, and by the end of the season, the highest scoring level 7 routines will have a clear hip handstand giant layout flyaway.
And of course every kid is different and it's odd to have a truely strong level 7, especially on bars, who can't do nice Giants with proper training. Which is why my kid ended up where she was. Everyone kept expecting them "any day".... and some of the coaches assume she's afraid of them...oh well, she did great as a L7 and brought home lots of bling, so I won't say it was the wrong coaching decision, but hopefully she'll finally get them before her baby brother!
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There were a few girls who competed L7 without giants and they did not do well. We are in a highly competitive state and usually the top L7s are almost L8s
If they were to do it again, they would have repeated L6.
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It is possible. DD's new HC said that they could do 7 even without giants, but of course we'd all rather have them. It's kind of a motley crew, my DD's group.
Not much to add to the comments you've received. However, I agree that there is usually no good reason to compete L7 without giants, unless you are planning to repeat L7 a time or two before moving on. My dd has a nice cast handstand and nice clear hips, but is struggling with giants. She could technically compete L7 without them, but it would be difficult to train for L8 if she is still trying to get her giants. And it just gets harder from there. :)
It's possible, but definitely not too competitive in level 7. Most gyms (including my own) uses level 6 to compete girls that do not have giants on bars or flight series on beam.
I agree with the majority here, Giants aren't a must but highly encouraged. AND, just because your dd doesn't have it by the first meet doesn't mean she can't/won't have it by seasons end! Right now, only 3 of our 7's have their Giants but we don't start competing until January. A lot can happen between now and January.
Two of the girls on DD's team did not have them at the beginning of the season and was scoring in the low 8's. Both had them by the end of the season and was scoring in the high 8's (free hips were still not much past horizontal at that point, so I think they got dinged there).
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