For Parents level up or level down, why coach changed their mind?

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Proud Parent
Oct 12, 2021
To the OP,
I didn't read anything inherently negative in your post at all. As the Mom of a daughter who started a bit later than the rest, I do understand the pressure to want to advance your kiddo to a higher level so that they have opportunities as an optional gymnast down the road. If a coach explicitly said to me that Level 4 was too easy and then wheeled the statement back, I would want more clarity too.

That being said, I will tell you that Level 5 is a significantly more difficult level than level 4 and the scoring is generally lower. My daughter competedatt his level last year and it was common to come out of a competition where the highest AA score didn't break the 35.00 barrier, something that is relatively uncommon at level 4. Having the skills for level 5 versus executing them at a high level are 2 different things and is important to know. Obviously, I have no idea what level your daughter should compete in but at our gym it's almost unheard of to go from a level 3 to a level 5 as that level 4 year is used to really hone in on active flexibility, height, bar strengths, casts above horizontal. Also, as some of the other people have posted - it is more common to test out of level 5 and go straight to 6 (at some gyms). Maybe this is a potential path for your daughter?

The main thing that doesn't seem to be discussed in the answers above is what level is your daughter training at? i.e. she may compete 4 but is she given opportunities to continue advancing in practice? I think as long as she is continuing to progress and can practice more advanced skills (when appropriate) at the gym, she will likely get the best of both worlds by competing level 4 - opportunities to continue growing but confidence and ability to solidify the basics so that she can perform at a higher level when she goes into the optional levels. I hope this helps!
Dec 31, 2022
My DD started gym at 8, late to the game, then the gym downgraded the JO program to Excel program and she wasted two years there until she couldn't take it anymore because she wasn't learning new skills. So we transferred to a new gym last November.. She did great in the new gym, picking up new skills very fast.. Last competition season ( Jan to March 2022), she was competing at level 3, and she was winning all competitions (except the 1st one), but she was 11 years old. I don't think she was competing against the best.
Just last month, her coach told my husband that level 4 is too easy for my DD, she should compete at level 5. So I went to talk to the level 5 coach who is also the co-owner of the gym, but the level 5 coach said some weird stuff like she(my DD) has to have all the level 5 skills by the end of the year, she can't call some parents and tell them that she is pulling their daughter off level 5 and downgrade the said daughter..........I wasn't sure why she said that, so I just said thank you and left. The truth is level 4 has around 17 girls and level 5 has about 6 girls.
when I talked to level 4 coach two days ago, and asked her whether I should give my DD some private lessons on level 5 skills. ( They have been doing routines only, no upgrades), she changed her tone. She said ever since my DD fell from the bar two weeks ago, she does not want to push her, so my DD likely will compete at level 4 this year. When I told my DD about this, she got upset and cried. When I talked to my husband, he said "that is why I told you to wait until after the mock meet in early December to ask about the private lesson on level 5 skills. We had a parent meeting just two weeks ago. Judging from what was said at the meeting, it seems like the gym is trying to downgrade athletes, maybe for better competition results. What she said about the fall and not pushing our DD, it is just an excuse." My DD also said the fall has nothing to do with level 5 skills as they have been doing only level 4 routines recently.

My DD still needs two skills to have all level 5 skills and I don't think it will be a problem since she learns really fast. Last November when she moved to the new gym, she didn't even know how to do a back handspring before the level 3 competition. She said now she is better than most level 5s.

so, now I am wondering what I should do next. Shall I push for level 5 or shall I just listen to the coach? Personally, I prefer my DD go to level 5 because she is going to be 12 years old in a few weeks and she is ready to compete in level 5 with some private lessons. If she is competing at level 4, then that is another year wasted not learning new skills. I want her to compete at her level and against more competitive athletes.

Any advice or insights?
KEEP PUSHING! A single fall does not determine if she should be held back or not. sometimes weird things just happen in gymnastics and we fall but then two seconds later we can get up and do it perfect 30 times in a row. If you and her both believe she can compete level 5 keep pushing for it ad if the don't allow it I recommend finding a new gym.


Proud Parent
Aug 22, 2020
I would just say to enjoy the ride. Communication is always the best avenue. If you really want to know what the coaches thing to talk it out with them, why is level 4 better for her or 5. I see it in my daughters gym all the time parents get so focused on advancement. They think there daughter is going to be an NCAA athlete in 5 years, most aren't. Whether she retires at level 7 or 8 or 6 or goes to Xcel and does platinum/diamond. It doesn't really matter as long as they are having a good time. I dont necessarily think it was a problem that she is comparing herself against other girls, its natural to do so, but a lot of times kids dont have an accurate assessment of where they stand. Any advice i have would be to talk to the coaches and let her have fun.
Apr 16, 2022
My daughter was a recreational gymnast for 2 years. She was asked to try out for team in August 2018. At that time she was 9 years old. The head coach of the team did invite her to join them but he wanted her to wait until after their compulsory season was finished (in December 2018). When she moved to team in December, my daughter had turned 10 years old. He placed her with the training level 4's. In March 2019, a new head coach started and she wanted my daughter to compete level 5 instead. The coach placed my daughter with the other level 5's and started training her on the upgrades. In April, that coach decided that level 4 would probably be best. My daughter stayed with the training level 5's but competed level 4 that season. She had an amazing season, gained a lot of confidence and won 2nd at State. After finishing level 4 my daughter started working level 7 skills. That season, my daughter competed level 5 (won State) and then decided to compete level 7 the same season. It was a LONG season but ultimately, I think it was the right choice having her do level 4 instead of level 5. It gave her the time she needed to really focus on some of those harder basic skills that ultimately led her to do very well from that point forward. Now she's 13 and competing level 9 this year. Having a solid level 4 season might lead to greater things and if your daughter can continue to work on upgrades, it's possible she can just move on to optionals next season if she's ready.
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Jan 11, 2021
And it could be a bad look for the gym if they break their own protocol and move your DD up and not give the same opportunity to others.
I definitely think this is a factor. At DD's gym, the coach of the 'gold' and 'platinum' groups had some favorites. Some of the 'favorite' kids were moved up ahead of other girls for no obvious reasons. The favorite was moved up and did not score well throughout season at the higher levels and was largely 'missing' skills (this is to say she was inconsistent, needed spots, and was lazy, never bothering to fix form). One of DD's groupmates though, had the proper skills and had great form, but was not moved up. Coach also kept changing the 'requirements' to be certain levels. When DD wanted to move from silver to gold, she was originally told she needed a squat on and a ROBHS. AS the summer progressed and she got both skills, she now needed a kip and more acro on beam to even be considered for gold. She hit all the requirements for gold and the coach was still insistent on not moving her up, while coach also wanted kids (who were years younger, DD is 15, the others were 10-11) who could not make their 2nd acro, who had really bad tumbling passes, who would sit around at practice and play on the equipment, to be gold. DD is now a gold, after working with the head coach about this.

If your kid truly has solid level 5 skills, talk to her coaches. I would say go for it even if there is one skill she is missing or heavily bad at. But really think about what will benefit her more. Is she in it to score well, or is she in it to learn new skills and show off those skills? She's not too old, and could honestly go either level right now and be fine. Personally, I think it's better to have a year at 4 and a year (or half) at 5. It's better to have solid basics before you push yourself too much. Doing too much too fast will cause mental blocks and setbacks.


Staff member
Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Club Owner / Manager
Jan 4, 2008
As a gym owner I have a very firm policy that we don’t tell a kid they are moving up until they are actually moving up.

Even if we are 99% sure we say nothing until it’s definite. I make all move up decisions as gym owner and head coach, the coaches can make recommendations but not the ultimate decision.

That helps because then you do t have this situation here one coach says a kid should live up and another doesn’t.

It’s just like parenting. Don’t make promises you can’t keep, don’t threaten anything you aren’t prepared to follow through on.

It’s devastating for a kid to be told something and then told it’s not happening.