For Parents Move from Level 4 to Xcel

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Doanki

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Hello all,

My daughter competed level 4 two years in a row and did very well. She was trying to get her skills for Level 6 and is close to getting her kip cast handstand, but doesn't have it yet. Her gym sent out move-up letters and she didn't get one. They met with me and said they were unsure what to do with her because she doesn't have the skill. They said they see her potential, and will give her more time if she needs it, but that the skill is necessary for the upcoming levels and excel would be a great option for her. I don't know what to do. Her gym doesn't really allow for Xcel gymnasts to switch back to JO. She feels a lot of pressure to get the skill. I have spoken to her and she is unsure what she wants to do. She says Xcel would be less pressure, but she is afraid to drop out of JO when she cannot go back. As I said, she was always a very good gymnast. Does anyone have any advice as to what I should do?
 

Doanki

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Her gym does not have level 5. They go from level 4 to 6, as do most of the gyms in our area.
 

CLgym

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I'm not an expert, but I'm pretty sure that kip-cast to handstand is not a Level 6 requirement either -- gymnasts just have to cast above horizontal. There are, however, deductions for lower casts. Under the new rules, I believe, there are deductions for casts below 45 degrees. Old rules used to take deductions for casts below handstand -- although my DD competed L6 last year and it seemed like only about half the girls hit handstand (others just took a few tenths deduction).

Of course, that is all moot if your gym internally requires the cast to handstand.... which it sounds like they might?

Re: what to do -- How old is your daughter? What are her goals? Have you specifically asked gym whether she might move back to JO after Xcel (you suggest that's not an option, but was curious if you talked to them about it)? Mine started in Xcel, and the program has many positives especially if your gym treats it with respect and fairness. However, it is almost always less competitive. Hours are often lower so progress can be slower. And at some gyms the coaches are not the same as the JO coaches. Have you had a chance to watch your gym's Xcel groups in action? What did you think?

There was one girl in my daughter's group two years ago who was also struggling with bars after 2 relatively successful L4 seasons (and a score-out at L5) so she moved to Xcel Gold rather than repeat L4 yet again. That way she was able to up-train in other areas/events. This summer she moved back to JO and is hoping to compete L6 (decisions haven't been made yet). Wondering if that might work with your gym's blessing??
 
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Doanki

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Aug 6, 2018
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I'm not an expert, but I'm pretty sure that kip-cast to handstand is not a Level 6 requirement either -- gymnasts just have to cast above horizontal. There are, however, deductions for lower casts. Under the new rules, I believe, there are deductions for casts below 45 degrees. Old rules used to take deductions for casts below handstand -- although my DD competed L6 last year and it seemed like only about half the girls hit handstand (others just took a few tenths deduction).

Of course, that is all moot if your gym internally requires the cast to handstand.... which it sounds like they might?

Re: what to do -- How old is your daughter? What are her goals? Have you specifically asked gym whether she might move back to JO after Xcel (you suggest that's not an option, but was curious if you talked to them about it)? Mine started in Xcel, and the program has many positives especially if your gym treats it with respect and fairness. However, it is almost always less competitive. Hours are often lower so progress can be slower. And at some gyms the coaches are not the same as the JO coaches. Have you had a chance to watch your gym's Xcel groups in action? What did you think?

There was one girl in my daughter's group two years ago who was also struggling with bars after 2 relatively successful L4 seasons (and a score-out at L5) so she moved to Xcel Gold rather than repeat L4 yet again. That way she was able to up-train in other areas/events. This summer she moved back to JO and is hoping to compete L6 (decisions haven't been made yet). Wondering if that might work with your gym's blessing??


My daughter's gym requires a kip cast handstand for 6. I have asked if they would allow her to move back to JO, but I know they don't. They have always said once you leave JO, that's it. I am just so confused. I want to help my daughter make the right choice, but I just don't know what that is. Thanks so much for your time and helping me through this!
 

mls529

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My daughter was successful at level 4, scored out of 5, started training 6 and then moved to Xcel last season. So I totally get where you are coming from. For my DD, it was the BHS on beam (required at her gym for level 6, although it is not officially required). She had a block and wasn't getting over it anytime soon. I would say it has to be your daughter's decision. Our gym also doesn't allow moving from Xcel to JO at all. So for my DD, the choice was 1) quit (she was seriously considering this because she was frustrated) 2) move gyms and compete level 5 or 6 (whatever a new gym would let her do without a BHS on beam) or 3) move to Xcel. My DD chose Xcel because she was a little older (11), didn't have college aspirations, liked the idea of moving at her own pace and just wanted to have fun again. It has worked out beautifully and she is very happy now.

One thing that really worked for her was making a pro and con list of each of her options. That way she can own the decision and look at this objectively. Good luck!
 

Doanki

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My daughter was successful at level 4, scored out of 5, started training 6 and then moved to Xcel last season. So I totally get where you are coming from. For my DD, it was the BHS on beam (required at her gym for level 6, although it is not officially required). She had a block and wasn't getting over it anytime soon. I would say it has to be your daughter's decision. Our gym also doesn't allow moving from Xcel to JO at all. So for my DD, the choice was 1) quit (she was seriously considering this because she was frustrated) 2) move gyms and compete level 5 or 6 (whatever a new gym would let her do without a BHS on beam) or 3) move to Xcel. My DD chose Xcel because she was a little older (11), didn't have college aspirations, liked the idea of moving at her own pace and just wanted to have fun again. It has worked out beautifully and she is very happy now.

One thing that really worked for her was making a pro and con list of each of her options. That way she can own the decision and look at this objectively. Good luck!


Thank you so much for your feedback! It is so hard! My daughter is also 11. She does not want to do gymnastics in college at the moment. That could change, as she is still young. But I know that my daughter is frustrated. I am also one of those parents who is letting it be my daughter's decision. I will support her either way. I just want to make sure she considers all of the pros and cons. It is such a final decision, without being able to go back to JO. Sometimes it just doesn't seem like the stress is worth it. They are so young and if they are not going to the Olympics, should they really be under this much stress?! It's also difficult because the owner and two coaches want my daughter to go 6, and three other coaches are recommending Xcel. So they seem pretty divided. My daughter just doesn't know what to do. I feel so much better hearing your daughter's story. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing!!!
 
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GAgymmom

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If they require a kip cast handstand, they might as well just do level 7, since a handstand is not required at level 6, and level 6 is not required. Level 5 is required, though. They have to score out to do level 6 or 7. Will they let her try to score out of 5, and then they can see if she's ready for 6?
 

Doanki

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If they require a kip cast handstand, they might as well just do level 7, since a handstand is not required at level 6, and level 6 is not required. Level 5 is required, though. They have to score out to do level 6 or 7. Will they let her try to score out of 5, and then they can see if she's ready for 6?


Unfortunately, they will not even let her try to test out of level 5 (which I know she could do easily) unless she has the kip cast handstand. :(
 

Doanki

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Now I think my daughter is leaning more toward excel because she thinks she is not good enough to move on because she didn't get a letter. UGH!
 

SMH

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It sounds like they are pushing her toward Xcel. Is her other option to compete level 4 a third time? That seems ridiculous, especially if she did well the first two times. Is she ‘ready’ for level 6 in all the other events? I’d be concerned that the gym would be willing to just push her off to Xcel and not make any plan to work with her to get her cast handstand and move to level 6.
Why did she repeat level 4 the first time?
 

cadybearsmommy

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Cast handstands are hard and for some girls it takes a long time to get it consistent. My dd competed two years of L6 and at most of the meets we went to over 50 percent of the girls weren’t hitting handstand. Yes it hurt their scores, but most were able to still do well all around even with the lower bar scores. L6 is supposed to be a transitional optional level. If they are really going to be so firm about the CHS would they be willing to let her go ahead and score out of 5 and then just scratch bars in L6 until she gets it??
 
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amiandjim

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I don’t understand this at all, especially with the changes to level 6 bars. She just needs to be 45 degrees over horizontal to not get a deduction, so why not let her do level 6??
 

GAgymmom

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Unfortunately, they will not even let her try to test out of level 5 (which I know she could do easily) unless she has the kip cast handstand. :(
This is so odd. Red Flags everywhere! You do not need a cast handstand to score out of 5 or to compete 6. If you have other options, I would definitely look into them. The more I read the more my gut tells me that they really don't want her on their team. If your coaches don't believe in you, you will not advance or be taught well. Sure she can be pushed off to Xcel, but is that what SHE wants? If she really doesn't, maybe you can find a place that will take her with open arms.
 

ldw4mlo

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My daughter competed L7 last year, L8 this year. She just started getting to HS at the end of her L7 season.
 

M2Abi

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My dd competed Level 6 last year without a cast handstand and I would say less than half of the girls we competed against had them. If your daughter wants to do JO, I would look at other gyms because the majority do not require that.
 
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Gymsy4

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Sorry for the initial reply! I think somehow I wrote the wrong replay to the wrong post. I would have her evaluated at another gym. I've seen some gyms push certain girls to Xcel for their own purposes. I would definitely want a second opinion! Good luck!
 
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jessifrostR

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If the coaches won’t give her more time to get the skill or let her compete without it, and she doesn’t want to do Xcel, then I would look somewhere else. She can definitely do level or 6 at another gym if that’s all she’s missing!
 
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