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We have several older level 4/5 gymnasts and they are great. Most of the level 4's are around 7-8, but I think we will have 5 9 year olds this year and several 10 year olds.
Same for my DD's team. Half of her team was ages 6-8, the other half 9-11 (most were 2nd yr 4's except one). I think if you see a child with ability and they are willing to work hard, going the USAG route even at a later age should be encouraged. The 10 yr. old who joined my DD's team at the beginning of last summer (came from a rec tumbling class) was an excellent tumbler already. She caught on quickly to the other skills and after competing level 4 one year, has gone on to level 5. I'm glad that the HC gave her a shot even though she was older.
Thanks for all the input everyone! It seems like there are other gyms like ours that track older kids into a lower-key league, and also some that allow for older kids with ability/potential. My dd has been doing gymnastics a little over a year. She came in with excellent flexibility/form, and has learned all the level 4 skills and about half the level 5 in that year. All other kids on her team had several years of rec first. So, not bad for the first year (I tell her), but she wants her skills to be more perfect and she feels like she's not getting the help she wants. Again, I do feel like the USAG kids are more closely coached and pushed harder. The coach at the new/potential gym said he has no problem with a 10 year old on his L4 team if she ends up needed to repeat L4, and that they really push to perfect skills before learning routines, which is almost the opposite of what dd is doing in our current gym. I doubt they will allow a switch to USAG at our current gym, not the least because there are a couple of gymnasts on her current team that would probably be chosen first if they did.

As for speaking to the coach/owner, I plan to do it tomorrow before or after the last class. Because her coach is also the owner, and their big 10-part end-of-year show is this weekend, she's been very pre-occupied. We're also hoping to try-out at the potential/new gym and observe a practice. It is much closer to home, a little cheaper, and they have a boys team (my ds is starting to get into gym too) - but none of those would be a deciding factor.

To answer some posters' questions about the anxiety issue: she is doing amazing things this year, and I really credit gymnastics with building her confidence and also just giving her something that makes it worth pushing through the fear for. When she got up there at her first competition, you could have knocked me over with a feather. She fell off the bar, got right back up, and even said at the end that she had fun (despite the super-serious-smileless look on her face). That doesn't mean I don't think it's an issue, but that her own fierce competitiveness is overriding the anxiety. Because of this competitiveness, she can see right through what's going on - she sees the GYFW competitions and hates that "everyone gets a trophy". I'm trying to get a read on her own wishes - as I tell her, I write the check, but she's the one who has to do all the work! We've listed out pluses and minuses, etc, but I think we'll wait until tomorrow's class is over and I've spoken to the coach to really delve into it.
It sounds like you guys have a good game plan going into your meeting. Good luck and hope it goes smoothly!
I think you have a good plan regarding what to do next. If you do check out another gym, I would ask if dd can do a few practices with whatever level team they decide is appropriate before committing. Every gym is different and every level is different so considering her anxiety issues, you should have her try the new program to see if this is something she will be able to handle. Also get information on number of meets(certainly more), cost of being on team and number of practice hours for summer and school year.

Bottom line is a program where she will be happy. GL and keep us updated.
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I think you are doing the right thing by letting her try out at the other gym. If your current gym isn't really working with your dd onwhere she wants to go, then whats the point? Makes for an unhappy little gymmie to be told she's too old to be any good, so why bother?!

I found this thread interesting, because we kinda have the exact opposite thing going on where we are. My dd was the ONLY 7 yr old (no 6's) last year on her L4 team, and she's the only 8 yr old (no 7's) on her L5 team. She's the youngest. We have about 3 7 yr olds on our L4 team now, but still most of the girls on our L4 and L5 teams are 9 and 10 yr olds. These also seem to be the biggest age groups we see at comps...even splitting them into only 9 yr olds and only 10 yr olds. So, go's different everywhere. Guess we wouldn't have any teams if the coaches only picked the youngest ones to compete!!
The plot thickens... I spoke with the coach/owner today. I was 99% certain that there was no chance of dd breaking out and joining the USAG team because it just hasn't happened in recent years. All US L4s are 8/9 or younger and all GYFW L4s are 10 and up. But she floored me by saying that she doesn't like what has gradually happened over the past several years, how the two teams have really separated. She wants to make them a little more united "like they used to be" and give those that want to a chance to change. She said dd's group coming into L5 GYFW is so talented (all 10yo) that she doesn't want to deny them a chance at USAG if they are willing and able. Her plan is to have them practice with the USA L5s this summer and see where they are at the end of it. Basically, she said USA is still an option. She just hasn't told the girls because she wants to see how they do first and talk to parents (not all parents want USAG) before she gets their hopes up.

I also mentioned some of her coaching concerns, and then felt like an idiot because she got her front tuck and her squat-on at practice today. I do think the potential/new gym is a bit more thorough/tough with coaching (they also score better at meets, etc), but it also involves more hours/week, etc. Also, I just really like the owner of our current gym and don't want to burn bridges. But at least they're aware that dd is serious and ready to work (she is usually so quiet and serious at practice it can be hard to tell she loves it) and it sounds like they are going to give her a chance after all!

Dd doesn't seem to want to make the decision, which makes me think we'll stay where we are for now. If she was all gung-ho-USAG or hated the current gym/coach, it would be an easy decision. But since she's not, and now they are willing to give her the chance, I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt. We can always look at it again next year, and we at least have the low-key GYFW league if USA doesn't work out (at potential/new gym there's no other option). Again, I'm not definite, but pretty close to staying.

So I'm super glad I talked to the coach and didn't go by my own assumptions! Thanks for listening to me and giving input - very appreciated.
that's hard for me to wrap my mind around. a short story...a 10 year old level 5 girl comes to us from a local ymca program to try out. she was gangli, an ectomorph and didn't know what conditioning was.

so my wife asked her to show us what she could do at floor. she told us that she had "just" learned an aerial cartwheel. or what some call a running no handed or free cartwheel.

so my wife says "okay, you can start with that". now i'm 100 feet away at bars. when all of a sudden i see this kid start sprinting down our tumbling strip. except her run looks like she had been hit with a taser. and then she attempts the aerial cartwheel that she stated she had "just" learned.

well...right to her face and knees. so i told my wife that if she is going to attempt that again then she'll have to take her to the other tumbling strip that goes in to a resi. so she does.

for 30 minutes, this 10 year old kid that wants to make my team, and prove to us that she could aerial cartwheel, keeps landing on her face and knees in to the resi. with the same run that looks as if she was a hit with a taser each and every attempt. i finally stop her. she's crying by now and insisting to my wife that she can do it. this 10 year old kid asks my wife to ask "the scary guy" if she could just do one more. i let her do 1 more.

she does it and lands on her feet. just plain ugly. the rest of her try out was unremarkable. kips to her stomach and such. but don't think i hadn't absorbed what took place at floor. we took her on the team at 10 and she repeated level 5 with us for the 3rd time.

this child grew up to have a couple of skills named after her. she's in the code. AND received a full athletic scholarship to a gymnastically noteworthy college.

i hope no further explanation is necessary as to how it relates to the topic being discussed.:)

Now you seriously are my HERO!! I know quite a few older gymmies that would 'flock' to your gym in a heart beat! That is awe-inspiring of you, seriously!:D
Now you seriously are my HERO!! I know quite a few older gymmies that would 'flock' to your gym in a heart beat! That is awe-inspiring of you, seriously!:D

Seriously! That is soooo amazing! Who was that gymnast Dunno? I love to hear about girls with determination and spunk like that!!!
now if i told you that it would reveal my identity:) you'll just have to trust me. and really, that's what many coaches do.
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QUOTE=dunno;163025]now if i told you that it would reveal my identity:) you'll just have to trust me. and really, that's what many coaches do.[/QUOTE]

LOL! I didn't think of that! Don't worry. I trust you! :D
Sounds like a great meeting! So glad that you talked to her. Good luck to your daughter this summer!
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