Anon Peaking and college gymnastics

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mom2newgymnast

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Jul 8, 2014
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This is kind of a spinoff of the college recruiting post. I was wondering what everyone's thoughts were about peaking too soon with regards to competing in college? Do you think it's a concern? The reason I ask is my daughter and I were talking about some gymnasts she knew that were/are trying to be recruited right now. There are a few that surprised me with their choices, but my daughter matter of factly told me that the reason they weren't being recruited as heavily was because their gymnastics had more or less peaked. They had been competing level 10 since 6th grade I think and had had a lot of early success. But the last season or two they were actually scoring lower, losing difficulty and/or just struggling to maintain. It did make me think about what would be involved mentally and physically to compete level 10 for 7+ years before even going to college. Which also makes me wonder what's the rush for gymnasts that want to compete in college, but not do elite. Is the risk of burnout worth it? I do understand that with recruiting happening after sophomore year, it's important to be very competitive by 10th grade. So it seems 4 years at level 10 is probably expected. I just wonder if it would be better to pace the super talented littles so that they were not starting level 10 in 5th/6th grade to help keep them healthy and not too worn out to compete in college? I do know that hopes and elite is a whole different thing btw.. I'm just referring to non elite gyms/gymnasts. Do you think sooner is better to gain experience or a slower pace might be for the best with regards to actually competing in college.
 
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Aussie_coach

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Jan 4, 2008
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Wow! Level 10 in 5th/6th grade. In Australia that’s unheard of, most of our level 10’s are past high school. We don’t have College gym like you do that just keep training at their clubs

Any kid like that here would be elite path and basically top in the country.

Perhaps the goal was Elite for them but they dint have an interest, the time, etc.

But as a coach, I would not push a kid to level 10 at that age if there were no Elite aspirations. That sure the mean they couldn’t learn the skills if ready though.
 
Feb 16, 2022
747
Wow! Level 10 in 5th/6th grade. In Australia that’s unheard of, most of our level 10’s are past high school. We don’t have College gym like you do that just keep training at their clubs

Any kid like that here would be elite path and basically top in the country.

Perhaps the goal was Elite for them but they dint have an interest, the time, etc.

But as a coach, I would not push a kid to level 10 at that age if there were no Elite aspirations. That sure the mean they couldn’t learn the skills if ready though.
A quick search suggests that 9 is the minimum age to compete at level 10 in the USAG system. That seems insane to me, but some kids are really talented and some of those really talented kids have been pushed very very very hard since essentially birth.
 
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gym_dad32608

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Aug 7, 2018
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Idk, I dont think there is a peaking too early thing. I think there is an imaginary and sometimes real pressure to get to level 10 for a variety of reasons. I do think there are a lot of girls that are allowed to compete L10 when they probably should not and these are the ones that you see at L10 in 5-6th grade. They might be doing some of the skills, but have bad form, and technique or they arent doing the skills and dont have 10 SVs. Then as they progress, they never learn those skills. Just like other girls that get stuck at other levels, they just happen to at L10. And suddenly they are a sophomore with no college ready routines. To be certain, there have been girls that have been L10s for 6-7 years and absolutely crushed it (Makari Dogette comes to mind) I just dont think its a function of burn-out, more just natural progression of things, unlucky environment, growth changes, etc.
 
Feb 16, 2022
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I think it would be very difficult if not impossible to control when one peaks. I think for most, the goal is to get to level 10 as soon as reasonable. What’s most rare, it seems, is the gymnast who gets to ten and then has a solid run of competing ten with no injuries. So if you assume 1-2 seasons will be impacted by an injury, plus year one is usually not stellar, and if recruiting starts after sophomore year… getting to ten sooner rather than later is preferred.
 
Feb 16, 2022
747
Maybe 5th grade isn't that common, but I think level 10 at 6th grade is not uncommon and not just for those with elite goals. There are no elite gyms in my area, and we have had some that young. And I don't mean the "really shouldn't be a level 10" level 10s either. These are really good gymnasts and deserve to be level 10s. It just feels like they are going to be at that level for so long, that I wonder if that pacing almost becomes a disadvantage in the long run.
 

JPC13

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Mar 25, 2022
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I think it would be very difficult if not impossible to control when one peaks. I think for most, the goal is to get to level 10 as soon as reasonable. What’s most rare, it seems, is the gymnast who gets to ten and then has a solid run of competing ten with no injuries. So if you assume 1-2 seasons will be impacted by an injury, plus year one is usually not stellar, and if recruiting starts after sophomore year… getting to ten sooner rather than later is preferred.
that’s a perfect argument for why you don’t want to get to 10 ASAP.

There’s no doubt that high hours and hard skills correlates with an increase in injuries — just look at how many amazing jr elites had terrible senior and NCAA careers. The sooner you start that sort of training, the sooner your body falls apart.

This is the reason why amazing, but high utilization, NCAA running backs almost never get drafted highly. Their shelf life is limited and has almost been exhausted prior to the pros. Eight seasons of level 10 prior to college gymnastics is exactly the same.
 
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Feb 16, 2022
747
So it I just wonder if it would be better to pace the super talented littles so that they were not starting level 10 in 5th/6th grade to help keep them healthy and not too worn out to compete in college? I do know that hopes and elite is a whole different thing btw.. I'm just referring to non elite gyms/gymnasts. Do you think sooner is better to gain experience or a slower pace might be for the best with regards to actually competing in college.
or starting level 10 in 4th grade. They have to train so many hours and skip several levels, and is it worth it? So much can happen in the next 6-8 years. Look at Ohashi, who was the brightest star at a young age, then disappeared from the elite world. Shawn Johnson said she attended regular school (half days) and only trained 20 hours per week. Growth spurts, injuries, burnout, and maturity can all play in to derail a gymnast. I think Whitney B even said in one of her videos that she wished she hadn’t rushed to level 10.
 

gymgal

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Aug 22, 2008
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The ones who get to L10 that early (10-12yrs old) usually are in gyms that are training elite so there is a push to get them to those upper level skills earlier. Then the gym separates the gymnasts between elite and college bound, but at that point, these gymnasts are already L8/9 ish. what do you do? halt their training and have them repeat levels? Then everyone complains that that's unfair to their competitors. For the gyms that only train to college level, I do agree that they should be pacing their gymnasts so that they reach L10 around 8th/9th grade but I think a lot of them already do that.
 
Feb 16, 2022
747
My DD was level 10 age 10, she is now in her 6th year of level 10, with one more to go. I wouldn't say she has peaked, her scores have continued to improve. She won nationals this year after placing 3rd last year. These next two years are just about maintaining. She is committed to college and our goals for the next two years are to keep her healthy, both physically and mentally. Her routines probably won't change much in the next two years. She has also been lucky to not have ever gone through a huge growth spurt. I think growth spurts and teenage years/high school play more of a role in these multi year level 10s maybe losing some skills.
 
Feb 16, 2022
747
As a parent of a 5th grade level 10 who is now 18, it’s a great question and certainly hindsight is 20/20!

If I knew what I knew now, I would never have allowed that. But she was scoring 38’s in level 9, she had the skills for level 10 and she did have elite aspirations. Going to level 10 made sense at the time.

In the years that followed almost nothing went right. In the end she’s going to a top Div 1 school and she has had to endure year after year of setbacks and roadblocks. I would never choose that path knowing what I know now, but I also recognize she is who she is because of what a tough road it has been. She had every reason to call it quits. It’s very hard to be a young phenom and then spend years barely getting by because of injuries, burn out etc. Where she found the determination to keep going, I don’t know.

100% I would not choose that path if I could have foreseen the future.