For Parents Pros and cons of lower levels

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LCsMom

Proud Parent
Oct 27, 2020
34
48
My gymnast started at Level 1 and it was beneficial in that, while she had learned to do a bunch of disparate skills, learning to do them as part of a routine (and in the case of floor, in time with music) was a skill set that didn't come naturally at first. Also, meets themselves involve a kid going out alone on equipment that in some cases is much taller than herself with a whole bunch of people staring at her, and that takes a lot of courage. That being said, her Level 1 "meets" weren't sanctioned and were pretty low key.

She began competing for real the next year--as a Bronze. And the amount of crazy competitiveness amongst not only her peers but the parents as well was pretty intense and took a while to get used to. I'm glad we had the experience of the "fun meets" before we had to experience the "real" ones.
 

Lurker

Proud Parent
Jan 22, 2022
31
41
She began competing for real the next year--as a Bronze. And the amount of crazy competitiveness amongst not only her peers but the parents as well was pretty intense and took a while to get used to. I'm glad we had the experience of the "fun meets" before we had to experience the "real" ones.
That's disappointing I would think bronze should be in the same category of "fun meet".
 

LCsMom

Proud Parent
Oct 27, 2020
34
48
That's disappointing I would think bronze should be in the same category of "fun meet".
I know, right? ...but on the other hand, pretty low stakes in the scheme of things. Most of those kids and their intense families are long gone from the sport, and my kid has consistently been one of a very small group of (or in the case of one year, the only one) in her age group at States as soon as she hit optionals (we do live in a small state). That makes States kind of like a "fun meet."
 

WV Gym Mom

Proud Parent
Mar 7, 2022
71
49
I've never seen any level 1s compete in our state. In my daughter's gym - level 1 is considered pre-team and does only in-house "fun" exhibitions. Level 2 is the first level they compete. Then, Level 3/Silver are combined - the groups train together, but those without their all their level 3 skills compete Silver - so switch mid-season.

Then when ready to move up, we have our Gold team, where girls who haven't scored out of 4 will do so in a meet when they are ready.

After that, it depends on individualized plans, skills, and time commitment, whether they stay in the XCEL path or work towards the Optionals path. It works good for our smaller gym, allowing the lower levels to stay together longer, as friendships and team building are super important, especially in the 6-12 age range.
 

katrid11

Proud Parent
Sep 1, 2020
90
47
In my opinion, L2 is a great starting point. Our last gym tiptoed into meets with just 3 - enough to "get experience" and to "learn routines" but also plenty of time for uptraining.

L1 for us was just pre-team. I just can't imagine competing that level. Some of the girls that later turn into amazing gymnasts are just too little. I have seen some of our best gymnasts at that age and their parents are thankful they didn't have to pay for meets. Our top L7 gymnast at age 4 in L1 (preteam) was wearing pullups and yanking on her hair while on beam. As her mom says "imagine paying $80 to watch your child stop in the beam routine to pee"

That said, I think L1 is a great structure for pre-teams. I think L2 is a great entry point for a few meets. I do think L3 is a preferred place to start real competition seasons. It has just enough to feel like "team" and the experience is needed to feel confident going into L4 seasons with the big jump in skills.


Here is a con --- some gyms use L2 and L3 as marketing. 2 gyms at yesterdays meet stack gymnasts. Basically every girl regardless of ability does 2 years at L2 and L3. It is a gym requirement. Enables them to market high scores, team awards, state championships. Just sad.
 

Tmacs

Proud Parent
Feb 19, 2019
230
My gymnast started at Level 1 and it was beneficial in that, while she had learned to do a bunch of disparate skills, learning to do them as part of a routine (and in the case of floor, in time with music) was a skill set that didn't come naturally at first. Also, meets themselves involve a kid going out alone on equipment that in some cases is much taller than herself with a whole bunch of people staring at her, and that takes a lot of courage. That being said, her Level 1 "meets" weren't sanctioned and were pretty low key.

She began competing for real the next year--as a Bronze. And the amount of crazy competitiveness amongst not only her peers but the parents as well was pretty intense and took a while to get used to. I'm glad we had the experience of the "fun meets" before we had to experience the "real" ones.
That's crazy. The best years were the lo
In my opinion, L2 is a great starting point. Our last gym tiptoed into meets with just 3 - enough to "get experience" and to "learn routines" but also plenty of time for uptraining.

L1 for us was just pre-team. I just can't imagine competing that level. Some of the girls that later turn into amazing gymnasts are just too little. I have seen some of our best gymnasts at that age and their parents are thankful they didn't have to pay for meets. Our top L7 gymnast at age 4 in L1 (preteam) was wearing pullups and yanking on her hair while on beam. As her mom says "imagine paying $80 to watch your child stop in the beam routine to pee"

That said, I think L1 is a great structure for pre-teams. I think L2 is a great entry point for a few meets. I do think L3 is a preferred place to start real competition seasons. It has just enough to feel like "team" and the experience is needed to feel confident going into L4 seasons with the big jump in skills.


Here is a con --- some gyms use L2 and L3 as marketing. 2 gyms at yesterdays meet stack gymnasts. Basically every girl regardless of ability does 2 years at L2 and L3. It is a gym requirement. Enables them to market high scores, team awards, state championships. Just sad.
That is sad. A recipe for burn out.
 

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