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iwannacoach

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Mar 25, 2012
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region II
Tell the gym your child wants, if the time comes, to train and compete in the best JO program suited to her ability and work habits, and you'd like them to reccomend a club that best suits her JO ambitions. That should be possible if you're in a large enough market to provide a variety of clubs with various missions in the JO track.

It's pretty obvious the current club is selective with respect to placing kids in their JO track, and the prep-op track is their "best effort" option for your child. They'll keep you in the dark for a variety of reasons, including not wanting to share with you the reality they see, because no one wants to tell a parent their child has limits in the sport when they're hoping to hear the opposite.
 

IreneKa

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Mar 18, 2013
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It's pretty obvious the current club is selective with respect to placing kids in their JO track, and the prep-op track is their "best effort" option for your child. They'll keep you in the dark for a variety of reasons, including not wanting to share with you the reality they see, because no one wants to tell a parent their child has limits in the sport when they're hoping to hear the opposite.

Thanks! I realize this could be the case. I'm not one of those crazy moms who thinks their child is the best no matter what.:)
She is not the best, but not the worst either. They have a few girls on their team who are not even competing this year, because the coaches decided they were not ready.
DD is very passionate about her gymnastics, and tries very hard. We bought a mat for her last birthday, so now she practices at home every spare moment she's got. With more practice time I'm sure she would be able to progress more rapidly.
Thanks for all the advices. I will definitely be talking to our gym staff sometime soon.
 

MaryA

Proud Parent
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Jul 22, 2010
4,442
When you look at the group that your DD's friend is in, are they all almost exactly the same age/height/body type? If so, you have your answer.
 
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IreneKa

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Mar 18, 2013
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When you look at the group that your DD's friend is in, are they all almost exactly the same age/height/body type? If so, you have your answer.

I don't really know, they practice on different days. But her friend is shorter and thinner than her.
 

Gymmommy71

Proud Parent
May 15, 2012
890
So many other posters have given excellent answers in this thread. I just wanted to say how sorry I am that they didn't explain the difference between their team tracks up front to you. You may have made different decisions a while back had you known the full story. If her gym doesn't allow movement between prep-op and JO (most really don't around me...I see it the other way, JO *to* prep-op, but not prep-op to JO) she may really need to switch gyms...and if so, I advise you do it sooner rather than later just cause you don't want other gyms ruling her out for JO because of her age... What would you say her highest skills are on each event? She's 7, almost 8, right? Not that 8 is "old", but there are gyms out there that see it that way when it comes to JO...
 

IreneKa

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Mar 18, 2013
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She is 8 now. I don't really know what the skill requirements for each level are, but looking at level 4 routines on youtube, the only thing she doesn't do yet is back handspring. But they are working on it.
I'll start asking around now, but I want her to finish this season, she's been working hard on her routines all year. The last meet is the first weekend of May. Then hopefully we'll find something that suites her.
 

2G1B

Proud Parent
Jan 27, 2013
2,226
She is 8 now. I don't really know what the skill requirements for each level are, but looking at level 4 routines on youtube, the only thing she doesn't do yet is back handspring. But they are working on it.
I'll start asking around now, but I want her to finish this season, she's been working hard on her routines all year. The last meet is the first weekend of May. Then hopefully we'll find something that suites her.

Also keep in mind that any level 4 routine that you see on youtube will be the skills in a level 3 routine next year.
 

IreneKa

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Mar 18, 2013
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Also keep in mind that any level 4 routine that you see on youtube will be the skills in a level 3 routine next year.

This is totally confusing to me.
Our gym starts competing at level 4. So, this change of levels means that now they'll be competing at level 3? Or, it means that the girls who should be at level4 next year, now will have to wait one more year to start competing?
 

2G1B

Proud Parent
Jan 27, 2013
2,226
This is totally confusing to me.
Our gym starts competing at level 4. So, this change of levels means that now they'll be competing at level 3? Or, it means that the girls who should be at level4 next year, now will have to wait one more year to start competing?

I guess it is up to each gym. Our gym will have girls competing at the new level 3. It is my understanding that the girls will now *have* to compete new level 4 to get a mobility score in order to compete new 5. Before I think that level 5 was the first one that they had to have a mobility score from.

So if a gym wants the girls to have one year of competing before the year they have to have the mobility score for, then I'd assume that the gym would choose to start competing with level 3.
 

LizzieLac

Proud Parent
May 4, 2010
1,872
I can tell you that our gym used to very much see the two programs as separate. As far as I know, there has been only 3 girls that went from Prep Op to JO at our gym, my DD being one of them. I think it is based on what the coaches *think* they see for ability, age, time spent in the sport, and even other activities the child might participate in.

It is unfortunate, that a lot of assumptions are made when the coaches choose kids for the different programs. When my DD was invited to Prep Op, she had been at her current gym for only one year and was basically a rec student who did one little in house competition. She had come from another program that only taught little kids up to 2nd grade. So, my DD was 8 when she came to this gym.

At the time Prep Op was right for her as she was also swimming competitively. So, she was never on a pre-team and did not come up in the gym through that traditional route. But she was allowed to switch to JO when shen decided she wanted to focus on gymnastics. There was one girl who switched the year before but I think it took a leap of faith for the hc to see that some kids are able to make that switch.


I think the best way to deal with this is to try to have an open conversation with the coaches but you always have the option of looking for a different gym that suits your DD better! Good luck!
 

Gymmommy71

Proud Parent
May 15, 2012
890
I'd suspect, most, if not all, gyms that have a current L4 program would have a L3 program next year. Sounds like the OPs daughter would be a candidate for next year's L3, unless her bars are REALLY good and a gym would see her as capable of catching up on the floor stuff in a short time and make her a new L4. I've seen a couple girls do that - join current L5 w/o a BHS and get a double in time for the first meet, however, the ones DD's gym let do that were REALLY strong on bars - i.e. already had a solid kip and were good at swinging. Some gyms also tend to be a little more lenient re: letting a girl into current L5 when the girl is "older"...like OPs DD will be 9 next year. It all depends on the gym and their JO strategy...
 

IreneKa

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Mar 18, 2013
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I'll be OK with L3, as long as she is in JO program.

LizzieLac, thanks for sharing your story, it gives me hope. :)
 
K

KimmeeA13

Our gym does things differently than everyone else, apparently. They use Bronze Xcel as the introduction to competition, then the girls who are ready and who want to pursue JO are moved up at the end of the season. My daughter is in her first year and competed Bronze Xcel this year. She is now training current Level 4/new Level 3 skills for next year. Our gym does have silver, gold, and platinum Xcel too, so I'm not clear on how that part works, but I do know that the bronze girls who want to move up and show that they are capable of learning the skills before competition season starts tend to move to JO after their bronze season ends. I won't know for sure what they recommend for my daughter until May but she's already got her BHS and almost has her cartwheel on beam. She did not have all her bronze skills when she was invited to join the team but learned them over the summer and fall, then had her first meet in December.

That muddies the water a bit more, doesn't it? :)
 

CreateMagic

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Dec 9, 2008
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Our gym does things differently than everyone else, apparently. They use Bronze Xcel as the introduction to competition, then the girls who are ready and who want to pursue JO are moved up at the end of the season. My daughter is in her first year and competed Bronze Xcel this year. She is now training current Level 4/new Level 3 skills for next year. Our gym does have silver, gold, and platinum Xcel too, so I'm not clear on how that part works, but I do know that the bronze girls who want to move up and show that they are capable of learning the skills before competition season starts tend to move to JO after their bronze season ends. I won't know for sure what they recommend for my daughter until May but she's already got her BHS and almost has her cartwheel on beam. She did not have all her bronze skills when she was invited to join the team but learned them over the summer and fall, then had her first meet in December.

That muddies the water a bit more, doesn't it? :)

We do things the same as your gym. I think it's a great way to introduce competitive gymnastics!
 

JMACAZ

Proud Parent
Jan 13, 2013
1,408
Hi Irene Wanted to post (my first one :) and let you know that we are in the same situation with a few differences. My 8 yr old DD (9 next month) started gym in Aug Sep of 2011 at age 7. Did Rec level 1 for 3 months and then moved up to level 2. 3 months later (our gym evals every 3 months) she moved to Rec 3. A month after the XCel program was announced at our gym. She was not ready for JO Level 4-the first level our gym completes a full season of but wanted to compete. So she joined the bronze XCel team. Had a good season her first year (going to state in 2 weeks) About a month ago the JO head coach approached me and asked if DD wanted to move to JO as a Level 3 but uptraining Level 4. Our gym will compete a full season of 3 this year. She has all the skills for 3-finally got her RO BHS on floor! but needs practice on most of the level 4 skills. She will be one of the older Level 3s but is really excited. I would talk to the coaches at your gym because it is possible to make the move at a slightly "older" age. If your gym is not willing, I would look into 1 that is! I will be checking back for an update.
 

emorymom

Proud Parent
Oct 10, 2008
1,154
Some gyms do discriminate against tall girls. At any rate I am piping in to say ... do not rule out a gym because it competes AAU for the lower levels. Many highly competitive JO programs do AAU around here for the lower levels because they think the routines transition better into USAG 4 or 5 (new 3 and 4). For example our AAU girls do handstand-flatback vaults starting in L2 (new L1), the main difference being they raise the mat until in AAU L4 (new L3) they are handstand-flatback off the table. USAG starts hs-fb in L4 (new L3) with just a high mat stack. And just be aware that the first required level of JO competition is L5 (new L4) so that's what you should be concerned about -- if they are using XCEL or AAU after that it's fine, as long as it's part of a plan where the girls are doing at least one USAG meet (can be in house) to score out.
 

IreneKa

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Mar 18, 2013
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Thanks everyone for continuing support and advices!
I still haven't talked to our gym. Was planning to on Friday, but had to rush off to take my older DD to her school play (DH, who was supposed to take her, was too tired and has fallen asleep :mad:). The next practice is tomorrow.
 

IreneKa

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Mar 18, 2013
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So, I talked to the owner\administrator guy yesterday. Basically, as I understand, it's the age thing. He said most of the current pre-teams are 5-6 yo. I guess they did an exception for DD's friend, because she is a petit girl, and because the coach liked her. I do remember her dad mentioning that most of the girls in her group are younger than her, and that her coach specifically wanted her on her team.
The next step he said is to talk to our current coach, and if she says DD has a potential to switch to JO team, then he'll arrange a meeting with JO coach.

He got all defensive when I complained than no one explained the difference to me last year. He said he did, but I know for sure he didn't. I guess it was probably miscommunication. We have two owners in the gym. One is a coach, former Olympian, and usually busy training higher level girls. The other one is not a gymnast, he mostly handles administrative side - payments, schedules, etc. I talked to the first guy first, actually he approached me after working with DD during the school vacation camp she was attending there. He said, she was doing great, but two hours a week was not enough for her, if you want she can join a team. I was all excited and said yeah, sure, but he never explaining what kind of a team he had in mind. Then I approached the administrator guy a few weeks later, and said I talked to X, he mentioned my daughter joining the team, he said yes sure, as soon as the current season is over. But again he didn't explain what that team was, probably assuming that X had already explained it to me.
So, now I feel a little bad for saying that he didn't explain it to me, seems like it probably wasn't his fault. But in my defense, when I did realize there were two programs, and asked him what the difference was, he just said it's a different program, and that's it.


So, off to talking to our coach next, but having some doubts now. If they usually start pre-team at the age of 5-6, and moving on to level 4 at 6-7, maybe DD is too old, being almost 9 next fall?
 

MaryA

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Proud Parent
Jul 22, 2010
4,442
It may be the case at your gym that you have to start out young to do the JO track, but it is not the case in all gyms. I know there are plenty of 5 and 6 year-olds at the preteam at DD's gym, but I also know that there is a 10-year-old. If you want DD to have a shot at JO track, I suspect you will be able to find a place to give her that shot. But that's not to say that Prep Op isn't also a perfectly fine program for her to stick with if she's happy and thriving in it. I guess it really depends on what she wants (and you want). Is she an "all gym, all-the-time" type kid, or does she like to do lots of different kinds of things? Are you willing to "stay the course" with JO, if that's what she wants to do, even when it means she's in the gym 20 hours a week and traveling to out-of-state meets? If you and your daughter have your hearts set on JO, you may mention, when you meet with the coach, (not in a threatening "my way or the highway" kind of way, but just in a matter-of-fact way) that you understand they prefer to start kids on the JO track at a very young age, but that you would like your daughter to have a shot at it. That you've been very happy with the gym, but that you will probably do a bit of looking around to see if there might be another gym in the area that will give her the option of JO.
 
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lhmom

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Jul 22, 2010
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Region 8
So, off to talking to our coach next, but having some doubts now. If they usually start pre-team at the age of 5-6, and moving on to level 4 at 6-7, maybe DD is too old, being almost 9 next fall?

First, glad that you got some answers! Second, I don't think that your daughter is too old but she may be considered "too old" by the coaches at her gym. When DD was a level 4, there was an age span of about 4 yrs in her group (DD was the youngest at 6, the oldest girl was 10). The oldest girl who was a level 4 with DD at age 10 now is finishing level 7 this season. So it is possible to come in late and catch up. Chat with the coach. Best to know now if she will have to switch gyms to compete JO. Good luck!
 
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