Coaches Repeating Levels

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momof5 posted in the parents forum, I thought the coaches would like to see too.

I was reading on another thread a discussion about repeating levels and was wondering more about it. The gym my daughter is currently at seems to repeat a lot of levels. As they progress through the levels they all seem to repeat either 4, 5 or 6 and some girls repeat more then one level. What the reason for this? Is it because they are not ready for the next level yet? Or are their other reasons for this. About half of our level 4 are repeating and most of the time they spend working on the level 4 skills and not the next level of skills so how can a coach judge whether they have the next skills or not. Our gym seems to keep the girl so long on the compulsay levels that most girls drop out by the time they can compete as an optional gymnast. Wouldn't it make sense to push through the compulsary levels as quickly as they were able so that they could compete as optional? Or am I wrong- Hey I a newbie at this.
At my gym, most people do two years at each compulsory level, some do not. The reasons are wanting to have success at a level(you have to make state to move up) and readiness-we do work some on the next level up skills. Other gyms hold girls back to ensure team success-that's where you get powerhouse teams that dominate.
We have found that repeating a year only helps the girls progress. Our girls will usually do 2 years level 4, 1 at level 5 and then only one or two meets at level 6 before working on Level 7. That being said the girls that are in their first year level 4 work mainly level 4 skills. Come the end of season, they will still work a lot of level 4 skills but we will start to add in some level 5 skills. The second year level 4's get that sucess in compeition but are also starting to work on Level 5. This is the first time that we've actually held some of our Level 4's back, they are doing extremly well in meets (for the first time winning medals) and have the majority of their Level 5 skills (though they don't look that pretty). What that means for our girls is those 2nd year level 4's will go Level 5 next year and not start at the bottom of their groups. They should start with 34's and do fairly successful. Then in the middle of next season they will start their Level 6/7 training.

Since we are a new team, this is the first year that we have tried this. But so far its working. We don't hold girls back just for the team scores. We hold them back so they will get sucess to build their confidence, and to make sure when they move up they have the skills needed.

As a coach its not always easy to hold some girls back. However, those 3 that I held back this year for their second year of Level 4 are now appricative of that fact. At first they were upset. But now you can see their confidence building and they enjoy getting the good scores, not just the ok scores. They are still improving in the gym and next year will make good Level 5's.

I hope this makes sense. We just want the girls to have some confidence in themselves, to feel good and most of all to have fun!
It really depends on the kid. For some kids, one year at a particular level just isn't enough, and they just aren't ready to move up without solidifiing the basics. There is nothing inherently wrong with having a kid repeat a level, nor is it anything to automatically be concerned about. I can think of several girls at my gym who did two years at level 4, then had a knock-out year at L5 and will probably skip right through L6. Often the extra year helps out a lot.

Sometimes it's not an issue of ability, but rather of maturity. I can think of a number of kids who we've had compete a lower level than what they may have been capable of simply because we felt they were not mentally ready for the next level. There isn't really a solid way of measuring this.

However, some gyms have girls repeat levels too much in order to stack the team with gymnasts who are likely to score well. If I want to win state meet at L4, all I have to do is hold my girls back until they're all getting 39s; I'll win states easily. But this is not at all beneficial to the kids; in fact, I'd say it's detrimental.

But it depends on the kid. It's quite common for kids to repeat levels, and it's not automatically a bad thing. Different kids move at different paces.
Like others have said---it depends on the kids and their skill level. Personally, I think it truly depends on the child--if they are not able to correctly (technique wise) complete skills, then I would have them repeat the level, mainly for safety reasons. USAG is set up (for the most part) as a progressive system in which skills build on the skills from the previous level. GT also made an excellent point about maturity when progressing through the levels. Also, as GT said, many teams hold them back or have them train a level above their competition level so that they can stack the team, and sadly this, although causing the team to be huge winners, also frustrates many gymnasts and parents.

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