For Parents Skipping 4-7

rlm's mom

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Hi just thought I would put this to the community and see what you think! YD is 8 yrs and just competed Level 4 this season. She tested out of 5 recently. About half her group are skipping Level 6 and going straight to 7. Coach gave us (and DD) a choice of 6 or 7. She would have to increase her hours slightly if doing 7. DD really wants to do 7 and feels she is ready for it. I prefer she does 6, has a solid year with a higher chance at regionals, medaling etc. I also feel she is so young there is no rush to increase her hours or training intensity. At this rate she'll have years at Level 10.
Oh and forgot most of the girls skipping 6 are a year or 2 older than her.
Is it crazy to allow my 8yr old to do level 7?
 

gymgal

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This is so individualized based on the gym expectations, level groupings, gymnast aspirations (elite vs college vs high school).
 

NutterButter

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It's not the norm but isn't unusual either. And an 8 year old L7 is certainly young but also not unusual. 5 and 6 are similar so many gyms pick one and either score out of 5 and compete 6 or jump from 5 to 7. As far as whether to let your DD do it, that's where you'll have to rely on what's best for her considering what she wants, her readiness for competition and if her body is currently healthy enough for the jump. The one thing that might give me pause is if my DD is currently injured or is getting over an injury (especially a stress injury). I've seen some gyms fast track girls w/o giving enough consideration to strength/conditioning and it shows up a couple years later in a high number of wrist, back or ankle injuries among the team. I would also only do it if the gym knows where to go with fast tracking meaning can your gym support multi-year L10's in terms of progression of skills. Also consider that there's no guarantee that your DD will have an awesome year competing at the lower level. I understand the appeal of having a higher chance of medaling, especially in post season meets but she could be injured, get sick or have an uncharacteristically bad meet and not qualify beyond state (and then you may as well have just moved to 7).

If it were my kid, I would lean towards 7 given her desire, readiness and physical/emotional health.
 

Aussie_coach

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What about the hours? Will they expect a lot more hours for Level 7?
 
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Oopski

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My daughter and at least one other are likely doing this at our gym, possibly even jumping 4 to 8 (although unlikely but that’s what they are working toward, others in their training group are working to jump 6 to 8).

If she has her 7 skills there’s not a huge difference between 6 and 7. Giants and beam series seem to be the big things that hold girls back at 6 vs 7 at our gym.
 

txgymfan

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If the coaches are willing to train her skills up to her ability then I would opt for less hours. She’s eight. She’s clearly progressing. I would opt to give her and you a little less time at the gym. Could she train with level six and compete seven? The issue for me is not about levels, it’s about skills, a little less pressure and a little more fun outside gym.
 

Ty’s Dad

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My daughter did it, double season 1 meet level 3, next meet level 4, then the next two meets at level 5. Then went 6, she struggled a lot at 6 every meet last place in every event. Switched gyms she went 7 and has been great ever since, now she’s age 12 level 10 Hopes gymnast. It works for some and I’ve seen some struggle, but from personal experience you can’t get them cute compulsory levels back it’s nothing but crazy ness now. Trust the coaches and your gut also talk to your daughter. It will all work out. Good luck
 

ReluctantGymMom

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My daughter did it, double season 1 meet level 3, next meet level 4, then the next two meets at level 5. Then went 6, she struggled a lot at 6 every meet last place in every event. Switched gyms she went 7 and has been great ever since, now she’s age 12 level 10 Hopes gymnast. It works for some and I’ve seen some struggle, but from personal experience you can’t get them cute compulsory levels back it’s nothing but crazy ness now. Trust the coaches and your gut also talk to your daughter. It will all work out. Good luck
My daughter is not at yours level at all, but we just did that jump out of compulsory - finished 3, one meet 4, one meet 5, training 6 with 7 skills with the full expectation that the season is going to be low scoring.

Im over here thinking I seriously paid for privates to try to fix that flatback vault and my kid is now flying on beam. Crazy. Just crazy. I can’t imagine your ride.

To OP: your daughter did a season of 4, it’s not uncommon to go to 7 after if they get a series and giants. I’d let her do it depending on what the difference in hours is. Really if it’s about skills for her - our entire group is just planning to compete 7 skills in 6, there’s a few kids who skipped a bunch of levels whose moms do not want them moving up any more levels but their skill levels are high.
 

rlm's mom

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Thanks for all your replies! I am leaning towards 7 but felt a bit torn about it. You make me feel better. To answer some questions: DD has college aspirations and keeps telling me she wants to do HOPES. But she's only 8 so just seeing where the journey takes us. We haven't really spoken about elite but I don't believe in homeschooling and its a huge stretch to even qualify elite at lower hours whilst still in a mainstream school (OD tried it).
DD currently healthy and gym has a good track record with pacing (seen with OD). Have a lot of level 10, some have been for a few years. OD is going onto her 4th year and MD is up to her 3rd.
DD understands she may not have an amazing year at level 7 and can't expect to top the podium at every meet (like this season level 4). I pointed out to her a few months ago that optionals are much harder and she will have to lower her expectations of medalling.
She was doing 13 hours at level 4, went up to 15 for level 6 / optionals training. Level 7 will only be 3 more hours beginning in October but will mean missing a morning of school every week. She already leaves school half an hour early every day. ODs already take off one day of school a week and school is supportive so hope that won't be a hurdle.
Don't think she can compete Level 7 with current hours; coaches made it clear to us she needs that extra workout a week.
My daughter and at least one other are likely doing this at our gym, possibly even jumping 4 to 8 (although unlikely but that’s what they are working toward, others in their training group are working to jump 6 to 8).

If she has her 7 skills there’s not a huge difference between 6 and 7. Giants and beam series seem to be the big things that hold girls back at 6 vs 7 at our gym.
Thanks so she's not the only one skipping! She has her giants. Has beam series on low beam, working it onto high beam. She has struggled with vault timers recently but I guess that would be the same whichever vault she competed.
4 - 8 is a crazy jump! Has she done more than 1 year at level 4? How old is she?
I'm also a bit hesitant because DD doesn't have a large skill bank at all. She has the skills she trained to compete but none others. She has only been in gymnastics for 2.5 years.
our entire group is just planning to compete 7 skills in 6, there’s a few kids who skipped a bunch of levels whose moms do not want them moving up any more levels but their skill levels are high.
I guess I would be one of those moms since DD could do 7 but I prefer to keep her at 6 this year mainly due to her age. Not sure if that is unfair to her.
Sorry for such a long post!
 

ReluctantGymMom

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Thanks for all your replies! I am leaning towards 7 but felt a bit torn about it. You make me feel better. To answer some questions: DD has college aspirations and keeps telling me she wants to do HOPES. But she's only 8 so just seeing where the journey takes us. We haven't really spoken about elite but I don't believe in homeschooling and its a huge stretch to even qualify elite at lower hours whilst still in a mainstream school (OD tried it).
DD currently healthy and gym has a good track record with pacing (seen with OD). Have a lot of level 10, some have been for a few years. OD is going onto her 4th year and MD is up to her 3rd.
DD understands she may not have an amazing year at level 7 and can't expect to top the podium at every meet (like this season level 4). I pointed out to her a few months ago that optionals are much harder and she will have to lower her expectations of medalling.
She was doing 13 hours at level 4, went up to 15 for level 6 / optionals training. Level 7 will only be 3 more hours beginning in October but will mean missing a morning of school every week. She already leaves school half an hour early every day. ODs already take off one day of school a week and school is supportive so hope that won't be a hurdle.
Don't think she can compete Level 7 with current hours; coaches made it clear to us she needs that extra workout a week.

Thanks so she's not the only one skipping! She has her giants. Has beam series on low beam, working it onto high beam. She has struggled with vault timers recently but I guess that would be the same whichever vault she competed.
4 - 8 is a crazy jump! Has she done more than 1 year at level 4? How old is she?
I'm also a bit hesitant because DD doesn't have a large skill bank at all. She has the skills she trained to compete but none others. She has only been in gymnastics for 2.5 years.

I guess I would be one of those moms since DD could do 7 but I prefer to keep her at 6 this year mainly due to her age. Not sure if that is unfair to her.
Sorry for such a long post!
I don’t think it’s unfair to her - she’s not being held back skill wise. We had a 6 go to 8 this year because she competed level 7 skills all throughout 6 while upskilling. But at 8, do they need the pressure to keep moving up? It’s one thing to get skills when there’s no pressure to actually compete them, it’s another thing to NEED the skill to be able to compete. She’ll get to 10 fast enough either way if she sticks with it, the school thing sounds like a hassle (I have the hassle of taking my kid out early every day, I don’t think we could do a morning too)
 
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gym_dad32608

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I would echo the sentiment of slowing down. Unless you both have serious aspirations about elite there is plenty of time to roll through the optional levels. If she is hitting them at age 8, that's roughly 10 years competing at that level. If you both are serious enough and committed to elite, then you better be ready to homeschool and bump up the hours considerably. Otherwise, enjoy some childhood, enjoy the experience of some fun meets travelling and spending time together before intensity and pressure (and parent anxiety from dangerous skills) starts creeping in. If she gets to 10 by 6 or 7th grade, that is still very early and more than enough time to showcase for colleges.

Of course the counter point is as stated above too, every journey is unique and you have to do what is best for your child. You would not be incredibly unique in jumping these levels.
 
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rlm's mom

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I don’t think it’s unfair to her - she’s not being held back skill wise. We had a 6 go to 8 this year because she competed level 7 skills all throughout 6 while upskilling. But at 8, do they need the pressure to keep moving up? It’s one thing to get skills when there’s no pressure to actually compete them, it’s another thing to NEED the skill to be able to compete. She’ll get to 10 fast enough either way if she sticks with it, the school thing sounds like a hassle (I have the hassle of taking my kid out early every day, I don’t think we could do a morning too)
I suspect part of the reason she wants to do level 7 is because a lot of her team-mates are. I would be happy for her to do 6 and uptrain but she wants to compete level 7. Can sympathise with the school hassle:( Its not a hassle get her to and from school but it will be a struggle to keep up with the work and homework if she is missing a full morning.
She has plenty of time to do levels 7-10. She has only one year to do second grade.
This. 3rd grade actually.
 

rlm's mom

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I would echo the sentiment of slowing down. Unless you both have serious aspirations about elite there is plenty of time to roll through the optional levels. If she is hitting them at age 8, that's roughly 10 years competing at that level. If you both are serious enough and committed to elite, then you better be ready to homeschool and bump up the hours considerably. Otherwise, enjoy some childhood, enjoy the experience of some fun meets travelling and spending time together before intensity and pressure (and parent anxiety from dangerous skills) starts creeping in. If she gets to 10 by 6 or 7th grade, that is still very early and more than enough time to showcase for colleges.

Of course the counter point is as stated above too, every journey is unique and you have to do what is best for your child. You would not be incredibly unique in jumping these levels.
No aspirations about elite. We're taking the journey as it comes. I want her to enjoy herself and be happy. Not sure at this point if her happiness comes from learning new skills, competing (competitive nature) or from her gym social circle so not sure the next stage.
 
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txgymfan

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Personally, I would make the decision as mom. If she were aiming for the Olympics in a year it would be different. If it were my kid, she would practice with the sixes. Eight year olds get to voice their opinion, pare make the final decision based on the needs of the child and the family.
 

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I think the good news is she really would be fine either way so go through the pros and cons with her and the pros and cons in your own adult mind then you can make a decision and either way know its probably going to be fine! I would let Giants and beam series guide you. Everyone stinks at vault timers in level 6 and half the time first year level 7 so I wouldnt worry about vault one day it will click (maybe today maybe in a year lol)
 

rlm's mom

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Came home from practice today and showed me a clip of her bhs series on high beam! Can see how determined she is to get her level 7 skills. She is so happy with her teammates. Those are the pros. Cons are extra hours/missing school and perhaps unnecessary for her age. Have to decide by 1st Sept. Thats all my thinking aloud! Thanks for all your input
 

gymgal

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If she is not on the elite path, there is no reason to rush it (even if she were, still no reason to rush it, at her age). You have two older girls who have gone to L10 so you know how stressful life can get for the family and the gymnast trying to juggle it all. What did their progressions look like? If all of her teammates were making the jump, that would be different but if some are competing L6, she will still have friends in her training group. Also, if she already had all of her skills for L7 and were training L8+ skills, then I would say go for it because she might be bored but it sounds like L6 would be a great preparation for her to have a really successful L7 and give her more time to uptrain her skills.

ETA: why does the gym have practices during the school day? I can understand having to leave a little early to get to practice on time but missing a whole morning every week? I would not be cool with that. Not because I would be afraid the student would miss too much work but b/c it gives me the feeling that the gym places training over schooling. And for a JO/college path, there just is no need for that.
 

rlm's mom

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If she is not on the elite path, there is no reason to rush it (even if she were, still no reason to rush it, at her age). You have two older girls who have gone to L10 so you know how stressful life can get for the family and the gymnast trying to juggle it all. What did their progressions look like? If all of her teammates were making the jump, that would be different but if some are competing L6, she will still have friends in her training group. Also, if she already had all of her skills for L7 and were training L8+ skills, then I would say go for it because she might be bored but it sounds like L6 would be a great preparation for her to have a really successful L7 and give her more time to uptrain her skills.

ETA: why does the gym have practices during the school day? I can understand having to leave a little early to get to practice on time but missing a whole morning every week? I would not be cool with that. Not because I would be afraid the student would miss too much work but b/c it gives me the feeling that the gym places training over schooling. And for a JO/college path, there just is no need for that.
I wouldn't call my level 10 daughters' lives stressful; I would call it busy. And they enjoy the busy-ness of it. OD reached did 3,4,5,7,8,9,10. Reached 10 at 13. So a steady progression. MD did 3,4,6,7,7,9,10 and reached 10 at age 12. I didn't think she was ready for 10 at all after skipping 8 and having half a 9 season due to covid but 9 & 10 had to same hours so left it to her choice.
Some of the team skipping 6 others not; she seems closer to those doing 7.
From level 7 the girls have one morning practice a week when the gym is almost empty and they get to use all the equipment. It sucks because they then have to make up the schoolwork but I can understand the benefits. Its only the morning and finishes at 11 and as we live relatively near the gym they can get to school by 11.30. Main problem is their classmates are jealous:) Level 9 and 10s have an optional second morning practice which those who want more training/qualifying elite do but we never saw that necessary.
 
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Oopski

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4 - 8 is a crazy jump! Has she done more than 1 year at level 4? How old is she?
She just turned 11, and was technically a second year 4 last year, but we opted not to compete. She was able to test out of 5 already. She has all 8+ some 9 skills on beam, floor and bars but I do NOT see her flipping a vault anytime soon into mats, then again I didn’t see her getting the skills she got over the summer on beam either so who knows. We don’t find out levels until October, our training groups are not by level but by who works well together and hours are all over the place, some level 6s had more hours than 10s over the summer and caused all kinds of confusion and chaos among parents.
 

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