For Parents Skipping 4-7

ZB55

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Missing a morning of school weekly would be a big NO for me. But besides that, I think that a valid reason to stay in L6 would be the mentioned lack of a skill bank. L6 is a great place to expand skills which can be very useful in the future. They are still able to compete L7 skills as they are ready.

My daughter is not on a fast track, but the hidden benefit to that is she continues to develop a vast skill set. She went through L6 competition season without ever competing the same exact beam routine twice -seriously, at least one skill (acro/jump/leap/dismount) was different each time! That's not typical for her gym, but it was just her path. Her L7 season was more standardized but she still occasionally switched skills as needed. Now entering L8, I'm glad that she has options for what skills to use which has kept her able to progress and compete through minor injuries (by avoiding injury-aggravating skills), growth spurts, and those inevitable times when something just isn't going well that week.
 

NutterButter

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I think I'm in the minority here but missing one morning of school each week doesn't sound *that* bad. My DD missed the last 20 or 30 min of class 3 or 4 days a week for 3 years because her middle school had such a late end time. And in high school she was just always up until the wee hours of the morning finishing homework. One morning practice each week might have been a welcomed break in the routine provided that she didn't also have another practice that evening.
 
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ZB55

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I think I'm in the minority here but missing one morning of school each week doesn't sound *that* bad. My DD missed the last 20 or 30 min of class 3 or 4 days a week for 3 years because her middle school had such a late end time. And in high school she was just always up until the wee hours of the morning finishing homework. One morning practice each week might have been a welcomed break in the routine provided that she didn't also have another practice that evening.
They did say the child already leaves school 30 minutes early every day, so the missed morning would be in addition to that.

My daughter has also left school early in the past, in our case only 15 minutes which was mostly packing up time in elementary school. It's regularly missed blocks of instructional time that would not be within my comfort level to do (and would likely not be well received at our present school either). We will miss a random day here or there for a meet, but that's only 2-4 times per year and I'm totally fine with that.
 

Canadian Gym Mom

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I wouldn't be worried about missing school if your daughter doesn't have a learning disability. Here, kids start missing school as early as kindergarten and until they can enter a sport-study program in 5th grade (if in that path). My daughter missed around 8 hours of class every week last year in 4th grade (don't judge me please lol), and rarely even brought work from school. She actually did better then ever in school because she didn't have to do gym at night and go to bed at 9!
 

mom2newgymnast

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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.
How many years has your oldest been a level 10? I mean you have 2 level 10s that have reached that level quite young and are busy, but not stressed, so I think you obviously are not going into this blindly and you must know a ton about the sport. So I would think if you believe that she is ready for level 7 and that the gym knows what it is doing, why not?

I'm generally not a fan of skipping levels and spending 7-8+ years at level 10 because I just don't see the hurry and it seems, from what I have observed (mostly online), that it is a recipe for burnout/injury. I also personally wouldn't let my daughter regularly miss school for practice. But I know that my opinion is based on the path that my daughter took which we have been happy with. Even at our gym, things have changed and they are doing a lot of what your gym does. Compete 4, score out of 5 and then go to 6 or 7 depending on skills a few months later. So now we have a ton of much younger optionals than in the past. I don't think they know yet whether it was a good long term choice or not as it's only been in the last few years they have done this and so the oldest of those girls (of those who haven't quit/been injured) are training for level 9 right now. If they all go 10 next year though, we are going to have to hire more coaches next year as there are a lot of them!
 

rlm's mom

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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.
That makes more sense about skipping to 8. DD has only done a few months of pre-team, a year of 3 (minus 2 months of covid and half a season) and a year of 4. That gives her 2.5 years of gymnastics in total. She has enough skills to put together level 7 routines but would have no back-up skills which are competition-ready. Gosh at least our gym has an organised time-table.
I don't think missing one day of school a week is terrible and have seen with my other daughters they have no problem keeping up, although at her age it may be more difficult. This morning practice is extremely beneficial for the optional girls as for most of the afternoon practice the gym is very full (approx. 50 optionals use it at the same time and level 3-5 practice overlaps). During the morning they have full use of all the training equipment and a quieter environment so they are more focused.
She does leave school half an hour early every day although her afternoon gym schedule may be changing slightly so not sure if she will have to this year. Also last year her school schedule worked out that she didn't miss any of the core subjects as the last half an hour was PE, music, geography, handwriting and then packing up.
She doesn't struggle in school academically, maybe with behavioral issues;) I guess her teacher would be happy to have a break from her one day a week.
 

rlm's mom

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How many years has your oldest been a level 10? I mean you have 2 level 10s that have reached that level quite young and are busy, but not stressed, so I think you obviously are not going into this blindly and you must know a ton about the sport. So I would think if you believe that she is ready for level 7 and that the gym knows what it is doing, why not?

I'm generally not a fan of skipping levels and spending 7-8+ years at level 10 because I just don't see the hurry and it seems, from what I have observed (mostly online), that it is a recipe for burnout/injury. I also personally wouldn't let my daughter regularly miss school for practice. But I know that my opinion is based on the path that my daughter took which we have been happy with. Even at our gym, things have changed and they are doing a lot of what your gym does. Compete 4, score out of 5 and then go to 6 or 7 depending on skills a few months later. So now we have a ton of much younger optionals than in the past. I don't think they know yet whether it was a good long term choice or not as it's only been in the last few years they have done this and so the oldest of those girls (of those who haven't quit/been injured) are training for level 9 right now. If they all go 10 next year though, we are going to have to hire more coaches next year as there are a lot of them!
OD has done 3 years level 10 (2.5 because of covid) MD has done 1 year. Both my daughters were 10 when competing level 7. YD will be 8.5. Both my older daughters did either 5 or 6 and then competed every level in order. (MD did 2 years of 7 and then skipped 8). I would have been happy for them to do 2 years at every level of optionals and then reach 10 at 15/16 but they have this desire to be at level 10 since they first walked into the gym! We have 3 years to go until OD starts college so I just have to hope she stays in one piece!
Our gym also has tons of young optionals, many more kids than in compulsaries. Our optionals afternoon sessions are staggered in half hours so they can warm up separately and get times on different equipment but with over 50 optionals in the gym at a time it is extremely noisy, quite crowded and they sometimes have to wait/take turns on equipment. My 8 yr old's training group currently is a mixture of 6 and 7's all ages 8-10. Coaches have decided for most girls whether they will do 6 or 7 but some could go either way (like DD) so they left it to us.
I don't see a high injury rate in our gym (I mean long term or career ending injuries) curious if you see many more of those injuries in those been in optionals for longer? Of course we have small injuries like OD had a wrist injury during meet season last yr and MD broke her ankle just before regionals. Both took about 2 months until they could get back into full training.
 

Aussie_coach

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That is another good point about hitting level 10 early. Level 10 means higher hours, higher level skills, more risk of injury and burn out.

Multi years at 10 are common, but too many years at this level can take its toll on the body, just as Elite gymnastics can.

Research has shown that injury rates just significantly for kids training over 20 hours per week.
 
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gymgal

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OD has done 3 years level 10 (2.5 because of covid) MD has done 1 year. Both my daughters were 10 when competing level 7. YD will be 8.5. Both my older daughters did either 5 or 6 and then competed every level in order. (MD did 2 years of 7 and then skipped 8). I would have been happy for them to do 2 years at every level of optionals and then reach 10 at 15/16 but they have this desire to be at level 10 since they first walked into the gym! We have 3 years to go until OD starts college so I just have to hope she stays in one piece!
Our gym also has tons of young optionals, many more kids than in compulsaries. Our optionals afternoon sessions are staggered in half hours so they can warm up separately and get times on different equipment but with over 50 optionals in the gym at a time it is extremely noisy, quite crowded and they sometimes have to wait/take turns on equipment.
Not related to the origin question but I am just curious - does the gym required a morning session for each optional team or do they offer an alternative for families who do not want to pull their child from school for one mornong a week?
 
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Dahlia

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As a former teacher, I can attest that in general the morning hours in elementary are when the important core subjects are taught (literacy and math). Why? Because kids are more focused in the morning and those are the subjects they most need to master in the younger grades. Afternoons are usually specialists, science, social studies, social emotional learning, etc. All things that are easier to make more active and not as big of a deal to miss. Missing a morning of school a week in 2nd or 3rd grade could be an issue unless your child is already advanced in those areas. If your child has any struggles with reading, writing, or math, I wouldn't do so.
 
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skschlag

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As a former teacher, I can attest that in general the morning hours in elementary are when the important core subjects are taught (literacy and math). Why? Because kids are more focused in the morning and those are the subjects they most need to master in the younger grades. Afternoons are usually specialists, science, social studies, social emotional learning, etc. All things that are easier to make more active and not as big of a deal to miss. Missing a morning of school a week in 2nd or 3rd grade could be an issue unless your child is already advanced in those areas. If your child has any struggles with reading, writing, or math, I wouldn't do so.

This can depend on grade. Our upper grades have specials and sel in the morning, because the specials have to rotate throughout the day. some grades have math or literacy at the end of the day so support staff can help. So this can really depend on the school schedule.
 

rlm's mom

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Our gym requires one morning practice a week for level 7-8. Parents can choose not to send their children to these sessions and won't be billed but likely won't progress as well. They will just have less hours - there's no option to make up those hours our of school times. Those morning sessions seem to be the most progressive - a quiet gym, mornings when the girls are more focussed and unlimited access to all the equipment make them much more successful.
In our school mornings are also core subjects. She is an average or slightly faster-learner so I think she would be able to keep up.
The afternoon is specialist lessons. She has been leaving half an hour early every day this past year but I don't think she's missed much.
 

Averysmom

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My daughter was a level 3 as a 7 year old and level 4 as an 8 year old. She was getting bored out of her mind. She scored out of 5 and went 7. Competed 7 as a 9 year old and did very well. Scored 37s and 38s the entire year. She was a 12 year old level 10 this year. She was injured this year so didn’t compete much but it was all the right decision for her. She needed to be pushed. She was bored and does better then she has a harder goal to work towards. It all depends on the kid but we have no regrets about skipping 4 to 7 at that age at all.
 

rlm's mom

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Hi just thought I would update y'all! DD and I met with the coach and discussed this with him. He was very understanding about me not wanting her to push her too hard and miss school at such a young age and her wanting to stay with her team-mates and compete level 7. We came to a compromise; she will keep her level 6 hours and practice daily with her level 6 team-mates but once every 3 weeks she will do a morning practice along with her old team-mates. DD was very happy with that. Coach thinks she has a lot of potential so is happy for her to have that extra practice where he can focus on her more. And I'm happy she's happy!
Haven't decided whether she's competing 6 or 7, coach says her routines wouldn't be that different so needs to decide by the end of October. DD is determined she's competing level 7 and I'm happy to go along with that if she's ready then! But if she competes 7 she will still train alongside the 6's daily as they are more her age and have better practice times with school hours.
Thanks for all your input!
 

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