For Parents Switching from Xcel to JO, how hard is it?

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blueberrygym

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Hi everyone...I have a question about making a transition from Xcel to JO. My DD is 9 and repeated Xcel gold this year after making a gym switch. She had a very successful season (scores went from mid 34s last season to mid 37s this season) and she has been invited to transition to compulsories for next season (level 4). If anyone has a daughter who has made the transition from Xcel to JO, was it hard for your daughter? Is the scoring dramatically different? My biggest fear is that she will get frustrated with beam and floor because she can't really "dance", isn't graceful and needs more flexibility (she's more of a power gymnast). A lot of the dance elements were stripped out of her Xcel routines to compensate for those weaknesses. She does have all of the level 4 skills though except the half turn dismount on bars. The season starts in a little over 3 months so I know it will have to be a quick adjustment period for her. Any insight would be appreciated!
 
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Sasha

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Congrats on a successful season! Generally speaking, a 9 year old who succeeded in Gold should be set up well for Level 4. Even if she ends up repeating Level 4, she has plenty of time.

Almost assuredly, scoring WILL be tougher in Level 4 (and then especially in Level 5) than you found in Xcel. If for no other reason, she has been able, as you said, to tailer her routines to her strengths in Xcel, and now she will be forced to work on her weaknesses (a good thing!). Many, many Xcel girls who were used to getting mid 9s are caught off guard when a fairly decent JO routine scores an 8.1. Help your DD understand that scores are not the focus, and working on her weaknesses and the increased strength, flexibility, and dance she will likely enjoy with more hours in JO will make her a stronger gymnast in the long run. Patience and eyes on the long game here.

If you can help her understand that she may or may not be 'scoring' the same right out of the gate as she adapts to some different focus areas in JO, and that is normal and perfectly fine (!!), she will have a very enjoyable season and journey.
 

raenndrops

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The scoring may be rough for her, but if her skills are clean, she should be fine.
If she wants JO, I say go for it now. She is still fairly young. She may decide to go back to Xcel later, but if this is what she wants, NOW is the time to do it:
1. She has the invitation.
2. She has the skills.
3. She has not hit puberty and junior high school yet!

Good luck with everything.
 

GymLife

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DD did xcel silver at 7 and xcel gold at 8. She tested out of level 4 3 weeks after her state meet and level 5 the following week with her highest scores ever and on to 6. If she has great basics and form, she will be just fine. I wish we would have done compulsories, really only level 5 for a season to gain some maturity.

Good luck to her. Just have her work on flexibility and the rest will come.
 

UnoMas

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My daughter switched from gold to JO 4 at this time last year. She was 10. She was not scoring fabulously in gold, so your daughter is probably ahead of where she was. She had all the skills for 4 within a month of switching, but she needed a lot of cleaning up. First meet of the season was right around a 32AA, but by the last meet she scored 35.something. She will repeat 4 this fall season and likely go to 5 in January. Dance and perfection has definitely been tough for her but she’s also improved exponentially!
It is very doable if she doesn’t mind the repetitions of the little things!
 

blueberrygym

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Thanks for the perspective everyone! It sounds like she should definitely expect lots of repetition to get the precision and artistry right, and possibly lower scores. I don't think she fully understands how much more freedom there is in Xcel routines vs. JO compulsory routines, but she said this is what she wants. This summer will certainly be the test!
 

spider_monkey

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My dd made this switch last fall after competing one year at gold. Floor, vault, and beam were no problem. Bars is another story, but she's finally caught up (it was a long road!). Will be testing out of 5 in August and competing 6 next fall.
 
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Gymx2

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Sounds like she's in great shape for the move. DD moved from Bronze to 4 last spring and had a solid season. We talked a lot ahead of time about how much harder the scoring would be, but it still came as a bit of a shock at the first meet.
 
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CLgym

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Mine (at age 7-8 yrs old) went from Bronze to L4 and then to L6 (obviously scoring out of L5 in between). She did fine. Finished 7th AA at state in L4 -- and 4th AA at state in L6. Scores were lower for sure. But she still found some success (thanks to bars mostly). She wanted to make the change (it required a gym change) and knew what she was getting into. If your daughter wants it, I say go for it!
 

gymbeam

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I think it totally depends on what type of xcel program you’re switching from and what type of JO program you’re switching to. Could be pretty seamless transition or could be a big, challenging jump.

Mine went from a pretty strong silver program in January 2015 to a very strong Level 7 program in January 2016 (and is now training Level 10 for January 2019! Squeee! :)).
Anyway, she did work extremely hard that year, but she was so excited to do it she thoroughly enjoyed the work as I’m sure your kiddo will! Best of luck!
 

blueberrygym

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My dd made this switch last fall after competing one year at gold. Floor, vault, and beam were no problem. Bars is another story, but she's finally caught up (it was a long road!). Will be testing out of 5 in August and competing 6 next fall.

Wow. What made bars for her? She must have done great once she caught up though to be scoring out of 5 this upcoming season!
 

blueberrygym

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I think it totally depends on what type of xcel program you’re switching from and what type of JO program you’re switching to. Could be pretty seamless transition or could be a big, challenging jump.

Mine went from a pretty strong silver program in January 2015 to a very strong Level 7 program in January 2016 (and is now training Level 10 for January 2019! Squeee! :)).
Anyway, she did work extremely hard that year, but she was so excited to do it she thoroughly enjoyed the work as I’m sure your kiddo will! Best of luck!

Good point. She's in a strong program xcel program now, but will have to work really hard because she's moving to a strong compulsory program. But it's encouraging to know that your DD made a transition and did so well. How old was she when she switched to level 7 in 2017?
 

gymbeam

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Good point. She's in a strong program xcel program now, but will have to work really hard because she's moving to a strong compulsory program. But it's encouraging to know that your DD made a transition and did so well. How old was she when she switched to level 7 in 2017?

She started gymnastics at 8 and was 10 when she did level 7. (She skipped 4 and did a fall season of 5 between silver and 7.) Scores were a little lower in 5 but its hard to say if it was a compulsory thing or if it was just that she was still trying to catch up to to having the same strength and technique as the girls who had been on a JO path all along- if that makes any sense.
 
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NutterButter

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My DD competed one season of Silver then competed the next fall as JO4. It was an easy transition and she was ready to compete L4 a few months after finishing up Silver. Her scores in L4 were much lower than Silver but her placements were the same so she still enjoyed getting medals even if the scores were lower. In Silver she could easily score 37+ but she didn't hit that again until L7.
 

mommyof1

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Depending on the program, practice may be more of a challenge than competition. My kid's gym allows some mobility from Xcel to JO, mostly at the lower levels. The Xcel program is recreationally oriented and very laid-back, so most of the girls who make the transition to JO get overwhelmed with the conditioning, the high expectations, and the general pickiness of JO compulsories and end up going back to Xcel or quitting gymnastics altogether before meet season even begins. (To be clear, this is a very positive and fun JO program, it's just nothing like the gym's Xcel program.) We did have one kid who went from Gold to L5 this year and was successful. If your program is like ours, you will probably need to give your daughter a lot of encouragement to stick it out until she's acclimated, even if going into the transition she thinks she is prepared. If your Xcel program's practices are more intense than ours, she may have no issues at all.

The dance may not be a huge issue, if the coaches know how to handle it. My kid looked like a baby gazelle on floor in L3, and in the first few months of L4 her coach was able to turn dance and presentation into relative strengths for her. The L4 dance is not really dance, either. It's more about precision than flow.
 

spider_monkey

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Wow. What made bars for her? She must have done great once she caught up though to be scoring out of 5 this upcoming season!

She did not get her kip until late last summer, and it wasn't really a good one for months. Then add a horizontal cast to that and well...you can imagine! She'd only been doing gym a year when she got bumped to 4 so it took her awhile to get the strength/technique bars require. But fast forward a year later, and now she's kipping like a pro and nearly has her kip-cast-handstand.
 
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blueberrygym

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She did not get her kip until late last summer, and it wasn't really a good one for months. Then add a horizontal cast to that and well...you can imagine! She'd only been doing gym a year when she got bumped to 4 so it took her awhile to get the strength/technique bars require. But fast forward a year later, and now she's kipping like a pro and nearly has her kip-cast-handstand.

Amazing progress. I think these things just take time because the conditioning and practice hours are different in Xcel vs. JO. My DD didn't kip in her first year of Xcel gold and this past year when she repeated, she competed kips on low and high bar. She can hit the cast above horizontal but was a bit inconsistent with it this year and didn't hit it in two meets. She said she didn't know there was a deduction for that. ;) After I told here there was a big deduction, she always made sure to get it above horizontal, so I hope she gets strong and consistent in in level 4!
 
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blueberrygym

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Depending on the program, practice may be more of a challenge than competition. My kid's gym allows some mobility from Xcel to JO, mostly at the lower levels. The Xcel program is recreationally oriented and very laid-back, so most of the girls who make the transition to JO get overwhelmed with the conditioning, the high expectations, and the general pickiness of JO compulsories and end up going back to Xcel or quitting gymnastics altogether before meet season even begins. (To be clear, this is a very positive and fun JO program, it's just nothing like the gym's Xcel program.) We did have one kid who went from Gold to L5 this year and was successful. If your program is like ours, you will probably need to give your daughter a lot of encouragement to stick it out until she's acclimated, even if going into the transition she thinks she is prepared. If your Xcel program's practices are more intense than ours, she may have no issues at all.

The dance may not be a huge issue, if the coaches know how to handle it. My kid looked like a baby gazelle on floor in L3, and in the first few months of L4 her coach was able to turn dance and presentation into relative strengths for her. The L4 dance is not really dance, either. It's more about precision than flow.

There is hope!!!! My DD improvised in almost every single floor routine because she either forgot a part or went the wrong way. Really hoping she can get all of the precision right in L4. The conditioning is definitely going to be more for her because the L4 team practices 4 more hours a week compared to the Gold team, but I think she will be able to keep up with it because conditioning is a big focus in the Xcel program too at her gym.
 

mommyof1

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There is hope!!!! My DD improvised in almost every single floor routine because she either forgot a part or went the wrong way. Really hoping she can get all of the precision right in L4. The conditioning is definitely going to be more for her because the L4 team practices 4 more hours a week compared to the Gold team, but I think she will be able to keep up with it because conditioning is a big focus in the Xcel program too at her gym.

One thing to remember about the dance is that everyone in L4 has the same routine, so the coaches can drill it over and over and over again with the entire group.
 

blueberrygym

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I have a question about the level 4 floor routine. She just started learning it today during a private, but now I'm not sure if she is learning the correct side. Can someone tell me which side of the routine you think she should be learning? She mixes her skills between left and right which of course is never an issue in Xcel.

For dance skills she does the following naturally: leap/sissone (right), split (right), full turn (left)

For acro skills she does the following naturally: ROBHBH (left hand down first), back walkover (right leg kicks up first), back extension roll (left leg comes down in the back), front handspring (hurdles right)

In real life, she is a lefty. Coach is teaching her the lefty routine.
 
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