Parents To be competetive or not.

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My daughter is 8 years old this month and will shortly complete her first competetive season as a level 4. She never did level 2 or 3. She was moved up quickly in one year's time. All her friends are moving to level 5, and she wants to go with them. Do we keep her at level 4 again, where she will learn no new skills, but "perfect" the ones she has, or do we challenge her with new skills...and not stress any importance on the scores at competition? Help. Those with experience...impart your wisdom.

Stressed Mom in Jonesboro, Arkansas
My philosophy is that it's almost always better to do a level that challenges the kid, as opposed to one they can do without effort. I would have to be familiar with the kid to give a definite answer, but generally speaking, if she has the necessary skills and wants to compete 5, I'd let her compete 5.
She is very overall it is not really going to matter in the long run. What were her scores like in Level 4? If she is going to be the very good or the best one on the Level 4 team, then definitely move up to Level 5.

Many gymnasts that are on top at the lower levels have problems as they become average gymnasts in the higher levels. If competitive gymnastics is something that she (and you) are interested in for the future, then you want her to peak at a higher level.
To compete or not...

If she has the skills, there should be no question, move her up. The scores at that level are not the most important. If she is not challenged, she may lose interest or feel left behind. Even if the skills are not perfect the coach has no reason to hold her back.
Thanks, is very helpful. She has the skills. She is consistently in the top 6 at the meets. She is just very small. She is 8, 4'0 tall, and only weighs 48 lbs. (But it is all muscle). I am just worried that she will not be as competetive on the 5 team.
She was consistently in the top 6 at competitions. She is competetive, but not overly. We just don't want to see her board, but we also don't want her to quit because she can't yet do what the older girls do. She will be the youngest on the 5 team.
She will struggle some, but that's ok. From my experience, I have seen that it makes them work that much harder. I believe that the majority go through peaks and valley's, she will probably be in a valley for a little bit, but then, if she wants it, you will see her peak.:)
Thanks. She does have the necessary skills. Another question for you... How much time should level 4's spend in the gym, and also level 5's.
Right now my daughter spends 10 hours, the rest of the 4's are only doing 6, But the 5's do 12.
Our 5's and 6's workout together. They have 11 hours for team practice and an extra hour for tumbling, so 12 hours total. I believe our 3's and 4's practice between 6 and 8 hours.
We had to make a similar decision when we decided to do club gymnastics... we only had 2 choices in our area and we opted for the gym that started at level 5. My dd is too young to compete, but she loves training level 5 - it was a great decision for us. She is still on pre-team now and we train 8 hours a week. The level 5's on team train between 12 & 15 hours per week. I have heard it is a very exciting transition for the girls that competed level 4 ... if your dd wants it, then it is definitely a great decision :D
We are in Jonesboro, Arkansas. I wondered how other gyms run their hours. When we talk to our coaches about the hours, they tell us that we are about average. I just wondered.
I am just worried that she will not be as competetive on the 5 team.

Again, this is really a matter of personal philosophy, but I think it's important to realize that competition is not, in my opinion, the ultimate goal of a training gymnast -- it's just something you do along the way. I believe that constantly pushing yourself to get better is far more important than placing well at meets.

I think that there's a tendency with parents is to think of scores as an indication of how well their kid is doing as a gymnast. Scores and placement at meets are absolutely among the worst possible ways of measuring this; if you want to know if your kid is doing well at gym, all you need to do is ask if they're having fun, and if their skills are improving. Either of these is a far better way to measure success.
I couldn't agree more. I actually feel like crying that I am hearing that from a coach. Our coaches are wonderful, but we have had contradictions from them. "It is all for fun, we want them to learn and have fun... to yelling at them after their team has finished beam at a meet that those were the worst scores ever, and then sending them on to do the floor routine. I just need to keep that all in mind. I also need to stress that to my daughter. She is having fun, and she is improving tremendously. I think level 5 just might be what she needs. Thanks again.
Competitive or not

That is a personal question.:rolleyes: It can be a great experience or a very hard one dependent on the support given. To strive is the reason we compete and what makes it all worth it, to reach a goal we set for ourselves. good luck in your pursuits.:D
I struggled with the same scenario with my daughter.... she had a pretty good year at level 4, but most of her new friends had already been on the team for two or more years so she wanted to move up with all of them. About two weeks into the summer I conferred with her coaches and we decided that she would be much happier training level 5, even though she had to work like a dog for the strength skills ( she is super flexible!). Believe me, she would have had more successful meets at level 4; however, we want to impress upon her that working towards a goal and maintaining her committment to the team are the skills that are going to carry her through life long after gymnastics is over... and you never know... she surprised us with an event win at her first level 5 meet! I say that if her coaches agree she is ready... let her try it... but be sure to have open communication with both your daughter and her coaches along the way.

Good Luck to you both!
Our level 4s practice 11 hours a week right now (2x for 4 hours & 1x for 3 hours). Our level 5s practice 12-16 hours/week.

Does your daughter have her Kip? What do her coaches say about moving her up to Level 5? My daughter started on PreTeam a year ago, then moved a month later up to the Team. She competed Level 4 this fall. Because we are in the process of starting a new gym, we will probably compete at a few meets in the fall and then more next Spring. One of our options is to stay at Level 4 for the fall and then move up to Level 5 for the Spring season.
Is your daughter a confident gymnast? Have the coaches mentioned moving her up? Some gymnasts need to stay at a little longer at a certain level to build confidence, and may need to be the best at their level for a little while. It all depends on how your daughter handles the pressure and what the coaches feel is best.
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