For Parents transitioning from level 2 to 3 - advice for a new gymnastics mom please!

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Proud Parent
May 8, 2017
Hi, I'm new to this group and also a newer gymnast mom...hoping for some advice from other parents.

My daughter just turned 7 and just finished her level 2 fun meet season. She did not do level 1 and is the youngest on her team in level 2. They are about to test for placement for the next season, and I'm very concerned about her moving to level 3. She enjoys gymnastics, but her age really shows compared to some of the other kids on her team and I'm not sure she is ready for sanctioned competitive meets. She can do her skills for the most part, but could definitely refine them. She really doesn't like to be the weakest in anything and often wanted to quit gymnastics at first in level 2 because she didn't know the routines and hadn't had the experience from level 1 to learn new routines. She eventually settled in and felt better once she had learned her routines, but I'm just concerned this will be a big jump that she is not emotionally ready for. She desperately wants to get to level 3 but I suspect it's because she wants to stay with her friends. She also hated getting ready for meets but typically had fun during the meet. There will be a lot more meets in level 3 for her.

Can anyone share their experiences transitioning level 2-3? Is being young a disadvantage? Is the transition from fun meets to sanctioned meets a big one? Thanks for any advice!


Proud Parent
Feb 16, 2016
Depends on the child. My daughter was plucked from a pre-team one day into competitive Level 2 and those first couple of days we couldn't literally get her to walk into the gym as she was overwhelmed by the pace of events and her fear of not fitting in. That was very short-lived, a few days. She fit in quite well and had a very good season competitively. Since she had the competitive Level 2 season, there was not much of a transition to Level 3, skill-wise or other-wise. Meets were stressful (she was on a very competitive compulsory team and had bun issues with Mommy) but once my daughter got to a meet and was with her teammates and coaches, she was a lot better.

As for your daughter, and based on what you have described, there are some conflicting issues. She wants to do Level 3 badly yet doesn't like being the weakest at anything. That needs to get reconciled somehow. Your worries about her age are valid and 7 is on the younger side of things for Level 3 but there are many many girls at age 7 doing Level 3. As for her maturity, that is a question for your daughter and you to figure out. If she is not ready from a maturity standpoint and if her skill development is going to cause frustration and despair, it would not hurt to do another year of Level 2. If the passion and desire to improve skills exists and there is an understanding and acceptance that there may be a few bumps along the way, then Level 3 is a great challenge and opportunity that awaits her.
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Proud Parent
Feb 13, 2015
Time. Time takes care of most things. She now has a few months to grow, mature and learn new things.

Going to more meets. That is how they get used to "going to meets". The more you do, the more normal it becomes. She will either adapt or want to be done. My daughter now 11, still hates when we do her bun, every time. She never willingly wears a leo without shorts, unless it is a meet. Still gets a bit nervous at meets. I think that is rather normal. Still likes winning better then not, don't we all. And rare is the kid that keeps winning all the time as they progress. She is currently a level 6.

Meets are meets. At least that is how we treat them, big venue, small venue, states, regionals. They are meets, do your best.

And it gets harder as they go. Life in general gets harder as they go.

Did I mention time?
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Proud Parent
Oct 19, 2016
Hi. 7 is not really young to compete level 3. My daughter competed level 3 at 7 and there were a number of younger kids on her team. Levels 1-3 are considered the developmental levels as in you don't have compete 1, 2 or 3 to compete level 4. What do her coaches recommend?


Proud Parent
Apr 19, 2017
Everytime we have made a transition level 1-2 and 2-3 my daughter was on the bubble they gave us a choice each time to continue on or to hold her back. I let the decision be hers and explained she could be the best at the lower level or she was going to have to work really hard to keep up in the higher level. Both times she chose the higher level (which I also believe was to stay with her friends). Being last never bothered her until the competitions started in level 3. Even in practice leading up to competition they would judge them and it didn't bother her. Once the competition season set it in it was like something clicked and she wanted to win. She ended up going from a 30 all around score to 36 at her last meet. She really put the effort in and surprised me. I would say let her move up if she wants. If she hates being last she will put in the effort to move ahead.


Proud Parent
Dec 31, 2012
Ditto that 7 is a pretty normal age at L3. In fact, DD began competing Level 4 at 7yo.
Your DDs competitive nature may do her well in the future; however, she may have some struggles over placement!
As for the skills, Coach will put her where she needs to be. The "littles" usually have some body control issues, so I wouldn't worry about her form. Maturity & body awareness comes with time.


Proud Parent
May 25, 2016
Another thing to remember... each level's routines build on the previous level's routines. Because she knows the level 2 routines, it will be MUCH easier for her to learn the level 3 routines.

Not only that, but she now understands the flow of practices, and a season, and what will be expected. It's not like the shock of first joining team.

The transition from 2 to 3 isn't as drastic as you would think... it's more of the same, just a little bit harder.


Proud Parent
Dec 17, 2016
My daughter just finished her level 3 season, which she began as a 6 yr old, and turned 7 halfway through.
She trained for level 2 at age 5 when we lived in another state, but never competed because we moved as competition season began.
The transition wasn't bad and she loved more hours and going to meets.
How many hours does your gym train level 3? Is it a big jump from the hours of 2? In our state, the 7/8 yr old categories were almost always the biggest.
As far as skill refining- it comes with time and age. See where the coaches place her and then if she seems overly frustrated or is not enjoying herself, you can always decide to drop her back before meet season if possible.


Proud Parent
May 8, 2017
Thank you so much for all the advice! I think I will let nature take its course. The increase in time is an extra 2 hours per week - goes until 8:30 at night which I do not like (that's her bedtime!) but sounds like time and letting the coaches and my dd make the call is the right decision. Thank you all so much!

And...very glad to know we are not the only ones with "bun issues"! That's the only part she really hates about meets! I think I agree - it's my least favorite part, too!


Proud Parent
Apr 18, 2015
That increase isn't bad at all and I'm sure she will be fine. I hear you on the bedtime though. DD8 is in bed on non gym nights no later than 8:00, but on some nights doesn't get home from gym until almost 10!


Proud Parent
Oct 25, 2010
7 is actually quite the average age if not a little old. :) For real. My dd just finished competing Level 1, and there were 5 year olds on her team that did very well. State champs even. 7 is definitely not too young for level 3. In old level 4 (today's level 3), my other dd was 8, and she was on the old side.


Proud Parent
Jul 8, 2014
7 is actually quite the average age if not a little old. :) For real. My dd just finished competing Level 1, and there were 5 year olds on her team that did very well. State champs even. 7 is definitely not too young for level 3. In old level 4 (today's level 3), my other dd was 8, and she was on the old side.

I agree that 7 is not really that young, but I don't really think it's a little old for level 3. At least not in most locations... Perhaps in a few ultra competitive areas it is old. For perspective, my DD competed level 2 as a 6 year old (turned 7 about a month and a half after states), level 3 as a 7 year old and level 4 as an 8 year old. In levels 2&3, she was pretty much the youngest age group at every meet. In level 4 she was the second youngest age group. And these meets averaged 8-12 age groups.

Anyway, I think she should do fine. I wouldn't stress about level 3. My DD started a little rough, but improved through out her level 2 season and peaked at states. She did very well in level 3. I will say though that dd's gym didn't do "fun" meets for level 2s. They did all the same meets as all the other compulsories, so we didn't have that transition that you are talking about. I still think she should be fine though. Good luck!
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