WAG What is tested in a try-out for girls ages 8-12?

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Astraea_9

New Member
May 13, 2022
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Hi, new here. My daughter is 9 and will be trying out for competitive gymnastics next weekend. Her gym holds try-outs every spring and post the info on the gym wall and send home flyers to all the rec gymnasts. My daughter started the rec program there 4 years ago, but took 1.5 years off due to covid. She is currently in an intermediate level rec class for 3 hours a week (2 x 1.5 hours).

She tried out when she was 5 and didn’t make pre-team because she couldn’t do a cartwheel yet. The gym separates the try-outs by age and she tried out with the age 4-7 set, and the tests were mostly tests of strength and flexibility (rope climbing, L-ups on bars, splits and backbends) with only handstands and cartwheels for skills tests. I am wondering if it is similar for the older group or do they test more skills?

I am worried she won’t do well on strength tests, though she is very flexible (all 3 splits, great backbends). I think she will really shine in skills tests because she does most of the skills taught in her class quite well (back walkover, level 2 vault, cartwheel on floor beam). She still needs a spot on pull-overs but getting close.
 

Coach Kate

Coach
Fan
Oct 13, 2021
199
31
We have talked about doing a try out, and for that age group, we would be looking at strength and flexibility as well as the skills required to prepare for our first level of team, Xcel silver, over the summer. We only do Xcel and start with silver, so we would be looking for proficiency in

Floor: round off, front and back limber, Backhandspring on trampoline, straight arm backward roll, split jump, full turn

Beam: vertical handstand, 1/2 turn, split jump, side Handstand

Bars: pullover, back hip circle, squat on, sole circle dismount

Vault: good handstand flat fall with spring board


I would guess for that age group, they would also be looking for girls who are team ready, so depending on what levels and program your gym does, either level 2/3, or Xcel bronze or silver. I will say that an athlete without a consistent pullover does not make team at our gym, period.
 

Pineapple_Lump

Coach
Judge
Jan 31, 2008
1,178
I would guess for that age group, they would also be looking for girls who are team ready, so depending on what levels and program your gym does, either level 2/3, or Xcel bronze or silver. I will say that an athlete without a consistent pullover does not make team at our gym, period.

I would also caution the OP on this aspect. I have always coached in gyms with strong recreational programs. A nine year old without a pullover would not be considered for team in my experience. Due to limited places, it is competitive to move from rec, and the children who can develop a range of skills during rec class are prioritized.

We also tend to favor bar ability over floor skills, I would take a kid who is weak on floor but advanced on bars over a child who has great floor skills but can't pull around. This isn't to say she can't still enjoy her gymnastics or eventually progress to team - but if she is really wanting a competitive gym sport - her strength may be better suited to Rhythmic or Acro.
 

LucyRobinson

Gymnast
Feb 27, 2022
133
I got onto to team at 9... that being said I had a pullover, back hip circle and mil circle. I think the main reason they allowed me to join at a later age was that I had good form and made corrections.
A pullover is mostly about strength. If she can't do a chin up or a bar lever, preferably multiple in a row, it's not very likely she'll be doing pullovers. Perhaps work on strength at home before the tryout?
What level is she trying for?
 

Astraea_9

New Member
May 13, 2022
16
41
We have talked about doing a try out, and for that age group, we would be looking at strength and flexibility as well as the skills required to prepare for our first level of team, Xcel silver, over the summer. We only do Xcel and start with silver, so we would be looking for proficiency in

Floor: round off, front and back limber, Backhandspring on trampoline, straight arm backward roll, split jump, full turn

Beam: vertical handstand, 1/2 turn, split jump, side Handstand

Bars: pullover, back hip circle, squat on, sole circle dismount

Vault: good handstand flat fall with spring board


I would guess for that age group, they would also be looking for girls who are team ready, so depending on what levels and program your gym does, either level 2/3, or Xcel bronze or silver. I will say that an athlete without a consistent pullover does not make team at our gym, period.
I am worried about the pull-over. She actually had it before covid hit and then took 1.5 years off and lost it. She is also missing the back handspring and split leap on beam. I feel she won't get her pull-over back until she gets a chance to practice it more. Her rec program is 3 hours weekly but between all the events ad stretching and warm up she only does like 30 minutes on bars a week, of which like 10 minutes is focused on pull-over. She actually had more practice on pull-over when she was in the beginner class because that was essentially the only bar skill they worked on and they did very little vault practice at that level. That class was 2 hours weekly. She got her pull-over, moved up, then Covid hit shortly after. Her gym does run Xcel Bronze and I figured she'd start there so maybe more likely to accept the lack of pull-over. We'll see.
 

Astraea_9

New Member
May 13, 2022
16
41
I would also caution the OP on this aspect. I have always coached in gyms with strong recreational programs. A nine year old without a pullover would not be considered for team in my experience. Due to limited places, it is competitive to move from rec, and the children who can develop a range of skills during rec class are prioritized.

We also tend to favor bar ability over floor skills, I would take a kid who is weak on floor but advanced on bars over a child who has great floor skills but can't pull around. This isn't to say she can't still enjoy her gymnastics or eventually progress to team - but if she is really wanting a competitive gym sport - her strength may be better suited to Rhythmic or Acro.
That's disappointing to hear because that is exactly who she is. She is probably the strongest kid on floor and vault in her class. But bar and to a lesser extent beam beam are her weak points. I don't think her current gym competes rhythmic or acro but will look into those.
 

Astraea_9

New Member
May 13, 2022
16
41
I got onto to team at 9... that being said I had a pullover, back hip circle and mil circle. I think the main reason they allowed me to join at a later age was that I had good form and made corrections.
A pullover is mostly about strength. If she can't do a chin up or a bar lever, preferably multiple in a row, it's not very likely she'll be doing pullovers. Perhaps work on strength at home before the tryout?
What level is she trying for?

I got onto to team at 9... that being said I had a pullover, back hip circle and mil circle. I think the main reason they allowed me to join at a later age was that I had good form and made corrections.
A pullover is mostly about strength. If she can't do a chin up or a bar lever, preferably multiple in a row, it's not very likely she'll be doing pullovers. Perhaps work on strength at home before the tryout?
What level is she trying for?
She can do a bar lever and chin hold for sure, not sure about chin up. I don't think they teach mill circle in her class, and I've only seen her do back hip circle with a spot. She is trying for Xcel Bronze.
 

LucyRobinson

Gymnast
Feb 27, 2022
133
She can do a bar lever and chin hold for sure, not sure about chin up. I don't think they teach mill circle in her class, and I've only seen her do back hip circle with a spot. She is trying for Xcel Bronze.
She has a good start! A chin up would be very helpful for a pullover though.
For our gym xcel bronze/level 2 groups, our gym would probably be more interested in a strong base on bars and vault than back walkovers and back handsprings on floor. If the kid can do a handstand and cartwheel that's all we need. That being said, having harder floor skills is not bad and actually could be a plus if she does them with correct form. This is just our gym though.
 

rd7

Coach
Proud Parent
Aug 18, 2011
191
Have you got a door bar? She can work chin ups and leg lifts on that and her pull over will come in no time in the gym.
 
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Astraea_9

New Member
May 13, 2022
16
41
Update: After reading the comments I decided to get an at home gymnastics bar for her to practice pull-overs. She has learned that she can do a pull-over with the bar on a low setting (chest height) and is practicing that. I figure we can move the bar higher as she gets more confident with it. I doubt she will get her full height pull-over in time for the try-outs on Saturday but with the extra practice she should be able to get it much more quickly.
 

ProudGymnast

Gymnast
Fan
Feb 16, 2021
125
That's disappointing to hear because that is exactly who she is. She is probably the strongest kid on floor and vault in her class. But bar and to a lesser extent beam are her weak points.
Don't completely give up hope! I had nothing but a back hc and a pullover on bars, but strong floor( as of when I was younger on preteam) but I wanted it SO bad I moved up to level four right after preteam, and to this day bars has fluctuated in my top 2 events.

Granted, I'm the type of person to make my worst event at one meet my best at the next, but if your daughter is a go-getter it is possible to do team if she really, really wants it and works hard at bars.
 

GymDadWA

Proud Parent
Dec 30, 2017
301
43
Every gym is different and some gyms just need to see enthusiasm and passion for the sport more than skills. Especially at the lower levels where the skills are simple. Most gyms know that the majority of the girls won't make optionals and beyond, but some of them have a place for them on team where they can enjoy it competitively for a few years without expectations of progressing to 10 and beyond.

Gyms are businesses so it's in their best interest to find spots for the girls as long as the girls want to be their and won't be a distraction.
 
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Astraea_9

New Member
May 13, 2022
16
41
Update: After reading the comments I decided to get an at home gymnastics bar for her to practice pull-overs. She has learned that she can do a pull-over with the bar on a low setting (chest height) and is practicing that. I figure we can move the bar higher as she gets more confident with it. I doubt she will get her full height pull-over in time for the try-outs on Saturday but with the extra practice she should be able to get it much more quickly.
2nd update: after only 4 days of practicing she is comfortably doing pull-overs at neck height. The bar they practice pull-overs on at the gym is above her head so not there yet but major improvement in 4 days! When she tried at neck height a couple days ago she keep hitting her thigh on the bar and falling back down.
 

Astraea_9

New Member
May 13, 2022
16
41
My own question answered. The attached pic is of a paper passed around to the parents during try-outs as the team coordinator explained the process during warm-up. These are the things they tested. They split the girls into 3 groups and had them rotate stations. After everything was explained the parents chose a preference for Xcel or JDP, or selected 'best placement'. We were told we would get emails in about a week with suggested placement. They said the suggested placements for this age group were usually levels 2 or 3 for JDP or bronze or silver for Xcel.

A few things not everyone did. For example only about half the girls did the back hip circle. I think they must of asked if they could first and only had those that said yes try. But mostly everyone at least attempted everything. They did let my daughter and some of the other girls demonstrate the pull-over on a lower bar. Most did it on the regular bar but a sizeable minority used the lower one (about neck height for my daughter). They had her do the other bar stuff on the regular height bar (just above her head).

I will update again when I hear her results. Based on what I saw she was middle of the pack in skills but behind the curve in strength areas like rope climbing so I am expecting bronze but we'll see.
 

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Astraea_9

New Member
May 13, 2022
16
41
My own question answered. The attached pic is of a paper passed around to the parents during try-outs as the team coordinator explained the process during warm-up. These are the things they tested. They split the girls into 3 groups and had them rotate stations. After everything was explained the parents chose a preference for Xcel or JDP, or selected 'best placement'. We were told we would get emails in about a week with suggested placement. They said the suggested placements for this age group were usually levels 2 or 3 for JDP or bronze or silver for Xcel.

A few things not everyone did. For example only about half the girls did the back hip circle. I think they must of asked if they could first and only had those that said yes try. But mostly everyone at least attempted everything. They did let my daughter and some of the other girls demonstrate the pull-over on a lower bar. Most did it on the regular bar but a sizeable minority used the lower one (about neck height for my daughter). They had her do the other bar stuff on the regular height bar (just above her head).

I will update again when I hear her results. Based on what I saw she was middle of the pack in skills but behind the curve in strength areas like rope climbing so I am expecting bronze but we'll see.
Results came sooner than expected. She is in as a bronze!
 
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