What is the purpose of having a child compete LEVEL 4 because LEVEL 5 KIP is missing!

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LoveForGymnastics

New Member
Aug 2, 2011
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PLEASE HELP ME UNDERSTAND!

My 9 year old daughter competed Level 4 for two seasons, from September to April. During this time, she doesn't "remember" training to do the kip. I am sure she performed basic drills to prepare for it, but she never tried doing it on the bars. So in the last 3 months she has been working on the kip and the other 3 events. 5/8 gymnasts have it now. She has her beam, floor routine and vault down. She is just working on fine-tuning them.

She was just told that she has to do Level 4 until she has her kip. That once she got her kip she can compete level 5. So her 16 hours a week training are being split into doing both levels. She was a little flustered having to remember her Level 4 beam routine because she had to work extra hard to learn her Level 5 bar routine within the past 2-3 months.

She has her single leg jamb but not her drop kip. She had 4 1/2 hr privates on bars and her assistant coach says that her issue is primarily timing.

I don't agree with this. I think she should just focus on her Level 5 training and routines. She did very well her 2nd season winning 1st-3rd place AA a few times and/or 1st place on floor, bar and beam at different meets.

I will be meeting with her coach soon but wanted to know what this forum thought.

P.S. If I had to watch her do LEVEL 4 floor with that SONG again, I will go nuts. Not to mention that I feel that the Level 4 bar routine has nothing to do with Level 5 or higher bar routines!
 

JBS

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Sep 3, 2005
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If she does not have a kip...she should compete level 4 while training level 5. This is normal.
 
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CoachTodd

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Nov 4, 2009
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North Carolina
It all depends on the personality of the kid. I personally know 2 that were asked to repeat level 4 because "their scores would be better". Since their deductions were all form deductions, their scores were pretty much the same either way. This also lost them a year of working on level 5 and 6 skills they already had. Not only did this destroy both of them emotionally, I spent the next year helping them get skills they had already had back. I say train the level you want to compete and just don't compete until you have what you want.
 
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emorymom

Proud Parent
Oct 10, 2008
1,154
If she was winning in Level 4 it's time to move on. If they don't want her to compete L5 until she has all her skills, fine, but there's no reason to compete L4 to motivate her to learn her L4 skills better. That's my parent common sense opinion. I'm sure the girls who are just starting to compete L4 and would have to compete against her would agree with me.
 
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Aussie_coach

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Jan 4, 2008
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I agree with compete level 4 while training level 5. The kip is a very important skill for level 5, they need both their glide and long kip. I don;t know the deduction in the USA but they would lose 4.0 from their bar routine in Australia if they didn't have it.

When you are in level 4 you should not be training level 4 skills. You should be in level 4 because you have mastered level 4 skills and are training level 5 skills. It is a little easier for us in Australia because the kids can do bonus skills. So a kid when has not yet mastered the kip can compete level 4 but do some level 5 skills for bonus.

On the same notion it makes no sense to go to level 5 when you are still trying to master the skills.

The ideals we follow in australia would be a level 4 would be expected to have the following
Mastered level 4 skills ready to compete, be working on level 5 skills and the beginning of some level 6 skills. Level 4 training should not need to spend enormous amounts of time on their routines if they are ready for level 4, most time is available for uptraining,
 

kimskids

Member
Apr 16, 2011
178
Florida
My 9 year old was kind of in the same situation. She competed level 3 for 2 seasons and then was moved to work out with the level 5's for the summer. I thought she would compete level 5 if she got her kip but would compete level 4 if she did not. Now she just got her kip the other day and my daughter asked her coach and I guess she is still going to have her compete level 4 for the 3 meets in the fall. This is fine with me I had just thought if she got it she would compete level 5. I know at our gym they try to let the girls compete because it is fun for them.....they love it and it would be hard for them to see everyone else competing and not get to....
 
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Tumblequeensmom

Proud Parent
Feb 19, 2007
1,451
The bottom line is that every gym has a different policy on this. If you visited all the gyms in my area, you'd see girls compete L5 and not do bars, you'd see another gym keep her at Level 4, and another gym may not have her compete all all until she has her kip for L5. Talk to your head coach and find out what they want her to do. You can then either decide to follow their policy or look for a different gym.
 
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bookworm

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The kip is the gatekeeper skill for Level 5 so if she doesn't have that, she's missing the Level 5 skill for bars...it is completely normal for a kid to compete in the level of skills they have (in your case, 4) while working on having the skills for the next level (5) and when she GETS the kip, then she should move up. It's always discouraging to see kids moved up a level without the key skills of the level and unfortunate for the gymnast...I don't think moving to 5 without the kip is the answer.
 
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AlexsGymmyMom

Proud Parent
Mar 20, 2009
2,531
USA
I agree with bookworm, the kip is the gatekeeper skill for level 5 bars. Our gym actually does a kip test periodically (4 low bar kips, squat on, and 1 long hang kip). Once you pass the test you move up! It sounds like your gym is giving her opportunities to uptrain for L5 so she should probably compete 4 until she has her kip. The girls don't start competing here until October so hopefully she still has time to work on that skill before meet season actually starts.
 
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10.0

The problem is there are 2 kips in the level 5 routine both would count as falls if she doesn't have them and competes. At this level a kip is like a BHS if you don't have it it causes all kinds of problems and that is why many coaches make this a gatekeeper skill.

Is there any option rather than having her compete 4 again that she could skip the level 4 meets until she has the kip for 5 and focus a lot on that? It seems like that might be more productive.
 
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MaryA

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Jul 22, 2010
4,442
Many of the level 5 meets we went to, especially early in the season, had girls scratching on bars due to lack of a kip. My daughter did this at her very first level 5 meet. But then, our gym does little-to-no uptraining, especially during meet season. If she had repeated 4, she would have been working on level 4 skills only and would have been back to square 1 on a lot of the level 5 skills she had "gotten" during the summer. This year our team has a couple of girls who competed 5 and will be repeating it, but will still be attending level 6 practice at least once a week. This seems to be a better arrangement because at least they shouldn't lose the skills they gained over the summer. As a parent, if my child had done exceedingly well at level 4, I would want her at level 5, even if she scratched an event, or wasn't allowed to compete until she got her kip, or had to then do two years at 5. But some gyms are flexible on this point, and some are not. I am very glad that my daughter was allowed to do level 5 last year and she ended up having a very good season.
 
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Muddlethru

Proud Parent
Mar 16, 2011
3,536
As tumblequeensmom indicated. Every gym has their own policy or ways of doing things. Our gym is one of those that will move you up and hope you get the skills required. We've had some girls (not a lot) compete all year without a skill and then still move on to the next level. Worse, I've seen our coaches have girls skip a level without even "mastering" the level before. Then, there are those gyms that will keep the girls in L4 for 3 to 4 years! Of course, a happy medium with the gymnast's best interest is the best. I think many parents, maybe not the OP, are proud when their DD's are moved up, whether they earned it or not. It shows progress and improvement. There are a lot of positives for the parents and gymnasts that come along with moving up (parents don't have to pay for another year of tuition on the same level and to gymnast, it means they are doing well and look forward to a new exciting routine-a good motivating factor).

Like many posters above, I would opt with training L5 and skip going to L4 meets, particularly since she has already compete L4 for two years. As a side note, I've seen it all the time where a gymnast cannot perform or is struggling to learn a skill one day and then a week, many times even days later is able to perform it beautifully. One of these days, everything is going to click and your DD will be able to perform the kip. Just tell her to keep working at it.
 
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sportzmomov3

Proud Parent
Jan 6, 2009
156
Metropolitan USA
She's 9...there is no rush. As everyone has already said, train level 5 until "competition" ready and compete level 4. This isn't about scores, it's about mastering a skill that will be a foundation for everything to come later.
 
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gym law mom

Proud Parent
Dec 23, 2006
2,525
As TQM said it will vary from gym to gym. Basically the options are: 1. compete L4 again and train for L5 2. compete L5 and scratch bars until she has the kip and bar routine. 3. Skip the L4 season and just train L5.

The problem with the kip is they can be "close" to getting it for days, weeks or months---it is a fickle skill, but a very necessary one. No coach can guarantee when she'll get her kip and then when it will be ready to do in a meet. Some of the early kips can look pretty ugly. Once she is doing the kip consistently then she has to put them with the rest of the bar routine so it flows. Its not just as simple as get the kip 1 week and compete the next.

Have a long talk with the coach and weigh all the pros/cons.
 
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bogwoppit

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Feb 26, 2007
16,878
It took my youngest two years to get the Kip, she was "that" close for most of that time, one finger spot etc. She competed a lower level and just kept working at it. Watching other girls get the Kip with way less effort etc. She enjoyed copeting the lower level. However we do not have compulsory routines or music here, so she got her own routines etc.In your case it would depend how well she did at 4, how much she love to compete,and most importantly, how flexible your coaches are willing to be with her.
 
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Pickle's Mom

Pickle's gym is inflexible about this as well. No kip, no competing L5. Now, sometimes when a girl is "this close" they have her on the L5 team but just don't let her compete at all, but normally they compete L4.

However, Pickle had trained the kip for her entire year at L4.
 
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gymmomntc2e6

Moderator/Proud Parent
Aug 25, 2007
2,841
North Carolina
At DD's gym you have to have the skills for that level to move up. We have had girls stuck @ L4 because of the Kip & girls stuck @ L5 because of the flyaway.
DD's gym does uptrain so normally girls move through the levels at a normal pace. About half of our level 5's have all of their L6 skills, except the free hip. They are not competition ready, but they can do them consistently & improving. Starting to work some L7 skills.

I think uptraining is very important not only to keep kids from getting bored but also to avoid these disappointments.

I agree though the Kip is so important to L5. I think if it is that bothersome to repeat L4, I would ask about training L5 and not competing until she has it. I have been to meets where every girl on a L5 team was spotted or fell on both kips, most of them pretty jpset when the scores popped up.
 
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cher062

That is normal just like everyone else has said here. My DD at L5 was the cartwheel on the beam so she competed L4 and trained L5 for 1/2 the season until she could get her cartwheel at least 50% of the time. She was one of the first to get the kip. Every girl has her strenghts and weaknesses but moving up to a level missing one skill doesn't sound like a big thing but as she moves forward it can become bigger. These are the skills the upper levels will need to do the big tricks. At the time my DD was held back I was thinking as you are thinking now - its just one skill- but in the end it was better for her. Don't consintrate on the Levels or the age - if she is having fun that is all that matters. DD too had trouble doing 2 levels at one time and after that seasons she said she would rather train the upper level and not compete it than compete the lower level while training the upper level. Talk to your DD and coaches and see if DD would be ok not competing a season to just train L5 this year and compete it next year - most parents and kids don't want to do this that is why they compete the lower level but it is an option you could discuss.
 
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gymdog

Coach
Jul 5, 2007
5,120
The bottom line is that every gym has a different policy on this. If you visited all the gyms in my area, you'd see girls compete L5 and not do bars, you'd see another gym keep her at Level 4, and another gym may not have her compete all all until she has her kip for L5. Talk to your head coach and find out what they want her to do. You can then either decide to follow their policy or look for a different gym.

When I was a child, there used to be a fourth option that was relatively common: have her compete L5, compete bars, and just miss both the kips. But this is not very common any more at all. In fact, if I see a child miss one of the kips, they generally made the other, so I assume they mostly have it, just not 100%.

Of course I'm not advocating one way or another, I just think it is interesting it is so unusual now, because I remember it as quite common. I had both kips well before I competed level 5, but had very inconsistent training on bars overall and somehow made it to level 7 without ever actually being taught how to do a tap swing. In another year I scored a 9.6+ at level 8 states. I think it can be discouraging for most kids to get such a low score, and when presented with this issue, I've generally scratched the kids (even when they make it 1/4 of the time). But it seems to me with compulsories in some ways the pendulum has swung so far in the other direction, and some girls miss out (see CoachTodd's anecdote). Some kids just aren't meant to be fantastic compulsories and it comes late. I'm not, again, advocating sloppy training. Quite the opposite, I think the kids should be challenged with more rigorous training in a lot of cases, no matter the level.
 
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Quadqueen

Proud Parent
May 14, 2011
4,329
My DD started L5 in May and does not have her kip. None of the new L5s have it consistently yet. Her gym does not do a ton of up-training. They did tell the girls though, that they can compete L5 but must scratch bars if they don't have the kip. I think that's a great option. If they have to do 2 years at L5, no biggie.
 
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