Xcel or Development Program?

Which program did you pick? (You may pick more than one if you need to)

  • Xcel

  • Development Program (formerly JO)

  • Other (explain in a post for us)


Results are only viewable after voting.

JBS

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xcel-or-dp-final.jpg


We'd love to see a conversation going about our next great article from Jen Kula!

Let us know what program you picked and why.
 

JBS

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Again... don't forget to let us know what program you picked and why.

If your just deciding now... ask your questions and we'll give you some answers!

I'll also add some links to old conversations below about this subject (if you find any good ones... let me know).

Here are a few...

 
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MILgymFAM

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My older daughter did both and my younger daughter did rec (since this seems limited to artistic). My daughter found a JO program (as it was then) that let kids choose their stream, and also allowed them to pursue other activities while training/competing. The fees/costs were actually exactly the same regardless of stream at that gym as well.
 
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gymgal

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when my dd started, our state/region had a successful prep-op program, from which the xcel program evolved, and many gyms used this as an alternative to JO compulsory (at the time, it was described as an alternative and supplement to JO). She did two years of prep-op before xcel was adopted in our state. We didn't know any better when she first started but this alternative route worked out well for dd and she then transitioned into JO at level 7 without a problem.
 

raenndrops

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Mine started in JO.
OG transitioned to Xcel the year before it was nationalized (each region had its own requirements for each Xcel division). She had blocks on a couple of skills due to blocks and Xcel Gold allowed her to work around them. Eventually, she transitioned back to JO L6 and then retired.
YG did 2 years of "old" L4 and then chose to "repeat" L3 after the great level shift ... because she was afraid of the grapevine on beam in "new" L4.
The next year, she transitioned to Xcel. She has competed Gold and Platinum. She is currently working on regaining skills after injuries, Covid shutdown, and yet ANOTHER growth spurt.
LSS started in L3. She competed a year, quit to focus on dance for a year, then came back. She competed L3 her first year back and L4 the next year. After that, she transitioned to Xcel Gold. She has done 2 years of Gold. She may be done with competing, but the possibility of wearing shorts during meets has piqued her interest again, lol.

I did notice that the article had an OLD Xcel mobility chart, so I am including the more updated one.
DP to Xcel and Xcl Mobility.jpg
 
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Aussie_coach

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So I voted other. Obviously we don’t have the same programs in Australia.

But the problem with even a very open level program is the restrictiveness of the timeline.

Teaching gymnasts what the level dictates doesn’t allow for optimum development.

Gymnasts present is with windows of opportunity. When they are ready to learn something, it’s time to teach them. If you wait too long, the window shuts.

Sat you have a gymnast who is a level 2 standard or a bronze or whatever on bars, but they are a great tumbler and are at level 6 skills. In most traditional levels programs the gymnasts would not be allowed to touch level 6 or 7 tumbling if they are sitting at a level 2. But that could be really ready to fly.

By the time the gymnasts bars level has caught up to their tumbling, that readiness fit more advanced skills is often gone.

My policy, teach the kids what they are ready to safely and successfully learn.
 

Pirouette

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My DD18 wasn't really given an option - she started gym at age 11 after being a competitive dancer for 6 years. After a year of pre-team, learning the basics, the gym started a Silver team for her and 3 other girls who didn't quite fit the JO track. It was the best thing that could have happened for her. One year of Silver, 3 of Gold, and 2 of Platinum, and she loved it. No regrets whatsoever.
 
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mommyof1

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So much depends on how your local gyms choose to treat Xcel. Is it basically an advanced rec class? Is it where gymnastics dreams go to die when kids are discarded from JO? Or is it a valued program with actual conditioning and quality training that allows kids to make genuine progress? Families will make different choices depending on the quality of the available options.
 

ldw4mlo

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I picked other. Back when we started, the littles did a JO season, NY had early states for the compulsory levels. We then did a season of USAIGC. Coaches liked the discipline and consistency of JO compulsory but IGC allowed the kids to develop their own personalities and do what they did well and liked. As a parent I came to appreciate that as well.

What it really came down to is what worked best for our family and my kid.

My kid likes gymnastics and is good. She has no high level aspirations. And doesn’t live and breath gymnastics. She likes lots of things. We like balance.

In our area Xcel was seen more as rec when it first started. So we found a JO program that worked for us, low hours and flexibility. Meet particitation choice, training hours choice. And I’ve taken heat for even suggesting this was possible in JO.

Xcel has come a long way since it’s start. We have had move to other gyms into Xcel and they do more hours then our JO kids. Why, kids wanted more hours but not compulsory stuff.

Kids have left for more hours because their parents think it will get them to higher levels or rides for college. I have not actually seen any of that happen to any of the kids, with exception of one who recently left and she has a natural drive and talent the others didn’t. It was a good move for her.

Having gone from, tots class, rec, then L2 to L8, through injuries and blocks…

Good coaches, good kids and hours that work for the family, way more important then the name of the program.

I felt this prior to this past year but if this past year has taught us nothing, it’s OK to take a vacation, go to a party or just a down day and miss gym. Any place not cool with that is never a place a kid should be.
 

JBS

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Excellent discussion going on here. Please keep telling your stories. Here is mine...

I am a parent of 3 and a Head Coach. All of my kids started in the Development (JO) program with my oldest daughter also doing TOPS / HOPES and still wanting to try elite.

As a Head Coach we have transformed our program to now use only Xcel Bronze & Silver as a replacement for Levels 2 & 3. I just don't like the stress and pressure of Levels 2 & 3 and believe that our training style does not align with these levels. Starting at Level 4 we use the traditional Development Program at our club now.
 

ReluctantGymMom

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JO / the gym we started at had rec coaches teaching xcel and honestly the girls looked an inch away from death when vaulting or tumbling - it was just terrifying to watch. My daughter doesn’t like laid back atmospheres either, she likes structure and routine, even though compulsory wasn’t the most fun ride for her and her beam skills where level 2 where her bar skills were level 7 so there’s been some downfall there
 
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mom2newgymnast

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My dd has been in the JO (developmental) program since the beginning. She is one of the (increasingly rare it feels) ones that has gone from preteam to training level 10 at the same gym and without skipping or repeating a level, with the exception of level 6. Slow and steady progress has worked well for her. She started preteam at 5, level 2 at 6 and so on and is now training for level 10 at 13. We didn't have xcel at our gym when she started, but we do have it now. Her gym uses it as a lower hours alternative. They are successful, but my daughter is wanting to compete in college, so JO it is.
 

pt coach

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My DD started in JO repeated what is now level 4 (with the change in the numbering she actually went 4-5-4-5). Did one year of 6, a year of 7, a year of 7/8 (did a few 8 meets but competed state and regionals as a 7), a year of 8 and then transitioned to Diamond for her last two years. If asked she would tell you that 6 and Diamond were her favorites! She is off to college now and will compete in track and field - doing Diamond those last two years gave her time to find out she was actually better at another sport!
 

Tmacs

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DD chose developmental mainly because she actually loves structure and the hours. Not sure if she’ll switch over later. She went through a lull at level 4 last year but finished strong and is now training 5/6 and loving it because she’s getting to train lots of new skills.
 
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MuggleMom

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We chose JO for my daughter based on the recommendation of a parent who knew more about the two programs than I did. At the time I dont think our gyms Xcel was the strongest so I am glad she went that way. I also think the gym is doing a good job developing the Xcel program especially for the older HS gymnasts providing them more sturcutre without the higher hours.
 
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jillc

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I don’t know if “pick” is the right word. My DD was invited to pre team and we decided to let her do it. Then she was recommended for The Development Program and let her try that.
At the time, I knew the DP was more hours that Xcel but really didn’t know a ton more.

Initially I wondered if Xcel would have been better. She loves gym, but sometimes doesn’t love the amount of time it takes.

But she has been doing great in the DP and says she wants to do college gym and DP gives her the best shot at that. As long as she continues to be happy and healthy, we will keep supporting her. (For reference her route was a year each at pre-team, 3, 4, 5, 7 — now training level 8).
 
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novagymmom

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My daughter started w/ the JO program. She had a friend on the team and we didn't know much about Xcel. Over the years, she wanted a more competitive track and it was the right place for her for a long time. She did pre-team/L2/L4/L5/L7/L8/L8/L9.

This last month she made the decision to switch to Xcel. It makes me sad because I believe that the primary driver for the switch was a coach. But, I'm proud of my daughter for owning the decision and its fun watching her try new things (i.e. field hockey) as she gets ready to start HS next year. It's great that she'll be able to do both the HS field hockey team and continue to compete through Xcel. She had her first Xcel practice yesterday and was really happy, which was great to see.
 

PreciousJ

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My daughter started w/ the JO program. She had a friend on the team and we didn't know much about Xcel. Over the years, she wanted a more competitive track and it was the right place for her for a long time. She did pre-team/L2/L4/L5/L7/L8/L8/L9.

This last month she made the decision to switch to Xcel. It makes me sad because I believe that the primary driver for the switch was a coach. But, I'm proud of my daughter for owning the decision and its fun watching her try new things (i.e. field hockey) as she gets ready to start HS next year. It's great that she'll be able to do both the HS field hockey team and continue to compete through Xcel. She had her first Xcel practice yesterday and was really happy, which was great to see.
I hope your DD enjoys her Xcel journey! In addition to gymnast's goals, coaching plays a big part in which programs to choose. My DD's gym has both Xcel and "JO". Xcel replaces the compulsory levels (Xcel tops out at Platinum there). Our gymnasts are competitive in both tracks, but probably moreso at the Xcel level (since there are more levels and therefore more gymnasts, and Optionals is very tough!). We have at least one L10 that I know of who is a rising senior with college aspirations. Our gym has a really good vibe between the coaches and gymnasts (and parents - mostly).

My DD is in Xcel and I don't know if she'll decide to compete through Optionals. I like that Xcel hours allow time for other non-gym pursuits but is still valued and competitive in my area.