Anon Young xcel gold and poor scores

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Dad1234

Proud Parent
May 12, 2018
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My daughter is an 8 year old xcel gold. She has struggled with scores all year. She scores in the 9’s on one event but other events are in the 8’s and 7’s. She seems to always be the youngest or one of the youngest at every meet, sometimes looking like a baby among the other competitors. She is the youngest on her team with the next oldest being 10. She is struggling with not medaling when her ten year old friends get all the medals in her age group. She has come in last, next to last and always in the lower half of the age group for all around. Her scores have ranged from 31-34. Where we live the majority of xcel gold girls are not young and are easily 10 and up. Her team has 12-13 year olds on it. Her states age group this year had ten year olds in it. I’m trying to explain to her that the girls that she is competing against have been in gymnastics longer than her and that for her age she is doing really well, but I don’t think I’m getting through to her. She loves the challenge of harder skills more than getting medals but it’s still hard to see her get down on herself during meets for not winning. How do you keep an 8 year olds self esteem high when she starts to feel that she can’t compare to her older teammates? She has the ability to do the skills but just needs to refine them more to keep up with her teammates. I know that her body awareness isn’t going to be as good as a ten year old but how do I explain that to her. She gets very defensive when I try to talk to her about this. Thanks!
 
Feb 16, 2022
727
8 years old is pretty young to be in Gold, and that is a good thing! She has lots of time to reach her goals doing gymnastics. Being small can help you a lot doing gymnastics.

Lots of things might be causing scores in the lower range. Vault at that level can often easily be 7s if it is not great form or power. Form is hard to focus on for younger gymnasts. A lot of littles haven't quite figured out how to stay focused on the beam and bars to avoid falling. All of that is OK. Let her have time. She may be at a disadvantage now, but she will be at an advantage later.

Is she planning to get to optionals, or just do Xcel? In some states Xcel draws older gymnasts that are planning to just always do Xcel. You could consider switching to DP Level 4 or 5. She would still probably be on the younger side, but there are usually some 7-8 year olds in L4.

Just focus on her little improvements. Rather than commenting on medals or placements, say things like "I noticed how your kip had straight arms today!" or "I love how much you show off your floor routine. I don't notice many people having as much fun competing as you do!"
Remind she is competing with older girls that have more experience, and she will eventually catch up.
 
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Feb 16, 2022
727
What do her coaches feel about the situation? Are they looking for her to repeat gold this next season? She may have the skills but may need that extra season to work on form. For a child who doesn't care at all about placements and scores, I would worry about it as the form will ususally come if it's an age related body awareness thing but this is clearly affecting her (even if she chooses harder skills over awards) and it may be in her best interest to repeat. She is really young for xcel gold. As the previous poster asked, are there plans to transfer to DP optionals in the future or is she staying in xcel?
 
Feb 16, 2022
727
Yes to all of the above. She's obviously talented to be at that level at her age! I know it's hard for kids (and us parents) to do, but try to get her out of the habit of comparing herself to other gymnasts, even teammates. There are a lot of little things that can't be seen that probably factor into them scoring higher than her, things that are out of everyone's control. That's fine! What can *she* control for herself? Just encourage her to keep working hard, listen to her coach, and she'll do just fine.
 
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Dad1234

Proud Parent
May 12, 2018
71
43
Thank you for the responses! I appreciate it and they were helpful. I think the plan is for her to repeat gold next season. DP starts at level 6 at her gym and they pull from the xcel track for that. I’m not sure if the plan is for her to stay on xcel track or eventually go DP track. I haven’t asked her coaches what they see in her future. It doesn’t really matter to me which track she takes, as long as she is happy doing it.
 
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raenndrops

Coach
Oct 24, 2009
6,804
The 'Wood, Ohio
Thank you for the responses! I appreciate it and they were helpful. I think the plan is for her to repeat gold next season. DP starts at level 6 at her gym and they pull from the xcel track for that. I’m not sure if the plan is for her to stay on xcel track or eventually go DP track. I haven’t asked her coaches what they see in her future. It doesn’t really matter to me which track she takes, as long as she is happy doing it.
Our gym doesn't even let gymnasts go to Xcel unless they are at least 10 years old (and would be "stuck" in a DP level for a 3rd season or had a major block that was keeping them from advancing). OG turned 11 about 2 months before her first meet as an Xcel Gold, and YG turned 10 a week before her first meet in Xcel Gold.
Your daughter will eventually "get there" with her body awareness. In YG's first season, her highest floor score was 8.25. The next year, her high score was a 9.25.
AND I 100% understand the whole "struggling" with older kids in her age group and losing out on awards because they went to the older girls. There were some meets where the Xcel Gold age group was "all" ... and she was competing against 16 year olds. Heck, there were some meets where she was competing against girls who had competed against OG in previous seasons, lol.
Just reassure her that her time will come and you are proud of her and how far she has come so far!!!
 

Coach Kate

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Oct 13, 2021
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I am curious about what the coach (es) thoughts were in even having her do gold this year. We don't recommend a child do a level unless we are reasonably confident they will be somewhat successful in it - maybe not medaling every meet, but definitely having the potential to score 8.5-9+ consistently. All of our golds (20) qualified for and placed in at least one event at state. Silver is a great level, and the first level our gym competes, and we have many 8 year olds in silver. Similarly all of our silvers (17) placed at state. It's not all about that, and not all of them had high placements, but it demonstrated that they were adequately prepared to be competitive. You can actually do almost all the same skills as in gold (just no Bs), but with no pressure to, especially if she has a stronger event or two. I saw silvers doing the same floor skills as our golds, just as an example.

But, since you can't change the past, I agree that another year of gold will likely suit her. I don't know how your gym does groups and move ups, but if she struggled that much, I do hope she gets the opportunity to work out with girls close to her skill level, even if they are training gold for the first time. We have divided ours into three groups until we start summer: definitely staying, definitely moving up, and on the bubble. There will be silvers moving to gold in the summer who will be best suited to work with those who are repeating, as they all need similar stations and drills. I know you said she enjoys learning harder skills, but if she's scoring an 8.5 average or less, she really needs to focus on some basics and taking a step back could really benefit her in the long run. It will also prepare her better for those more difficult skills on the future, because strong basics lead to quality progressions and skills.
 
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