Best level to start competing

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I wanted to post and see what the popular choice is as far as when you think girls should start competing. Also what level does your gym start at and what do you think are the pros and cons?

I am curious as in my area it is very common to start at level 2 and they generally don't have rec. programs you do level 1 until you can do 2 then you are forced to compete. Often parents don't want to pay for a leo and 6 meets a season and travel etc. for their 4 year old, although some do.

So what are your thoughts on the subject? Also do you think gyms should have a rec. track and a competitive track or when you reach a certain level should you be forced to compete or leave the sport?
 
7-10 is fine for me. I wish I could start them competing in level 5, but there aren't many gyms set up that way anymore.
 
7-10 is fine for me. I wish I could start them competing in level 5, but there aren't many gyms set up that way anymore.

?? Do you mean you wish the 7-10 year olds were ready for L5? I think a LOT of them are that age in our state... maybe not 7 year olds, but TONS in the 8 to 10 year old range.
 
At our gym they start competing at level 2. My daughter did not compete that level she started competing level 3. The coaches decide what level to start them at due to their skills. I personally think competing these low levels is more for fun than anything else. My daughter did awesome in level 3 and it really helped her confidence though....????
 
Last year, and for many years prior, our gym started competing at L3. This year, our owner dropped the L3 team so our first competition team is L4. But she told us she did this to start preparing for the 2012 changes coming up. So it sounds like we won't ever have a current L3 (future L2) team but will start at L4 (future L3 team)...... if that made any sense. :scratchchin:

ETA: And our L4 team has kids age 6-11, with most of them being 8/9.
 
Alex's gym starts competing at Level 2 but it is very low key. My DD started at L3 but I think it was because she was a bit older (9). Most gyms in our area start to seriously compete at Level 4. They have girls as young as 6 competing and as old as 16 at level 4.
 
I think it might be a geographical thing too. I don't think there are any places near us (New England) that compete at levels 2 and 3. Most start at 4. At our gym, they've begun starting older girls at L5 if they went through all the rec levels and are ready for it. The prep-team competes very casually (not through USAG) with the L4 routine and then those girls either go to L5 or PrepOp. We have a L4 team, but it is much younger girls (7/8) who are tracked out of the rec program earlier. It's interesting to see how things are done in different places!
 
the gyms where we are start at L 4 and most of those are rec style meets anyway. gymnastics is very laid back here, only a few gyms are very structured. we have a lot of older girls too, so my daughter is one of the youngest girls on her optionals team. we're not really in the best place to do competitive gymnastics i guess!
 
Artistic: 4-5. It seems that level 4 is mandatory now, in terms of how much experience most level 5s have, and that's frustrating to me. I would strongly resist attempts to make anything lower than 4 a big thing in my area-that's time better spent on skills & conditioning.

T&T: I want them on level 5 in at least one event. In terms of learning routines, though, I find T&T different from artistic because if you can't put together a L3 routine you're unlikely to be able to put together the L5 routine, even if you have all the skills. There's also not so much of the tiny details to learn-a proper tuck jump in L2 is the exact same as a proper tuck jump in L10, even if in practice they don't look the same.
 
they should not be competing at the age of -7 and while in utero. i think that is much too young and will lead to injury and burn out before they have a chance to breathe on their own. that's all.:)
 
they should not be competing at the age of -7 and while in utero. i think that is much too young and will lead to injury and burn out before they have a chance to breathe on their own. that's all.:)

Agree 100%!!!!! The earlier and earlier these little kids are pushed, the sooner they will start to suffer injuries that are so common w/this sport. Also, the burnout factor ramps way up too!
 
Our gym starts competing a full season (6-7 meets) at L4. The pre-team girls who are ready get a chance to compete at one USAG L3 meet (our gym's home meet) and then all the pre-team & advanced rec. kids do a non-sanctioned fun meet with routines that are a combo of L3 and L4 skills. Levels 1&2 are considered rec. at our gym, and pre-team is called L3, but they are really training to be ready for L4.

I think L4 is a good starting place for competition. This gives lots more kids the chance to try competition, since there is no big "gatekeeper" skill (the kip). We seem to have a big drop-out rate between L4 and L5 at our gym. The kip seems to be a big factor in that.

Dunno, my 2nd child was a champion gymnast in utero. :D Her backflips most certainly deserved at least a 9.9. She kicked magazines off my lap on several occasions.
 
In Canada, at least in my province you can't start competing till age 9. The first level here is about equal to level 4.
There is a pre competitive program though that is for girls up to age 10 (from about 6 i think) that has a physical ability and skills part, broken into levels. Kind of similar to tops. The skills are a lot easier as is the physical abilities portion. They can also only do one of the portions if they arent ready for the other. It is mostly about shapes and good basics. And the testing days are around $30 each. They do give the girls the experience without pushing into really hard skills their bodies aren't ready for.
 
?? Do you mean you wish the 7-10 year olds were ready for L5? I think a LOT of them are that age in our state... maybe not 7 year olds, but TONS in the 8 to 10 year old range.

I mean I would like all the kids to train for level 5 until they compete it between 7 and 10 (depending on their starting age). Tom Forster does this at CO Aerials and I think he has a great developmental program going.

To clarify, most gyms automatically start at level 4. I do not own a gym so this is not an option available to me...I have to do what I'm told to. Which is fine, but I'd rather do it this way.
 
they should not be competing at the age of -7 and while in utero. i think that is much too young and will lead to injury and burn out before they have a chance to breathe on their own. that's all.:)

Dd competed level 3 when she was 6 and then again at 7. Maybe because we were all so clueless about gymnastics, I don't think she felt any pressure. I don't think, skill-wise, she was really ready for level 3 when she was 6... She had just started gymnastics. But she had a blast... Got a goodie bag and a participation medal and she was on cloud 9. She still takes that attitude with her in to comps. Win or lose, she's just so happy to be there. And she always seems cool as a cukecumber. I'm way more nervous than she is! Not sure how much of that relates to her early competition experience and how much of that is just the way she is, but I've certainly never regretted her competing that first year.

Some gyms in our area start at level 3, some at 4.
 
In Canada, at least in my province you can't start competing till age 9. The first level here is about equal to level 4.
There is a pre competitive program though that is for girls up to age 10 (from about 6 i think) that has a physical ability and skills part, broken into levels. Kind of similar to tops. The skills are a lot easier as is the physical abilities portion. They can also only do one of the portions if they arent ready for the other. It is mostly about shapes and good basics. And the testing days are around $30 each. They do give the girls the experience without pushing into really hard skills their bodies aren't ready for.


It is the same in Quebec. You can compete when you are in grade three turning 9. The other difference between Canada and the USAG systems is that you can begin to compete at just about any level. Our pre novice national is a strong L7 and our beginner provincial comp level is about a L3/4.

Before that we have Defi which trains basics and conditioning on five apparatus, they have evaluations, but not competitions.
 
I'd say level 4, and only because of the fact that so many kids don't seem to stay with it through level 5...like 50% drop out? So, to keep it accessible to more kids...level 4.
 
My 3 dd's all started at level 5. I am not in favor of competing before age 7, for so many reasons. My oldest didn't even start until age 8. I think that one should actually train the sport for a bit before trying to compete it. Most of the level 3's I see out there in the last few years don't even have mastery of those basic skills. I think that the direction that gymnastics is going is strange and sad. It seems to be getting too easy at the lower levels and too tough at the upper levels. Doesn't make much sense to me!
 
In Australia they have comps from level 1. However I think everybody wins something in the lower levels. My dd only has one or maybe two at the most each year. They only really do a lot of conditioning and skills. The tramp is her best friend. I do sometimes wished they had more comps, but in saying that I would rather she had great basics.
 
Our gym starts competing a full season (6-7 meets) at L4. The pre-team girls who are ready get a chance to compete at one USAG L3 meet (our gym's home meet) and then all the pre-team & advanced rec. kids do a non-sanctioned fun meet with routines that are a combo of L3 and L4 skills. Levels 1&2 are considered rec. at our gym, and pre-team is called L3, but they are really training to be ready for L4.

I think L4 is a good starting place for competition. This gives lots more kids the chance to try competition, since there is no big "gatekeeper" skill (the kip). We seem to have a big drop-out rate between L4 and L5 at our gym. The kip seems to be a big factor in that.

Dunno, my 2nd child was a champion gymnast in utero. :D Her backflips most certainly deserved at least a 9.9. She kicked magazines off my lap on several occasions.

It may be a bit different here but my coach always says to us that the reason there is such a drop in level 4 - 5 is that level 4 is the last level you can compete without having a good work ethic and/or natural ability. Like states this year 101 level 4s, 55 level 5s so here about 45% drop out.

Ok in answer to the question, we start competing at level 1 but thats the norm here. I personally didn't start competing until level 4 as i skipped over levels 1 - 3
 

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