Coaches Holding back gymnasts who are scoring very high

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What do you think about holding back gymnasts (on a level) who are scoring very high? I am talking about the compulsory levels, and kids who are scoring in the 37's and 38's in the AA. I am at a gym that allows parents to hold their kids back if they are nervous or for various other reasons (?). To be honest, I don't always know the reasons, but I do wonder why we have several girls who have scored in the top 3 at states and are currently state champions on at least one event, and these girls will be repeating the same level.

I do suspect I know why it's done, as the gym continues to win the state championships every year at the compulsory levels. They do pretty well at optionals, but not as well as at compulsories.

My own girls have not been held back, but they have had to compete against girls who are repeating a level after scoring 38.5 at states the year before. It is discouraging, to say the least. I don't agree with the philosophy of the gym, but my girls are happy there.

I'd be interested to hear coaches' thoughts...
We try and make our girls move up however with moving up levels comes moving up to larger hours. A lot of parents at our gym don't want their daughters going up purely becuase of increased hours, and we accept their wants and needs because often it comes down to accepting their request or loosing the gymnast all together to another club.
I find Often if the child is left behind and all their team mates move up and are doing much harder skills the child will decide they want to do that also.
I do think however that it is extremely unfair on the new girls in the level to have to be against the girls scoring as high as your saying and doing their second year in that level. I understand holding them back if they havent been scoring higher, but holding them back with those scores are unfair.
Sometimes in order for gymnasts to move up there needs to be two options... at our gym we say well they move up and train the full hours or they move out of the competitive program and to programs where less hours are needed (such as rec). Almost Always the parents move up after being told the options lol.
It is very unfair. At our gym, most of the girls are in such a hurry to move up so it isn't really an issue. Other gyms, however, have done that. Cough cough-Sheboygan. Sneeze- Appleton. LOL It is very annoying but also how they win states! :rolleyes:
The only reasons I see for "holding a gymnast back" are: lack of skills for the next level, lack of ability to do said skills safely, and an inablility to perform the current level's skills accurately and productivly. If a girl scores a 35 at a meet, can do the skills well, and can perform the next level's skills then I say why not move them up; of course I'd talk to the gymnast and the parents.
Yes, at our gym last year, we had 3 girls who scored higher than a 39.00 AA at states...
At the gym I coach at our philosphy is you have your skills to successfully compete at the next level and you have a good attitude and work ethic we will move you up. However, I do want to share one story with you and get your feedback.

The gym I work at is brand new to compeitive gymnastics. We started last year. So our girls have either come from the rec program or from another gym. We have this one Level 4, who is going into her 4th year at Level 4. Now, I know she is going to score 37-38AA this year, but what would you do? This child has the worst work ethic of any girl I've coached in the last 12 years. She only goofs off in practice and is in time outs more than she is in the gym. We have warned her mom that she is on strike 2, one more and she is out. So the girl has a terrible attitude and work ethic. She also does not have ANY of her Level 5 skills. Seriously, because of her work ethic she hasn't gotten any new skills.

So although I agree that you should move up your kids when they are scoring 37-38 sometimes there is a rare child in there who can not do the skills needed to move up. And coming from Illinois, man I would say almost 95% of the gyms hold their girls back to the point where it is ridiculous.
That is a tough call, but I think you're doing the right thing. If the gymnast has no work ethic, then perhaps (and i'm not saying I'm right on this) they simply do not care to be doing the sport. I would continue to hold her back until she is able to at least do the skills, and have a chat with her parents and her. Ask her what her goals are and where she wants to go in gymnastics.
Here are the criteria I use in determining whether to move a kid up:

1) Do they have the skills for the next level? They don't necessarily need to do them perfectly, they just need to be able to do them safely.

2) Do they want to move up?

I would never hold a kid back if the answer to both questions is "yes."
Jasmine, I think your 4th year L4 just doesn't want to do gymnastics. The poor work ethic, bad behavior to me all spell, let me out of here. I guess most of us are guessing she's 9 or 10 and at that age she certainly knows how to behave in a group and after 3 years, probably is quite sure of what is required to move to L5. Have to wonder if mom/dad are forcing her to do gymnastics(for whatever reason) even though she's made no real progress in 2-3 years.

Might be time for a sit down talk with the parents before meet season starts to get a feel for this situation. Its not fair to you as a coach or the other girls to have a kid always being disruptive.
For a more in-depth answer: I can think of several possible situations where a kid who is scoring high would not move up.

1) The kid doesn't have the determination to learn the skills for the next level. This is usually the first symptom of burnout, and if this is the case with your kid, I would sit down and talk to her and see if she really does want to continue in the sport. Of course in such a situation the coach should do everything he or she can to push the kid forward, but ultimately, this rests on the kid. I have one girl who "doesn't want to move up until she wins states." She doesn't want to learn any new skills because she doesn't want to move up. There's really not much a coach can do with a kid like this. We can push them, encourage them, whatever, but ultimately the gymnast will not improve unless they want to improve. If they genuinly are not interested in putting forth the effort required to improve, it may be time to either quit or switch gyms. I say switch gyms because sometimes (though not very often) a change of scenery really can do wonders for a kid's motivation.

2) The kid, for some other reason (be it a fear issue or a simple lack of talent), cannot get the skills necessary. Nobody's really at fault here; the kid gets the skills when she gets the skills, and she can't move up until then. I have one girl who competed level 4 last year (should have done L5 in my opinion, but that's another can of worms I'm not going to get into here), who looks she could easily do L7 on floor, bars, and vault. Put her on beam and she falls apart. She cannot consistently do a cartwheel. In this particular case, we're moving her up to L5 anyway, but you see my point; a coach can be justified in holding a kid back if there are particular, crucial skills that they don't have.

3) The kid could be capable of moving up, but the coaches lack the coaching ability to get them ready for the next level in time for competition season. It's a real shame, but it happens. What more can I say?

4) The kid is capable of moving up, the coach is capable of getting them there, but the coach would rather hold the kid back for the glory of comming in 1st at every meet. This scenario is revoltingly common. Such coaches are, in my opinion, a disgrace to themselves, their gyms, and the sport as a whole. This sport is about challenging yourself, and I firmly believe that kids gain more from working their butts off for 6th than they do from getting 1st without breaking a sweat.
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You know its funny. We have talked with both mom and the child. Mom is in complete denial that her daughter could do no wrong. We have given this child to many chances. She is on strike 3 right now, and we just sent another e-mail to this mother. She still insits that her daughter hasn't done anything wrong and we just "hate" her. Our team coaches will be getting together today to vote on if we should dismiss her from team. We've never done that before but it hasn't gotten this far before.

I know that she does not want to do gymnastics, and that she understands what is required to move up levels. I'll keep you all updated:(
Just an update for everyone. Yesterday after much consideration and discusion the coaching staff and owner decided it was in the best interest of the gym, team and this young ladies future to dismiss her from our team.

I really am hoping that she goes to another gym and that the change of senery helps her move past where she has been for so long. I've known this girl for 5 years, and she has been at 3 different gyms during this time, she has the talent, I just hope she gets the love and desire back to continue on.
Hi, I know this one is a little old, but I was interested in the ituation regarding the girl who was dismissed from the team. How did the family handle the situation? Did she remain at the gym in a recreational program? Move to another gym? Or stop training altogether?

I have a feeling that the bad behaviour, attitude and work ethic may actually be caused by her lack of progress. For a child to be in level 4 for 4 years and see all her team mates move up she is likely to become quite down on her training. The motivation to work hard is not going to be there. Sometimes being lazy and getting into trouble are a cover up for the real issue. If she is being held back so much and she doesn't try, she can say it is because she couldn;t be bothered trying, which for a kid is less hurtful than saying it is because she doesn't think she is very good.
An Update: She has since gone to another local gym and joined their team. She is competing Level 5 but does not have all her skills and is only scoring around 28 in the AA. We got a chance at our last meet to see her, and I wasn't really impressed. I know her new coach and the same thing is happening at the new gym. Causing issues, bad behavior, no work ethic, etc. So it wasn't a matter of being bored. In this child's case I think its a matter of being spoiled.

As for when she was dismissed. Her parent's took it surprisingly well. Dad yelled, mom yelled, but it wasn't for to long, and they left. We really just told them that we were sorry, but we were going to have to dismiss her from our team, we wish her luck, and hope that she finds a gym where she can succeed. Saw mom at the last meet, she said hi, so it looks like all is in the past.
Back to the topic.... many gyms in Oklahoma have "carreer" level 4's and 5's... this in my opinion ruins the reason for compulsaries... I feel that this is a opportunity to teach and learn base skills for moving on. If you score well... great... if not... keep at it. I agree with the rest of the coaches... if the gymnast cannot preform the skills necessary for the next level... no you can not move them on... but if they are capable (hmmm we have some gyms that their compulsaries do floor warm ups with standing tucks....???) and the coach/ gym is doing it for the win.... Well that is where people get discouraged and we lose gymnasts. I think their should be a novice and open type seperation. After so many years (2) or max score or place (37 or 1st in all arounds or 2 or more events) then you move to another level or an open class where you are competing with others in the same boat. I think this would help the obivious problem.
I've never held gymnasts back because of scoring high, or better team scores. I train my kids to get them to optionals / pre-elite as soon as possible. It make look like we hold kids back when I have level 5's capable of doing giants or blind changes. But you have to remember that these are their TOP's skills as a 9yr old. But it is their first year at 5. And they will probably be 7 or 8 the next year. Too many gyms set their kids up for failure by putting gymnasts in meets they aren't ready for. We just want our kids to feel success, its one of the most important parts in building the confidence of a gymnast.
our gym is all messed up. They were holding level 5's back so they could win states, then when the level 5's finally moved up, they moved them right up to Level 7. The Level 7's all moved up to level 8 and the level 8's [who do not have almost any level 9 skills] were moved up to level 9 to essentially "chuck" the level 9 skills they didn't have

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