Parents JO v. Excel

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I've never heard of this before and it's creating a lot of confusion among the parents.

My daughter made team in May, along with 10-15 other girls. There are obviously differences in talent, though they all made team. We were told this summer would be to get to know each other etc.

I just found out that the team that just moved up (the 10-15 girls) are being evaluated. At the end of the summer, the coaches will decide whether to put the entire group into excel bronze or level 3, regardless of whether a particular athlete can meet the requirements of level 3.

This seems ludicrous to me. No other sport moves all abilities to varsity, for example. It wouldn't just be that they may move to excel bronze, but there is already an excel bronze and they're making a separate one for these girls. They'd have to remain there a year.

Does this make sense to anyone? I'm new to this, my daughter is 6.5. I don't get the 2nd round of "tryouts" or why they have to stay in wherever they put them in for an entire year.

I don't know enough about the excel program, but they're obviously making it sound that it's not as good as JO, or why else put an entire group in it? Are there any downsides?
 
Different gyms use the Xcel program in different ways so it's hard to say. Sounds like your gym might be using Xcel as a sort of preteam program. Or are they suggesting that the move to Xcel would be more permanent?

Evaluations are pretty standard between seasons... decisions have to be made at a certain point about which girls might repeat and those who are moving up. It's the same all the way up to level 10... Unless you can get the necessary skills for the next level (as defined by your coach/gym), you don't move up.

When is your compulsory season? Fall or spring?
 
It’s not so crazy. They have a cohort of gymnasts training first-year team skills. This level can compete DP or Xcel. They are going to decide based on what works best for the majority of the group. It’ll be fine either way. In the past, level 3 wasn’t even a competitive level. It’s still not a required level. I don’t think it matters if they compete xcel or level 3, just so long that the strong gymnasts have a path to level 4 next year.
 
Most level 3 skills can be competed in bronze they just don't have to be. The only exception I can think of is vault is different. For reference my dd did a year of bronze, half of that group went to silver the other half level 3.
 
Not unusual and I don't really see this as a 2nd round of tryouts. Many gyms use Xcel for the lower levels before moving kids to DP. L3 and Bronze are not even required levels of competition and lots of gyms don't compete them at all and just start kids in Silver or L4. One thing you can do is look up your gym on mymeetscores and look at the competing history of kids in the highest levels. Does your gym have L10s? Are they homegrown or transfers? You can get some insight on your DDs potential trajectory by looking at the history of others. As long as they are progressing through levels, it doesn't necessarily matter if they start in Xcel or DP.

As far as the wide range of talent you are seeing in your DDs group...this is also pretty normal. Gymnastics is progressive meaning the skills being learned today provide the foundations for the next level and beyond. It's common for drills for high level bars and vault skills to start 2-3 years before the skill will actually be competed (and often the kids and parents don't even know that some of the 'fun' stations they rotate through are actually preparing them for bigger skills later). Kids generally will start at the lowest level a gym competes no matter overall talent or whether they have skills beyond the gyms lowest level. Some gyms don't fast track at all. Some will but they will jump kids L4-7 or L5-L8 (kids will score out of the level they are skipping during an in-house meet or at an early season meet).

I think it's OK at this level for the entire group to be kept together. Sounds like they are creating a cohort. Gymnastics has huge attrition. You can expect that of the 15 kids in your DDs group, 4 of them will be in the sport as high school seniors. The kids who are currently 'the best' may or may not have an awesome season. The kids who are currently 'the worst' may struggle or may be able to compete on par with 'the best'. Keep in mind that they are judged on the execution of the routine, judges don't know that the kid who scores a 9.0 has skills 2 levels up while the kid who scored a 9.4 is competing at the max of their skill range.
 
The routines are different between Xcel and DP/JO3, you will see more variety in Xcel so that is a big reason that Xcel at the lower levels is very popular, with DP you have to do the premade routines with all the teams using the same music.

Like others have said using Xcel is not unusual and it won't hold anyone back or overwhelm anyone to compete Bronze with others in Xcel even if some of the teammates are more advanced or have better technique.
 
This is not unusual. When my daughter joined, they were all kept L2 together even with massive differences in talent. The next year, they joined with the L3s who were repeating and the group became 25 L3s. Of those 12 L2s who started together, one girl skipped L3 and is now training 9, my daughter did all levels and is now training 8, one girl repeated 4 and is now training 7. They all train optionals together at the same time. The rest have moved on from gymnastics. Point being-- as long as the gym is good about skill progression, the early levels do not matter.
 
Our gym does an initial move up in April for summer training and then reassesses in August. Some girls may be moved up in April with the goal of getting certain skills, but then if they haven't gotten them by August, they are moved back. I think it's better that way than just saying they can't move up in April because they aren't quite there yet.
 
My DD gym does this with level 4….if not everyone can make it they keep them together and do Gold. I personally am not a big fan of Xcel but her coaches used it well. She was able to gain confidence and successfully moved from Gold to 6. Some of her teammates did not make it to 6 and instead competed platinum. Her gym before did not value keeping the kids together and would instead hold them back at an early age. I prefer her current gym’s strategy.

I would encourage you to talk to your gym about the path forward. What level will she compete after bronze? What skills does she need to rejoin the DP track? Will she be held to an DP standard? Etc.
 
My DD gym does this with level 4….if not everyone can make it they keep them together and do Gold. I personally am not a big fan of Xcel but her coaches used it well. She was able to gain confidence and successfully moved from Gold to 6. Some of her teammates did not make it to 6 and instead competed platinum. Her gym before did not value keeping the kids together and would instead hold them back at an early age. I prefer her current gym’s strategy.

I would encourage you to talk to your gym about the path forward. What level will she compete after bronze? What skills does she need to rejoin the DP track? Will she be held to an DP standard? Etc.
Thanks- her coaches are fairly unfriendly and don't have time to talk with you. They're too busy I guess. The gym has stuffed in more classes and the coaches seem stressed.

Anyway, after reading the posts, my only concern is that, after 2 of her coaches (from before team, much friendlier) said she's good enough for level 3, and she goes to excel with everyone else for a year, will she have the skills to meet level 4 requirements? I've read excel doesn't teach those.
 
Not unusual and I don't really see this as a 2nd round of tryouts. Many gyms use Xcel for the lower levels before moving kids to DP. L3 and Bronze are not even required levels of competition and lots of gyms don't compete them at all and just start kids in Silver or L4. One thing you can do is look up your gym on mymeetscores and look at the competing history of kids in the highest levels. Does your gym have L10s? Are they homegrown or transfers? You can get some insight on your DDs potential trajectory by looking at the history of others. As long as they are progressing through levels, it doesn't necessarily matter if they start in Xcel or DP.

As far as the wide range of talent you are seeing in your DDs group...this is also pretty normal. Gymnastics is progressive meaning the skills being learned today provide the foundations for the next level and beyond. It's common for drills for high level bars and vault skills to start 2-3 years before the skill will actually be competed (and often the kids and parents don't even know that some of the 'fun' stations they rotate through are actually preparing them for bigger skills later). Kids generally will start at the lowest level a gym competes no matter overall talent or whether they have skills beyond the gyms lowest level. Some gyms don't fast track at all. Some will but they will jump kids L4-7 or L5-L8 (kids will score out of the level they are skipping during an in-house meet or at an early season meet).

I think it's OK at this level for the entire group to be kept together. Sounds like they are creating a cohort. Gymnastics has huge attrition. You can expect that of the 15 kids in your DDs group, 4 of them will be in the sport as high school seniors. The kids who are currently 'the best' may or may not have an awesome season. The kids who are currently 'the worst' may struggle or may be able to compete on par with 'the best'. Keep in mind that they are judged on the execution of the routine, judges don't know that the kid who scores a 9.0 has skills 2 levels up while the kid who scored a 9.4 is competing at the max of their skill range.
Thanks for all the helpful information! I asked around and the gym doesn't have any level 10s. I'll look at the mymeetscores to look at the gym in competitions. There's a "more competitive" gym in missouri where a couple elite gymnasts trained before college (Gage gym in Missouri). However, with her at age 6.5 I don't want to overload her, be yelled at, etc. If she's even good enough to make team there. She does gymnastics 24/7 (at our house if not at the gym😵‍💫) so I don't think she'd run out of energy, I just worry about injuries.
 
Different gyms use the Xcel program in different ways so it's hard to say. Sounds like your gym might be using Xcel as a sort of preteam program. Or are they suggesting that the move to Xcel would be more permanent?

Evaluations are pretty standard between seasons... decisions have to be made at a certain point about which girls might repeat and those who are moving up. It's the same all the way up to level 10... Unless you can get the necessary skills for the next level (as defined by your coach/gym), you don't move up.

When is your compulsory season? Fall or spring?
I'm really new to this team thing, so I'm sorry if compulsory season means something else, but they start competing in the fall, at least at her level. If that answers your question??.

The thing is, for a year she was on what her gym defined as "pre-team". They had a red white and blue level. Which they've now changed I guess. So this summer was supposed to be a get to know you, and then be a level 3. Even 2 of the rec coaches still think that. Some of the parents say I'm completely wrong when I say they are moving together. So the gym is TERRIBLE at communicating. Maybe that should be a warning sign. We also routinely get emails about skill clinics that have already started, or start that day. It's really ticking me off.
 
Thanks- her coaches are fairly unfriendly and don't have time to talk with you. They're too busy I guess. The gym has stuffed in more classes and the coaches seem stressed.

Anyway, after reading the posts, my only concern is that, after 2 of her coaches (from before team, much friendlier) said she's good enough for level 3, and she goes to excel with everyone else for a year, will she have the skills to meet level 4 requirements? I've read excel doesn't teach those.
Xcel is different than compulsory in the way that you have more options. It can be good or bad depending on the gymnast. An example would be in Gold you could do a pullover or a kip on bars. The girls doing pullovers did not make it to 6 the next season but the girls doing kips did.

It would be difficult to navigate if your coaches don’t have time to talk to you. We had clear communication with DD’s coach and understood the goals and expectations. This sport IMO requires a lot of trust. It might be worth looking into other programs to determine if you are with the gym you feel most comfortable with.
 
Xcel is different than compulsory in the way that you have more options. It can be good or bad depending on the gymnast. An example would be in Gold you could do a pullover or a kip on bars. The girls doing pullovers did not make it to 6 the next season but the girls doing kips did.

It would be difficult to navigate if your coaches don’t have time to talk to you. We had clear communication with DD’s coach and understood the goals and expectations. This sport IMO requires a lot of trust. It might be worth looking into other programs to determine if you are with the gym you feel most comfortable with.
I think I understand. I might give it time (if that's they decide to put them in excel), and call a meeting with the coaches. There's negative gossip always going around. I don't know if that's the nature of the sport or not. Lots if parents negatively talking about their higher level gymnasts.
 
The gossip and negative talking were the worst in the early levels (until L7-L8). Until then gymnastics is relatively ‘easy’ and parents still believe their kid is the next best thing to hit the gymnastics world. Combine this with the fact that it takes parents awhile to even learn the sport and well, it can create an environment of competitiveness. It doesn’t help if the coaches are not that approachable (which is common, BTW). Eventually the kids of the most annoying parents leave the sport and parents start to fully realize how difficult the skills are and all you want is for all the kids to be successful and healthy.

I still think the biggest problem you’ve mentioned is a lack of high level (L9-L10) gymnasts. Unless your gym is new this suggests your gym can’t progress kids or they leave to other gyms.
 
No 9s or 10s at the gym would concern me, although it wouldn’t have in the early levels. Most gyms aren’t great with communication and it’s pretty uncommon for coaches to routinely meet with parents.
 
The gossip and negative talking were the worst in the early levels (until L7-L8). Until then gymnastics is relatively ‘easy’ and parents still believe their kid is the next best thing to hit the gymnastics world. Combine this with the fact that it takes parents awhile to even learn the sport and well, it can create an environment of competitiveness. It doesn’t help if the coaches are not that approachable (which is common, BTW). Eventually the kids of the most annoying parents leave the sport and parents start to fully realize how difficult the skills are and all you want is for all the kids to be successful and healthy.

I still think the biggest problem you’ve mentioned is a lack of high level (L9-L10) gymnasts. Unless your gym is new this suggests your gym can’t progress kids or they leave to other gyms.
Thank you! I will look at mymeetscores. Is there anywhere I should be looking? I'll just go poke around the site. Yeah I figured their kids were all 9s and 10s bc the moms were confidently throwing around terms and how their kids were bad at it. Then I found out they were level 5 and 6. Maybe one 7. We had 1 girl go to college last year. Is that anything to worry about? That no one is going to college for it? Thanks for your help!
 
No 9s or 10s at the gym would concern me, although it wouldn’t have in the early levels. Most gyms aren’t great with communication and it’s pretty uncommon for coaches to routinely meet with parents.
I'm going to poke mymeetscores and see what I can find. I could just ask one of the coaches today, but they will just be annoyed.
 
When you are in mymeetscores make sure you look at the gym history of the kids who are L9 and L10. Also look at kids in lower levels (L5-L7) where the last meet date is 2-4 years ago. If they are still in the sport and with another gym you will see that when you click on their name.
 
I'm going to poke mymeetscores and see what I can find. I could just ask one of the coaches today, but they will just be annoyed.
Sort by “latest meets” and look to see how many upper levels have competed in the last few years and how they have scored/placed. Many gyms will only have a few 9s and 10s but if they are doing well then the coaches are capable of coaching to those levels.
 

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