USAG Level 3

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It's been kind of a long time since i've been on chalkbucket - and I've missed it! :D

Anyway, I overheard some new mom's last night talking about level 3. One of them then asked me if I knew anything about it (and of course, I didn't, i am WAAAY out of the loop these days:rolleyes:)

Is USAG sanctioning Level 3 competitions now? I thought that sanctioned competition started at level 4? Is this true?
There are sanctioned competitions at all the levels technically, but it's pretty unusual for gyms to compete below level 4 in some places. In a couple years that might be changing due to some restructuring from USAG. L3 is more common in some places than others. Also, many more gyms do unsanctioned rec meets with their preteams.
sheplaysinthechalk - you still have my very favorite user name. I know a few gyms in my area compete Level 3.
Hmm good question. As far as I know, USAG starts at level 4 with the sanctioned meets. We compete AAU for our level 3. I will ask and get back to you.
usag sanctions level 3 and level 2 and probably level 1 but i'm not sure anyone competes level 1.

level 3 and even 2 are popular in some states and unheard of in others, just depends.

When a gym hosts a meet they choose which levels to host. Many meets just do not choose to host level 3's at their meets but they could.

We do have level 3 at some of the sanctioned meets in our state but some gyms choose to take their level 3's to unsanctioned meets or in house or not at all.
As the other posters said, if varies by state. But yes, USAG sanctions competition at L2 and L3. In Florida, for example, there are tons of L2 and L3 gymnasts and a state championship for this level.
I wanted to get our schedule before I posted, so that I could confirm, but yes, we do have a state meet for our L3s. It's the first part of March.
I asked the head coach at practice and she said that USAG does sanction level 3. We have one that we can go to if we choose to but the other meets are 3 non- sanctioned and 2 AAU.
We are having a competitive L3 team for the very first time this year. Honestly, I think it is a money issue for many gyms. With the rise of competitive cheering at younger and younger ages, having competitive gymnastics available as an alternative helps keep a lot of these kids from being siphoned off to cheer squads.
I may get flamed for this, but I'm not sure how much the idea of competitive gymnastics for 4 and 5 yr olds (L2 and L3) is for the kids and how much it is for the parents who want bragging rights for their "supertot" gymnast.
Crystalflipz- I have a 5 year old gymnast competing level 3. It is the only option the gym gives us. Either we like it or we go find another gym. The problem with finding another gym is that all the gyms in our city operate the same way so we would have to just move out of town. Personally I would like to skip competing level 3 and 4 altogether and just work toward competing level 5. Saves me money and time.
Like I said, a lot of times I think it is a $$ issue for gyms. There is more of an emotional and financial commitment if your child is competing than if they are just signing up for regular class sessions. I guess my big point is that I think that it is more adult driven at this level than kid-driven. I've seen so many really talented kids burn out in my years as a team-mom that I'm concerned that the younger they start to compete, the higher the risk of burning out will be.
I think it depends on the state. Where we live, gymnastisc is not big. None of the major state colleges even have a gym program. The girls start competiting at level one here. Yes, it is done that way at all the gyms here. :) State meet even has level one session.
Like I said, a lot of times I think it is a $$ issue for gyms. There is more of an emotional and financial commitment if your child is competing than if they are just signing up for regular class sessions. I guess my big point is that I think that it is more adult driven at this level than kid-driven. I've seen so many really talented kids burn out in my years as a team-mom that I'm concerned that the younger they start to compete, the higher the risk of burning out will be.

I have to agree with you on this. You see it more and more in many sports. In figure skating they can start competing at age 3. Now how many 3 year olds have a clue as to what is going on? Almost none. This is a biggie for the parents to buy pricey dresses, do the hair, pay to enter the child for a 50 second routine, pay a coach an on and on. But clubs always include Tots in their competitions because----it brings in money.

I know some of you are "stuck" with programs at your gym that offer L2 or 3 and nothing else. At that level it is a money maker for the gym---large numbers of girls, coaches tend to be younger with less experience(don't need to be paid as much) and obviously they hope some of these girls will continue on in their team program. Children's sports is a huge business and owners will do what they feel will work at bringing kids in the door and committing to a program.
Rec classes are a bigger money maker though. For meets adding an additional level, especially if it could be combined with another level's session that would be smaller anyway, would be a moneymaker but that's less from the gym side. L2/3 preteam or competitive teams must have less overheads than the more specialized and longer training hours of higher levels, but I'm not sure that "competitive" L3 is all that more profitable than L3 "preteam", or than L4. When I was a kid, competing L4 was pretty much like competing L3 now. But compulsories have also gotten much more competitive as a whole. There were way less 9s, and I don't think this is completely scoring inflation. When I watch a compulsory meet now, I think the actual quality of gymnastics is better and the expectations are higher than they used to be.

I suspect for most gyms it's more of a way to involve people early, and they also feel it gives them an advantage in L4 and 5 to have had prior competitive experience now. There may be some gain to having more parents in the parents association, things like that, but there are also costs to arranging competition, for example whoever is coaching at the meets has to be a pro member and get a background check and safety cert...for many gyms this is going to require an additional person with these credentials because of session overlaps at meets and of course it should be the person who is working with the kids most of the time. With training hours you're paying less per hour the more hours the kids go. The gym needs to purchase materials, learn the routines, etc.

I see it as more of a trend, much like L4 competition. Now we are moving towards USAG pushing lower level competition, which is a moneymaker for USAG, a way to grow the sport. Individual gyms I suspect mostly are indifferent between the gain to have their preteam compete in sanctioned meets or not. Unsanctioned meets would come at less cost.

We don't really have L3 competition in my state much yet. There are unsanctioned, informal competitions between preteams, and some people have enrolled their L3s in the lowest level of prep op and just had them compete the L3 routines there.
Almost no L3 in my state either gymdog. The gyms that have those programs tend to informally get together and put on a couple of meets. There is no state meet.

Certainly if you talk with gym owners, they will tell you the rec program pays for the competitive one. I would say gyms with either pre-team, developmental or L1-3 programs see those programs as "rec" and it helps to fund their L4 and up teams.

What bothers me is gyms that push these lower level comp teams and have parents shell out several hundred dollars for a leo/warm up and then meet/coaches fees. By the time any of the kids get to around L5, parents may not be able to afford the sport anymore.
Well it's weird because a fairly long time ago (maybe 7 years?) my state did have a L3 meet. Only for one year, maybe two, I can't remember, but then basically the gyms that were doing it decided it wasn't worth it because the trend in sanctioned L3 competition wasn't really picking up at the time. And basically what was happening was it was causing the kids to do an "extra" year before level 4, where they were 6 or 7 and without level 3 probably would have moved straight from preteam to level 4 for lack of another option, but were starting at L3 anyway. And with level 4 getting somewhat "easier" in terms of the actual skill requirements, if not the quality requirements (i.e. vaulting on the resi mat, etc), this just didn't make sense.

But if it were to have caught on as a trend and more gyms were using L3, it would have become the de facto option because otherwise the kids would be unprepared for the L4 competition. This is basically what's happened with L4. Like 90% of gyms in the country aren't going to start the kids at L5 because they would be disadvantaged in terms of experience.

So that's why I suspect the regional clustering of L3 competition is a trend that catches on and sort of feeds itself. I have seen videos of L3s who are better than the overwhelming majority of level 4s in my state, and I would imagine they can do the level 4 skills too. And aside from very few who might not be 6, many look to be 6 or 7 and would obviously just be competing in level 4 in my state. Just like when I was a child (L4 was catching on, but few gyms did the state meet) kids would just be competing in level 5 even if their kip was spotty or they needed a spot on vault. Ultimately I suspect the whole country is going to move towards the trend of lower level competition because I think that's positive in terms of growth and financial gain for USAG as a whole. Of course they're going to push it. I agree about the fees but feel the same way about compulsories as a whole. At one point long sleeve leos and out of state competition for level 4 and even 5 was not common, now in L4 they have the full uniform and are doing meets with airfare. To me this is too much commitment to ask people to make at this level, and contributes to the unrealistic expectations of how the kids will progress through the sport.
I really never heard of USAG L3 until I came here to CB. I live in NJ and locally, not many gyms around here do/compete a L3 team. Most go right from a pre-team into L4. However, we had seen some L3's comepete at a larger meet and they were too cute!

At DD's new gym they are officially starting a L3 team this year. In the past (I think, not 100% since we came as L5) they started teaching L4 skills in some rec classes, a develomental class, and then non-compete L4 team and then onto L4 team compete. I think I like how they have restructured it now. There will be a L2 team, a L3 team and then L4 team. I like the progression of skills.

How DD's old gym was she had very few L4 skill when she was invited onto the team. Most of it was learned within about 6 months, and she needed two yrs of L4. Had there been more of a progression of skills I think she would have had more confidence when she first started.

I can see it being a money thing too as others have mentioned. I say all the time I how I got sucker punched when DD was invited onto team. Those gyms doing L3 can now turn what used to be just "rec" money into a monthly tuition, meet fee, coaches fee, assessment fees and other team $$$, means more profit for them too.
another angle is that if your child is never going to get their kip or walkover on beam (and many never do) then introducing ealier layers of competition give children a longer competative experience. There are lots of positives about that - team building, fun, presentation, confidence. For lots of children the journey from level 1 to 4 may be their whole journey in gymnastics. The chance to get out there and do their thing is great. Downside - yes I know it can cost. Alot.
I agree, there are pros and cons. I would rather uptrain kids in a developmental program then to spend time learning L3 routines. But, as gymnut said, for some kids thay my only get to participate in gymnastics up through L4, so a L3 team might be a good idea. I would consider it a good idea if the leos and meets were very, very inexpensive, no bling or invitationals, and to be structured so the kids had a fun, positive experience. :)

I think L3 is very popular in certain parts of the country. We do have one session of a L2/3 state meet, but its always the same clubs that participate, and it doesnt seem to be growing. We do have MULTIPLE L4 sessions st states however-that does seem to be growing- as does prep opt.

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