When Should Gymnasts Move Up a Level?

Gymnast Psychology

What to Consider Before Moving Up A Gymnastics Level

When a gymnast meets certain requirements, they can be offered the opportunity to move up a level.

Moving up a level can have great advantages and also some disadvantages. Deciding whether or not to allow your gymnast to move up a level can be a difficult decision for parents.

Some advantages for  your gymnast moving up a level, includes the opportunity to work on more difficult skills and compete with higher-level gymnasts. This could also be a disadvantage for your gymnast.

While moving up a level can boost their confidence for the moment, being in a level they don’t feel ready for could hurt it for a longer period of time. Also, competing against higher-level gymnasts may also intimidate your gymnast, leaving them feeling self conscious and less confident.

Before your gymnast takes the jump to the next level, consider these factors:

  1. Their level of skill: While they may be able to move up a level because they mastered a certain skill, they may not feel ready for the skills they will be working on in a higher-level. They may be intimidated by these new skills, causing a lack of confidence. It might also be better to keep them at the same level to clean up the skills they have learned, so they feel more prepared when moving up to the next level.
  2. Their level of maturity: Gymnasts who are still younger and haven’t matured emotionally may have a more difficult time moving up a level. Because they will be competing with more difficult skills, they may lose confidence when they don’t score as well as they hoped. Make sure your gymnast can handle the challenges of tackling harder skills.
  3. Their level of commitment: When moving up a level, your gymnast will be learning more difficult skills. This increase of difficulty will need a tough mind. Especially if they are already struggling with their self-confidence, focus, or their mental skills. To master the harder skills a gymnast needs to commit more hours to training their body and mind. This extra commitment will affect the gymnast, but also the entire family. Make sure that this is something that your gymnast and you, as a parent, are ready to commit to.
  4. They are on their own path: If your gymnast is ready to move up it is because the coach thinks they are ready. Likewise if your gymnast is not ready to move up, it is not the end of the world. Gymnasts develop at their own pace. If your gymnast repeats a level, that does not mean they have failed a level. Usually if a gymnast repeats a level it is because they need a little more time to work on a mental or physical skill.

Make sure to consider these factors when questioning whether your gymnast is ready to move up a level. Make sure they are ready for the skills they will be learning, the new level of commitment they need to have, and whether or not they want to move up.

For more information and tips on the mental game, check out The Confident Gymnast workbook and CD program.

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