Have you ever wondered why your child is where they’re at in gymnastics? We’re here to explain. There are many routes a child can go in gymnastics, whether its recreational, or competitive. The typical starting place for any gymnastics enthusiast is recreational gymnastics. From there they can go anywhere from higher level recreational classes, to joining a competitive team. Follow along to learn more about the different programs many gymnastics gyms have.
Many gyms that host recreational gymnastics have programs for kids ages 18 months to 18 years. Young children will typically start out in a preschool gymnastics program that has classes tailored for children 18 months to 5 years old. Preschool classes get your little one acclimated to the gymnastics atmosphere, helping them learn basic skills and how to follow directions. Those initial skills build a foundation that will help them succeed in their gymnastics journey.
Once the child has that foundation, they will progress towards school-aged classes that provide a wider range of skills and opportunities to grow. Within most school-aged recreational programs, there are levels that each provide a new challenge for the child to conquer. Once all of the skills in that level have been mastered, the next level holds a whole new set of skills that gradually require more and more experience. That’s why mastering those foundational skills is so important.
If a child moves up levels faster than their skill level, they can become frustrated and lose interest in the sport. So, when you’re wondering why your child is “stuck” in a level, there’s probably an essential skill that they need a little more work on. The coaches are a great resource to help you work with your child on those difficult skills. Many will even have exercises for your child to work on at home if asked.
Jammin’ Babies, Jammin’ Tots and Jammin’ Kids classes are part of a program that Jam Hops uses to accelerate those foundational skills in very young gymnasts that want to get started early. The earlier your child gets their footing in the gymnastics world, the more likely they are to level up at a faster rate. That being said, gymnasts improve at very different paces. Certain skills that come easy to one gymnast, may take some more practice for another. A lot of children will start their gymnastics career in Jammin’ Tots, or Jammin’ Kids 1. Some stay in Jammin’ Kids 1 until they turn 6 and can move to Gym 1, or Boys Level 1, which are the first levels for our school-aged program. Others will advance to Jammin’ Kids 2, which can put them on a route that could open up the opportunity to join our Women’s D.P. competitive team. When a child advances to Jammin’ Kids 4 they have the chance to compete in a “mock meet,” where they will be evaluated to see if they’re ready for competitive gymnastics.
Boys Progressive Gymnastics Program
Boys ages 6-18 can join our Boys Progressive Gymnastics Program. This program has Level 1-3, with opportunity to join the Men’s D.P. Competitive team through our League program.
For those gymnasts that go to Gym 1/Boys Level 1, and progress through Gym 4/Boys Level 2, they can choose to go to Gym 4/Boys Level 3, or League. League programs are made as a stepping stone for gymnasts to transfer from recreational gymnastics to a Xcel competition team. At Jam Hops, we also use the League class as a stepping stone for our Men’s D.P. Competitive Team. Similar to Jammin Kids 4, children in League will have the opportunity to compete in a “mock meet,” where they also will be evaluated to see if they’re ready to join the Xcel competitive team.
There are 5 competitive Xcel levels, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond. Each level increases in difficulty and requires a higher skill level. Xcel gymnastics programs typically have less hours in the gym than a D.P. team, but similar commitment when it comes to competition season. In most gyms, gymnasts do have to work their way up in recreational classes to earn their spot on an Xcel team.
Developmental Program (D.P.)
Though Jam Hops does not have a team for every level of D.P., some gyms have a range of teams from level 1 to 10. In Minnesota, D.P. gymnasts will start competing at level 3. Just like Xcel programs, each level becomes more difficult and requires a higher skill level as the gymnast moves up. Though Xcel and D.P. teams have their differences, both programs have increased in difficulty over the years. Again, like Xcel teams, gymnasts do have to prove that they are ready to be part of the D.P. Competitive team by working their way up the recreational levels.
At Jam Hops, our competitive teams get to show off their hard work during competition season, while our recreational gymnasts show their skills at our annual Spring Show. All of our gymnasts work so hard and we want to make sure we give everyone a chance to highlight their progress. This year our theme for the spring show is Rising Stars for our gymnastics, cheer, and Alpha STARS and 25 Year Anniversary.
The Spring Show at our Anoka/Ramsey location takes place on May 14th & 15th. Make sure to sign your child up for a session by May 7th.
At our Blaine/Ham Lake location, the show will take place on May 21st & 22nd. The deadline to sign up will be May 14th for this second weekend of fun.
All recreational gymnasts & cheerleaders enrolled in Jam Hops’ cheer classes, Jammin’ Babies, Jammin’ Tots, Jammin’ Kids 1-3, Gym 1-5/6, Boys Level 1-3, Boys Flips & Tricks, Home School gymnastics, and *Alpha Athletes Movement as of April 9th must choose a session to participate in the Spring Show.
*Alpha Athletes Movement participants will participate during their normal practice time.