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When to advance to next competitive level?

Discussion in 'Moves In The Field' started by Jozet, Oct 1, 2012.

  1. Jozet

    Jozet Well-Known Member

    I think I have my own understanding of when young skaters and their coaches move up to the next level. But I'm wondering what the range of thought is on this.

    For example, one general "rule" or common practice is that once a kid has a single axel (more or less), they star Pre-Pre. (Well, you can't skate No Test with and axel, and I'm sure some skaters might "sandbag" for whatever reason. Still....)

    And I know there are move-ups more or less built in (age limits and not skating below a certain free skate test level.)

    But Pre-Juv and Juvenile (other than scoring) seem a bit gray. And then Juvenile and Intermediate (beyond age requirements) have some cross-over.

    So, for instance, is it always best to be placing well as a Juvenile before moving up to Intermediate? Or is that difference not as great as, say, between Int and Novice? Is there a better level to repeat a year or two, or is there an advantage to getting two years Novice experience instead of two years Intermediate?

    I know there are a lot of factors. Just like to hear other people's thoughts on this.
  2. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    I think it will depend a lot on the skater:
    age, physical maturity, goals, general skill level, specific strengths and weaknesses, etc.
  3. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate Well-Known Member

    Age also comes into play if they want to skate at regionals.
  4. overedge

    overedge Janny uber

    Jozet, I know from your thoughtful posts that you are definitely not one of these kinds of parents - but it's really a mistake to advance a skater into a higher category just because that category is seen as more prestigious or more important than the skater's current category.

    IMHO it's also a mistake to leave a skater in a category that s/he technically qualifies for, but in which s/he has consistently higher-level skills than the other competitors, just because s/he can win medals in that category. In other words, don't sandbag.
  5. Jozet

    Jozet Well-Known Member

    Thank you. And no, it's not about prestige. In my particular case, my kiddo was a late starter and a late bloomer. (Well...she's still blooming, lol.) She could have stayed another year in Juv, but she's older and has hit puberty and felt out of place with some of the younger/smaller kids in Juv. I was hesitant because I wasn't sure that was a good enough reason to make the move, but now it seems like a good decision. She'll probably compete another year in Intermediate since her skills aren't quite there yet to place consistently where she wants. She's competitive (for now), so I'm on board with another year in Intermediate.

    But our situation just got me thinking about the question in general. Int/Novice is such a mystery to me. We've seen kids trying triple lutz in Int and kids struggling with double axel and low triples in Novice. I know there's more to it than just jumping ability, but the question of "right time to move" is on my mind.
  6. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    One thing you can do if you're not sure whether to move up a level is to try out programs prepared for the next level and see how it goes.

    Are you comfortable with the longer length of the free program? If it's a level with short programs, are you comfortable with the short program requirements for that level?

    If yes, skate up to the higher level at some club competitions in the spring and see how it goes.
  7. Jozet

    Jozet Well-Known Member

    This makes sense. The beginning of the season when kids are trying longer programs for the first time usually makes for a lot of breath-catching coming off the ice. :) Also, having the skills to fill a longer program or an extra spin is something to think about.
  8. Doubletoe

    Doubletoe Well-Known Member

    How far has she tested in moves-in-the-field? The higher her MIF test level, the higher her PCS is likely to be, and that's something to gauge against other Intermediate skaters as well, not just her jumps.
  9. skatemommy

    skatemommy Well-Known Member

    It also depends on the region and season. Some years, some levels are very competitive and some levels are all falls. I remember a few years back the 4th place novice lady at EGL could have easily beaten the top 5 juniors, etc. Sometimes a little research on the competition is good! But I agree with having some success before moving up a level if not aging out.
  10. 4rkidz

    4rkidz plotting, planning and travelling

    I think it is very important that she has the major voice in what happens :D Enjoying the moment is so important and that is hard to do if a skater is not in the right category.. Especially in their early to mid teens when many girls will quit skating. I truly believe there is a place for all skaters and as parents we should look at the emotional needs of the skater and for coaches they should look at the ability and potential of the skater and be realistic of the skaters chances in that division. A decent coach will be honest with you and say where a skater has the potential to place.. I also think it helps with goal setting if you focus on the goals and not the winning.. that way even if a child is middle of the pack or even last - if they can accomplish mini goals it can still give them some level of accomplishment.
  11. Jozet

    Jozet Well-Known Member

    Thank you all! This is helpful in our particular situation, but also in understanding overall how the decision is often made. Thanks!