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Old 09.02.2016, 12:56
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Gymnastic competitions, quick question

My daughter was in a gymnastics competition at the weekend. At the prize giving at the end of the day the children were called out in rank order, from first place until the last one depending on their scores on four or five different activities.

IN each age group (from the youngest, around age 5 up to the teenage years) there were more than 30 children and the children who were last had to stand there in front of everyone. The children who were last looked really uncomfortable, some were even crying. My daughter was one of the last few to be called up in her group and although she put on a brave face in front of everyone she was very upset on the way home.

I think it's fine to know your marks, even to know you were last from a score sheet (after all Swiss gymnastics are very competitive), but for all the participants to be called up to stand in rank order in front of everyone I found to be unnecessary and humiliating.

My question is, does this happen in all gymnastics competitions or is being called up in this particular way unusual?

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Old 09.02.2016, 12:58
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Re: Gymnastic competitions, quick question

It does sound a bit brutal.
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Old 09.02.2016, 13:02
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Re: Gymnastic competitions, quick question

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It does sound a bit brutal.
Must be a whole lot worse if you spend 10 years of your life training, finally reaching the highest level of competition and then end up 73rd just below the 3rd best Gymnastic from Kazakhstan!!!

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Old 09.02.2016, 13:47
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Re: Gymnastic competitions, quick question

"So the first will be last and the last will be first"!

Maybe it's a good thing afterall. This will toughen up the kids to become the tough cookies!
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Old 09.02.2016, 13:58
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Re: Gymnastic competitions, quick question

Sounds pretty normal for here. My friends son is in a gym class after school. The teacher only pays attention to the talented kids.
Wait till secondary school/gymie where everyone's marks are are posted up in public for all students to see and in order of highest to lowest.
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Old 09.02.2016, 16:01
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Re: Gymnastic competitions, quick question

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My daughter was in a gymnastics competition at the weekend. At the prize giving at the end of the day the children were called out in rank order, from first place until the last one depending on their scores on four or five different activities.
I'm not into Swiss gymnastics but in all the Swiss swimming competitions I can think of, either the rankings are posted on the wall and the top three are called out to stand on the 'rostrum' at some point later in the meet, or, in internal club competitions I've known just the six fastest to be called out, slowest first or all to be called out, slowest first. I find this much the better way round. Usually the bronze medallist is called out before the silver and gold at higher level.

What can a Mum do?
Being me, I'd ask around to find out what other Mums think and maybe ask the coaches why it is done this way round. (Actually, at an large international meet, I once got in touch with the organisers and asked why certain things were done in a certain way - and they changed them!)
Bolster up your child's self confidence. Are the marks it received this time better than last time? Some were better? What can the child do to improve them? Maybe ask the child why it thinks others got higher marks? Have they been doing it longer? Is it easier for them? (some children are more flexible than others!) Or do the others work harder?
Even a young child can begin to see the relationship between their effort and their results. And life ISN'T always fair.
I think our youngsters learned as much from unfairness as they did from their wins! Disqualified although they were in fact OK. One had to give a cup she had been presented with back again, in front of everyone; she was eight years old. Someone had counted up wrongly. Little ones have to compete against bigger children (same year of birth). Occasionally one of the other competitors cheats. Occasionally the judging isn't very good. (Though parents really should put their oar in there! They are not the experts).

It's rough seeing ones child unhappy. But that's what Mums are for. To help youngsters to pick up the shattered pieces of their own self esteem and look upwards and onwards.
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Old 09.02.2016, 16:20
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Re: Gymnastic competitions, quick question

Yep - it has been the same in the gymnastic competitions my kid has done so far. I understand that it may motivate the not so good little gymnasts to push harder next time and all kids received gifts and diplomas. But - they couldn't even fit in one decent line?!

It will eventually probably cease. As it is, I don't fuss over it since my kid has been always thrilled to participate, the coaches are superb and do it for nothing. I might chip in as a coach next year, and suggest to get rid off the long line, but I think it won't fly. The team probably thinks all kids names deserve to be read out loud and all kids aplauded, which does happen. There is no shame. Next year she will do better, OP. Not everybody can be a winner, and learning to lose gracefully is one of the big things in sportmanship.

Love the little gymnasts, and parental support...amazing atmosphere. So different than in ballet my kid does too, I like the team spirit that the gymn couches foster.
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Old 09.02.2016, 21:23
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Re: Gymnastic competitions, quick question

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I'm not into Swiss gymnastics but in all the Swiss swimming competitions I can think of, either the rankings are posted on the wall and the top three are called out to stand on the 'rostrum' at some point later in the meet, or, in internal club competitions I've known just the six fastest to be called out, slowest first or all to be called out, slowest first. I find this much the better way round. Usually the bronze medallist is called out before the silver and gold at higher level.
I think this would be just perfect for the gymnastics competitions as well.
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Old 09.02.2016, 21:30
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Re: Gymnastic competitions, quick question

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What can a Mum do?
Being me, I'd ask around to find out what other Mums think and maybe ask the coaches why it is done this way round. (Actually, at an large international meet, I once got in touch with the organisers and asked why certain things were done in a certain way - and they changed them!)

I don't feel that confident or comfortable to ask the other mums but we might write to the coaches to explain how our daughter felt.

Bolster up your child's self confidence. Are the marks it received this time better than last time? Some were better? What can the child do to improve them? Maybe ask the child why it thinks others got higher marks? Have they been doing it longer? Is it easier for them? (some children are more flexible than others!) Or do the others work harder?
Even a young child can begin to see the relationship between their effort and their results. And life ISN'T always fair.
Yes, we talked a lot about her results and how she got marked down (she's still recovering from flu and had missed the last few practises) and the fact that some children train three times a week which is more than she does. She gets all that and it really is a good life lesson, life is not always easy and it is competitive.

The reality is, is that I think that we are not that bothered about the competitions, it's something I can't imagine she will be doing in her mid teens even. My daughter just enjoys going to gym classes on a weekly basis, plus the social interaction with the other children in the area.
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Old 09.02.2016, 21:32
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Re: Gymnastic competitions, quick question

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Yep - it has been the same in the gymnastic competitions my kid has done so far. I understand that it may motivate the not so good little gymnasts to push harder next time and all kids received gifts and diplomas. But - they couldn't even fit in one decent line?!

It will eventually probably cease. As it is, I don't fuss over it since my kid has been always thrilled to participate, the coaches are superb and do it for nothing. I might chip in as a coach next year, and suggest to get rid off the long line, but I think it won't fly. The team probably thinks all kids names deserve to be read out loud and all kids aplauded, which does happen. There is no shame. Next year she will do better, OP. Not everybody can be a winner, and learning to lose gracefully is one of the big things in sportmanship.
Yes, I agree entirely with this, and no 34 children could not fit in a line, they had to make two!!!

Thanks for your input everyone so far!
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Old 13.02.2016, 22:49
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Re: Gymnastic competitions, quick question

Just thought I'd add that this doesn't happen in canton Zurich in the 'recreational' Geraeteturnen (as opposed to Kunstturnen) gymnastic competitions. There are usually hundreds of girls in each category and the top 40% get to go up for a medal. Geraeteturnen is a nice option for keen gymnasts who just want to train for 4-5 hours a week and do a few competitions a year.
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Old 13.02.2016, 22:56
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Re: Gymnastic competitions, quick question

Goodness, I went to one of the best grammar schools in England from age 13 (still free at that time), and we used to run around in our knickers playing field hockey next to a major road if we'd forgotten / didn't have a kit.
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Old 14.02.2016, 15:42
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Re: Gymnastic competitions, quick question

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Just thought I'd add that this doesn't happen in canton Zurich in the 'recreational' Geraeteturnen (as opposed to Kunstturnen) gymnastic competitions. There are usually hundreds of girls in each category and the top 40% get to go up for a medal. Geraeteturnen is a nice option for keen gymnasts who just want to train for 4-5 hours a week and do a few competitions a year.
It was a geraeteturnen competition and it was in Canton Zürich!! I think it would be great if the top 40% went up to get a medal and the others were "runners up."
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Old 14.02.2016, 22:57
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Re: Gymnastic competitions, quick question

Oh sorry - I guess it must have been a local cup competition then? All of the main cantonal ztv gerateturnen events do the 40% thing anyway.
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Old 15.02.2016, 02:32
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Re: Gymnastic competitions, quick question

If the points are carried on into some next level or league, then it is probably regulated that way, so the results of this standardised competetion can flow into the overall scores of the season or regional competeions.

However, if it is just local, you could suggest a different system which worked very well in my school: the weakest gymnast/runner/swimmer received 1 point (for having participated and completed the event), and the best receives as many points as there were participants in the competition. This enables nearly everyone to try to improve. A kid who was usually around 5th of 80, could try to overtake one or more kids and gradually climb up the ranks to being about 10th. It doesn't matter if the next competition has only 70 participants... for every person she passes, she will be "winning" more. The top child will always get the maximum possible points. A child who is usually around 20 points, can learn to expect that on a day she is tired, has a cold, etc. she might get only 10 points, but better next time. And so on. As children, we found it very motivating to be able to compete with others on a similar level, while all being in the same large event.
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Old 15.02.2016, 08:36
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Re: Gymnastic competitions, quick question

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Oh sorry - I guess it must have been a local cup competition then? All of the main cantonal ztv gerateturnen events do the 40% thing anyway.
I think it was a local cup, and so it seems even more pointless to do the scoring in this way.
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Old 15.02.2016, 08:51
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Re: Gymnastic competitions, quick question

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I think it was a local cup, and so it seems even more pointless to do the scoring in this way.
Local cup winners go to the kantonals.
The kantonal winners to the nationals.
The national winners to 73rd in the Olympics - just behind the 3rd best gymnast from Uzbekistan.

As daft as it may feel to you and your daughter, local competitions are the simplest way to bring talent to the surface. Ultimately if your daughter doesn't want to do it competitively - a concept alien to Australians - then attending classes and skipping the competitions may be the way forward.
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Old 15.02.2016, 09:40
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Re: Gymnastic competitions, quick question

The thing is with Gerateturnen it's supposed to be a 'Breitensport', rather than a 'Spitzensport'. The gymnasts don't even do the same apparatus as in olympic gymnastics and there is no 'Kader' system for developing talent. It's supposed to be for fun!
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Old 15.02.2016, 10:34
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Re: Gymnastic competitions, quick question

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Local cup winners go to the kantonals.
The kantonal winners to the nationals.
The national winners to 73rd in the Olympics - just behind the 3rd best gymnast from Uzbekistan.

As daft as it may feel to you and your daughter, local competitions are the simplest way to bring talent to the surface. Ultimately if your daughter doesn't want to do it competitively - a concept alien to Australians - then attending classes and skipping the competitions may be the way forward.
That would be the perfect solution! However, we aren't allowed to skip too many competitions. The children have to attend a minimum of four competitions each year to remain in the group (though the gymnastics show at the local Chranzli also counts so it seems we have to do three).

The people organising/training the children are all volunteers (they are keen gymnasts) and we pay very little to attend the group (around 50 or 100 fr a year plus competition entry costs and costumes) and so I think that gives one less room for negotiating these things! As I suspected, it is really all about the competition element and it is not so nurturing. However, on the basis of these discussions I think that we will write to complain about the scoring/ranking and way it's done.
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Old 15.02.2016, 11:13
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Re: Gymnastic competitions, quick question

I would go easy on the 'complaining'. Explain how your child, and other children too, feel if you like though. I usually go along the lines of - I expect you have excellent reasons for arranging the ranking etc like this, but I wondered if possibly it might be easier for the children if...

As a coach, I disliked children missing too many competitions. After all, it is difficult to explain to the children, and even more so to explain to their parents, that the swimming rules have to be adhered to, if the children don't take part in competitions. And the meets were the chance to see if what we taught really 'stuck'. To ignore rules with some of the children and enforce them in the others would be useless. They pick up bad habits from each other like lightening.

I can understand your points. Some children are not competitive. Some parents aren't either. But some children would be competitive if they thought they had a chance of winning! Beside the official rankings, I sometimes made a second table for my team, taking other things into consideration. For a child with a physical disability, I used the international formula but in her case I based it on the Disabled World Record and the others on the able bodied world record. Now that showed quite a different picture!! She was far and away the best swimmer in the group when this was taken into account.
A list with date of birth limit instead of year of birth can change things too
I hope you find a good solution for your daughter.
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