Xcel Gymnastics Program [Requirements And Prerequisites]
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me what an Xcel gymnastics program is, I wouldn’t need a dollar anymore…because I would be a billionaire.
Jokes aside, I understand the state of confusion that you might be in regardless of being a gymnast or not.
It is a matter of common perplexity as to why the USA gymnastics board felt the need to go a separate way and develop a gymnastics program.
Considering that there is an already well-established gymnastics system that is being followed widely, the question grasped my attention rather swiftly as well. It was only after carrying out extensive research over the topic alongside being indulged in the sports itself that I understood the difference as well as the need for the Xcel Program.
The beginning of the Xcel Program
Disclaimer; this is going to start sounding a lot like a monotonous history lesson but you’re going to want to go through the trivial details to get to the bottom of it.
The Xcel program was introduced back in 2013 as an optional program. It consists of 5 basic dimensions or stages as a program itself. These five progressive stages are; bronze, silver, gold, platinum, and lastly diamond, with bronze being the simplest stage and diamond being the most arduous.
If you are interested to know about the requirements of each Xcel level, do check out the links below.
By nature, the program is deemed to be optional for a gymnast. Each gymnast is allowed to have a different choreographed routine as per their liking or skills.
Who is the target audience of this Program?
Gymnasts who opt for the Xcel Program instead of the Junior Olympics are conventional ones who are unable to make time for the Junior Olympics. It is no secret that the levels in JO are comparatively far more demanding in terms of commitment as well.
Keeping that in mind, the Xcel Program was put forward; to provide gymnasts who have an undying love for the sport with an opportunity to be a part of it without giving the same amount of commitment. To put it simply, the Xcel Program is gymnastics, but with low maintenance.
In addition to this, if you are looking to get started with gymnastics at a competitive level and entirely skip all the preliminary stages, this is the right place for you. Trust me when I say, I know how nerve-wracking it is to be bound to a certain non-competitive level in gymnastics when all you want to do is to be part of a competition. Henceforth, to soothe this undying desire to compete at a primary stage, you may opt for the Xcel Program alongside Junior Olympics as well.
Prerequisites for Xcel Program divisions
Judging by the previously stated information, you may have already guessed that there is plenty of room for flexibility in the program. That is both, metaphorically speaking as well as speaking. Not too different is the case when it comes to the prior demands of each division of the Xcel Program.
The only non-negotiable element is that of the minimum age boundaries set for each stage. For example, a gymnast should at least be the age of 5 to be a part of, as well as compete in the bronze dimension of the program. The age boundary regarding what is the maximum age limit of a gymnast in these dimensions is left entirely open-ended.
Another pre-condition that is applied in the last two dimensions of the optional program is of the scores required to progress to the next dimension.
This is one of the few factors that put forward the identical elements of the Junior Olympics and the Xcel Program. To explain this better, to move from Xcel Platinum to Xcel Diamond, a gymnast is needed to have a minimum score of 31.00 AA or 8.0 IES in Xcel platinum.
Likewise, gymnasts who had previously been competing in the Junior Olympics are needed to have a certain period of prior experience as well. The levels of prior experience required increase simultaneously with the dimensions of the program.
To give an instance, to be a part of the bronze dimension of the program, you are to have undergo levels one and two of the Junior Olympics. Whereas, for Xcel Diamond, the junior Olympics prerequisite levels are 7, 8, and 9.
Dimensions of Xcel Program and its skill sets
As I mentioned above, there are overall 5 dimensions in the Xcel Program, each differing in levels of difficulty from one another.
Each of these dimensions gives a gymnast the chance to opt for certain skill sets to comprise their routine, leaving behind plenty of room for the abandonment of skills that simply don’t comply well enough.
Don’t get me wrong! I am in no manner suggesting that you should give up trying to learn a skill that you initially find laborious. I am all in when it comes to accepting challenges, but if you have preferences within the skillsets, there is no strict binding over you to choose otherwise.
The events in these dimensions are standard; bars, floor, vault, and beam. The gymnast is provided with a list of skills that need to be performed on each of the four events. To illustrate the concept further, an Xcel gold gymnast is to perform a minimum of 6 ‘A’ valued skills on bars along with other performances such as dismounts, etc.
The skill values used in the Xcel Program are similar to the ones that are standardized for all of USA gymnastics. These skill values begin from A and go all the way up to E. ‘A’ skills are considered to be the easiest and ‘E’ skills are branded as the most practice and attention-demanding.
Drawbacks of joining the Xcel Program
Now that we have entirely gone over all the aspects of how the Xcel Program is beneficial and what it expects of you, let’s look into the other side of the picture. Everything comes with its pros and cons, we must not let ourselves be dragged by either.
I speak from experience when I say the sensible way to go about this is to draw a balance between both the disadvantages and advantages. Only then will you be able to figure out whether the pending decision is worth your time.
Fundamentally, the Xcel Program does not necessarily give you much room for progression or improvement.
Since most of what you do is depending on your shoulders, gymnasts in the Xcel program stay dissolved only in particular skills of their taste.
Whereas, Junior Olympics is a composition of both optional and compulsory levels, making sure that you are becoming the better version of your ‘gymnast self’ every day. Additionally, there are no shortcut switches from the Xcel Program to the Junior Olympics.
If a gymnast intends to take part in JO after having gone through the Xcel Program, she will still be required to compete in the compulsory levels of Junior Olympics to advance. Therefore, to conclude, Xcel Program is more of a ‘fun centered’ sort of gymnastics. If that is what you are looking for, welcome aboard!