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Development Program

The Men’s Development Age Group Competition Program provides training and competitive opportunities for beginner to elite gymnasts from ages 6 to 18.

The Development Program is organized into ten different levels of training or competition. Each level has multiple age groups and opportunities for participation and competition. Competition is carried out at the local, state, regional and national levels through USA Gymnastics sanctioned invitational meets and championship level meets. The Men’s Development National Championships are held in May of each year for eligible athletes in Levels 8, 9 and 10 who have qualified through their Regional Championships. The season culminates for eligible Level 10 athletes at the P&G Gymnastics Championships.

The Development Age Group Program is organized into the following three areas:

A. Essential Elements Program

The Essential Elements program focuses on both athletes and coaches becoming more proficient with their ability to move freely through a number of foundational areas of boys’ gymnastics. In other words, this curriculum provides the opportunity for any coach to learn how to set up a program, apply it to a team structure and become well versed in teaching boys gymnastics. This can be an invaluable resource for clubs who are always searching for boys coaches or simply would like to start a program but do not have a boys coach.

Here is how the program works – each coach can set up their own lesson plan by choosing 4-8 stations known as ‘boxes’ that coordinate with the 14 or more key “Essential Elements” for that level (Levels 1 & 2). Week after week, they can select different boxes to introduce new drills, progressions and challenges. The boxes can be used for individual stations or included in a circuit or obstacle course. The students’ progress may be tracked daily or they may perform skills every 6,8 or 10 weeks depending on which time frame best fits with the club program. Students may also keep a record of their own achievements in all of these areas as an ongoing system of peer recognition.

The program curriculum is arranged in a ‘plug and play’ format so that class instructors can combine any of the parts freely and keep each class different and interesting from one day to the next. An effort is made to allow the boys to have as much play time with each box as possible and to combine them in a way that is fun to do.

B. Age Group Competition Program

The Development Age Group Competition Program consists of seven levels.

  • In levels 4-7, competition is offered in Division I (Development Division) and Division II (Junior Developmental Division).
    • Division I provides basic compulsory routines and includes in the routines the opportunity for the talented gymnast to challenge his development and mastery at each level with additional developmental skills (Specified Bonus) that are rewarded with bonus.
    • Division II provides basic compulsory routines that are constructed to encourage participation, promote growth, and provide opportunity for the recreational gymnast to be successful and continue to progress. The basic routines are designed so that they are achievable for the average recreational participant.
  • The first three levels, 4 through 6, provide basic routines for all boys who desire to participate in competitive gymnastics. These exercises start with simple basic skills experienced in Levels 1 through 3 and progress developmentally with each competitive level.
  • The compulsory Level 7 is designed to encourage and prepare the gymnast for the transition from compulsory to optional routines at an appropriate age by providing skill direction and combinations which can be used as the basis for entry level optional routines. These routines help the gymnast to understand how to construct an optional routine that will fulfill the requirements of the Development optional program.
  • The optional levels, 8, 9 and 10, require the gymnast to fulfill most FIG requirements or the Development modifications for those requirements approved for the program.

C. Junior National Team Program

The Junior National Team Program provides for the identification and selection of our elite junior athletes. The program includes the Junior Development Team selected through the Future Stars Program, the Junior National Team for Level 8 & 9, and the Junior Elite Team for Level 10. An athlete must be a U.S. citizen (must meet citizenship requirements as defined by the FIG) to be selected to the Junior National Team. The program objectives are to:

  1. Define the competitive path for our elite junior athletes and elevate the importance of successful competition at the highest level of quality;
  2. Create an educational evaluation system that emphasizes international competitiveness;
  3. Involve the personal coaches in overall program planning and organization as well as individualized athlete planning and;
  4. Educate the coaching community in the basic principles of coaching and the development of the elite athlete.

Academic All-American Recognition Award

Recognizing and rewarding academic achievement in junior gymnasts is paramount to the success of the USA Gymnastics Men’s Development Program. The Development Program is designed to provide a training ground for the development of young athletes. While physical development is obviously important, the program must also stress development of values, morals and social skills, which will remain with these future citizens all their lives.

Encouraging a high level of academic achievement in our young athletes is as important as encouraging their athletic achievement. The USA Gymnastics Men’s Program has therefore established the following Academic All-American Recognition Award program to be presented annually at Regional Championships.

Requirements In order to be eligible for the USA Gymnastics Academic All-American Recognition award, you must be a current USA Gymnastics member in good standing, in grades 9-12 with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher. Home schooled athletes are also eligible.

Athletes do not have to qualify to the Junior Development National Championships to be eligible.

Application Procedure and Deadline

  • The applicants GPA must be certified by the school counselor/registrar and should appear on the application, in all cases, converted to a 4.0 scale. We recognize the this will be slightly higher for students with a cumulative weighted GPA.
  • A home schooled athlete must have his GPA confirmed by an accredited independent organization or school system that is responsible for oversight and certification of that athlete’s home school studies. In the absence of such confirmation, no Academic All-American Award may be granted (JOPC 9/13/13).
  • The required application and certification must be received at USA Gymnastics by March 1, with a $20.00 per gymnast processing fee. Incomplete applications or GPA confirmation forms received after March 1 will not be processed.
  • Academic All-American applications are to be completed online. After an application is submitted, the applicant will receive an email confirming the online submission. The confirmation email will have a PDF attachment that must be taken to the school counselor to have her/him fill in the GPA, sign it and affix the school seal. Mail this in with a check or request the credit card option through the athlete’s membership record for the processing fee.
  • 2022 Academic All-American Recognition Award Application portal is now closed. Please visit this site in December for the 2023 application.

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