Xcel Competitive Team
The Xcel Gymnastics Program
The Xcel Program was created as a national program in 2013, and by design, allows gymnasts to begin competing at a lower skill level than the Junior Olympic program. As designed through USA Gymnastics: “Xcel is an alternative USA Gymnastics competitive program offering individual flexibility to coaches and gymnasts. The goal of Xcel is to provide gymnasts of varying abilities and commitment levels the opportunity for a rewarding gymnastics experience.”
The Xcel program at Elevate serves as a highway that ties the Recreation and Junior Olympic programs together. Girls may enter the Xcel program from Girls Basic Classes, Pre-Team or Junior Olympic Levels.
What is the Xcel Program?
There are five divisions in the Xcel program: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond. All of the Xcel divisions are governed by rules in the Xcel Code of Points and Rules and Policies set forth by USA Gymnastics. Xcel is considered to be an Optional rather than Compulsory program. You can read more about the differences between optional and compulsory here, but basically optional rules have Special Requirements and each gymnast can have her own routine choreographed for her personality and individual strengths and weaknesses. At certain levels Elevate chooses to teach the same base routine in order to train more efficiently. In compulsory levels the routine is already choreographed and every gymnast must perform the routine exactly the same.
There are also differences in Judging due to the guidelines that the Judges are trained to follow. While scores are often higher in the Xcel program, the ranking of athletes within their Level is the goal of Judges in both programs.
In the Junior Olympic program, the first Optional level is level 6, which is comparable in skill level to the Platinum division of the Xcel program. Therefore, the Xcel program allows a gymnast to compete a customized routine much sooner.
Why the Xcel Program?
The Xcel program was created as a way to keep gymnasts involved and excited about the sport. If you think about most other sports, as soon as kids join the sport they almost immediately start competing in games and tournaments. However, with gymnastics, it was not this way. Kids would begin gymnastics and have to take classes for several years before meeting the necessary requirements to be able to compete. The Xcel program allows gymnasts to start competing almost right away, by lowering the skill requirements at the entry level.
In addition to the basic entry levels, the Xcel program also has more advanced levels that allow gymnasts to keep competing in the Xcel program as they learn higher level skills. The Xcel program is ideal for not only entry-level gymnasts, but also older gymnasts that are looking for a fun way to stay in shape and be involved in the sport.
Gymnasts get to have fun competing sooner. Gymnasts get to compete within their first year on an Xcel team. They do not have to wait to qualify for one of the Junior Olympic levels.
Gymnasts compete either individual, personalized routines or “base” routines prepared for the team as a whole. Within a “base” routine, the choreography is basically the same for each gymnast, however the skills and some of the poses may be different to bring out each athlete’s best abilities.
The Xcel Program can be less of a time and financial commitment.
If a gymnast only has experience competing in the Xcel program and has made it all the way to the Diamond division, but wants to switch to the Junior Olympic program, she must first enter as a level 4. She may then move to the next level after meeting the minimum mobility score mandated by USA gymnastics and the requirements of Elevate Gymnastics.
The Xcel Program does not emphasize progressions in the same manner as the compulsory routines in the Junior Olympic program. The Junior Olympic program was created in part as a system to create great gymnasts. If your goal is to compete high level skills or obtain a college scholarship, then the compulsory program is probably the best way to learn the proper progressions and discipline you need.
Xcel Special Requirements By Level
I’ve linked to the Xcel Gymnastics Skill Requirements for each Xcel level below:
Xcel programs are not offered at all gyms, but Elevate now offers this program to provide flexibility to its members. I hope that this information about the Xcel program can help you decide whether it is the right program for your gymnast.
If you are interested, please contact the office for prices and program times. Or you may contact the Xcel Program Director, Cindy Marchetti, directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.