Almost every Division 1 coach is going to tell you that they are looking for the Level 10 gymnast with a 10.0 start value on each event and up to the level skills. So where does that leave the Level 9 gymnast? Below are several options to think about:
- Division 2 and 3 schools often have Level 9 gymnast
- Walk on to a Division 1 team if you have Level 10 skills on just 1 or 2 events
- Focus on becoming a specialist. I have seen many Level 9 gymnasts who have a 10.0 vault on Division 1 teams
- If you are a Level 9 sophomore or junior in high school, you may progress to Level 10 as a senior and coaches like knowing you are still learning and are not burned out
- Your work ethic, grades and leadership skills are extremely important to the Division 1 coach who may be willing to give you a spot on their team. These characteristics are important for every athlete on a team, but it is crucial to the walk-on gymnast who is trying to “prove” themselves
While coaching at Oregon State and Fullerton, I loved nothing more then recruiting a Level 9 gymnast who had passion, desire and talent. Watching them climb the ladder to becoming a great college gymnast was one of my favorite memories. Some athletes thrive in the college setting. They just needed the right environment and the sky was the limit.