All-Star Squad Numbers

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Aug 9, 2011
Ok, so I have inherited a squad of 30 girls, which is great except they are spread out over a wide age range and I'm really not sure how to split them for competitions. I would appreciate some advice or recommendations on how different coaches/gyms might do it.
  • 2 girls aged 8, (one flyer one base)
  • 5 girls aged 9, (mainly flyers, but one base)
  • 1 girl aged 10 (flyer I am working on her basing skills)
  • 5 girls aged 12 (can fly and base)
  • 14 girls aged 14/15 (mainly bases but a couple can fly if need to, but are not particularly confident)
  • 3 girls aged 16, 18, 19 (bases)
I don't know if UK rules are different to USA but the age groups are: Youth- 12 and under, Junior-15 and under, Senior - one must be 16+, small-up to 20, large - over 20

The younger ones are used to being based by the older girls, so I am putting in a lot of work trying to get stunt groups that are more age appropriate, but it is really hard and there are a LOT of moans. It is only level 2 at this stage as I really don't think we will have BT's ready for comp.

Any ideas how I can break this down, crossovers are fine at this point, they are used to them.
I had a similar situation last year though I had less junior age and more seniors. I had a youth squad and a senior squad. It will take a lot of work and some patience to teach the older girls to get the hang of stunting with people closer to their own size again but if they have the proper technique and they are willing to put the work in they will get it.
Hope you get them sorted and good luck.
Since you have so many in the 14/15 and up range that are pretty much all bases, and the young ones are almost all flyers you could either:
A. group by age (provided that girls are willing to learn to new positions)
B. group by stunt positions
C. Stick them all together on one large senior and hope it works out (not that I'd reccomend that)

For age essentially there are 2 scenarios I see:
-have 13 youngest that are 12 or under on youth and the other 17 be a senior team
-split the 14/15 age group by maturity and have a small junior and a small senior team

For stunt positions, while you could put the babies as flyers on senior I wouldn't. Therefore maybe something like this:
- 2 to 3 of the 12 year old flyers go to senior, a few of the 14/15 year olds also become flyers for senior, the 3 oldest are obviously on senior, and the majority chunk of the 14/15 year olds are senior
-8 and 9 year old flyers go to a junior team along with everyone under 10, 2-3 of the 12 year olds and a chunk of the 14 year olds also go to this team

Just my opinion in general.....I don't know the personal ability levels/work ethic/attitude/quick learning capabilities/etc. for each girl which will factor into the decision of who goes where.
is there a way to pull the 3 girls that make it a senior team off and go junior? You could pull the senior age girls together and make a stunt group with one of the stronger , younger flyers and compete senior age stunt group.
Thanks for your responses so far. The work ethic of all the girls is amazing, not one of them sits back or moans about working, they train really well. All of them are roughly at the same ability, level 2, although I have found that a few will progress quicker than others (I'm going to try and get those ones into group stunting). They have been used to all training together and since they have come to a new gym, we are going to keep it that way for the first year. Is there any mileage in having multiple crossovers, as in most of the 14/15 y/o's on both junior and senior, and having the main stunt sections the same (or similar) for the two routines?

I really dont know if there is the time or ability there to get some 15 y/o flyers trained up. They have spent 3-4 years basing and to put it harshly, they are unflexible and unfit. We are working hardcore on conditioning and fitness levels as historically their routines have been really sedintary and unexciting. They are looking forward to working on proper Allstars routines and are willing to put in the time/effort on conditioning to do that. So, I'm thinking that I may have to use my 12 y/o's to be my flyers on the senior team. Thoughts??? Is it possible to get flexibility in bigger/older girls in 6 months? They have such a lot of work to do in addition; their tumbling is so haphazard, some have r/o-bhs-bt, others cannot even cartwheel, we are pushing tumbling in a big way as our main focus. Is it right I add new flyers to this focus???

I want to do right by these girls as they are an amazing bunch, I'm just unsure of which way to direct them :confused:
Sounds difficult... I'd say that if you really want / they really want to participate in competitions this season, I'd probably form a team from what you have. Which would mean, more or less keeping everyon in their stunt position and work on the rest. Then I would for next season restructure and form at least a junior and a senior team (as the 15 year olds will have turned 16).

You could also chose to not do competitions this season and completely focus on restructuring. But that might demotivate them more than it helps...
Thanks @Jule, We are only competing in the last comp of the season as it is on home turf. I wanted to spend the whole season building up skills as what they have is riddled with bad habits and lack of progressions. They are desperate to compete so the compromise is to do the very last comp which isnt until June. It's a long way off but I want to start get stunt groups used to working with each other.
This is just my idea, not knowing them this is what I would do, Make the 12 and under a youth and the 14 and ups a senior with your stronger 2 or 3 12 year old fliers crossing over to fly on the senior. This would keep both teams smaller and possible allow some of your 12 year olds that may be to big to fly on youth the opportunity to fly and give you stronger center/front fliers since the older ones aren't very strong.
Good Luck with what ever you decide to do:)
So for next season if no new girls come in and all the current ones return it could look similar to:
Two different squads, 16 girls each
-2 cross overs(that way you aren't exhausting too many resources on both teams and still have many eligable girls to draw from if an injury happens and you need a fill in on either team)
(16 gives you 4 full groups no front spot or 3 with front plus one extra tumbler)
small junior
small senior

With ages adjusted it could look like:
  • 9 year olds - junior flyer, junior base
  • 10 year olds - junior flyer, junior flyer, junior flyer/junior base , junior base, junior base-switched from flyer
  • 11 year old- junior base or senior flyer if strong stunter* (interchangable with 13 year old)
  • 13 year olds- senior flyer, senior flyer, senior flyer, senior flyer or junior base* , junior base
  • 15 year olds- junior or senior bases where needed, 2 crossovers
  • 16+ year olds- senior bases
This year maybe have anyone that wants to fly come to practice early to do a stretching/conditioning session ( has some great examples for flyer stretching excersizes). If the girls put in the effort and also stretch at home they can definately gain reasonable flexibility in 6 months! The younger girls may still have the advantage of being more flexible because their bodies are still growing and such, but the best thing is to have lots of versatile athletes that can fill in a part wherever needed whether that be main basing,flying, back spotting, you more options and leverage as a coach because if there are other eligable athletes to take a flyer's spot they will have to work harder to keep it!
Thank you all so much for your help and suggestions. I'm still wavering between youth and junior give that I have so many that want to fly and are able. I think I need to come up with a routine that changes flyers regularly to give everyone a chance ;) that or get a few more younger ones joining that I can teach to base. Primary school recruitment here I come :)
Even though the girls might be older/more unfit, I've found it utterly miraculous what people can accomplish in a short time (safely!) when they put their minds to it. If they're stretching every day, reasonable flexibility is an option in 6 months! It sounds like your new girls are a determined bunch, so give them the chance to surprise you and let them explore a variety of stunting positions. Maybe if they show promise, throw in the possibility of an exhibition (if that's an option in the UK), but mandate they must show proper progressions and consistency in skills. Even if they don't compete, the chance to get themselves out on the mat to prove to themselves (and you!) that they've learned something and they're ready will give them the hunger to achieve even more..
We had training last night and I put the option to the girls and they really stepped up their game and set goals for themselves. It hasn't completely solved my indecision but I have decided not to make any decisions yet and see where we are at Christmas. Afterall I have only had them training for 6 weeks so far and we have achieved so much! So thank you for all your advice everyone, I really appreciate it and it has firmed up the options ahead for us :)