Recruiting Declassified

Recruiting Declassified: What the Level 10 Season Means for Recruiting

You see it all the time: recruits posting training videos of new skills, combinations and never-before-seen moves on social media in the hopes of being noticed by college coaches. While those videos are invaluable, perhaps even more important is the competition season—and it’s finally here.

Coaches that start recruiting early—like even before a gymnast’s first level 10 season early—are those that see the potential in a gymnast. For me, this was Alabama and Florida. Keeping an early connection as the “firsts,” they tend to keep an eye on a gymnast during competition season, which can either foster or extinguish the interest. Other colleges may lead more logically and view each gymnast as a number. They’ll wait to reach out until they see the scores they want. In both cases this can backfire: Either the gymnast doesn’t turn out how you want them to or a gymnast hits those big marks but peaked too early. Despite the differences, every level 10 competition season usually follows a standard for all programs. 

For this scenario, I’m going to be following the first year of level 10 paralleling freshman year of high school, and so on. In the first year of level 10, you want to throw the skills. Go crazy! Of course within reason and with proper pacing, but colleges want to see that you are on par with what they would want in the future. In my first year, I tried to throw level 10 skills that put me on the brink of what you see in college—a Yurchenko full on vault, a Maloney to Pak connection on bars, and a double back in my floor routine while still working on bigger skills like a double layout dismount off bars and a triple series on beam.

My biggest struggle? Consistency.

That’s the key word in the second year of level 10. There, you maintain skills, add some upgrades and show consistency. The coaches now know you can throw the big stuff and be reliable. With this, you have the perfect package. Going into the 2023 season, I am aiming to accomplish this and set myself up for that circled date on my calendar: June 15. After this, in my third and fourth year of level 10, I plan to go wild and throw bigger skills, create new routines and just add some fun after an important sophomore season. 

Now back to the colleges. Competition season for level 10s and colleges will intertwine. When coaches are already traveling for an away meet that’s near your gym, they’ll book a visit. If you’re competing near their campus or where they’re going to be while traveling, they’ll be there. And if the shoe fits, I’ll even sometimes see coaches that will travel to Tampa, watch a level 10 meet then fly to be in Utah the next day for their team’s meet. 

Throughout the season, there are key parts that coaches will be looking at. There’s atate, regionals, nationals, and now there’s the Nastia Liukin Cup, too. I like to call it the “central recruiting roundup.” If you’re there, you’re a top recruit or you’re already committed. Lots—and I mean lots—of colleges are watching it in one way or another, especially since the Winter Cup with the country’s elites happens the same weekend. But stay tuned for more on how the elite season works with recruiting—it’s a whole other animal.

Have a question for Sydney about the recruiting process? Email [email protected] with the subject line “Recruiting Declassified,” and you might see it answered in a future article!

READ THIS NEXT: Recruiting Declassified: Recruiting Dead Period and Coach Visits

Article by Sydney Seabrooks

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