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Gymnastics: What's the difference between Excel and the Junior Olympic (JO) Program

Updated: Jan 11, 2023

One of our roles at TGC is to evaluate each Gymnast to place them in the spot on the Team that best suits them. Finding the team and level that affords the child the opportunity have the best gymnastics experience is extremely important. TGC has a great competitive team program, so regardless of the level a child competes we are confident that it will surely be a positive one.

The Difference between Excel and the JO Programs

The technical rules is where the primary difference is. Skill requirements and routines are different for each competitive level. the technicalities of each program can be found by visiting USA Gymnastics Women's Artistic Program page.

Your question may be why one over the other? Well, it's a simple answer really and it is conclusion is made based on the individual needs of the athlete and their family. Here are some factors considered:

  1. Olympic Event Specialist - Is your child a Bar Swinger? Maybe she is a Beam Queen and has been tumbling all her life and the other 3 Olympic Events are still developing. The huge benefit in Xcel Gymnastics is that it allows the Coaches to challenge your within their strengths while improving their weaknesses with skill selection available.

  2. Age - It does play a factor, although not in all scenarios. We aim to train groups that are similar in age which allows for a better environment for the athlete.

  3. Skills - Does your child have the specific skill, flexibility and strength that is set by the JO Compulsory Levels or would they benefit from the wider range of skill selection that is offered in the Excel Program.

  4. Injuries - Unfortunately, injuries are a part of the sport, and sometimes they can prohibit a Gymnast (athlete) from advancing on one of the Olympic Events or overcoming a skill. The Excel Program again offers a variety skills to choose from within its competitive levels. The JO Compulsory Program (Levels 1-5) have set routines and skills with no alternative selections within each of those levels. The Excel Program allows the Gymnast and Coach to develop routines that best suit the Gymnasts strengths and needs.

The Similarities between Excel and the JO Programs

With TGC the differences are far fewer the similarities. Here are the similarities you get with TGC:

+Coaches that are deeply passionate about your athlete as Gymnasts and People

+A Positive Environment

+A Safe Learning Environment

+Development of life skills in athletes

+Teammates becoming friends

+Similar travel/competitive opportunities based on comparable levels

+Attire that will inspire enthusiasm and that your athlete can be confident in

Which of these is Right for my Gymnast(s)?

In finding the right program you must weigh in all factors. There is no same answer for each individual does not share the same physicality, mental preparedness and toughness, nor does each carry the same emotion. Each child needs to be considered individually and know that your Club will always choose what is best your athlete. Each athlete must be placed in a position that allows them to grow as person and as an athlete. Every athlete deserves an experience that pushes them to their limits while loving the journey.

Creating the Love of Competitive Gymnastics

Few people can say they were a competitive Gymnast, fewer reach the Optional Levels of the sport, and even fewer will ever become Collegiate Gymnasts. All Competitive Gymnasts should have the opportunity to enjoy the sport and to reap the benefits of it. What will it really matter in five years: the level or program your child competed. When you and your child look back at the amazing photos of them competing it will be hard to identify their competitive level in a picture, but one thing is certain, a happy face will surely be an easy one to find.


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