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Author Topic: Is this considered sandbagging?  (Read 2005 times)

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Offline jenniturtle

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Is this considered sandbagging?
« on: September 19, 2011, 07:56:32 AM »
I was just wondering what everyones thoughts are on this. There is a girl who my DD just competed against. My DD just jumped 3 levels in June to compete on this level. This other  girl has been competing on the same level for 1 year and 4 months. She has changed her program but not her level. Is it not strange for someone to compete on the same level for that long? My DD looks forward to moving up in a level, to challenging herself to learn new things. Her coach does not move her up a level until she feels my DD can hold her own in a competition. but to stay on the same level for over a year just screams sandbagging to me.

Offline jumpingbeansmom

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Re: Is this considered sandbagging?
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2011, 08:09:45 AM »
I was just wondering what everyones thoughts are on this. There is a girl who my DD just competed against. My DD just jumped 3 levels in June to compete on this level. This other  girl has been competing on the same level for 1 year and 4 months. She has changed her program but not her level. Is it not strange for someone to compete on the same level for that long? My DD looks forward to moving up in a level, to challenging herself to learn new things. Her coach does not move her up a level until she feels my DD can hold her own in a competition. but to stay on the same level for over a year just screams sandbagging to me.

It depends on the level... I mean if you are talking no test, or basic skills, yes, that seems odd.   But I am really hoping that my daughter's coaches keep her at juvenile level next year... this was her first full year at it, and she is getting better and better (making finals, getting medals in qualifying rounds), but at not quite 11 years old yet, I'd love to see her stay there again.   I don't know... is that sandbagging?

Offline Skittl1321

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Re: Is this considered sandbagging?
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2011, 08:11:23 AM »
When a skater stays at the same level for a long time, I ask the following.
1) Is the skater capable of passing the next test?  Skater might be able to do some fantastic jumps, but if they can't pass the prerequisite MITF test, it's not sandbagging- it's STUCK.  Likely, skater isn't happy about it (though it probably feels nice to win, it feels crappy to know you can't move on).  Who knows whether they are focusing on moves enough to get them to go on forward.

2) Is the skater capable of skating WELL at the next level?  Not everyone wants to move up the second they can pass the test, some people like to be comfortable with the next elements.  I think holding off on testing until you can do okay, and not poorly, is not sandbagging, but smart.  Holding off until you can WIN the next level is a bit much.  I think it is poor strategy for a cost to test skaters the second they can pass, it doesn't ever give them a chance to get comfortable with elements.

A year and four months doesn't sound that long (though the level makes a difference.  Are we talking Basic 5?  Or Novice?) but it would totally depend on the skater.  If you daughter just jumped THREE levels (wow- go her, that's a huge achievement), I think she should expect that there might be others in the level that have more mastery of the skills because they have been focusing on them longer.  



Offline jumpingbeansmom

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Re: Is this considered sandbagging?
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2011, 09:12:15 AM »
When a skater stays at the same level for a long time, I ask the following.
1) Is the skater capable of passing the next test?  Skater might be able to do some fantastic jumps, but if they can't pass the prerequisite MITF test, it's not sandbagging- it's STUCK.  Likely, skater isn't happy about it (though it probably feels nice to win, it feels crappy to know you can't move on).  Who knows whether they are focusing on moves enough to get them to go on forward.

2) Is the skater capable of skating WELL at the next level?  Not everyone wants to move up the second they can pass the test, some people like to be comfortable with the next elements.  I think holding off on testing until you can do okay, and not poorly, is not sandbagging, but smart.  Holding off until you can WIN the next level is a bit much.  I think it is poor strategy for a cost to test skaters the second they can pass, it doesn't ever give them a chance to get comfortable with elements.

A year and four months doesn't sound that long (though the level makes a difference.  Are we talking Basic 5?  Or Novice?) but it would totally depend on the skater.  If you daughter just jumped THREE levels (wow- go her, that's a huge achievement), I think she should expect that there might be others in the level that have more mastery of the skills because they have been focusing on them longer.  




These are all good points,  and not just MITF, some kids are stuck because they can't master an axel, or some doubles they need to be competitive at the next level in any way.   My dd last season (at ag 9) went from pre-pre to juvenile between March and August-- she skated two times at juvenile, once being at regionals.   So this year, she is building her competitiveness in juvenile, maybe next year she can consistently medal in juvenile... could she compete intermediate?? Probably, but she'd be right back to the bottom of the pile, so it is wise I think to consider whether a great season is something we should let her have.

Offline sarahspins

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Re: Is this considered sandbagging?
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2011, 10:54:34 AM »
I am with skittl - I don't think it's sandbagging unless it's very clear that she could still be competitive in a higher level, but you as a spectator just don't know what else may be going on that could be preventing the skater from moving up.  If it's ISI, a lot of skaters get "stuck" at FS4 and FS5 because they simply can't do all the elements well enough to test them.  With USFSA they may be stuck on some of the newer MITF tests, or they could be stuck on specific elements on the freeskate tests, or they could simply be staying at that level as jumpingbeansmom suggested to experience some success - that isn't sandbagging IMO, if it simply means that the skater has finally reached the point where they are competitive within a certain level.  If they win every event they enter by a large margin, that might be a sign of sandbagging, but simply that they've stayed at the same level for a while doesn't mean anything at all.  It's also not unusual to change a program for a new competitive season even if the skater's level hasn't changed.

Offline hopskipjump

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Re: Is this considered sandbagging?
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2011, 11:07:13 AM »
My dd's friend spent over 2 years in a level - new programs were to challenge her skater each season.  She did very well this year and will move up next season.  It was not sandbagging - she had a jump she couldn't do that was required for the next level.  Sometimes she won, sometimes she didn't the first year.  She had a strong season this year.

Offline twirly~girls~mom

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Re: Is this considered sandbagging?
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2011, 11:45:26 AM »
I think it totally depends on the level and the individual. What Jumpingbeansmom said is basically what I think as well...if you are talking beginner levels as in basic skills up to pre pre...yes, that's kind of unusual but, this kid may be very insecure and the parent or coach may fear that moving the skater up will rock her confidence too much.  Is the skater really young? Maybe it's a maturity thing?

Once a skater gets to juv it's not unheardof at all to stay there for three seasons.  We chose not to do it, and I don't regret it. Other skaters who were in similar situations as us, did stay back and mainly did it to try to make junior nationals this year. I couldn't see holding my daughter in a level all season for one competition.  What if it doesn't work out? 

Also, I think that holding back for too long brings with it a lot of pressure in that if you don't win...you leave your skater open to the criticism of the fact she is in her x year of x level and is getting beat by new, upcoming, younger skaters....there are always those talented kids coming up the pike and there are no guarantees. So while it may be annoying to see skaters who seem to be sandbagging beating your skater, just know that they have their pressure as well. The truth of the matter is though, you will always run into skaters who seem like they should be moving on but aren't. All you can do is decide where the best place is for your skater and not worry about the others.  It's much too tiring in the long run!  :)

Offline roseyhebert

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Re: Is this considered sandbagging?
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2011, 12:20:53 PM »
True sandbagging is when the skater can do all the required elements far above what is required for that level.  I don't mean a little bit, I mean big time and usually on purpose.  They also won't move up until they can do all the moves in the next level perfectly so they can win.  I get the reasoning behind it.  I'm guilty of it.  Besides, who wants to lose?  I've been adult gold for a LONG time but only because I can't do a consistent 2S to move to Masters Intermediate.  So I will stay AG until that 2S is there more than once in a blue moon.  Before they changed AG to no longer allow anything above a 2T, I used to be able to do a 2L, so yeah, I was a sandbagger in that aspect.  Am I ashamed?  NO WAY!  Now I won't compete again until I get a great 2S and can do a 2T well.  So just call me sandbagger Rose.

Offline twokidsskatemom

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Re: Is this considered sandbagging?
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2011, 12:33:28 PM »
We have regionals in two weeks. The list is out and in my DD group of 16, two of them went to Jr Nats last year. Out of the 4 girls that went, 3 stayed back and one moved up.I dont have any issues with staying Juv more than one season, but I dont get why you would stay back when you went to Jr Nats. Well I get why, just dont like it.

Offline twirly~girls~mom

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Re: Is this considered sandbagging?
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2011, 12:39:33 PM »
Thinking back to our region last year, every Juv except one who made Junior Nationals last year has moved up.  All the intermediates who made it last year moved up to Novice. I also don't get staying back unless they are hoping to do better at JN this year than they did last year...assuming they make it again.  I know there are always some who do stay back though.  

Offline Skittl1321

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Re: Is this considered sandbagging?
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2011, 12:59:02 PM »
Are the girls who have been to junior nats before young for their level?  Maybe the coach is not wanting to move them up to avoid injury.  I can also see wanting to do better at Junior Nats, although with the changed format, isn't it harder to make it?

How about this example of a "sandbagger" (in quotations, because I don't think that is true, I think he had very good reason to stay in the level) look at Nathan Chen.  He stayed Novice an extra year, even though he could have kicked butt in Juniors.  After winning a novice championship, he probably should have moved up.  His coach didn't want him training such difficult jumps at such a young age, to avoid burnout and injury. I think that is a fantastic reason to stay in a level, but the people he competed against probably wished he had moved on. He's junior now and still too young for JGP.    Of course, he is an exceptional case, but it just shows there are lots of reasons for every decision skaters and coaches make, and the onlookers don't always know them.

Offline twirly~girls~mom

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Re: Is this considered sandbagging?
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2011, 01:06:53 PM »
Are the girls who have been to junior nats before young for their level?  Maybe the coach is not wanting to move them up to avoid injury.  I can also see wanting to do better at Junior Nats, although with the changed format, isn't it harder to make it?

How about this example of a "sandbagger" (in quotations, because I don't think that is true, I think he had very good reason to stay in the level) look at Nathan Chen.  He stayed Novice an extra year, even though he could have kicked butt in Juniors.  After winning a novice championship, he probably should have moved up.  His coach didn't want him training such difficult jumps at such a young age, to avoid burnout and injury. I think that is a fantastic reason to stay in a level, but the people he competed against probably wished he had moved on. He's junior now and still too young for JGP.    Of course, he is an exceptional case, but it just shows there are lots of reasons for every decision skaters and coaches make, and the onlookers don't always know them.

The one Juv in our region who held back is 11. I think that's about right for Juv. As far as holding back to avoid injury...I don't know. I think that skaters are always going to work on new jumps. I don't think holding back will stop a skater or coach from working on the next jump.  Now the pressure won't be there to have the jumps for competing but I don't believe they aren't working on them. At least most people. I know that the juvs who are staying back around here are working on triples even though they can't do them in competition. I  don't worry much about sandbagging though.  Everyone is in the sport for different reasons...I tryyyy not to get too caught up in their reasons for doing one thing or another. I just know what my feelings are about it for my skater.

Offline twokidsskatemom

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Re: Is this considered sandbagging?
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2011, 01:26:25 PM »
Are the girls who have been to junior nats before young for their level?  Maybe the coach is not wanting to move them up to avoid injury.  I can also see wanting to do better at Junior Nats, although with the changed format, isn't it harder to make it?

How about this example of a "sandbagger" (in quotations, because I don't think that is true, I think he had very good reason to stay in the level) look at Nathan Chen.  He stayed Novice an extra year, even though he could have kicked butt in Juniors.  After winning a novice championship, he probably should have moved up.  His coach didn't want him training such difficult jumps at such a young age, to avoid burnout and injury. I think that is a fantastic reason to stay in a level, but the people he competed against probably wished he had moved on. He's junior now and still too young for JGP.    Of course, he is an exceptional case, but it just shows there are lots of reasons for every decision skaters and coaches make, and the onlookers don't always know them.
Nope they all are around 12 ish. Not young like a 10 year old. And Nathan is in a class by himself. He is an exception not a rule.

Offline falen

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Re: Is this considered sandbagging?
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2011, 01:28:56 PM »
My kid was STUCK on an element for 9 months.  Since she was in groups, they had official testing at the end of the session and she kept missing it and was stuck taking fs 2 over and over.  Luckily the group was fs 1-6 so she didn't feel embarassed since she stayed with the same girls.  But how frustrating.  On the Fourth of July she finally got it and within that month tested and passed to fs 6.  So you really never know if it is really sandbagging.  When my kid competed at fs 1 she really did cream the competition.  It was frustrating for her to do half flips when she was capable of full ones.  I even asked for a pity pass, but was refused.

Offline jenniturtle

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Re: Is this considered sandbagging?
« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2011, 02:23:19 PM »
It depends on the level... I mean if you are talking no test, or basic skills, yes, that seems odd.   But I am really hoping that my daughter's coaches keep her at juvenile level next year... this was her first full year at it, and she is getting better and better (making finals, getting medals in qualifying rounds), but at not quite 11 years old yet, I'd love to see her stay there again.   I don't know... is that sandbagging?

She is in a high part of the freeskate

Offline jumpingbeansmom

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Re: Is this considered sandbagging?
« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2011, 02:34:53 PM »
We have regionals in two weeks. The list is out and in my DD group of 16, two of them went to Jr Nats last year. Out of the 4 girls that went, 3 stayed back and one moved up.I dont have any issues with staying Juv more than one season, but I dont get why you would stay back when you went to Jr Nats. Well I get why, just dont like it.


We had that last year too... not only that, one of the girls than hung back WON our region, two years in a row.   I don't know, I would think once my kid one regionals, it would be time to move on.

Offline jumpingbeansmom

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Re: Is this considered sandbagging?
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2011, 02:39:18 PM »
Nope they all are around 12 ish. Not young like a 10 year old. And Nathan is in a class by himself. He is an exception not a rule.


My dd is just turning 11 next month, so that is why I'd support her staying juvenile next season-- she won't even be 12 before regionals next year.   Otherwise, intermediate would be fine... she has been reasonably competitive in intermediate short (even at 10), but cannot do any triples or even a decent 2A yet.    In our region though, there are a number of girls doing exceptionally well in intermediate without 2A or any triples... which blows my mind.

One girl from our region went to Jr. Nats last year (as a juvenile) and this year as early as June, was doing 3Flip in competition, so yes clearly they had been working on the triples even though she was hanging back as a juv.

Offline jenniturtle

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Re: Is this considered sandbagging?
« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2011, 02:52:38 PM »
What does that even mean?

She is in Freeskate 5

Offline Skittl1321

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Re: Is this considered sandbagging?
« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2011, 02:56:58 PM »
We had that last year too... not only that, one of the girls than hung back WON our region, two years in a row.   I don't know, I would think once my kid one regionals, it would be time to move on.

How did they do once they left the region though?  Some regions are "easier" than others.  It can be a shocker when you get to sectionals/nationals to see what you are up against.


The OP's daughter though is still in the Basic Skills Freestyle level, and I'd say yeah- some kids take a long time to pass Freeskate 5.  I wouldn't think of a year as being a long time.  A few kids at our rink have been in FS4 for over a year, because at the freeskate levels not all coaches do ONLY the things on the test.  These kids probably could pass FS4 if they did 8 weeks of NOTHING but FS4 elements, but they do a lot else too, so they can't do waltz-jump loops (and their loops aren't great).  You have to be able to do one to pass the test.  For the most part, kids who take a year to pass FS4, 5, or 6 are just rec skaters.  They may compete USFS, but they aren't going to nationals.

Offline kssk8fan

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Re: Is this considered sandbagging?
« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2011, 03:03:10 PM »
I think it's a personal decision, especially at the lower - non-qualifying levels and even more so at the basic skills level.  Skating is a marathon - not a sprint.  When you get to the qualifying levels of novice thru senior, it does become much more strategical.  With that said - is it your child's intent to win every competition?  That's not really all that feasible and probably, some will disagree, not that good for the skater.  If staying back in order to win at the very low levels is important to some, that's fine.  Personally - we (my skater included) couldn't wait to get out of the basic skills series.  My daughter, by the end of a season, is usually finishing in the top half of the skaters and that's fine with us.  We make sure she's "competitive" at her levels but we really are looking at the big picture not the individual competitions.  

In regards to the lower levels, when my daughter was much younger and starting at pre-pre, it was challenging however I told her that if what she wanted was a medal, she could compete snowplow sam and probably win (yes, I know it wasn't possible, but she was young and didn't know).  When I would pose that question to her, she "got it".  Yes, medals are shiny and pretty and it's fun to stand at the top of the podium.  However, it's more fun for the skater, in my opinion, to work really hard on an element and finally get it and then compete with that element and get credit for it!  It's the process or the journey, not some moment in time where a few kids put on pretty dresses and skate to music for a minute or two.  

So....to answer your question about sandbagging -  yes, it happens, but in the long run, it's really not all that healthy for the skaters.  They can't win everything and eventually they will have to move up and adjust.  

Offline jumpingbeansmom

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Re: Is this considered sandbagging?
« Reply #20 on: September 19, 2011, 03:10:18 PM »
How did they do once they left the region though?  Some regions are "easier" than others.  It can be a shocker when you get to sectionals/nationals to see what you are up against.



True... she didn't win, but she didn't do badly either... made it to the final round

Offline twirly~girls~mom

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Re: Is this considered sandbagging?
« Reply #21 on: September 19, 2011, 04:45:37 PM »
I think it's a personal decision, especially at the lower - non-qualifying levels and even more so at the basic skills level.  Skating is a marathon - not a sprint.  When you get to the qualifying levels of novice thru senior, it does become much more strategical.  With that said - is it your child's intent to win every competition?  That's not really all that feasible and probably, some will disagree, not that good for the skater.  If staying back in order to win at the very low levels is important to some, that's fine.  Personally - we (my skater included) couldn't wait to get out of the basic skills series.  My daughter, by the end of a season, is usually finishing in the top half of the skaters and that's fine with us.  We make sure she's "competitive" at her levels but we really are looking at the big picture not the individual competitions.  

In regards to the lower levels, when my daughter was much younger and starting at pre-pre, it was challenging however I told her that if what she wanted was a medal, she could compete snowplow sam and probably win (yes, I know it wasn't possible, but she was young and didn't know).  When I would pose that question to her, she "got it".  Yes, medals are shiny and pretty and it's fun to stand at the top of the podium.  However, it's more fun for the skater, in my opinion, to work really hard on an element and finally get it and then compete with that element and get credit for it!  It's the process or the journey, not some moment in time where a few kids put on pretty dresses and skate to music for a minute or two.  

So....to answer your question about sandbagging -  yes, it happens, but in the long run, it's really not all that healthy for the skaters.  They can't win everything and eventually they will have to move up and adjust.  

Yes to all of the above.  That's basically how I feel, only much better worded!  :laugh:

Offline twirly~girls~mom

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Re: Is this considered sandbagging?
« Reply #22 on: September 19, 2011, 04:52:30 PM »
My dd is just turning 11 next month, so that is why I'd support her staying juvenile next season-- she won't even be 12 before regionals next year.   Otherwise, intermediate would be fine... she has been reasonably competitive in intermediate short (even at 10), but cannot do any triples or even a decent 2A yet.    In our region though, there are a number of girls doing exceptionally well in intermediate without 2A or any triples... which blows my mind.

One girl from our region went to Jr. Nats last year (as a juvenile) and this year as early as June, was doing 3Flip in competition, so yes clearly they had been working on the triples even though she was hanging back as a juv.

My dd was in the same group with the skater with the triple flip at Liberty...gorgeous triple flip! That girl is a natural born jumper!

Offline Sk8tmum

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Re: Is this considered sandbagging?
« Reply #23 on: September 19, 2011, 06:02:07 PM »
For some competitive skaters, the decision to "stay" in a level in which the skater was very successful in the previous year may be due to injury, or to factors such as the "puberty monster" hitting, resulting in jumps, spins, etc being lost, resulting in the skater being not ready to move up to the next level, or, even, not being competitive at his/her current level.

I've seen quite a few very successful young skaters suddenly struggling when a growth spurt or body change radically changes what they can land, and how well they manage on the ice.  Moving them up to a level would be inappropriate when they are not now ready to be competitive at that level; and this also applies to what you refer to as "test track" skaters (in Canada, StarSkate), and to rather low level skaters.

My kid has stuck at a level; others have moved up; but, the combination of injury and growth spurt = we're not going up a level, this year. Hopefully, next year.


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Re: Is this considered sandbagging?
« Reply #24 on: September 19, 2011, 06:06:11 PM »
One girl from our region went to Jr. Nats last year (as a juvenile) and this year as early as June, was doing 3Flip in competition, so yes clearly they had been working on the triples even though she was hanging back as a juv.

We had a shaky 2F last January. Now, the 3F is here.  It wasn't even being worked on until mid-summmer - it just, well, arrived, at long last, because it was ready to arrive, and it was time to work on it based on a solid technical 2F. And, it may well go away again ... who knows.

A coach who sandbags will have a rep for doing it.