Reference Check

As our industry has grown the knowledge has greatly expanded and so has the number of experts. People that have probably forgotten more than most will ever know, like James Speed and Debbie Love, have passed on what they know to so many and that next generation has expanded on the knowledge base and passed it on again. It’s been a great way to share knowledge with those that want it and make the industry better.

The concern is knowing who the new experts are or aren’t, and therefore knowing who to take advice from. Many people that portray themselves as experts aren’t and it seems like they are more likely to present themselves as experts than the people that truly are. Combine that with the ease of self-promotion via social media and suddenly every “expert” has a platform to spread their lack of knowledge. The takeaway from this should be to take advice with a grain of salt until you are sure the person giving the advice is credible.

Take the Stairs

Too often when there is a conversation about adjusting what’s allowed in a level I hear someone say it messes up the progressions. I generally disagree with this statement. To me the progressions are the steps taken to get a skill, a backward roll before a back walkover, a back walkover before a back handspring, a back handspring before a back tuck, a tuck before a layout, a layout before a full, a full before a double, etc., along with many steps in between these skills. These would be followed even if there were no levels.

The levels are different. They allow us to group similarly skilled athletes and teams together, largely for the sake of competition, which is great because they allow athletes to successfully compete the skills they have, without being rushed to gain new skills. The levels are progressive, allowing more and harder skills as the levels move up, but not the same as the progressions. I believe you are doing it wrong if you look at the maximum skill allowed in each level as the only steps in the progression because you would be skipping many steps and skills.

I think of the levels as the floors to a building and the progressions as the stairs between each floor. There are many stairs between each level and that’s how I believe we should think about the progressions between each level. I also believe you should take the stairs between each floor. Don’t take the elevator to skip the stairs. Also don’t rush or skip stairs because that is eventually going to cause you to trip.