The Gymnastics Life
Moving from Level 8 to level 9 can be quite the roller coaster. Generally you're adding the most skills, and most difficulty than ever before (e.g. release move, double back dismount, etc.) Although level 8's CAN compete bar releases and double back dismounts, most of us go for the pirouette + layout routine. As coaches, the first year level 9 can be stressful. Here are some ideas on how to make that transition easier.
Plant the seeds of this jump in level 6-7. Get your athletes multi twisting and flipping, work bar releases to a wedge (even if it's just on the low bar), do back tucks on beam, upgrade series on low beam, and flipping vaults on a table trainer. Some of these can even be started around level 4.
Become Good Combo Tumblers — Consider The Two Pass Routine
Being a good combination tumbler is a great way to ease into level 9. For 99% of our level 9's they compete a two pass floor routine that consists of a 1.5 + front tuck and a front 1/1 + front tuck. Eventually the front tucks become front pikes. An added bonus with these skills already in your repertoire is you will only need to add one D level pass for a first year level 10 routine!
Addition By Subtraction
We like to call it "simple math". If it doesn't need to be in there, don't do it. Additionally, consider not adding certain skills or bonus combinations to get your 1 or 2 tenths bonus or be up to the level if it's going to cost you more in deductions.
It's Okay To Repeat Level 8
I'm a big fan of doing two years at level 8 (sometimes three years). The goal going into the second year is trying your best to get all of your level 9 skills (you may find that they could probably make the jump to level 9) but still staying back at level 8 another year. The second year has the mindset of dominating the routines and then you're that much more ready for the jump to level 9 the next season.
Have Fun Along The Way
This one seems self explanatory but often gets missed or skipped. Working hard is fun. Gymnastics is fun. Learning cool skills is fun. Competing is even more fun. Remember that!