Written by Steve Hall
Saturday, 28 June 2008 19:29
This section gives a very brief guide to help a new gymnastics fan understand some of what they might see in the club or on TV. We hope it will build up as time passes.
Basics.Here are some of the most common terms used in naming moves:
*When speaking of tumbling skills, to "flip" refers to rotation around the hip-to-hip axis of the body, and to "twist" refers to rotation around the head-to-toe axis. Rotation around the front-to-back axis is unusual and is referred to as a "side somi." Beginning and ending positions are used to determine the number of twists.
- the legs are kept straight and the back (spine) is overextended so that the body position takes on a convex shape.
- a somersault without the use of the hands. Also called a salto.*
- the gymnast keeps their body completely stretched.
- also called a flic-flac or a flip-flop. The gymnast springs off the hands, using a strong push from the shoulders. This move can be performed either forwards or backwards, and is usually used in tumbling passes.
- the gymnast bends at the hips and brings their legs to their chest while keeping the legs straight.
- one leg is extended straight in front of the body; the other is extended straight behind the body, forming a 180-degree angle.
- similar to a split, with the legs extended on either side of the body (as opposed to front/back).
- a cartwheel with both feet landing at the same time. Used by gymnasts to accelerate a tumbling pass.
- a forward roll in the tuck position in the air.
- the gymnast brings their knees to their chest; the legs are bent.
- body rotation round the lengthwise axis, as opposed to a salto.*
BGA proficiency awards - 'badges'These Awards are designed as an introduction to gymnastics. They cover six sets of 10 exercises, graded from the simplest level - Award 7 and working up towards a more advanced level - Award 2. Entrants must start with Award 7 and work through to Award 2 to ensure the correct progression. On each level six out of the ten moves must be completed successfully in order to progress to the next level. The exercises are clearly displayed on a wall chart in the gym. For levels 7 up to 2, there is a badge and certificate for each level. Once a gymnast has gained award 2, they are entitled to apply for the Level 1 Award consisting of a badge, certificate and medal.
FloorThe floor mat is 40 feet (12m) square. Since both gymnastic and acrobatic skills are required on some events, tumbling is a major part of the sport. By springing from one's hands or feet, the best gymnasts launch themselves into the air and perform multiple saltos and/or twists before landing. Currently, front tumbling is popular because the Code has given it a high value. Front tumbling is more difficult than back tumbling, and was less common until the Code started encouraging gymnasts to do it. The most popular tumbling passes tend to be "bounce back" passes which end with the gymnast performing an immediate punch front to reverse momentum and sometimes even tumbling back in the other direction. Men's floor exercises must last at least 50 seconds and not more than 70 seconds. For the women, the routine must last at least 70 seconds and not more than 90 seconds.
Points and markingThe criteria for each event is set out by the Federation Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG). Their code covers all aspects of a gymnast's performance. It sets values of difficulty for, and demonstrates the requirements of, each move with illustrations (such as the angle of handstand that a gymnast must reach on bars). The Code also has rules for how one qualifies to become a judge and the various categories of judges, with their specific functions. The Code also gives guidance on conduct for both gymnasts and coaches. There are specific move requirements for most levels of gymnastics, novice, intermediate and pre-elite. The requirements for 'grades' competitions are particularly specific. It is important to note that not every routine is scored from 10, an idea sometimes given by televised events!
How are the gymnasts scored?Optional Exercises (Women): With the exception of vault, where each vault is assigned a specific value, all women's routines are scored from 9.00 points. A gymnast can earn an additional 1.0 points by showing special combinations, connections, and/or extra highly rated elements, for a maximum start value of 10.
Optional Exercises (Men): Men's routines are evaluated by an A-jury and a B-jury. (The A-jury is composed of one technical assistant and one judge; the B-jury is composed of six judges.) The A-jury determines the Start Value of the routine, while the B-jury determines execution errors related to technique and body position. The system of juries is less rigid for boys events. The final score of an exercise is calculated by subtracting the deductions for the execution errors from the Start Value (the maximum of which is 10.0 points).
Have some fun today!