Still Confusing After All These Months
The USA Gymnastics (USAG) Womenâ€™s Levels 1â€“10 Junior Olympic Program, including the Level 4 Gymnastics program, has been changed as of August 1, 2013. Many parents are having a difficult time understanding why their gymnasts either “had to move down a level or “stay at the same level for another year.”
A Psychological and Time-Wasting Blow to Gymnasts and Gym Programs All Across the Country
Many gymnasts, who did not understand or emotionally feel positive about the Level changes that were mandated by USAG, misinterpreted their new level as a demotion or thought that their coach didn’t like their gymnastics or their progress. And coaches were put in the awkward position and loss of productivity / time-wasting position of having to try to explain the situation to all of the Compulsory gymnasts and parents on their team.
What is the New Level 4 Gymnastics Program?
Basically, what used to be Level 5 from 2001-2013 is now Level 4 from 2013 – 2021. The major skills from the previous Level 5 were used to create new routines for the new Level 4.
There Are Now Only 5 Compulsory Levels Instead of 6
Levels 1 – 5 are now the new USAG Compulsory Levels. The major elements from the previous Levels 1 and 2 were put together to make up the new routines for Level 1. The major elements from the previous Level 3 were adopted in the new routines for Level 2. Levels 1 and 2 are now still assumed to be intra-gym competition levels. States may choose to allow inter-gym and possibly even State competitions for one or more of these two levels.
Assumed Starting Competition Level is Now Level 3
The official (and assumed) USAG competition levels now start and begin with up to State competitions for Level 3.
Gymnasts May Compete Level 4 Beginning at Age 7
The minimum age requirement to compete in USA Gymnastics Level 4 is age 7.
Gymnasts May Skip Level 3 and Start Competing Right Away at Level 4
USAG does not require gymnasts are not required to compete Level 3 to move up to (or start at) Level 4. Gymnasts may skip Level 3 competition and begin right away at Level 4, if they can demonstrate sufficient prerequisites and skill development (safety/testing).
“Moving Up/Down/Stayng At”(?) to Level 4
Gymnasts have three possibilities for competing this year (currently 2013) in Level 4. If you were a Level 5 last year in the old USAG Compulsory Level system, you must now compete at the “commensurate level” Level 4 for the 2013-2014 competition season (unless you scored a 31.00 in Level 5). So, if you scored a 31.00 or above All-Around qualifying score in Level 5 in the old USAG Compulsory Level system, you also may “move up” to Level 5 (or in other words, “stay” at Level 5) for the 2013-2014 system. A brand new (for the 2013-2014 season) Level 4 can just start at the Level 4 with no mobility score required. So basically if a gymnast scored a 31.00 All-Around last year, they can either “move up” to Level 5 or stay at the “commensurate level” Level 4.
Summary of All the Compulsory Levels and Skills
A list of all of the compulsory elements for Levels 1 – 5 in the 2013â€“2021 compulsory routines can be found on the USA Gymnastics website or you can download here.
Level 4 Vault for 2013-2021
The vault for Level 4 is a handspring vault over the official vault table.
Level 4 Uneven Bar Skills for 2013-2021
- Pike or Straddle Glide Kip
- Horizontal (or above) Cast
- Cast Squat (or Pike) On
- Jump to Long Hang Kip
- Horizontal (or above) Cast
- Backward Hip Circle
- Undershoot, Counter Swing
- Tap Swing, Counter Swing
- Tap Swing, Â½ Turn Dismount
Level 4 Balance Beam Skills for 2013-2021
- Leg Swing Mount with Â½ Turn
- Cartwheel, Â¼ Turn
- Arabesque (minimum 45Â° below horizontal)
- Split Leap (minimum 120Â°)
- Cross Handstand (minimum 1 second hold)
- Split Jump(minimum 120Â°), Straight Jump
- Â½ Turn Forward in PassÃ©
- Cartwheel to Side Handstand (minimum 1 second hold), Â¼ Turn Dismount
Level 4 Floor Exercise Skills for 2013-2021
- Straddle Jump (minimum 120Â° straddle), Stretch Jump Â½ Turn
- Front Handspring to Two-Foot Landing, Bound-up
- Straight-Arm Back Extension Roll to Handstand
- Front Split
- Split Leap
- 360Â° Full Turn
- Back Walkover (minimum 150Â° split of legs)
- Round-Off, Back Handspring, Back Handspring, Bound-Up
Results of the Confusing USA Gymnastics Level Changes for 2013-2021
The primary result, of the new changes USA Gymnastics made to the 2013-2021 Compulsory Level program, has been months of confusion for gymnasts, parents and even coaches. For many gymnasts, the Compulsory Level they will be competing in the 2013-2014 season seems like a demotion or a lack of progress. Psychologically for gymnasts and parents, this was a negative move for USAG to make.
Effects on Gymnast’s Career of the New 2013-2021 USA Gymnastics Level Changes
For gymnasts, coaches and parents looking for their gymnasts to move up to be Level 10 or Elite gymnasts, the new system has added another whole year to the process (assuming gymnasts move up one level per year).
Effects on Gyms and Coaches of the USA Gymnastics Level Changes
For gyms, gym owners and team coaches, a lot of time was wasted trying to explain and clarify the new system. Parents and Compulsory gymnasts understandably felt they were demoted or frozen as far as progress through the levels. The fact that gymnasts and parents felt that way caused some conflicts between gymnasts and parents with their gym and coaches. It took valuable time (or left negative feelings unresolved) for coaches and gym owners to fully explain the “move down” or how gymnasts “moved up” to the same Level name they were in the year before.