Following these guidelines will help your child as he or she gets ready for gymnastics.
Gymnasts sprint down a runway before jumping onto a springboard toward the vault table, which stands about four feet tall. As they push off the vault table, they perform aerial maneuvers before landing on a mat on the opposite side of the runway.
Judges watch for proper body alignment, form, quick repulsion, height, and distance traveled, as well as the number of saltos (flips) and twists. Gymnasts should “stick” their landings by taking no extra steps.
Better known as Bars, the gymnasts swing between the two parallel horizontal bars set at different heights. The entire routine should flow from one movement to the next without pauses, extra swings, or additional support. The most daring parts of the routine are often in the high-flying release moves and dismounts.
Judges watch for proper body alignment, form, handstand positions, and difficulty of the release and pirouetting skills performed.
Parallel Bars, better known as P. Bars, are two parallel bars approximately 11.5 feet long, 6.4 feet high, and can range from 16.5-20.5 inches apart. A P. Bars routine will consist mostly of swing and flight elements. A gymnast is required to execute swinging elements from a support, hang, and upper arm position.
Judges look for the gymnast to perform swinging elements from a support or hanging position, form while in handstands, and release elements.
The high bar is 9 feet high and consists of swings, release moves, and high-flying dismounts. The event is very difficult because a gymnast must perform release moves 12-15 feet over the bar, which requires a fearless and aggressive effort. He must maintain form throughout the release move and while catching the bar, which is usually a matter of just inches.
Judges watch for several release moves, no execution errors, and a big dismount with a perfect, stuck landing.
The Beam is four inches wide, four feet off the ground, and sixteen feet long. Gymnasts have 90 seconds to perform a combination of tumbling and leaping skills showcasing power, flexibility, and confidence.
Judges watch for the perfect execution of flexibility and salto combinations with the least amount of wobbling or falls by the gymnast.
The 40’x40’ area comprises plywood and springs underneath compressed foam and carpet to allow the gymnasts to gain extra bounce and achieve greater heights (and softer landings). Routines last no more than 90 seconds and cover the entire floor. In women’s gymnastics, the floor routine is choreographed to music.
Judges watch for the perfect execution of flexibility and the height of salto combinations, in addition to artistry, beauty, and stamina in the routine.
Pommel horse routines consist of continuous circular movements interrupted only by the required scissors elements. Swinging through a handstand position, with or without turns, is allowed. The hands are the only part of the body that should touch the apparatus and the entire exercise should flow with a steady, controlled rhythm.
Judges watch for the shapes executed while circling the horse, and the rhythm performed throughout.
The Rings hang approximately 10 feet from the ground, and a gymnast is looking to achieve stillness and proper body position while performing strength elements. Gymnasts with the best command of the event will display extraordinary strength in arriving at all holds with absolute precision.
Judges look for the gymnast to execute swinging elements from a support, hang and upper arm positioning.