Archive for the ‘Judging’ Category

Men’s JO Program

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

What is wrong with the new optional system for the junior program?  I will tell you one thing that I find very wrong.  There is absolutely no development in the developmental program.  In other words, there is no incentive whatsoever to have boys go through the various levels.  As most coaches and gymnasts have figured out by now, one can take the level 6 routines on each event and modify them very slightly and compete level 9.  Now logic tells me that this is not the best thing for the gymnast and that one should follow level 7 and 8 prior to becoming a 9.  However,  every coach and gymnast’s goal is to compete in the national championship.  Therefore, the big reward in skipping level 7 and 8 is that anyone who was a competent level 6 can make it to nationals without doing real gymnastics.  Should we reward a young gymnast with a trip to nationals if he can only do a shoulderstand on the rings?  Should a shoulderstand even be considered a move at the optional level?  It is because it is a “recognizable gymnastic movement”  which is used in the junior program.  Should a back uprise to “L” be a move without deduction on P-bars?  There are many of these examples.

To qualify to nationals as a level 9 a gymnast needed to score 72.0.  How difficult is that to do by modifying the level 6 routines.  I am not going to go into each one of the level 6 routines but if you take the time to do that you will find that a 12.0 on each event is very realistic.  P-bars is a good example:  the glide kip fulfills the long hang category, the support swing fulfills the support category, the Moy to upper arms fulfills the upper arm category and the wendy is a partial dismount.  Therefore, the gymnast receives 1.8 in the element groups.  There are at least 7 A moves which amounts to .7. So, the start value without any modifications is 12.5.  A handspring vault is worth 13.0 on vault and the other events are similiar.  It is probably realistic without modifying the routines at all to get an all around score of 72.0 or better!  But if you add a drop cast to P-bars and a layout half dismount on rings it is very simple to have very good start values and make going to nationals a realistic goal without doing real gymnastics.

Gentlemen, this system is broken and is in need of repair.  There must be guidelines and the JO program must become a developmental program.  I encourage your feedback.

New Scoring System

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

I have been judging men’s gymnastics from Level 4 all the way up to the NCAA level this year and I have some very strong feelings about the new system.  Unfortunately, there is no longer any room for creativity.  If it is not in the code of points it is not gymnastics.  This seems pretty ridiculous since the Thomas Flair, for example, would not have been invented under the current rules.  Or it might have been evaluated and given a vaule by the FIG Technical committee and everyone would have been made aware of the skill in advance of it’s unveiling.  That was one of the great things about creativity.  We would go to a World Championship and hear about new skills being introduced for the first time.  In addition the emphasis on diffiuclty has created a compulsory effect.  Everyone seems to do the same skills in the same combinations in order to maximize the start score.  This clearly creates an atmosphere much like the old compulsories.  But at least when we had compulsories the next day we had optionals to look forward to.

Since the routines now need to be very long in order to, once again, maximize the start score, the gymnasts end up doing the skills that are easiest but have the highest difficulty level.  A typical example on floor exercise would be: round off back with a 1 1/2 twist, punch front 1/1 twist, punch 1 1/2 twist.  Next, there is an incredible amount of repetition.  For example, on high bar, most everyone does healys and higgins’ in various combinations several times. The rules read you can only get credit for four skills in any one category and both of these skills are in the same category.  However, watching any combination of four of these skills is boring.  Oh yea, by the way if the healy or higgins ends up in elgrip it is an elgrip skill and can count again.  So once again this is very boring.   Of course you add to all of this that the audience no longer understands what a good score is since the 10.0 has been taken out of the equation and you basically have a system that is not a good one.  The one positive thing which has come out of this effort is the change to execution deductions of: .1 for a small error, .3 for a medium error, .5 for a large error and .8 for a fall.  This does give the judge a better way to differentiate between competitors. This is not broken, it never worked in the first place.