10 Junior Olympic Gymnastics Levels – Requirements for Different Stages
There are several tier systems used when it comes to gymnastics. The United States of America Gymnastics or USAG usually uses the 10 gymnastic levels, starting from Junior Olympics to determine someone's level of skills. Before a student can move on to another level, he or she must completely master the skills in his or her current level. Therefore, no students can jump into advanced skills without prior experiences. Here is everything you need to know about gymnastics levels.
- 10 Junior Olympics Tiers
- Beyond Level 10 (Elite Gymnast)
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10 Junior Olympics Tiers
Levels 1-3 (Beginner Levels)
This is where all the fundamental skills in Gymnastics are taught. Most of the students are young at this stage, who just started their gymnastics journey. There are no official competitions held for these levels.
Most of the activities here are basic. Students are taught how to do stretch jumps, cartwheel, lever, and arabesque to 30 degrees (beam). Floor requirements include handstand, backward roll, forward roll, and split jump that includes 30-degree leg separation.
Bar requirements include pullover, cast, back hip circle, and dismounts. And for the vault requirement, students must perform stretch jump and handstand.
Once the students master the first level, he or she can take level 2. It's not a compulsory level, so students can skip this if they don't want to compete. For the vault requirement, the student must be able to jump to handstand and fall to his back. Bar requirements aim to refine the other skills from level 1 and add mill circle, single-leg basket swing, and underwing dismount.
This level is another optional one, and students can omit to enroll in this one. Gymnasts in this level should be able to do a handstand back onto mat stack, single-leg squat, and front-hip circle. Beam training includes handstand, 90 degrees split leap, straight jump, and side handstand dismount. For the floor skills, students should learn how to split jump, bridge kick over, and round-off-back-handspring.
Level 4 is a compulsory level for competitions. If you want to compete with other players, you should master all the skills that are being taught by coaches. Vault requires students to learn front handspring.
In gymnastics bars, skills like a straddle, squat on, pike glide kip, back hip circle, and long hang kip should be completed. Students who finished this level are expected to be able to perform a cartwheel, handstand, back walkover, back extension roll, and back handspring correctly.
Levels 5-6 (Compulsory Levels)
These levels are compulsory if you're going to compete. Gymnasts aiming for this one should have a score of 34 AA in level 4 before moving on. Most skills in this set are hard to learn while some are just refinements of the skills learned in the past levels.
The vault requirement is only to learn front handspring. You need to master more challenging skills such as kip, backward sole circle, long hang kip, long hang pullover, and flyaway dismount. Tap swings are also added for the bars requirement set. For both the beam and floor exercises, the hardest skills to learn are back walkover, sissonne, front handspring, front tuck, and the back tuck.
Level 6 is the ground where the basic skills of gymnasts are tested. This is what you can call as the "entry" for competitions where students are judged on how well they executed a routine. Although a compulsory level, you can skip this one if you have a high score from level 5. Some of the things you will need to master are Tsuk entry, Yurhenko, bar changes, min ?A? dismount, an acro flight element, and one salto.
Levels 7-10 (Optional Levels)
In these levels, the gymnasts have to learn routines from sets that are categorized by difficulty. A skill is rated from A to E, with A skills being the easiest and E skills being the hardest. To level up, each gymnast has to perform a specific combination of skills with varying difficulties in one routine.
To complete level 7, you must be able to perform at least five A skills and two B skills. Level 8 requires four A skills and four B skills in each routine. Level 9 requires three A skills, four B skills, and one C skill in one routine. And lastly, level 10 gymnasts must perform 3 A skills, three B skills, and two C skills. Take note that level 7 and level 8 gymnasts cannot perform a level E skill.
Beyond Level 10 (Elite Gymnast)
Once you're a level 10 gymnast, you can now take the path for the Elite program. This is where you're going to have a bigger chance to compete on college gymnastics or compete on the Olympic trials. If you want to pursue this program, you have to be at least 16 years old and must have experience in competing on senior-level events.
XCEL Tier (200)
The XCEL Tier or the XCEL Program is an alternative tier system that USA Gymnastics uses to classify student skills. Initially, this was added to the tier systems to allow younger students to compete even if they still cannot compete based on the JO tier. For casual gymnasts, this is one of the competitions that they can join without qualifying to JO's higher levels. For serious gymnasts, this is just a supplementary competition they use to gain experience.
Junior Olympics Program
XCEL Program is a new tier that was created in 2013. Initially, only the Prep Optional Program supports competitions for lower-level students. But with XCEL, gymnasts can compete at an earlier level and with more skills covered.
Another advantage of this program is that students can compete based on their individual, personalized routines that are customized to their personal preferences. Unfortunately, this program is just a supplementary program and does not affect the Jr. Olympic gymnastics levels.