Technical updates

Updated JO Rule book (As of May 2017)

FIG Code of Point (As of May 2017)


JO judge course detail

November 2016



Technical Note from USA Gymnastics(Caroline) December 2015

Level 5/6 Technical Group Requirements Clarifications

The following technical groups are considered “specific technical groups” for each apparatus. There are four specific technical groups for each apparatus. One apparatus element from each specific technical group must be performed in the routine.

*See tableof technical groups for each apparatuson page 12 of the JO handbook for descriptions

Level 5 routines need two additional different apparatus elements from any technical group and level 6 routines need an additional six different apparatus elements from any technical group to fulfill the maximum requirement. The gymnast may still receive credit for these additional apparatus elements even if a specific technical group is missing. However, additional non-specific apparatus elements cannot take the place of a missing specific technical group

Additional Notes:

  •  Apparatus elements from the same technical group cannot be counted toward “different apparatus element” requirement.
  • Exception: Apparatus elements from the same technical group may be counted toward the “different apparatus element” requirement if there are multiple apparatus elements available within that one technical group. This is indicated by multiple symbols inside one technical group  or a “bulleted” list of possible apparatus elements (see page 12 of the JO Handbook). In this case, each of the listed apparatus elements may be counted toward “different apparatus element” requirement.
  • For example, in a ball routine, different large rolls on the body cannot count toward the “different apparatus element” requirement. But a series of small bounces, a large bounce, and a visible rebound from a part of the body may all count toward different requirements.
  • When a specific apparatus technical group contains multiple specific apparatus elements (for example, spirals and spirals on the floor in ribbon), only one is required to be present in the routine (one element per box- see table above). It is possible for the other apparatus element(s) from this technical group to be used toward the additional “different apparatus element” requirement.
  •  BALL. A “catch with 1 hand” MAY simultaneously fulfill both of the following requirements: the “catch with 1 hand” as criteria requirement for catch (see table of criteria for levels 5-6 throws and catches) and the “catch with 1 hand” as a specific technical group requirement.
  •  BALL+ HOOP. Roll on the body in levels 5/6 must be executed over MINIMUM 2 body segments to receive credit toward “specific technical group” requirement.

JO Update presentation (Nov 2015)


Update from USA Gymnastics(Caroline) on Aug 14th

  Technical Notes for 2015 JO Rhythmic Program LEVELS 3-8


These notes of common misunderstanding or errors are from the analysis of the Open Championships for levels 5-6 and the JO Championship for levels 7-8 in July 2014.


Body waves:

Body waves are very weak—the technique is inconsistent and incorrect in the majority of waves, and therefore the majority are not valid. Example: Some gymnasts demonstrate only an “arch position,” forward bend, and arch again.  There are very few gymnasts actually executing all the phases/ positions of the FULL body wave including the actual wave of all the body parts.

The SIDE body waves do not look like a waves at all; they are side bend, plie, side bend without any contracting or waving.


The following has been compiled from RG textbooks to assist coaches in improving this area:



The wave consists of a bend and extension of the joints. In the correct performance of the wave, the muscles are relatively relaxed. Tension increases only in those muscles which are necessary for a smooth bend-extension in the given joint. Such continuous change of degree of tension in the muscles produces coordination of the movement. It is recommended that special attention to be focused on the sequence performance of the body parts.

The main characteristic of a CORRECT TOTAL BODY WAVE is sequential and continuous movements in ALL joints.

  • Body waves, executed with correct amplitude and sequence, fluidly and softly, look very graceful.
  • Intense performance with exaggerated amplitude in the joint’s movements does not look aesthetic.
  • Movements should be equal in all the joints.
  • In a total body wave there is no reason to exaggerate movement in the hip joint. At the same time, remember the need of the continuous movement through the chest part of the spine by using muscles of the shoulder blades.

                 Total body wave forward

This wave is performed by standing with arms upward, feet together or with support on 1 foot’s toes. It starts from rounding the trunk forward , then the round semi-squat is performed. After this, body parts are moved forward in the following sequence: the knees, thighs, pelvis, stomach, chest, shoulders and head. Arms from upward should perform a wave-like circle movement forward.


The gymnast should pay attention to the following when executing a total body wave forward:

  1. Wave starts and ends in the same position with arms upwards
  2. At the start of the wave do not bend the knees strongly and in sharp motion.
  3. When moving the thighs forward do not straighten the joints above prematurely
  4. The arms perform a smooth circle when thighs move forward; in the arch back, they are behind.


Total side body wave

All the main positions are maintained, as in the performance of the total body wave, i.e. consecutive straightening of all joints of the body. A side body wave is performed standing on foot of one leg with other toes to the side, transferring the body weight from one leg onto the other. The gymnast does a semi-squat bending to the right with the pelvis displaced to the left. Then, the body weight is transmitted into both legs and the pelvis is displaced to the right. The body weight is then transferred into the right leg and the pelvis of the gymnast is moved to the right and upward. Thus, bending to the right, the gymnast consecutively moves the knees, pelvis and chest to the right. The arms are lowered (hands are at the knee’s level) and then moved to the right as the wave reaches the chest. The wave  finishes similarly to the starting position only on the opposite leg.


Fundamental and Other Apparatus Elements ( levels 7-8)

  1. JO Level 7-8: Required elements:

–          Routines/score forms are simply missing the required elements!


  1. Levels 7-8: Fundamental and Other apparatus elements are valid when performed according to their definition
ELEMENT DEFINTION Common errors=invalid


Roll of the Hoop/Ball over minimum 2 body segments Very often the roll is over only one segment or over a very small segment+ one large segment (like neck to 1 arm)
Figure 8


Circle  movements of the arms (circumduction) and ample  movement of the trunk Often one of the two components of the definition are missing


  This element includes a visible flip (rotation) of the stick and can be performed in a variety of ways.


  • Figure 8 with ample body movement












  • Large circles


Figure 8 with ribbon: both components of the “8” movement of the arm must be performed during the body difficulty—often during Rotations the second half of the “8” is performed when the leg is closing


The is a movement of the entire arm (the movement of the wrist is for rotations of the apparatus  )

Often the gymnast only swings the ribbon on Jumps and Rotations without work of the arm or only the wrist moves instead of the arm or they just simply hold ribbon stick while performing pivots or the full circle have not been completed







DEFINTION Common errors=invalid
Rotation element (Chainée) can be used only once as a part of DER , isolated or in a series of 2 or more Chainée.


Often gymnasts perform chainees in one DER and “hops” of some kind in another but the hops have almost no elevation and look exactly like chainees (identical repetition not valid)



Definition Common errors
Apparatus combinations Coaches still repeat the same BASE for apparatus combination. Each BASE can only be use once according to the JO Handbook


Critieria to validate the Apparatus Combination must be performed DURING the actual Base ( for example: catch of echappe throw on the rotation outside the visual field. Most gymnasts perform this rotation AFTER they catch the ribbon stick.)


Apparatus Combinations specifically must be performed without any technical mistakes


Transmission(Base: Handling): passing the apparatus without the help of the handswith at least 2 different body parts

The gymnast passes from one body part to the hand (not valid because not according to definition)






Music-Movement: Rhythm: Common issues

  • Often gymnasts make accents where there are none in the music OR gymnasts pass through clear accents
  • Gymnasts perform fast, sharp movements during slower sections OR gymnasts perform static balances, long preparations, etc. when the music is building
  • There must be identifiable changes in dynamics within the music which are shown through the movements


Musical choice is the foundation of the entire composition!

*Many of the musical choices in the JO Championships were not ideal because they did not have an identifiable melody or changes in speed that allow the gymnast to learn how to match her movements to the rhythm or character. The music of the Level 9-10 Juniors was improved but the JO had a lot of either background beats or sophistication above the level of the gymnast’s technical ability or without a character that the young gymnast could represent comfortably


  • Please work on the following:

ü  The music has accents and identifiable rhythm/tempo

ü  Large musical accents have corresponding accents with movement

ü  Slower moments have slower movements and that fast parts have fast movements

ü  The gymnast shows the changes in speed by demonstrating contrasts in her movements according to tempo changes

ü  The gymnast, not the coach, is able to follow/understand the rhythm

ü  The gymnast, not the coach, has some feeling or connection to the music which she is able to express by her movements



Dance Steps: During JO there were many “Steps” that were simply walking to the music and many that were less than 8 steps. Please check the definition and make this a priority during choreography and training in order for the Steps to be valid.


Use of the upper body: In levels 3-6 and in apparatus routines for levels 7-8 this was insufficient. Suggestion: start working with the arms, head, shoulders areas at a young age through warm-ups and also as a focus of choreography.


Expression: In the floor it is visible, but in the apparatus routines, there is a noticeable drop in the expression.


Execution: Technical quality

v  Technical quality differentiates the level of the gymnasts. It remains a goal of the US program to improve technical quality at all levels.


v  Consistent, correct basic technique with the body and apparatus is the base of technical quality.


v  Technical quality and equal-sided strength of the body are priorities for coaches



v  If the gymnast is given body difficulties or apparatus elements for which she is not physically prepared or physically capable, technical quality will decrease in her effort to perform something for which she is not ready (lack of amplitude, incorrect technique, etc)


ü  Be sure that the body and apparatus difficulties are appropriately chosen for the gymnast’s physical preparation level/STRENGTH and physical abilities

ü  Selection of jumps: shape, amplitude and sufficient height continue to be national weaknesses. Please work on the position of the arms during the preparation and the jump/leap itself—it was a consistent weakness at JO, poor technique.

ü  Careful with elements using the back bend of the trunk in terms of shape, amplitude, strength-level, overuse, etc.

ü  Throw technique: work on correct arm position during the actual throw (the large losses in KY were due to poor trajectories=poor technique or inconsistent technique for the toss)

ü  Work of the feet need improvement, especially in areas such chasse, acrobatic elements, landing of pre-acrobatic elements (when the feet touch the ground loosely and without control), connecting movements



Update from USA Ggymnastics(Caroline) on July 30th

The 2014 Future Stars roster is now posted

An updated  2014 calendar is also posted

The updates for Levels 7-8 for 2015 will be posted in early August.

Thanks for a great USA season!

Looking forward to the Fall development camps: Future Stars, Elite Squad and Squad.

The December OPEN CAMP registration will be posted in August.

Good luck to the Youth Olympic, Pan American, and World athletes representing USA in August and September!

Thank you,


Level 9/10 Junior-technical note‏(by USA Gymnastics Caroline Hunt sent on May28th 2014)

Dear Level 9/10 coaches:

The information below is related to the JUNIOR program for Levels 9/10.

According to FIG Newsletter 2, the maximum value of a JUNIOR difficulty is 1.00.

There have been many questions about this maximum value related to the specific case of a turning leap used as a body difficulty and simultaneously the first rotation of a DER.

For the purposes of the 2014 United States National Qualifier and Championships, it is possible to use the above example and to write the value of the leap difficulty + value of the DER difficulty (which includes the leap as one of the rotations) with a TOTAL value of more than 1.00 (two difficulties combined in one).

Neither the leap itself nor the DER itself may exceed 1.00.

This is the same principle for a Mixed Difficulty: each individual component may not be more than 1.00 because each component is a separate difficult, but the TOTAL of the Mixed, including connection, may be more than 1.00

Isolated body difficulties, DER elements themselves, and Multiple rotations may not exceed 1.00.