This post has been updated to reflect the 2021-2029 compulsory routine changes.
Occasionally, I look toward the beam to salute the next gymnast, but I can’t see her because she’s not tall enough to see over the beam! Usually, when that happens, I’m judging Level 2 beam. In my area, Level 2 is the lowest competitive level. The little Level 2 gymnasts are just learning how to compete. For some of these kids, it’s hard to even remember the beam routine! But once they learn it, there are several common mistakes I see. What are they? Read on to get the details on the Level 2 beam routine.
Introduction to Level 2 Beam
The skills in the Level 2 beam routine are basic, and it seems that there aren’t many skills in the routine. Even so, it’s important to perform each skill correctly in order to get a great score and get ready to progress to Level 3.
There are three different areas to work on in order to do a great Level 2 beam routine. These areas are:
- Major elements – First, check to be sure they are performed well, with straight legs, straight arms, and good body position. Do the dance skills have good amplitude? Does the routine show good posture during all major skills?
- Next, are the major elements free from specific element deductions (more details below)? Has attention been paid to the smaller details (kicks, levers, releve, arm positions)?
- Finally, has the gymnast minimized her deductions in the general categories (text, rhythm, artistry, posture, etc.)? Many new Level 2 gymnasts have difficulty with the text and rhythm of the routine. Here’s a link to more information on general deductions.
Level 2 Beam Skills
The Level 2 beam routine consists of the following skills:
- Jump to front support mount
- Single leg kick-up to stand
- Forward passe balance
- Stretch jump
- Arabesque (30°)
- Forward leg swing, backward leg swing
- ½ pivot turn
- Cartwheel to side handstand dismount
Does your gymnast need a practice beam for home? Check out the recommendations in The Best Gymnastics Beams for Home!
General Execution Deductions For Level 2 Beam
General execution deductions are ones that can be taken on any major element (skill) in a compulsory routine. Here is a list of general execution deductions that could be taken during a beam routine:
- Foot form – 0.05
- Leg separation – Up to 0.20
- Body alignment/position/posture in major elements – Up to 0.20
- Bent arms or legs (max deduction at 90 bend) – Up to 0.30
- Balance errors – Up to 0.30 (each)
- Grasping beam to avoid a fall – 0.30
- Fall (on or off the apparatus) – 0.50
- Failure to mark the passe position in releve at turn completion – 0.05
- Failure to contract or extend when indicated – Up to 0.10
- Leg swing/kick not to horizontal or above when required – Up to 0.10
- Incorrect leg alignment in arabesque – Up to 0.10
- Failure to perform turns in high releve – Up to 0.10
- Uneven leg separation in leaps/jumps – Up to 0.20
- Failure to keep arms by ears in/out of slow acro elements – 0.05
- Failure to land with feet together on 2-foot landing of jumps – Up to 0.10
- Insufficient split – Up to 0.20
- Incomplete turns – Up to the value of the element (usually 0.40)
Technique Changes for the 2021-2029 Compulsory Cycle
There have been some changes made in this cycle of compulsory routines. Here are the changes you’ll see throughout all of the beam routines:
- No kicks into acro elements
- No straight leg entry into acro elements
- Two choices for acro entries: lunge entrance or mountain climber entrance
- Two choices for acro exits: lunge exit or step-in exit to straight stand
If you’ve coached prior to 2021, you’ll notice that these are different from past compulsory routines, but there are more options now to allow for flexibility in coaching techniques. Win-win for everyone!
Next, let’s take a look at the whole routine and the specific deductions for each element.
Specific Element Deductions for Level 2 Beam
Each element, or skill, in the Level 2 beam routine has specific deductions associated with it. In addition, general execution deductions can be applied. Here’s a look at these specific deductions, as well as some common general deductions for each skill.
Jump to Front Support Mount
The mount is the first skill in the Level 2 routine. The jump to front support should be performed with a tight, straight body and straight arms. The gymnast must fully extend her body in the front support position (up to 0.10). The ¼ turn to straddle sit should be continuous. A rhythm break could incur a deduction of up to 0.10. Other common errors are leg separations, foot form, and bent arms.
Single leg V sit, Tuck stand, Pike stand, Single leg kick-up to stand
The only part of this sequence that is a major element is the single leg kick-up to stand.
The gymnast should maintain good form during the V sit, tuck stand, and pike stand. Errors in this sequence can result in general text or posture errors. There is also a specific deduction of up to 0.10 for lack of continuity from sit to stand.
The single leg kick-up is a new skill in this compulsory routine, and it is a drill for the handstands in the higher compulsory levels.
During the single leg kick-up, the gymnast should kick the leg backward immediately from the pike stand. If neither foot leaves the beam, it is a 0.20 deduction.
General deductions can also be applied for bent legs or arms, foot form, and failure to keep arms by ears.
Forward Passe Balance
This balance is a preparation for turns in the higher levels. The passe balance begins on flat foot, then rises into releve. If the leg is not in forward passe, a deduction of 0.10 is applied.
Deductions can also be applied for a bent support leg, poor posture, and lack of releve.
The stretch jump, or straight jump, comes in between two lock positions. Be sure to show good form and posture during the lock positions, along with high releve.
Look for good body posture at the beginning and end of the jump. The legs should stay together, feet one in front of the other in preparation for landing, during the jump.
There is a height deduction of up to 0.20, and I take this deduction all the time. The gymnast should get enough height above the beam to be able to point her feet, and still see some daylight underneath her. If she does not show this amplitude, she will receive a deduction.
Finally, she should land on both feet simultaneously (flat 0.10 deduction) and with feet closed (up to 0.10 deduction).
During the arabesque, the back leg must lift to at least 30 degrees off the beam (up to 0.20). The arabesque should be held at least one second (up to 0.10).
Common deductions on the arabesque include poor body posture (the chest should be upright), bent knees, and foot form.
Forward/Backward Leg Swings
The leg should swing forward to at least horizontal. If she does not reach horizontal, she will incur a general execution deduction of up to 0.10. The leg swing backward needs to reach a minimum of 45° above beam, and this is another up to 0.10 deduction. It’s also common to see errors such as body posture, bent knees, and foot form during this skill.
After the leg swings, there is a demi-plie into a releve lock stand. It should be a quick movement, emphasizing the high, tight releve position. Body position, foot form, and foot separation deductions are the most common during this series
The pivot turn should be a quick, sharp turn. There is an up to 0.10 deduction for lack of sharpness.
Other common deductions are body posture (up to 0.20), leg separation (up to 0.20 – feet should be tight together in a lock position), and sometimes a small deduction for bent knees.
Cartwheel to side handstand dismount
The gymnast can choose a lunge entrance or a mountain climber entrance into her dismount.
The hands should land on the beam one by one. If the hands are placed on the beam simultaneously, a flat 0.10 deduction is taken. The biggest deduction is lack of vertical, for up to 0.30. No hold is required.
It’s very common to receive deductions for body position, head position, bent arms/legs, and foot form.
The hands should stay in contact with the beam when the gymnast lands on the floor, or a flat 0.10 can be applied.
The gymnast should land with good posture and control upon landing.
The Level 2 beam routine is quick, and the gymnast should move smoothly from one skill to the next. I often see gymnasts at this level take a lot of time between skills. Not only will this cause them to get a rhythm deduction, but they might also go overtime, which is a 0.10 deduction. Take the time to work on completing each skill, and have the confidence to move right into the next skill. The building blocks you will learn at Level 2 will make it much easier to progress into Level 3 and above!
USA Gymnastics Compulsory Handbook, 2021-2029.
General Categories for Exemplary Compulsories
The Best Gymnastics Beams for Home