Making Sense of Composition – Level 8 Beam


What are the ingredients for a great Level 8 beam routine? Gymnasts need a combination of strong acro skills, dance skills, and a big dismount. Judges have deductions available, called compositional deductions, to separate gymnasts of different skill levels. In 2018, those deductions became a LOT more specific… and a lot more confusing. Modeled after the collegiate compositional deductions, skills with specific values are required to avoid deductions. So what’s the best way to construct a routine to avoid these compositional deductions? I’ll offer plenty of examples today. I’ll also review some additional compositional deductions that can be applied for Level 8 beam.

This is the first in a series of three posts, Making Sense of Beam Composition. Check out the Level 9 and Level 10 posts too!

When a coach and gymnast are constructing a routine, they must first consider the skills that are allowable for the gymnast’s level. For those who are unfamiliar, skills in the J.O Program are valued A through E, with A skills being the easiest, and E skills the most difficult. Level 8 gymnasts are permitted to perform any A and B skills, any C dance skills, and one C acro skill in their beam routine. To receive the highest score, gymnasts should perform skills that meet these requirements and that they can perform with the least amount of deductions.

When considering compositional deductions, there are three different “Up to the Level” compositional categories: Acro, Dance, and Dismount. Gymnasts must perform skills that go beyond the level of the basic Special Requirements, in order to receive no deduction for composition. Here are some examples:

Acro:

The Acro Special Requirement at Level 8 is a two-element series with at least one B flight element. To receive no compositional deductions in the acro category, a Level 8 gymnast must perform a flight series with 2 B flight elements, and two additional acro elements: one B and one A. The maximum deduction of 0.20 would be taken if the gymnast does not perform an acro series, or if she performs an acro series with 1 B flight, and no other additional acro elements in the routine. Dismounts are not considered acro elements for the purposes of composition, but acro skills on the beam leading into the dismount would be considered for the acro compositional category.

Examples:

  1. Back handspring stepout-back handspring stepout (B+B)
    Front walkover (B)
    Cartwheel back tuck dismount (A acro + A dismount)
    NO Deduction
  2. Back tuck (C, given B credit for L8)
    Forward roll (A)
    Back handspring stepout-back handspring two feet-back tuck dismount (B+B series, A dismount)
    NO Deduction
  3. Front handspring stepout-back handspring (B+B series)
    Roundoff, back tuck dismount (B acro + A dismount)
    0.05 deduction (Note that the dismount does not count as the additional A acro element)
  1. Back handspring stepout-back handspring stepout (B+B)
    Tic-toc (A)
    Cartwheel (A)
    0.05 deduction
  2. Front handspring stepout-roundoff (B+B)
    Back shoulder roll (A)
    0.10 deduction
  3. Back walkover-back handspring (A+B)
    Roundoff (B)
    0.10 deduction
  4. Cartwheel-roundoff (A+B)
    Back walkover (A)
    0.15 deduction
  5. Dive cartwheel-roundoff (B+B)
    NO other acro in the routine
    0.15 deduction
  6. Tic-toc-back handspring (A+B)
    NO other acro in the routine
    0.20 deduction
  7. Back handspring, fall, back handspring (B, 0 value)
    Cartwheel, back tuck dismount (A acro + A dismount)
    0.20 deduction

Dance:

To avoid deductions in the dance category, the gymnast must perform two B and one A dance value parts. The maximum deduction of 0.20 will be taken if the gymnast does not perform any B dance elements.

Examples:

  1. Split jump, tuck jump ½ (B+B)
    Full turn (A)
    NO deduction
  1. Split leap (B)
    Straight jump ¾ (B)
    Full turn (A)
    NO deduction
  1. Straddle jump (B)
    1 ½ turn (B)
    0.05 deduction
  1. Switch leap (C, counts as B for L8)
    Tuck jump (A)
    Full turn (A)
    0.10 deduction
  1. Split jump ¼ (B)
    Wolf jump (A)
    0.15 deduction
  1. Switch-side leap (D= RESTRICTED for L8, NO VP)
    Tuck jump, straight jump (A+A)
    Full turn (A)
    0.20 deduction
  1. Stag leap, beat jump (A+A)
    Full turn (A)
    0.20 deduction

Dismount:

For no deduction in the dismount category, the gymnast must perform a B dismount, or a B acro skill connected to an A dismount. If the gymnast performs an isolated A dismount or a non-value part dismount, she will receive the maximum deduction of 0.10.

Examples:

  1. Front layout off two feet (B)
    NO deduction
  1. Roundoff, back layout full (B+B)
    NO deduction
  1. Roundoff, back tuck (B+A)
    NO deduction
  1. Back handspring stepout, back layout (B+A)
    NO deduction
  1. Cartwheel, back tuck (A+A)
    0.05 deduction
  1. Back walkover, back layout (A+A)
    0.05 deduction
  1. Punch front dismount (A)
    0.10 deduction
  1. Barani (aerial roundoff) dismount (A)
    0.10 deduction
  2. Roundoff dismount (A) – does NOT meet Special Requirement of A salto/aerial dismount
    0.10 deduction

Additional Compositional Deductions

In addition to the “Up to the level” deductions, there are several other categories judges are looking for during each beam routine.

  • Missing a dance series of at least two elements: 0.20
  • Missing acro elements in 2 directions: forward/sideward and backward: 0.10 (0.05 if dismount is the only acro in that direction)
  • More than 2 straddle jumps or tuck/wolf jumps: 0.10
  • More than two straight leg pivot turns: 0.10
  • Failure to perform choreography forward, sideward, and backward: Up to 0.10
  • Failure to perform level changes (high, semi, low): Up to 0.10
  • Spatial use of entire length of beam: Up to 0.10

If the coach and gymnast spend time developing skills that meet each of these compositional categories, the routine will have great scoring potential! Do you have any favorite Level 8 beam skills or combinations I didn’t list here?