Making Sense of Composition – Level 9 Beam


What skills does a Level 9 gymnast need for an exceptional beam routine? She will 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, within the same competitive level. 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 the construction of a Level 9 beam routine.

This is the second in a series of three posts, Making Sense of Beam Composition. Check out the Level 8 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 9 gymnasts are permitted to perform any A, B skills, and C skills, any D/E dance skills (valued at C for bonus consideration), and one D/E 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 9 is a two-element series with both elements containing flight. To receive no compositional deductions in the acro category, a Level 9 gymnast must perform a flight series with a C flight element and one additional acro element (either D/E value OR a salto/aerial). The other option for no deduction is an acro series with a salto/aerial, and one additional C acro element. 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 only B flight elements, 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, layout stepout (B+C salto series)
    Aerial cartwheel (D, counts as C for L9)
    NO deduction
  2. Back handspring, back tuck (B+C salto series)
    One arm back handspring (C)
    NO deduction
  3. Back handspring, one arm back handspring (B+C series)
    Onodi (E, counts as C for L9)
    NO deduction
  4. Front handspring stepout, one-arm front handspring (B+C series)
    One arm back handspring (C)
    0.05 deduction
  5. Back handspring, layout stepout (B+C series)
    Roundoff (B)
    0.10 deduction
  6. Aerial cartwheel, swing through roundoff (D counting as C+B series)
    Back handspring (B)
    0.10 deduction
  7. Back handspring, back handspring (B+B series)
    Back tuck (C)
    0.15 deduction
  8. Front handspring stepout, roundoff (B+B series)
    Back layout stepout (C)
    0.15 deduction
  9. Back handspring stepout, swing through round off (B+B series)
    One arm back handspring (C)
    0.20 deduction
  10. Back handspring, back handspring (B+B series)
    NO other acro in the routine
    0.20 deduction
  11. Back handspring, fall, back handspring (B+0, no series awarded)
    Front handspring
    0.20 deduction

Dance:

To avoid deductions in the dance category, the gymnast must perform two C dance value parts. The maximum deduction of 0.20 will be taken if the gymnast performs only one B dance element, and the rest are A dance elements.

Examples:

  1. Straddle jump ½ turn (C)
    Split jump, tuck jump ¾ (B+C)
    NO deduction
  2. Sweetin (switch-split jump from two feet), Side straddle jump ¼ (C+C)
    NO deduction
  3. Switch leap, beat jump (C+A)
    Full turn with leg horizontal (C)
    NO deduction
  4. Switch leap, straddle jump (C+B)
    Full turn (A)
    0.05 deduction
  5. Cat leap, switch side (A+D, counts as C for L9)
    Full turn (A)
    0.10 deduction
  6. Split jump, straddle jump (B+B)
    Full turn (A)
    0.15 deduction
  7. Split jump, tuck jump (B+A)
    Full turn (A)
    0.20 deduction

Dismount:

For no deduction in the dismount category, the gymnast must perform a C dismount, or a B acro skill connected to an B dismount, or a C dance skill connected to a B dismount. If the gymnast performs an isolated B dismount or less difficult, she will receive the maximum deduction of 0.10.

Examples:

  1. Gainer back pike off end of beam (C)
    NO deduction
  2. Roundoff, back layout full (B acro +B dismount)
    NO deduction
  3. Switch leap, gainer back tuck off end of beam (C dance + B dismount)
    NO deduction
  4. Cartwheel, back tuck full (A acro + B dismount)
    0.05 deduction
  5. Split leap, gainer back tuck full off side of beam (B dance + B dismount)
    0.05 deduction
  6. Front layout dismount (B)
    0.10 deduction
  7. Roundoff, back tuck (B acro + A 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

These examples are certainly not all-encompassing, as there are many skills Level 9 gymnasts can use to construct their beam routines. If each of these compositional categories are met with skills that fit the gymnast’s strengths, the routine will have great scoring potential! Do you have any favorite Level 9 beam skills or combinations I didn’t list here?