Oftentimes getting from level 4 in gymnastics to level 5 is not considered as much of a jump as it is to graduate to level 4 from level 3 in gymnastics. This is because level 5 and level 4 have a lot in common, sometimes they even share the same training times and areas in the gym.
In order to graduate from level 4 to become a level 5 gymnast you must be at least 7 years old, have scored at least 34.00 AA at a level 4 gymnastics meet, and be able to do the necessary skills in each of the 4 gymnastics events. In addition, your coach also has to feel that you are ready to go to a higher level and approve of the change for you.
Knowing what these necessary skills are that you need to be able to get up to level 5 can be a huge help in knowing which ones you might need to work on in order to move up to this level. Also, it can be just as important to know which gymnastics meets count as valid for you to get your scoring at and just what it means to be in a compulsory level.
What Are The Skills That You Need To Pass In Order To Graduate To Level 5?
While some of these skills might seems like ones you have been doing for ages by the time you get here, there are other, newer ones that might be difficult enough to prevent you from going up to level 5. The ones that tend to be the ones that most commonly hold gymnasts back in level 4 are especially noted so that you can spend extra time practicing these.
On The Floor
To pass to level 5 in gymnastics you have to be able to do a split leap to 150 degrees, a straddle jump, a stretch jump with a full turn, a front handspring step out, a front handspring to two feet, a front tuck, and a round-off back handspring into a back tuck.
The most difficult skills to master out of these tend to be both the front and back tucks which require a complete flip to land on your feet again without your hands touching the ground. Failing to be able to do this may keep you held back in level 4 even if you have all the rest of the maneuvers down pat.
On The Beam
Here you have to be able to do a straight leg leap to 150 degrees, a split jump to the same, and a sissonne while on the beam and without wobbling. You also have to be able to do a cartwheel to side handstand into a 1/4th turn dismount.
Lastly you must perform either a back walkover, a back extension roll, or a back handspring step out. This last skill is generally the most challenging of the ones on the beam and is one of the skills that can potentially hold you back in level 4 until you can do it at least passably well.
On The Bars
There are a number of different things that you have to able to do on the bars in order to reach level 5 in gymnastics. Some of these maneuvers are ones that you may have just started to learn in level 4, while others are things that you have already been working on for a while now.
These include: the cast to above horizontal, the clear hip to above horizontal, the back stalder circle to clear front support or the backward sole circle to clear front support, an ordinary backward sole circle, a kip, a long-hang kip, a long hang pullover, and a flyaway dismount. You must also be able to do tap swings and squat ons without any problems with either.
Out of the maneuvers that must be done on the bars, some of the more problematic ones tend to be the kip, the long hang kip, the backward sole circle to clear front support, and the flyaway dismount. These four maneuvers are what prevent most gymnasts from having the skills on the bar they need to get to level 5.
On The Vault
Level 5 in gymnastics is the first level that actually requires you to use the vault in order to graduate to it. This is still kept simple though, with only a successful front handspring being required. You also have to be able to stick your landing when you do this.
However, since gymnasts can be quite a range of ages when they are at level 4, they are allowed to have the vault at whatever height setting works best for them. The coach will often be the one who will change the settings on it for each of his students prior to each one’s vault at the gymnastics meet.
What Do You Learn In Level 5 Of Gymnastics?
Once you have made it to level 5 in gymnastics, you will probably want to start doubling down and working extra hard if you have not started doing so already. By the time you have reached level 5 you are probably going to be fully aware that you can go straight to level 7 from here and thereby skip level 6 in your gymnastics training.
However, accomplishing this takes quite a bit more work and you have to be a truly dedicated gymnast in order to skip level 6. Knowing ahead of time what you need to learn for level 5 and getting a head start on some of the maneuvers can be a great way to get started if your goal is to skip level 6.
On The Floor
You should start working on doing a 360 degree turn on one foot on the floor, and most importantly you should be practicing your combination moves. These are often called acrobatic elements, or Acro for short, and need to be built up to have at least 3 different moves in the series, 2 of which must have “flight” elements like a jump, a leap, or a flip.
Now that you have been working on your tucked jumps, in this level you will be working on them even more until you can also do sissone. Sissone have the same basic principles in that you have to do a complete flip from a standing position and back onto your feet again without using your hands at all. However, as you progress you will work on doing both front and back sissones in the tucked, pike, and layout positions.
You should also still be working on extending you splits and split jumps even further. You goal for this level should be to get 150 degree split jumps and leaps and to have both your side split and your forward split to be able to go at least that far.
On The Beam
These 150 degree split jumps and leaps, as well as the 360 degree turn on one foot, are both immediately taken to the beam in this level. You should also work on taking your arabesque to above horizontal in this level.
Other than that, the main two focuses are perfecting your mounting and dismounting and to work on putting more and more complicated combination maneuvers onto the beam. This last part in particular is a key one to practice since you have to get these maneuvers down quite precisely in order to avoid any wobbling or moving to catch yourself.
On The Bars
You should know how to cast by now, but in level 5 you should start learning how to cast to above horizontal, working on this until you can get to as close to 45 degrees above horizontal as you possibly can. You should be able to cast to a handstand in this level. Your dismounts should no longer need any form of assistance if you are not already to this point.
This is the first level where you will start practicing you bar changes. Though this will be kept relatively simple, it can still be quite challenging at first to change from one bar to the other smoothly and being able to grab the bar with both hands at the exact same time.
You will also be working on your 360 degree circling maneuvers, some of which you should already partially know. These are the underswing, the clear hip circle, the stalder circle and you start learning how to do the hecht.
There is both a hecht jump as well as a hect jump dismount, both of which are extremely difficult to do, which is why you are only going to start learning it in this level. The dismount is by far the more popluar and it is also sometimes called the bird dismount because you fly up through the air for some distance when you do it correctly.
In order to do a hecht dismount you have to release the bar at just the right moment while you are in the middle of the backswing of a circling maneuver so that your momentum carries you up into the air. Once you are airborne you extend your arms, straighten your legs, and push out your chest for a moment.
As you start to fall you can do a flip, a somersault, a straddle roll, or anything else you might want to do while you are still in midair, or you can simply forgo those additions and focus more of your energy on sticking your landing. Even without those additions, a hecht can look quite amazing all on its own and is can take a long time for a gymnast to master.
On The Vault
While you might start working on a couple of other things on the vault, you will still be sticking to the handspring at this point. The goal of practicing this for so many levels is to get quite comfortable doing this before any more difficult moves are added to it. However, if you are quite comfortable already, your coach may start you practicing a twist on as you do the handspring.
What Does Being In A Compulsory Level Of Gymnastics Mean?
In the 4th and 5th levels of gymnastics you are in what are called the compulsory levels. This means that at each and every event each gymnast does almost the exact same routine as all of the other gymnasts of their level. These routines can vary a little bit from one gym to the next, but preferably this variation is kept to as small of an amount as possible.
For example, instead of doing the leap pass, your gymnastics coach might instead teach his students to do a split leap in that spot, or even a switch leap. All three of these are at least fairly similar and are usually considered to be an acceptable variation.
For the most part these compulsory routines are actually the same from level 4 to level 5, except for the fact that new moves are added in for the level 5 gymnasts. These two levels are mostly about perfecting the skills that you have learned in the previous levels, it is the later levels that add in more and more difficult maneuvers.
What Does 34.00 AA Mean And Where Can I Get It?
In the world of gymnastic competitions AA refers to a gymnast’s All Around score. This takes into consideration the scores that the gymnast received for all four of the events at a competition. A perfect score would be 40.00 AA, and this would be possible only if you got a perfect 10.00 from each of the 4 different events. While nowadays the score you need to pass to level 5 in gymnastics is a 34.00 All Around score, in the past it used to be 31.00 AA, but this has since been increased.
In order for your score to count when you take part in a gymnastics competition, the gymnastics meet has to be an official one that is acknowledged by the USAG. This being the case, gym to gym competitions are more for just practice competitions and they are just as often not counted.
So no matter what you score is at a gym to gym meet you will still have to score you 34.00 AA at an official competition. However, these practice runs can provide gymnasts with a great way to get their feet wet and to get experience with being actually scored on their routines.
Some gyms try to help provide an opportunity to get the scoring you need to move up to the next level. They can do this by hosting what are often called mobility meets. These meets still have to be officially sanctioned by the USAG in order to count, but mobility meets are most often held almost solely to provide gymnasts with a chance to get the score they need and are therefore very likely to be official competitions that will count your score.
These can be held almost anytime during the year and are just as often off-season in gymnastics to allow the gymnasts to change levels before the state qualifying meets. This allows gymnasts to start off the new year in their new level.
If you see that there is going to be a gymnastics meet somewhere and are in doubt as to if the score that you get there will count towards getting you to level 5, then look up one of the numbers. Especially look up the number of one of the people who are organizing the competition, and they should not only know what you are talking about but be able to give you an answer to your question.
A Few Simple Things To Do To Help You To Reach A 34.00 AA Score
Knowing your routine is the first and most important thing that you can do to help you get to a 34.00 score. Keep in mind that levels 4 and 5 are compulsory where everyone is doing the same routines. This means that the judges are going to know the exact routine that you are doing by heart and will be able to tell all the easier if you make any deviations at all when doing your routines however slight these might be.
Therefore, not only will you be judged on how well you do each individual skill, but you will also be judged on how well you do the routine as a whole. Failing to do any part of the routine can cause a serious deduction in points. Since the fewer deductions you get on your score the higher it will help your score to be at the end, it can be really helpful to know what the most common deductions are when competing in the compulsory levels.
In the case of most of these deductions it is up to the judge to decide exactly how much to take off, however there is a maximum amount of points that they can take off for each fault. Usually the judge will base their deduction in these instances on exactly how off the gymnast was when they made the error. With other errors there is a specified amount which is always taken off.
Falling in any one of the 4 different events has the largest deduction of all at 0.50 being taken off. Since you can only stand to lose a total of 6.00 points across all 4 of the events in order to pass to level 5, having 0.50 taken off can be a huge part of the amount. This being the case, gymnastics competitions are somewhere where literally whatever you do, don’t fall!
When you are on the bars during the bar event, having an extra or “empty” swing that serves no purpose besides helping you gain momentum gets a deduction of 0.30 points. The main deductions for the bar, however, come when landings are not done correctly. Squatting when you land is up to a 0.30 deduction, taking steps to balance yourself on landing are 0.10 points deducted for each step up to four steps, with one very large step or jump on landing being a 0.20 point deduction.
Even swinging you arms on landing can get you up to a 0.10 point deduction, with any additional upper-body movements to aid you in catching your balance costing you up to 0.30. All in all, the landing is one of the single most important parts when it comes to avoiding deductions on the bar event.
These same deductions on landing hold true for the beam event as well, being the exact same amount of points deducted for the same errors when the gymnast is landing. In addition, grasping the beam at any point in an effort to avoid falling off the beam is a deduction of 0.30. However, since this is still less than the 0.50 deduction that you would get if you actually fell, it is far better to grasp the beam than fall no matter which way you look at it.
Then there some errors that can get points taken away from your score when you do them, no matter where these errors are done at. For example, any error in balance such as almost falling over, tripping, or anything of that nature can have up to 0.30 points deducted whether it is on the floor or on the balance beam.
Having your legs separated when they should be together is up to a 0.20 point deduction, and having your toes not pointed when you are doing anything where they should be is worth a 0.05 point deduction each time you do it. These errors are for any of the 4 events in a gymnastics competition.
Since the sport of gymnastics places a great amount of stress on straight lines and in keeping the proper forms, any bent arms or legs can get 0.30 deducted for each skill during which you bend your arms or legs. In other words, if while on the bar you do 5 different maneuvers and you bend your arms a little on each of them you will get 1.50 deducted from what you otherwise could have had. This rule also applies to all 4 of the different events at a gymnastics meet.
Not having a tight body position when doing a skill can cost up to 0.20, and this too adds up to however many times you make this error and whichever of the events that you make this error in. The same goes for an insufficient split that does not reach the right angle and this costs 0.20 points each time. A split or any other jump that involves separating your legs can have 0.10 points deducted each time that your leg separation is at all uneven.
Finally, an extra kick to help you up to a handstand gets 0.30 points off of your score, whether on or off of the beam, and a failure to kick your leg up to a horizontal position when a maneuver that you are doing calls for it can have up to 0.10 points taken off. Again, keep in mind that these deductions are for each time you do them and therefore can add up quite a bit!
Last but certainly not least, it is actually literally important to smile! Since the compulsory levels are judged partially on artistry, the judges are allowed to deduct 0.10 points for failure to smile, and since this is a really simple thing that anyone can do you should be sure to remember it.
While all of these deductions might seem to be overwhelming, you should never get stressed out about them. One reason why you should not get stressed is because when you get tense your muscles stiffen and this will make you all the more likely to make a mistake of some kind. It will also be a hindrance to your brain and make you more likely to forget part of your routine or anything else that you need to be able to remember.
The other reason why you should not stress even after reading this long list of deductions is a simple math problem. Even if you do all of these mistakes one time each you can still get the score that you need in order to pass to level 5 of gymnastics – and the same goes for graduating from level 5 gymnastics to level 6 or 7.
Knowing this will hopefully make you feel more confident, since making even a few mistakes will not necessarily ruin your chances of leveling up in gymnastics. With levels 4 and 5 of gymnastics having routines that are so similar in many ways, level 5 does not always take long to get past. This will be especially true if you use the information that is in this article to start working on the skills you will need ahead of time.