After you have graduated to level 5 in gymnastics your next goal is doubtless to make it to level 6. This level in gymnastics is actually quite unique in that it is the only level that you are allowed to skip if you can meet certain requirements.
In order to get to level 6 in gymnastics you first have to be 7 years old, be able to do the necessary skills from level 5, and be able to get a score of 32.00 AA when doing your routines in a level 5 gymnastics meet.
Level 6 is also the first one of the optional levels; this lets you create your own routine which can be much more fun for gymnasts to do. However, in creating your own routine there are certain things that you have to include in it, and knowing what these are can help you to avoid being penalized if you don’t plan your routine correctly.
What Are The Skills That You Need To Pass In Order To Graduate To Level 6?
These are the minimum skills that you will need to know from level 5 in order to get to level 6 and they do not include the level 6 skills that you will also need to know in order to skip the level. However, these are a great place to start if you hope to try to skip level 6.
On The Floor
Your leaps and split jumps should have a 150 degree split, and you should be able to do a straddle jump with the same degree of split. Your sissonne does not have to have quite up to that degree yet and only needs to have a 135 degree split.
Besides that, you should be able to do a front handspring, back extension roll, a front tuck, and a round-off back handspring tuck, and your complete turn on one foot.
On The Beam
You should have learnt in level 5 how to do leap and split jumps on the beam at the 150 degree splits. You also need to be able to do the handstand, back walkover, and the back roll to ¾ handstand. The common mount that you will need to have perfected is the leg swing with ½ turn mount, while the dismount that you should also have perfected is the cartwheel to handstand ¼ turn dismount.
Your arabesque should have progressed to the point that you can now arabesque to above the horizontal point and hold it there for just a moment. You should also have taken your complete turn on one foot and put it on the balance beam too.
On The Bars
The skills that you learned in level 5 on the bars are the kip, the long hang kip, the long hang pullover, the under swing, the clear hip circle, the backward sole circle, the backward stalder circle, and tap swings. You should then be able to end with either a flyaway dismount or a flyaway dismount with a twist and stick your landing with whichever one you do.
While you do not have to be able to do all of these perfectly well while in order to graduate, you have to be at least able to do them, some of them being required in the compulsory level 5 routines at gymnastics competitions. You therefore have to be able to score well with at least those.
On The Vault
You should by now be able to do that handspring without any problems, and maybe you have already starting working on adding a twist to it. Either way, you are hopefully also starting to be able to increase the height settings that you can vault with.
This is because having a higher table to vault from gives you more time in the air. The more time that you have in the air, the more time you have to twist or move around while still being airborne, and therefore the more you can do before you hit the ground.
What Do You Learn In Level 6 Of Gymnastics?
If you want to skip a level in gymnastics it is particularly vital that you know what skills you will need to be able to do in order to pull this off. While by no means easy, this is possible to do if you apply yourself to learning the following things in addition to learning the skills from level 5 that you need to know to get here.
On The Floor
The floor skills that are added for level 6 are relatively easy ones. All of your splits, including that of your sissonne and straddle jump, should be gotten to 180 degree splits in this level. In addition, your tuck jump will get a complete turnaround added to it.
As for new floor maneuvers there are just a few of these. One is called the aerial cartwheel which involves doing a regular cartwheel but without using your hands on the floor at all to help you. This can be quite difficult at first and is something that is usually gradually worked up to by first doing one-handed cartwheels.
The Fouette hop to a land in scale is one of the other new skills and it can be just as challenging to learn how to do it. In order to do this you first start with your arms held pointing back as you take your last step before starting. Once you take this step, throw you other leg forward into the air so that it is horizontal and swing your arms forward as you hop into the air with your momentum to help you.
While you are in midair, turn around to face the opposite direction. As you do so you should also move your horizontal leg and your arms so that when you land on the same foot you are jumping from the leg that you put horizontally is still in its horizontal position, only now it is pointing behind you, and your arms are now pointing out to the sides.
For those of you who might find that description confusing, basically you are lifting your leg into a horizontal position pointing forward, and then with one hop are turning the rest of your body around but leaving that leg in place as much as possible. As you get ready to hop you are also throwing your arms forward and they pass by your head for a moment as you are turning your body before stretching out to the sides.
Lastly, you learn how to do a back extended roll into a pirouette in level 6. Since you should already know how to do a back extended roll, there is much less to this one. However, it can still be difficult to learn how to go straight from that into a 1/1 pirouette since the two maneuvers both involve two different rotations, the roll having you do a turn horizontally while the pirouette involves a vertical turn.
On The Beam
Those 180 degree split leaps and jump that you are working on with your floor routines are also taken to the bar. Like with the floor, this also includes sissonnes and straddle jumps. You will also be working on your front walkover and you may have likely already started on this when you started working on your back walkover on the beam in level 5.
Other than these things, the only other things that you will have to work on in this level are the 3 new dismounts. The first one of these is the front handspring dismount. This should be relatively easy thanks to all of those front handsprings you have been practicing with the vault, and the same principles apply.
The other two are completely new and are called the front tuck dismount and the back tuck dismount. Both of these can be quite hard to learn but they are pretty similar to each other as they both combine a tuck jump with a complete flip in the air off of the beam to land on your feet.
With the front tuck dismount you start at the end of the beam facing the end and jump and flip forward so that you land facing away from the end of the beam. With the back tuck dismount you start at the end of the beam with your heels towards the end and jump and flip backwards so that you land facing the end of the beam.
On The Bars
You should be able to successfully do a cast to 45 degrees from vertical in this level, which you should have already started working towards in level 5. This, however, tends to be far easier than learning how to do a “baby giant” which is fortunately the only other bar skill that you need to learn in this level.
If you are not skipping level 6, then you not only have to be able to learn how to do a baby giant, but you also have to get good enough at it to do it in competitions. To do a baby giant you first start in your front support position on the bar. Swing your legs forward and the sharply back and, using your arms to help you, go all the way back until you are vertical. This should look like you are doing a handstand on the bar and you should hold this for just a moment.
Then let your whole body fall forward and underneath the bar. When your head is under the bar you can bend your arms to help you get around the top of the bar to make a full circle back into the position that you started in. Your hips are allowed to bend only slightly as you are coming back over the top of the bar but other than that should remain perfectly straight.
On The Vault
You actually do not learn anything new for the vault in level 6 of gymnastics. This is one of the reasons why it is possible to skip level 6 if you already have the handstand down. If your coach does feel that you need time in level 6 you may go ahead and start learning the 2 new level 7 vaults here though.
Should You Skip Level 6 In Gymnastics?
There is a lot of debate as to this question, but that is because it depends on lot on the gymnast themself. Oftentimes coaches can choose to do a middle-of-the-road approach and have their students do one level 6 competition only and then move them right on to level 7.
On the one side there is the fact that level 6 can seem boring to some gymnasts. It is true that there are not a whole lot of new skills are learned in level 6 and these can sometime be picked up really fast, leaving nothing for you to do but the same things over and over again.
On the other side there is the fact that rushing up to level 7 can put too much strain on a young gymnast. This is because they will not have as much experience with the levels 5 and 6 maneuvers and yet will be adding other things that are way more difficult while they are still trying to perfect the skills from the previous 2 levels.
For this reason, skipping level 6 is obviously not something that everyone should do. One of the main things that should be considered is any fears when doing the different skills. Sometimes by level 5 and 6 young gymnasts especially can still experience a slight feeling of fear when they have to do a backwards maneuver or do a vault.
Either of these fears should be a clear indicator to take it a little slower, since jumping to level 7 before these fears have been dealt with is not a good idea. This is because level 7 will add more vaults and more backwards skills and therefore requires someone who is already confident in these two areas.
Perhaps one reason to skip level 6, besides the fact that level 6 can be boring to some gymnasts, is the fact that the higher levels stand more chances at things like college scholarships. The sooner a gymnast can get into the high levels and show that they have what it takes, the more likely they possibly will be to get noticed.
Back to the other side, this also makes level 7 tend to be a whole lot more competitive because lots of other gymnasts are skipping level 6 for this exact same reason. Because of this it can make it a good idea to go to level 6 for a while before going to level 7 so that you can really nail down your skills so that you can shine when you do get to level 7.
What Do Optional Levels Mean And What Do You Still Have To Include In Level 6 Routines?
While you are in gymnastics levels 4 and 5, which are called the compulsory levels of gymnastics, you are given the routines that you have to do along with all the other gymnasts of your same level. Level 6 is the first one that lets you come up with your own routine. This routine is judged not only on the skill of the different maneuvers that are in it, but also on how enjoyable the routine is to watch as a whole.
It is perfectly permissible, and even encouraged to some degree, for a gymnast to come up with a routine that shows off their strengths. However, whatever skills a gymnast puts into their routine they still must put at least 5 level A skills and 1 level B skill in it or else they will get serious deductions on their score. However, the gymnasts is allowed to choose which ones they want to do out of the list of level A and B skills.
In addition to these skills, a gymnast must also do specific maneuvers in each event, though the gymnast will get to choose where in the routine to put them. The vault is the only exception to the rule about the 5 A skills and the 1 B skill, since there is not a whole routine to it. You do, however, have to either do the front handspring or choose one of the 2 level 7 handsprings to do if your coach has already taught them to you. However, even if you know other vaults you are not allowed to do them in competitions at this level.
On the floor, and in addition to the 5 A skills and the 1 B skill, you must also include the following into your routine, with no level C skills being allowed in any of your level 6 gymnastics routines. You must have a 360 degree turn on one foot and an acrobatic series that is made up of at least 3 different moves and 2 of which must be “flight” moves such as leaps or jumps of some kind.
You should also do a dance series that has at least two moves and one of which must include one of the the 180 degree split jumps that you are learning in this level. Lastly, you must also do a salto or another comparable acro maneuver.
On the beam there are fewer movements that are required besides the 5 A and 1 B. You still have to the 360 degree turn on one foot and the 180 degree split jump or leap. Other than that you can choose if you want to do one acrobatic flight element or a non-flight acrobatic combination, and you must end with a dismount of some kind.
On the bars you have to choose at least one of the following 4 circles: a hecht, an under swing, a clear hip circle, or a stalder circle. You have to do at least one bar change at some point during your routine and one cast to 45 degrees above horizontal. At the end you have to do one of the dismounts. This is, of course, in addition to the 5 A skills and the 1 B skill of your choice.
How Do You Make Your Own Gymnastics Floor Routine?
If you even stop to think about it you will be able to see that a lot of work goes into choreographing a gymnastics routine. Sometimes your coach will be the one to help you work this out, but at other times they will expect their students to find a choreographer to help them put their routine together on their own time in addition to their practice sessions.
Making the gymnastics routine involves quite a few steps, the first one of which is picking out the appropriate music for the floor routine– which is important since certain music is not allowed at gymnastics competitions. Only instrumental music can be played, no words or you will get penalized with a 1.00 score deduction.
The music also has to last for the right amount of time and be for the same amount of time as the routine you will be doing with it. This time it needs to be is 30-90 seconds and going either over or under these times will also get a penalty deduction of 2.00 for being under and 0.10 for being over the time limit.
Other than those requirements, you can choose anything you like. You can choose classical music, go with more of a techno music option, or even things that sound like country music or anything in between.
One of the things that you want to keep in mind when choosing what type of music you want to have playing during your floor routine is what your strong points are. For example, if a gymnast’s movements are naturally smooth and they find it easy to sort of flow from one thing to the next, then they might be really good with classical music. On the other hand if the gymnast in question has more of a “pop” from one move into another, then techno music will fit better with their natural movements.
Once you have the music decided on, it is time to start working on choreographing the routine. While no matter what your strengths are you will still have to do the requirements, other than that you can add whatever skills you do best. Most gymnasts are either more graceful and do better with the dance elements or they are better at the tumbling and acrobatic elements.
You will want to listen to your music dozens of times to learn the timing of all of the beats by heart. Then as you listen to it you can start picturing in your head what maneuvers you can do that might go with certain parts of the music.
Once you have a least some of these in mind, decide what position you are going to start off in. For a gymnast that is better at dance, this is more often on the ground somewhat away from one of the corners so that the gymnast can do a few dance maneuvers as she gets up. For a gymnast that is better at acro, a standing position in one of the corners tends to be better.
From there, walk through the music and do the skills that you think would work well in certain parts. Count the beats in between and start thinking of what you are going to put there, making sure that at this point you include all of the required parts of the routine.
Walk this through a few times and change things around as needed until you think that the routine is as smooth as possible and takes up as much of the mat as possible. When you have it the way you want it, do not make any further changes and practice, practice, practice!
If you do not want to choreograph your own floor routine you still have other ways of coming up with one. Some dance studios work with gymnasts on a regular basis to plan out their routines for them. You can also buy routines from certain companies that specialize in making them. Finally, you can watch a lot of videos of other gymnast’s routines and put parts of each one that you like together to help you make your own.
If you are hiring a gymnast choreographer, you will need to tell them all about your strengths and weaknesses as a gymnast and tell them what kind of music or specific song that you want to use. They will then give you a complete routine based on the information you give them and will walk you through it to see if you like it. If for any reason you don’t like it, due to too many dance movements for you or for any other reason, they will work with you to change it until you approve it.