How Do I Become A Level 8 Gymnast?

If you are getting close to becoming a level 8 gymnast then this means that you likely have the dedication and skill that it takes to make it in this sport. While each level will continue to get more difficult, all of the groundwork skills have already been laid by now and even better is that you know what to expect.

In order to become a level 8 gymnast you must be able to score at least 32.00 AA at a level 7 gymnastics meet, be able to do the necessary level 7 maneuvers, and be at least 8 years old. Some coaches move their students up through the levels as soon as they can, while others will want them to stay in level 7 for a while to better perfect their skills.

Level 8 in gymnastics is actually unique, since in this level and in the levels that are higher there are only a few set skills that have to be learned. You will, however, be learning a lot more than these, but your coach will choose which ones you will learn and when based on your individual strong points or weak points and will assign you ones than you will be able to do well in your routines.

What Are The Skills That You Need To Pass In Order To Graduate To Level 8?

There are a lot of new things that you have learned in level 7 of gymnastics and almost all of these are skills that you will want to have pretty well down before moving on to level 8. Depending on your coach you may not have to perfect these, but you will have to at least be able to do them in order to make it to being a level 8 gymnast.

On The Floor

You should have you round-off back handspring into a layout at least mostly down by now, especially as you have likely already had to do it in your floor routines in order to meet one of the combination requirements for your level 7 floor event.

You should also know the tour jete, the wolf turn, and the switch leg leap, though with this last one you will still be working on taking the degree of your splits to higher amounts. In addition, you have been adding more moves together to make combination moves, especially things like pikes, tucks, and things of that nature.

On The Beam

On the beam you should have learned how to add a few different turns to things you already knew, and you also need to know the two new dismounts which are called the front aerial dismount and the gainer off of the side dismount. Other than this all of your maneuvers should be showing much more finesse with every level.

On The Bars

You should be quite comfortable holding your handstand on the bar position before you can graduate to level 8. You should also at least mostly have down your back giant and your clear hip circle that ends in a handstand.

Finally, you should have mastered all 3 of your flyaway dismounts before you go into level 8 of gymnastics. You should also have learned by now how to go straight from one maneuver into the next smoothly and without any pauses or hesitation.

On The Vault

Your three vaulting maneuvers should all be coming along quite nicely and you should be doing at least well enough on these to be able to use any of them when competing in the level 7 gymnastics vaulting events. These 3 are called the front handspring, the Yurhenko, and the Tsukahara entry.

What Do You Learn In Level 8 Of Gymnastics?

As mentioned, starting from this point there are no set skills that have to be learned in each level. However, there are still certain skills that are common to learn in level 8. A gymnastics coach will most often teach these as well as a few others that fit the skills of their individual students.

For example, a student who is already really good with the advanced moves on the bar will likely get to be assigned something harder to work on in that area. On the floor routines some gymnastics tend to be better at the more dance-like movements, while others are better with the acro ones. In this area each gymnasts will be given more of the kind they are naturally better at and just enough of the other in order to be able to meet the requirements for the routines of each of the events.

On The Floor

You will also be working a lot this level on your saltos, since these will be added more and more to the skills in your other events. These will be added to other maneuvers and even added one on top of another by themselves. It is necessary to for them to be done with no hesitation, but now there will also be a height factor to consider. Not having your saltos reach the right height will make you score poorly when competing at a gymnastics meet.

Part of working on your saltos will also be that that you will be working once again on adding it to different moves together into combinations. This will give you a variety of combination maneuvers that you can choose from when picking out ones that you can add to your floor routine that will meet the combination requirements for this level.

One of the specific new combinations that you will probably start working on is the front handspring layout into a front tuck, while another one is the round-off back handspring full. In addition you will be working more on your round-off back handspring layout which you will want to be perfecting.

On The Beam

Now that you have been working on your switch leap on the floor for a level, you will start working on doing this on the balance beam in level 8 of gymnastics. Your splits should still be making it to the 180 degree angle.

There will also be the round-off layout dismount to learn here as well, though both the round-off and the layout should both be familiar things to you by now. This will possibly become one of your most common dismounts along with a gainer either off of the side or the end.

On The Bars

Here is where you will really start to work on learning a variety of ways to switch from one bar to the other. You have likely already started working on a couple of these back in level 7, maybe you even started laying the foundations for them back in level 6. One of these maneuvers is most commonly called the overshoot, but it can also be referred to as the shoot over or the bail to handstand.

In order to do an overshoot you start usually on the high bar, at least to begin with. Swing your legs back or start in a handstand position on the bars and then swing your legs forward as hard as you can. As your momentum is going forward and you are upside-down you then let go with your hands and grab the lower bars, keeping your feet high in the air so that you are now in a handstand position on the lower bars.

Now that you have spent a lot of time working on your handstands on the bars, now you can add a pirouette to your handstand while on the bars too. This is where, while in the handstand position, you let go with one hand, turn, and place that hand back on the bar on the other side.

According to how well you are doing with these new things on the bars, your coach may assign you more to work on by combining your back giant with a handstand and a pirouette. There are few different ways that these two can combine with each other and this is a common level to start working on this sort of combinations.

On The Vault

Now that you know three basic vaults, you will get to start working on making them more difficult to do in this level of gymnastics. Your basic handspring will become three different options. First you will start by adding a 2/1 twist to the end of the maneuver as you vault off of the table.

Once you have been working on that for a little while, you will then add a 1/2 twist as you vault onto the table followed by the 2/1 twist off of the table. Finally, you will change both parts slightly and do a 1/4 twist onto the table followed by a 2 1/4 twist off of it as you vault.

Your Yurhenko (sometimes spelled Yorchenko) will also get twists added to both ends to get to a 1/2 twist on and a 2/1 twist off. In addition to adding these twists you will also be adding both a pike salto and a tuck salto option to the end of your Yurchenko.

Finally, you will also be adding more to your Tuskahara vault. While you won’t be likely to be adding any twists to it in this level, you will be starting to add both the pike salto and the tuck salto at the end of it. Between all of these you should have plenty to practice for this event in level 8.

What Skills Do You Need To Put In Your Level 8 Gymnastics Routines?

At level 8 in gymnastics you have to do 4 level A skills and 4 level B skills in all events except for the vault event as usual. Level C skills are permitted in this level of gymnastics but are counted as level B skills and level D skills and higher are still illegal, if you do them the result being a 0.00 score.

On The Floor

You must have the 4 level A skills and the 4 level B skills, however you may substitute some level C elements for level B ones and some level B elements for level A ones. However, you must keep at least 1 level A skill and 2 level B skills if you choose to substitute higher difficulty skills.

You have to do at least 3 saltos in your routine, either separately or in connection. However, for your acro series you must have either 3 flight elements in it, two of them being saltos, or you can simply have an acro series that has two directly connected saltos in it. The last salto in this connection, or the one that is isolated by itself, must be a salto that ranks as a level B skill or higher.

Lastly, you must also do a dance passage in your routine that includes a split of at least 180 degrees and which has at least one other leap or jump in the combination.

On The Beam

In addition to the 4 level A elements and the 4 level B elements you also have to have at least one 360 degree turn on one foot and at least one split leap or jump of some kind that has a split of at least 180 degrees. To end with you have to either do an aerial or salto dismount of at least a level A difficulty.

You must also have at least one acro combination of at least two maneuvers put together, one of which has to be a flight element, and this combination must not be either on the mount or the dismount. Alternately, you could choose to instead do an acro combination that does not have a flight element and then have a skill somewhere else in the routine that has the acro flight element in it.

On The Bars

On the bars you must do your required 4 level A skills and 4 level B skills in addition to the other specified requirements. The first one of these is that you have to have at least one bar change from either the high bar to the low bar or the low bar to the high bar.

One of the level B elements must have either a flight element or a turning element of some kind, while a second one of the B elements must be a circling one. In order for the first of these to meet the qualifications the turn element cannot be either on the mount or the dismount.

A couple of good examples are the overshoot or the handstand pirouette that you are working on, the former having some flight and the later being a good option for the turning maneuver. The circling element also has specifics to it and has to be one of the following: a clear hip circle, a stalder circle, a hecht, or an under swing.

You must also end with a salto dismount off of the bars that is at least a level A skill level. However, if the gymnast is short a B element and has all of the A elements that they need, they can do a level B or a level C dismount.

On The Vault

On the vault in level 8 the absolute minimum that you can do is the front handspring vault, but preferably you will be adding one of the twists that you are learning to it. Your other options are your plain Yurchenko or Tsukahara vaults, or you may add the different saltos that you have been working on at the end of these.

Top 4 Things To Analyze About Your Routines To Make Them Better

Now that you have been making your own routines for a level or two and have gotten used to the new process, most of your energy while you are in level 8 should now go towards perfecting these routines and making them the best that they can be. These four tips will help you to get the best score that you possibly can if you follow them.

These four different tips can be applied to any of your gymnastics events, even the vault, and can always help you if you keep them in mind when you are practicing. You should also keep in mind however that there is always room for improvement, so even if you see a lot that you need to work on try not to get too discouraged.

1. Assess You Routines As A Whole

For both the beam and in particular the floor event, one of the things that the judges are going to look at is the artistry and flow of the routine as a whole. They will also be looking at both your facial expression and body language as you do your routine to see if they fit the tone of the music that is playing during the floor routines.

Even though the balance beam routine may not have music to it, it should still have the same expressions as though it does. These expressions for these routines can be either sad or happy, with playful ones being fairly easy to show and also fun to see. Most of all there should be at least some amount of drama in the way you move during these two events so that the judges can see that you are not simply doing your routine as though it was nothing more than a string of maneuvers.

This also applies in a slightly different way to your vault event. You want your movements to be as “explosive” as possible here. Keep your movements quick so that there is not a pause and it seems as though you are bouncing off of the vault in the same way that a bouncy ball comes right off of the floor again when you throw it hard at the ground.

2. Assess Your Angles And Positions

The next thing that you can analyze for every event that you do is your angles. The best way to do this is to go through your routine either by doing parts of it in front of a big mirror where you can see yourself, or better yet by having a friend or family member record you doing your routine for you. Once you have that done then you can go back and watch yourself as many times as you need to.

For the first few time through you will want to focus on your angles. Check to see that your split leaps are meeting the required 180 degrees for this level, and on the bars you want to see that your body is staying perfectly vertical when it should be. The same goes for being horizontal when needed with your legs both in the floor and the beam routines as well as on the bars.

On the handspring vault you should have already pushed off of the vaulting table before your feet make you perfectly vertical or you are waiting too late. Your body should be perfectly straight when going into the vault, not bent at all at the waist or anywhere else unless it is required for the maneuver you are doing.

Along with your angles you should also be looking at your overall body positions. Watch your recorded routine again and look at your feet, legs, and arms to see where they are at. Your feet in particular should be pointed almost the whole time during your routines and your legs and your arms should remain perfectly straight unless you are doing a maneuver that requires them to be bent.

This is especially true when you are doing dance maneuvers either on the balance beam or on the floor. Your feet should be in the high releve position with you standing on your toes with the rest of your foot being perfectly vertical.

Most of the time while you are on the bars your legs should be pressed tightly together with no space in between them. At the hips you should also be perfectly straight unless you are supposed to be bending your legs forward at the hips for a specific reason. In that case they should be bent forward at the specific angle that they are supposed to have.

3. Assess Your Energy And Your Fluidity

Each of your dance skills should be particularly fluid and have a good amount of energy in them, making them look like you are actually dancing. As for the acro skills, these should have more power like the vault has. Your saltos in particular should be as high as you can get them; if your saltos are too low sometimes they can get points deducted from them for it.

The same is true when vaulting. Your jump onto and vault off of the vaulting table should be as high as you can make them. These should also have all the energy that you can put into them to make them look as though you are about to explode if possible.

On the bars your dismount should have a certain “pop” to it as you end, and any parts during all of your routines that have a lot of quick movements should have this same quality about them. On the other hand, parts of your floor or other routines that are slightly slower should be done with emotion and expression.

Lastly, you need all of your movements to be as fluid as possible. Think of your routines as though they are one long combination of maneuvers and try to spot any areas where there is the slightest pause or hesitation and work on those gaps. If needed add a movement in the spot if the gap during the floor routine is caused by you waiting for the next beat of the music or something.

4. Assess Your Balance And Your Form

Keeping your form as tight as you can is especially key during the balance beam event, but it is equally important during the other events. Any tilting or moving of your hands to help you with your balance, however slight they might seem to you, are a cause for deductions. On the bar this can be obvious if you need an extra swing or there is a pause from one thing to the next.

So, play back your recording of yourself one more time and specifically watch for these. Sometimes you can be so focused on your maneuver that you may not even feel yourself doing this. These are most commonly noticed as a slight flick of a wrist or a change of position in a gymnast’s shoulders as they re-adjust their weight in order to stay balanced.

Also, look at how you transition from one combination or move to the next one. Even though you may not have any specific skill to do at the moment you should still keep your lines straight as you do something so that you are not at a dead stand-still.

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