Making it to being a level 9 gymnast is a huge accomplishment and is only one step away from reaching level 10. That being said, making it this far requires a ton of hard work and dedication as well as a fairly large amount of money for coaching, gymnastics supplies, and traveling to competitions.
In order to become a level 9 gymnast you must be at least 8 years old, know all of the necessary level 8 skills, and you must have gotten a score of at least 34.00 AA at a level 8 gymnastics meet. Your coach must also think that you are proficient enough to move on to the next level.
Making it to level 9 in gymnastics is a big deal for more than one reason. Only about one out of almost every 20 gymnasts makes it all the way to becoming a level 9 gymnast. Another reason why level 9 is different is that both it and level 10 use a different method of scoring which I will get into later.
What Are The Skills That You Need To Pass In Order To Graduate To Level 9?
Since the last three levels of gymnastics 8-10 are the most optional levels, there are actually very few skills that it is absolutely necessary to know in order to pass to the next level. Though you will likely need to know more than these, the skills that are listed below can be considered to be at least the bare minimum that you should be able to do in your routines for each of the events in order to get to level 9.
On The Floor
Here you likely spent a large portion of your time in level 8 working on adding saltos to your handsprings, layouts, and any other kind of jump that you could possibly add them to. In addition you should know how to do one salto right after the other in a combination move.
You also should know how to do at least a handful of other combination moves such as the round-off back handspring layout, the front handspring layout into a front tuck, and the round-off back handspring full. To these you should have added saltos sprinkled throughout them if possible.
On The Beam
You should be able to do your switch leaps on the bar y now, getting both of the splits in this maneuver to the 180 degree angle. Other than that you should have gotten more of the difficult floor combinations and have put them on the bar. These include that round-off back handspring layout and the combination with two back to back saltos in it.
On The Bars
You should now know and be able to successfully do at least a handful of different maneuvers that can get you from one bar to the other, including the overshoot as one of them. You should also know a few different giant circling maneuvers both forward and back with and without ending in a handstand which also pirouettes at the end by at least a 1/2 turn .
As for your handstand pirouettes, by now you should be able to do at least close to a 2/1 turn without falling, bending your legs, or swaying as you do so. These pirouettes can be added at the end of a variety of maneuvers and should be mastered.
On The Vault
You should have mastered the basic three vaults: the handspring, the Tsukahara, and the Yurchenko. Also, these should have gotten twists, pike saltos, and tuck saltos added to them in level 8. If your coach thought that you were ready, you have likely also started to learn the round-off vault and increased your turns so that you salto backwards as well.
What Do You Learn In Level 9 Of Gymnastics?
While in level 8 you worked mostly on your saltos and you continued to work on your handstands on the bars, in this level you will be working more on adding turns and twists to the various maneuvers that you have learned. You will also find it very important to gain as much height as you can on your jumps for all of the events since this will not start to affect your scoring.
Since a 180 degree split is the largest split that you will need to go, and you have already reached this in level 8, the only thing you will work on is perfecting it a little and making sure that it is the 180 degree angle every time. Though like the last level there are only a few things that you will be specifically learning here, these are still important to know and can help give you an idea about whether you are ready to move on to being a level 10 gymnast.
On The Floor
Here is where you start to combine really difficult things called doublebacks, these combination maneuvers are essentially one backward somersault that immediately goes straight into the next and which can be done in a piked or layout position and may also end in a tuck. A simple doubleback is easy enough and you may have even started learning these in level 8.
However, here is where they get more and more complicated. First you will have the doubleback with a half twist. This is where the first backward somersault is done normally, but the second one involves doing a half-turn with the body. This is usually done in a layout position and the gymnast will then end facing the opposite direction than that which they would have otherwise been facing without the twist.
Next is the full twisting doubleback which involves doing a full twist during the second of the backward somersaults However, this one can also be done with the twist in the first of the somersaults, though it is usually done in the second. While you are doing the full twist you must also do a complete flip in the air, making this extremely difficult to do.
Your switch leap will also get a twist added to it as well, and a few other of your moves will get either twists, saltos, or both added to them. The main goal with this level not being so much to teach you new skills – since you should already know the foundations of all of them – but is instead to make the ones you know as difficult as possible by adding to them and combining them.
On The Beam
On the beam you will once again be mostly focusing on taking the floor maneuvers and putting them on the balance beam. In particular you will be doing back handspring series and aerials with double turns to them. If you are doing well enough on the floor with your doublebacks you may put one or two of the simpler ones of those on the beam as well.
Also on the beam you will be working on your switch side leap which will require you to do a twist at the height of your leap in order to switch yourself around. Other than that, and the fact that you are leaping to the side instead of forward, it is very much like a regular switch leap.
As for new dismounts, these will have more twists and saltos to them in general and there will also be the full twisting layout in particular that will be added. Finally, there is also the gainer full layout off of the end, as opposed to being off of the side, and this is one of the new maneuvers that involves doing the full twist.
On The Bars
In level 9 on the bars you will learn even more of the giant maneuvers, among which is likely to be a giant half-turn and even a giant double back. Also, another combination that you can start to learn is the straddle back from front giant. This is a bar change maneuver that is done usually from the high bar to the low bar.
In order to do the straddle back from giant maneuver you circle forward in a front giant as you usually do while facing away from the low bar and then, as you swing to the back, you let go of the high bar and let your momentum take you far enough back to grab the low bar. Your feet stay upright during this so that you are as close to a handstand position on the low bar as possible for a moment. This can be rather tricky to do since you are both upside down and going backwards as you switch bars.
Just as importantly you should also be working harder on other ways of transitioning from the low bar to the high bar. Among the new maneuvers here are using a toe shoot from the low bar to propel yourself up and forward enough to let you catch the high bar, or straddling the high bar and swinging down and forward to jump and catch the low bar.
Finally, there are also other mounts and dismounts to learn, one of the dismounts being the double flyaway dismount. For this you flip into the air with your last swing and do two somersaults in the air before you land on your feet on the ground.
On The Vault
In this level you are adding layouts to the ends of the three basic vaults that you already know. You also learn in level 9 the round-off vault onto the spring board. This in turn also gets twists added to it as well as pike and tucked saltos for variety.
Also in this level you are likely going to start combining your twists with your saltos more by twisting as you go up from the vaulting board and then doing a salto as you go down. Your saltos may get more difficult here as well in that you may try to do multiple flips before you land. Finally, you will be working more on doing backward tucks, backward pikes, and other backward maneuvers off the end of your vault.
What Skills Do You Need To Put In Your Level 9 Gymnastics Routines?
All of the level 9 routines, except for the vault as usual, must have a minimum of 3 level A skills, 4 level B skills, and 1 level C skill in them. Certain level D elements are allowed here, but it is generally best to still stick with level C skills and lower.
On The Floor
You must include the specified number of maneuvers from levels A-C, but like with the level 8 floor routine you must also have three saltos somewhere in it. One of the arcro series for the floor must have at least two saltos in it or instead it can be made up of exclusively two different saltos. The last salto in the routine must be at least a level B in difficulty.
There must be at least one dance passage of at least two different leaps, one of which must involve the 180 degree split. There must also be a 360 degree turn on one foot, however this turn must be part of a maneuver that is level B or higher in its difficulty rating.
On The Beam
In addition to the specified number of skills in levels A and B and one in C, there must also be at least one acro combination that has at least two flight elements in it. This combination may not be connected to either the mount or the dismount.
There must be at least one leap or jump that has the 180 degree split and at least one 360 degree turn on one foot in the routine somewhere as well. This does not include the dance series that must include at least two dance elements. To end with you must choose an aerial or salto dismount that is at least a B level dismount.
On The Bars
In addition to including the 3 level A skills, the 4 level B skills, and the 1 level C skill in your routine, you must also have at least two bar changes at different points. There must be at least one level B or higher flight element that is not connected to either the mount or the dismount but which is allowed to be involved in one of your bar changes.
There must also be a second flight element that is a level C skill and which can also not be connected with the dismount or the mount. This, however, can be substituted for a skill which involves a longitudinal axis turn of at least 180 degrees and which can also not be connected to either the mounting or dismounting maneuvers.
An example of the latter maneuver would be a backward giant into a 180 degree handstand turn. Finally, there has to be a salto dismount that is at least a level B skill at the end of the bar routine.
On The Vault
The requirements for the vault is very simple, with level B or level C skill vaults being preferred to those of any other level. Since most of the vaults you have been learning both in level 9 and in levels 7 and 8 are almost all in these skill levels, it is simply a matter of picking which one you want to do.
What You Should Know About The Scoring For Level 9 Gymnastics
Level 9 is the very first level that has the potential to earn bonus points. With the previous levels you start with 10.00 and then get a score that is lower than that at the end based on how many deductions you get while you are doing your routine. At level 9 you start off with a 9.70 point score which is called the starting value or SV if you have all of the required elements and combinations in the routine that you are doing.
The rest of the 0.30 points that you need are now based on what are sometimes called bonus points. These bonus points are what will get you up to your score of 10.00 and are based on the combinations and the linked maneuvers that are in your routine.
You are still getting deductions as well as the bonus points, however, so it can be an important thing to know what the most common deductions are for the optional levels. Keeping these in mind during your routines can help you get a high score and will help you know which things you want to avoid the most.
Some of these deductions have a specified amount of points that are taken off, while others are up to the judge’s discretion. The ones that are left up to the judge’s discretion have a maximum amount of points that can be deducted for them and the worse you do the closer to this maximum number of points you will be deducted.
While you are doing the uneven bars gymnastics event, not keeping your stretched out position can cause up to 0.20 points to be deducted. Hitting either the mat or the other bar unintentionally with one or both of your feet during your routine will get an automatic 0.20 point deduction. Grasping onto the bars to avoid a fall will cost you 0.30 points.
Finally, now that you should have mastered most of these things, there are two new deductions as well in these last gymnastics levels. The first one is for you saltos not reaching the right height they should have at the end as you do your salto dismount, and this one can get you up to 0.30 points deducted depending on how close you get to the height you are supposed to be at. The other one is your casts not being vertical when they should be and this gets up to the same number of points deducted as a low salto would.
On the balance beam any additional movements to help your balance and prevent yourself from falling will get you a deduction of up to 0.30 points depending on how much you move. However, if you actually grasp the beam to avoid falling, then that is an automatic 0.30 deduction. Having your splits not reach the right angle is also now a cause for up to a 0.20 point deduction.
Along with those are the new ones for the higher levels. The first one of these is that having a spot will now cost you an automatic 0.50 points since you should be way past needing help on the beam in these levels. Like the bar, if your dismounts do not reach the right height you can get a deduction of up to 0.30 points. Finally, while you are on the beam your jumps and leaps must get you high enough up off of the beam or you will get up to a 0.20 deduction depending on how low/high you get for each and every jump you make that does not get high enough.
On the floor event going out of bounds is a 0.10 point deduction each time you do it. Not having your splits reach the 180 degrees that they should be can cost up to 0.20 points. Your leaps, jumps, and hops should rise up off of the floor enough for both your acro and your dance moves or you will have up to 0.20 points deducted for each jump that does not make it to the right height. Finally, your saltos here are put in a category all on their own with up to a 0.30 point deduction every time they do not make it to the right height.
Other than those point deductions, there are also ones that apply to all of the 4 events. Falling, no matter in which event you do it, will get 0.50 points automatically taken away. Any time your legs have space between your knees, especially on the bar, when they should be together is a deduction of up to 0.20 points.
When you are landing, whether it is off of the beam, the bar, or at the end of a combination move on the floor, any extra steps will cost you 0.10 points each up to 0.40 and a very large step or jump here will cost 0.20 points. Also when landing, a deep squat to catch your balance will cost you up to 0.30 points and any swinging of your arms will get up to 0.10 points deducted.
Any other upper body movement that you use to help you maintain balance will cost you up to 0.30 points too. This can be swaying from one side to the other or bending over at your waist to regain your balance.
These landing deductions also apply to the vault event which is usually divided into three sections. During the 1st flight which gets you onto the vaulting table, having your legs even slightly apart or your body arched are both causes for up to a 0.20 point deduction. Bending your knees is even worse and can get you up to a 0.30 point deduction.
During the repulsion phase where you are bouncing off of the vaulting table, if you keep your body arched it can be considered a second offence which is also deductable up to 0.20 points. Taking any form of steps or hops with your hands on top of the vaulting table can cost you up to 0.30 points. Bending your arms is the worst of all when you hit the vaulting table and it alone can get up to 0.50 points deducted from your score.
During your 2nd flight, which is where you go off of the vaulting table, failing to keep your legs together if they should be for the maneuver you are doing can cost up to 0.20 points. Bending your knees can cost up to 0.30 points, with the same amount being applied if you do not land far enough away from the vaulting table.
If you did not make it far enough away, then it will be more than likely that you did not get enough height in your vault either. Not getting enough height to your vault can cause an additional 0.50 points to be deducted from your vaulting score.
On landing after your vault the deductions for extra steps, squatting, taking a large step, and any additional arms swings are the same number of points deducted as the other events. However, here a small step will only cost you up to 0.10 points.
Any additional upper body movements to help with your balance at the end of a vault will also only cost up to 0.20 points instead of the 0.30 that it is in the other events. Finally, having an incorrect body posture when landing at the end of the vault can cause up to a 0.20 deduction as well.