WAG All About The UK Gymnastics System (UK vs. US Systems)

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Sep 3, 2005
Region 4 / Wisconsin

Below is a post that I copied off of a different thread in order to start a discussion about the UK gymnastics system and how it works as I would like to learn more about it.

@Jenny @Faith @Learning Parent GB @Gymbletot

Feel free to tag others in this thread.
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What are the levels in the UK system and how do they progress?

How do the levels compare to the US system?
I'll share what I've figured out to this point (which I hope is approximately accurate!).

The first year of 'proper' competition in WAG is the year in which the gymnast turns 8 (this year for my daughter, so we are right at the start).

Some kids are already on the compulsory route at this point and start doing compulsory grades. There's nobody at our gym doing compulsory so that's about as much as I know there.

For everyone else, there's club grade 6 in the year they turn 8, club grade 5 in the year they turn 9, and then it splits into regional and national routes from grade 4 upwards. National is harder. Grades happen in spring - my daughter is doing her club grade 6 in April. Currently trains 6hrs a week on two days, about to move to 8hrs over 3 days.

She's got routines across all 4 pieces plus a range and conditioning routine to complete at grades. Her floor routine is her first time doing one to music with choreography like 'the big girls' - skills include splits, cartwheel x2 into backwards roll to pike, split jump, handstand bridge, handstand forward roll...

Bars is reverse grip pull up, letting go and changing grip, leg lifts, chin up pullover, circling over, arch and dish holds, fish swings.

I haven't seen her vault for ages but think it's just a stretch jump then handstand flatback. On beam she's got turns, stretch jump, caterpillar walk and she has to run and jump off.

There's also levels which I think mostly happen later in the year - there's numbers and metal names and I don't understand yet haha!

In training, my lo is just perfecting cartwheels on beam, front handspring , flicks, starting to do some work on metal bar and working on vaulting straight into handstand flatback without the stretch jump.

There's a big layer of advanced recreational in between our rec programme and the WAG squad - they do their own competitions too.

Things seem considerably less expensive than the numbers I hear from the US here (I'll be paying approx £100 a month when she goes to 3 days a week). Competition entry is about £30 typically. Haven't paid more than about a fiver to watch yet.

That is pretty much the sum of my knowledge, 2 years in!
UK Grade 6 sounds very close to US DP Level 2. Except for the scoring- I’d love to hear more!
This is what it says for me

Gone are the days of the ‘perfect 10’ in gymnastics scoring. With the ever increasing difficulty and demands on gymnasts there simply aren’t enough points to award with a maximum of ten and therefore today’s scoring system is…well slightly more complex!

In simple terms, gymnasts have two different scores, the D score (difficulty of the routine) and the E score (execution of the routine aka how neat and tidy it is!). All gymnasts begin with a 10.0 execution score which then has points removed for faults such as bent legs, arms and falls. Their difficulty score is then created separately by adding up the hardest moves in their routine and marks are also given for specific requirements.

Both of these scores are then added together to give a final score, there is no "perfect score" , hence why we see scores ranging from around 11 up to around 16 which is generally considered a world class score!
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At the grade competitions the competitions are all required to have the same components, and bars and range and conditioning have set routines which all gymnasts at that grade perform.
The main point of the grade competitions aren’t really to get a medal, but instead pass the grade with a good a score as possible. Gymnastics can get a distinction, commended or pass on their certificates depending on their score.
For Those gymnastics doing national grades that gain a top 5 place in their region can go on to compete in national finals representing their region
How many grades are there? Sorry if i missed it!
Does a gymnast have to "pass" a grade with a minimum score before being able to advance to the next grade? Can you skip grades?
It depends on the route gymnasts take. If they are on the compulsory route( probably considered the most challenging due to the speed gymnasts have to get new skills) - they could technically start at compulsory grade 4 the year they turn 9 and then process to compulsory grade 3 and then 2 the following 2 years, so if they are on that route they may only do the 3 grades (4,3 and 2). They have to pass them to move on the next. There is usually a compulsory 5 that gymnasts can do in their region in the year they turn 8 but they don’t have to do or pass this before progressing to compulsory 4.
But gymnasts don’t need to keep to one route if they start on the compulsory route and pass compulsory 4 but find they aren’t ready for compulsory 3 the following year they can move to the national route instead ( and swap back in later years when they have the compulsory 3 skills if they wants to.
Both the national and regional paths start off with gymnastics competing club grades ( grade 6 from the year they turn 8 and club 5 the year they turn 9)
From the year they turn 10 they can either do the national 4 or regional grade 4. Each year they can do a national or regional grade till grade 1.
So if they take a direct route e.g. club 6 and 5 then National 4-1 they would do 6 grades.
But again they can change route from year to year do they compete the grades they have skills for at the time. Do you could start off on the national route and the cross over to regional for a year and then pick back up where you left off on national grades. So Although there are 6 grades in the pathway you may do more than 6 grades.
Means that gymnasts can still progress and work on gaining skills for the next grade when they are ready