WAG Becoming a judge?

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Juls

Proud Parent
Oct 13, 2020
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When I was a gymnast, one of my friend’s moms was a judge, and it’s something always wanted to do. I read through the requirements on the USAG site, but wanted to hear what it’s like from others who have done it. What is the process like for newcomers? Is this something I can realistically do occasionally (one meet a month) or should I expect it to take up my entire weekend every weekend? Are there any politics/drama involved that I should be aware of? What should I expect over the first year, and what can I do to build a good reputation?
 
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gym_dad32608

Proud Parent
Aug 7, 2018
365
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Totally anecdotal here, one of my daughter's coaches recently became a judge and her mother is also a judge so what I can say is only from conversations and observations from them. My daughter's coach is still coaching, so from an effort standpoint that should tell you something. She is an optional coach, so for right now she is able to balance judging during off-season. She definitely put some effort in going through the process to get certified, but it wasn't insanely overbearing. From conversations with them, much like anything there is politics involved to get assignments and like any judge/ref for sports, you do have to start low and build up to bigger events. In other words, you will be judging the little compulsory circuit for a while before being able to judge L10 state, etc. Depending upon your goals with it, that might not matter, but if you do want to get to judging at that level, yes, I do think be prepared to work many weekends and play nice with others :)
 
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3rd_time_around

Proud Parent
Judge
Oct 25, 2010
1,974
When I was a gymnast, one of my friend’s moms was a judge, and it’s something always wanted to do. I read through the requirements on the USAG site, but wanted to hear what it’s like from others who have done it. What is the process like for newcomers? Is this something I can realistically do occasionally (one meet a month) or should I expect it to take up my entire weekend every weekend? Are there any politics/drama involved that I should be aware of? What should I expect over the first year, and what can I do to build a good reputation?
Oh....where to start?! I thought I knew a lot about this sport after having 2 gymnasts and working in the gym for 10 years.....I knew NOTHING!! Anyway, I was pretty much on my own as far as studying and testing, except for the website and a contact who helped me schedule and get to the test on time. I passed first time. THEN I learned a WHOLE LOT about it.

You can pass level 4/5 and 7/8 tests the same year, then there is a wait period of a year before testing up. You have to study and memorize a lot for the tests! It may be online soon, so there’s that. The 4/5 is already online. Each year you have to complete hours for continuing education, attend clinics, work in gyms, etc to stay certified. You have a background check, Safesport, safety certification tests yearly. You have to pay for all your memberships, uniform, tests, and certifications. That held me back for a while, as I was broke when I passed my first test.

In our state, there is a booking day where we get to pick our meets, but we do it by seniority. Depending on your state, your level of certification, the number of judges, AND the number of meets determines how often you work. At first I had six meets for the season. Then I had upwards of 20. Now I am a level 10 and hover around 10-15 meets per season (sept -May). And yes there are politics, and yes it’s totally worth all of it!
 

3rd_time_around

Proud Parent
Judge
Oct 25, 2010
1,974
Totally anecdotal here, one of my daughter's coaches recently became a judge and her mother is also a judge so what I can say is only from conversations and observations from them. My daughter's coach is still coaching, so from an effort standpoint that should tell you something. She is an optional coach, so for right now she is able to balance judging during off-season. She definitely put some effort in going through the process to get certified, but it wasn't insanely overbearing. From conversations with them, much like anything there is politics involved to get assignments and like any judge/ref for sports, you do have to start low and build up to bigger events. In other words, you will be judging the little compulsory circuit for a while before being able to judge L10 state, etc. Depending upon your goals with it, that might not matter, but if you do want to get to judging at that level, yes, I do think be prepared to work many weekends and play nice with others :)
You actually judge up to your level of certification no matter how many years you’ve been judging. Most meets have both compulsory and options/Xcel, but you can only judge what you’re rated.
 
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