Freaking out about judging

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Nov 20, 2013
London, UK
I recently qualified as a judge, and my course was paid for by the organisers of a particular competition, tying me to judge at said competition.

I SCRAPED passing the practical exam, (60% was the pass mark, I got 62...) but the theory I was fine with (98% and the mark I dropped was a calculation error). Since the course, I have judged at a university competition where I found it easier than on the course as I was watching actual people and not a grainy video, but I was deemed to be 'mean' by everyone else on the panel, though Uni comps have a reputation for marking everyone very kindly...

Anyway, the competition I have to judge at is in a weeks time and I'm so worried about it! I think I'm going to get thrown off the panel by the chair or something.

Any judges been in this position before or is it just me?!
Raising my hand as high as realistically possible!

I'm not going to properly qualify until next year, but completed a one-off judging course a couple of months ago. I had to judge at my new club's favorite, apparently really kindly marked meet. Because I am a rather strict coach (paying attention to detail is what I'd call it), my co-workers kept badgering me about "not being too strict/mean" in my judging. It drove me crazy!

Not even gonna dive into everything that went wrong on the day of that particular competition, but just know that most of the time, senior (i.e. more experienced) judges will actually appreciate a fresh view on deductions. What I always tell myself (and the people trying to put me down) is that my judging, however "mean", isn't going to affect placements because I'm only on one apparatus. Is the competition a university one as well or something a little more naturally strict?
It'll work out. I recently passed my judge exam as well and I have found that after a few gymnasts you will find some balance with your fellow judges and it doesn't really matter if you are too mean, you just have to be consistent.

Also, if it's only your second competition you're judging they will not throw you out if you do badly.

Good luck!
It's not a Uni comp, much more official than that! A Uni comp was a nice place to start as nobody really cares if you screw up (that goes for judges and gymnasts!!) and everyone is just there for a laugh.

I'm not really worried about being branded as too mean, more about just generally being terrible!
You can only prepare and do your best. As Cinzia said, no one is going to expect you to be a perfect judge at your second competition ever. Be confident. You don't have to measure up to anyone else, only yourself :)
Agreed, you wont be on your own so talk to the other judge / judges and explain that its your first real comp and any help would be appreciated. I know that we are so short of judges that they are grateful to anyone who steps up to the plate.
Agreed! I feel the exact same way! I will be taking my test very soon, & I'm confident that I will pass that easily. I know the deductions & their values like the back of my hand. However, I'm so nervous about having the "fate" of each gymnast resting in my hands. What I've done to help my confidence is attend a few meets & judge from the stands to compare to the actual score given. I did that recently & was within .175 on every routine, which was a huge confidence booster :)
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I started as a judge a few years ago and it was a huge learning curve for me as I was not a competitive gymnast myself. The first two seasons I felt like a possum in the headlights, while everyone else seemed to know what they were doing. I asked for help from senior judges, i.e. what specific things were they looking for, and some were very helpful (I also found out they are all looking for different things!). I've found judging panels to be very inconsistent, so I try to fit in with the panel on the day. In general I am not as strict as most other judges, but that seems to be okay as long as it is consistent (say within 0.5 of the others). In my third and fourth season I felt like I was beginning to get the hang of it.

There was not a practical test in the course when I qualified, but there is now, so when I have to requalify I will have to pass a practical test, so not looking forward to that. Most judges here seem to move up quickly from elementary to higher levels, not many stay at elementary for years like I have. I'm still in two minds whether to try to move up or not.

Anyway, just want you to know that some of us definitely understand about being nervous and freaking out about judging! On my very first panel I completely froze for the entire first rotation! It sounds like you know your stuff, so I'm sure you will manage better than I did! Good luck, and let us know how it goes!
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