Scoring question at optional levels

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Ok DD is now at L7. She is getting her floor routine choreographed Wed night. She will be the 3rd out of 10 girls to be done. This has brought up some chatter and questions in the peanut gallery of parents of the L7 girls. (we only have on L8 girl and the L9 and L10 girls went on to the High School teams this year)

We know at the compulsory levels everyone does the same thing on all events. At the Optional levels everyone has different routines it seems for just about everything. So our question and topic of discussion between us lately is just how do you judge these levels with everyone doing something different?

do you just judge the required elements in each event? Do you look at the movements that get the girl from one element to the next? Does the music selection enter into your score? What makes one routine better than another for you? Just what basics do you look for from one routine to another?:confused::confused::confused:


Jun 24, 2008
Every level has different requirements, so you check the elements that the gymnast performed to find the SV. After that, you deduct from the SV, and you can include artistry, dynamics, composition, etc. in that. The music selection doesn't matter to me, but the choreography does. It's important to have music that is appropriate for the gymnast's dance ability.

gym monkeys mom

Proud Parent
Oct 3, 2007
Good explanation of Optional routines. Thanks for that.

We have looked long and hard for DD for music that matches her dance man is there al ot of choices out ther. You are right it really does matter that the music fits the gymnasts dance ability. The last 2 years she had Pink Panther i dont think it fit her as well.

She is looking forward to the new routine.

Best wishes to your DD and her teammates. We also have very few uppper level gymnasts 2 level 8's 1 Level 9. We will have about 7 level 7 girls this year a few second year and a few new ones its a nice mix.


Apr 14, 2009
What gymkat said is definitely correct, however, it is important to note that composition is not evaluated at Level 7. So, the principles behind Level 7 are for the gymnasts to perfect their technique on elements that are considered building blocks for the upper levels. For instance, in a Level 7 floor routine the tumbling requirements are for an acro pass with at least 3 flight elements including a back layout to two feet (ex. roundoff backhandspring back lay) and a pass with two front flight elements one of which must be a salto (ex. front handspring front tuck).

Without any composition deductions to take, there is no benefit to going "above and beyond" with skills in the Level 7 routines (from a judging point of view). Often I see kids competing three tumbling passes at Level 7 (which is a coaching decision) one of which is a full. The full doesn't get them anything extra and opens the door for additional deductions. You will often find the kids at Level 7 who have the simplist routines will score the best. When I choreograph Level 7 routines I put in the bare minimum for requirements and B level skills.

As judges we often talk about "smart" coaching and many, many coaches try to overload their Level 7 routines with extra B elements and harder tumbling skills...which is a strategy to help with compositional deductions at Level 8, but won't get you anything extra in Level 7 except for execution deductions. So if your kids Level 7 routine seems a little "easy" with nice dance and plenty of dynamics in the skills she is doing, she will score very well.

I want to make the point that I am speaking from a judging point of view, often times coaches will add extra elements to routines so the kids have the experience competing them, and have three tumbling passes to get their endurance up for Level 8. All of which are obviously beneficial to the gymnast, but with extra elements come extra deductions, which depending on the kid and the circumstance it is sometimes better to take the extra deductions for the training benefits.


Proud Parent
May 11, 2007
Pacific NW
The other thing to keep in mind is that although Level 7 will often score higher than 6, if you miss something that's one of the requirements, the deduction can be harsh. For instance, if she falls during her beam series and doesn't repeat it, she loses .5 for the fall and another .5 for lack of a series.

I generally agree with gympanda on the wisdom of simpler routines for level 7. Sometimes, though, having an extra B per routine is good insurance in case the gymnast doesn't get credit for something. My dd has extra Bs in her FX and beam routines and I think it helps her confidence because she's not stressing about if I don't get my 1 1/2 turn all the way around I'm short a B.
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