In gymnastics, levels refer to the status of the gymnast according to how their skills are developed. Each level has its rules and needs the athlete to meet certain conditions in order to be categorized in it.
In the United States, gymnastics categories are divided into levels from 1 to 10, dividing them into groups for beginners (level 1 to level 3) and groups for advanced or professional people (level 4, level 5 to level 6, level 7 to level 10) the latter being the most competitive. Next, we will describe a little of what each one is about.
The first levels are known as those of “early abilities”. At this stage, the gymnast demonstrates basic skills, body positions and basic techniques, specifically at levels 1 to 3. These are not competitive, in fact, in the events the same routine is performed and only include floor exercises, barbell balance, vault and asymmetric bars.
At these levels, the gymnast focuses on the development of rudimentary skills such as jumping, stretching, rolling and simple disassembly. So, it is considered that this is where the gymnast is prepared to enter a more professional area of this discipline.
For the most advanced levels (that is to say, from level 4) the gymnast must expand everything he learned in the first phase of the program. Here, the balance beam skills include partial hand stops, career steps, pivot spins, split jumps, somersaults and side strips. In addition, the gymnast has to do headstands, backbends, in addition to more advanced jumps and turns. For levels 5 and 6, athletes should know how to do stretching and astride jumps, as well as a front spring, a rear extension roller and a rounding. Starting at level 5, some clubs or academies may choose to compete using the Xcel program.
Finally, we have advanced or professional levels. At levels 7, 8, 9 and 10 gymnasts is freer and, although they must meet specific requirements, they can create their routines in a unique way. The requirements for the levels are defined according to the difficulty using a letter system, where A is the easiest ability and E is the most difficult.
- Level 7 gymnasts must perform five A skills and two B skills.
- Level 8 gymnasts must perform four A and four B skills in each routine.
- Level 9 gymnasts must perform three A, four B and one C skills.
- -A Level 10 gymnast must do three A, three B and two C.
* Level 7 and level 8 gymnasts cannot perform E skills.
Thus, once a gymnast can perform all the required skills at level 10, she/he can choose to try the Elite program, which allows them to compete in Olympic events or other professional events. In conclusion, the levels are the categories in which a gymnast can be placed according to their skills and qualities based on whether they are able to participate in basic competitions as well as at an advanced or specialized level.