What Are the ABC Elements in Gymnastics?
All optional women's gymnastics levels, which are Levels 7 through 10, require gymnasts to perform a certain number of skills. These skills are assigned an element value of A through E, with A being basic beginner skills and E being the most advanced skills. A, B and C skills are required in all level routines, and D and E skills earn bonuses in Level 9 and 10. D and E skills are too advanced for Levels 7 and 8, and you are penalized if you include any of those skills. There is an unlimited amount of A, B and C skills, so listed are only the basics.
USA Gymnastics states that Level 7 gymnasts need to include six As and two Bs in their bars, beam and floor routines. Level 8 gymnasts need four As and four Bs. Level 9s need three As, four Bs and one C. Level 10s need three As, three Bs and two Cs. These are only the minimum requirements, so you may include more skills in your routines if you wish, but more skills can mean more deductions, so add extra skills only if you have mastered them.
Beginning optional bar routines all need to have swinging and circling elements. Kips and front hip circles are A skills, as well as the flyaway dismount. Giants, in which the gymnast makes a full circle around the bar in handstand, are a B skill. Cast to handstands also are a B skill. Once the gymnast reaches Level 8, the gymnast needs bar transitions with a flight element. A straddle back to low bar is a B skill, but if you land in a handstand on the low bar, it becomes a C skill.
According to the Junior Olympic Code of Points, most basic tuck, split, wolf and straddle jumps and leaps are A elements, but, add a quarter to a half turn, and they become B elements. If some leaps and jumps involve a full turn in the air, they become C elements. A full 360-degree turn on one leg is an A skill. A one-and-a-half turn on one foot is a B skill and a double or 720-degree turn is a C skill. Handstands are A elements, but add a forward roll or begin with a backward roll, and they are B elements. Back walkovers and cartwheels are A skills 1. Round-offs, back handsprings and front handsprings are B skills 1. Standing back and front saltos are C skills 1.
Many of the elements on beam are the same skill level on floor, except most leaps with a 360-degree turn are still considered B elements, not C. In addition, ring leaps and tour jetes with a 180-degree split and back foot at head height are B elements. All round-off, handspring and back salto variations are A elements. If the salto is in a straight body position with a 180- to 360-degree twist, it is a B element. If it is 540- to 720-degree twist, it is a C element.
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