Friday, 7 June 2013

Coaches Corner: Competition Season Is Here!

It's that time of year again (at least in New Zealand and Australia anyway!). After months and months of conditioning and working on new skills, we are finally ready to perform routines in front of the judges. Time to get out the club leotard again!

In New Zealand, we work on a 'steps' program rather than 'levels'. In Women's Artistic Gymnastics, there is step 1-10. Each step has an 'overs' and an 'unders' age-group category  each of which receives medals for first, second and third place. The teams can consist of up to five gymnasts from the same club, from either age category. Three scores from the four apparatuses contribute to the overall team score.

From Gymsports New Zealand

Steps 1-5 have set routines and choreographed floor routines, which makes comparisons easy for the judges. Step 6 has optional routines and is the first level where gymnasts are allowed to have unique floor routines, performed to their own choice in music. Overall, this system works well, especially after the introduction of the two age categories which helps to even the playing field. Steps 7-10 are regarded as 'senior levels' and these girls compete two days, day one for the all-around and team competition and day two for apparatus placings.

As a coach, all we can ask if that our athletes perform to the best of their ability. The idea of competitions is to show everyone how much they have progressed and have some fun doing it! Often athletes will remain at the same step for longer than a year, this helps them to be able to perfect their routines. Gymnasts from Step 5 upwards can be selected to compete at the National Championships for their region, the biggest annual competition held in NZ.

Article by Imogen Browne 
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