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Boy's Level 4 High Bar Routine

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Harv

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Brand new to the forum, so I thought I'd dive right in.

My 11-year old joined his first competitive gymnastics group last summer. Last weekend he attended the third meet of his life. We came away with that wonderful feeling of a job well done, but being new as we are, we also came away with questions. So naturally, we joined the Chalk Bucket. ;)

Disclaimer: Although we are new, we are not totally ignorant. From other sports we realize that referees, judges, and umpires will often make calls that make no sense to us. That's a given part of the sport. Gymnastics seems particularly subjective, and my hat's off to the judges for taking on such a difficult task.

So, with a stomach full of butterflies, my boy turned in what appeared to be his best high bar performance to date, but when the numbers hit the scoreboard, jaws dropped. Mine, his teammates', his coach's, and a bleacher full of parents'. Our coach queried the judge (in a polite, information-seeking sort of way), but came back more confused than before. I showed the coach my instant video replay, and he was unable to spot what the judge was talking about.

Note -- we are not casting aspersions on the judge (see disclaimer above), but we are looking for answers. The score indicated that parts of the routine need serious work, but even our coach isn't sure what exactly those parts might be. That leaves me with a queasy feeling about the coming practice sessions. The coach is experienced and knowledgeable, but is it possible there is confusion about the details of this compulsory routine?

Since the meet, I've sent away for the "Men's Junior Olympic Age Group Competitive Program" DVD set from USA Gymnastics, but being the impatient type, I just had to turn to you folks for your input. :D

I put a copy of the video on a web page, and I'm hoping some of you might take a look at it. I have deliberately not mentioned the score or the judge's comments so you wouldn't be biased. The performance is by no means flawless, and he only attempted 1 of the bonuses (aside from the stick bonus). We're looking for constructive criticism (go ahead and be brutal), so that my boy can make the necessary improvements on his routine.

This web page video is itself a first for me, and therefore experimental. It plays smoothly for me, even on my oldest, slowest computer, so I'm hoping it will work for you as well. If it doesn't play smoothly it will be difficult to analyze the details of the routine, so let me know if that's a problem. I can make it smaller, but that might make it difficult to see some important details. I noticed myself that the video doesn't always load quickly, and it may not be obvious when it's done loading. Also, it might play better after you've run it once or twice (a memory-caching thing).

Try this link: High Bar Video

Sorry for rambling so. I'm guessing you've all had similar experiences with your own gymnasts at their meets, but like I said, this is new to us.

Thanks for your attention. :eek:

- Harv
 

munchkin3

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Jun 6, 2008
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Hello,
I will look at it later...I am a parent of a second year L4....I have picked the routine apart 1000 times and also have seen a wide range of scores....don't worry....Hopefully all boys were judges with the same critical eye..
 

ZJsMom

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In general, it did look like a nice routine. The thing I saw was that he did a little swing of his legs before he casts. I'm thinking maybe the judges considered this an additional cast. In compulsories adding an element is a big no-no. I don't know how much they would deduct for it though.
 

munchkin3

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Looked nice to me....maybe slightly bent knees during pullover...swings were nice....what was the score??
 
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Harv

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jadams - Thanks for taking a look. The judge said the major deduction was for the "hop" on his second backswing. Something about the position or sequence, but we can't see what she's talking about. It was a full point deduction. Final score: 14.700

ZJsMom - Thanks for your input. Although that apparently wasn't the big problem, I'll ask our coach about that pre-cast leg swing.

I can see now how this sport could make me crazy if I let scores get to me. In his first meet, he scored 15.500 on the high bar. In his second meet, he cleaned it up, but spaced out and lost count of his swings. One extra swing cost him a full point, as per ZJsMom's comment. Final score on that one was 14.700. In his last meet, the one in this video, he cleaned it up even more (and did the right number of swings), so we were dumb-struck when the 14.700 showed up again.

I'd been warned by the experienced parents at the gym about trying to figure out how scores are reached. That made sense to me at the time, but now it's my son we're talking about. :D

This forum is excellent therapy. I'm now totally over it now, and I accept that we will probably never know exactly what the deal was with this routine. Heck, I watched the Olympics. ;)
 
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BlairBob

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First of all, go through this. I sent it out to my parents so they would have an idea of what to expect this year compared to last as well as I trying to educate them somewhat as to scoring. At one gym, we used to have an exhibition meet that went over all the scoring details and etiquette and so forth of meets. Hmm, something I should have done but wasn't really in the position to do till lately for private reasons.

http://ngja.org/pub/0809/jo/jo_course_notes_2008-v101a5a-all.pdf

What they took the point for was 0.5 for a full intermediate swing +0.5 for routine composition error ( which can only be taken once per routine ).

To nickel and dime, his body is slightly arched when he initiates the pullup on his bonus pullup and long hang pullover ( which he also bent his knees on ).

His arms are bent as he casts.

Because his tap in his swing is early, he is flat in his front swing, not as hollow as I'd prefer. Notice how his hips almost rise at the end of the swing instead of keeping that nice hollow shape.

I can't understand why they deducted him for lack of hopping his hands in the second back swing. I saw it.

However, last year some judges didn't take my boys for missing their hand hop while some judges want to see HUGE hand hopping. They want to see an exaggerated hand hop at times.

They probably gave him bonus for the smooth long hang pullover. If it is smooth and flows, you can get the +0.3 bonus. That's all the second bonus is, a smooth and flowing LHP.

Considering he lost 1 point for the extra swing/cast and routine error, that means they took very little on all the rest. They probably only took him for bending his knees on the LHP ( if they saw it ), bending his arms in the cast and the extra cast/swing after the LHP. Maybe they took him for his hand hop not being big enough, but I doubt it. If they didn't count it as a hand hop, they would have taken him for -1.5 for missing part.

I am surprised they would give him +0.3 for virtuosity. His swings are of good height ( way past 45 degrees below horizontal ) and his 1/2 is straight, not arched ( my boys are really aggravating me with this ) but they aren't beautiful ( though his head is in which is rare for many L4's and he is hollow in the back swing [maybe he does deserve it]). He probably got his +0.1 for stick bonus.

Last year, I would ask the judges what they deducted for after all the boys in one flight would have competed and the scoring was finished and we were just waiting to rotate. I never had any problems with judges not telling me what they deducted for ( and was surprised a few times when they missed some stuff ). Men's judges are pretty cool where as the culture in WAG is just bizarre and many times subjective. Judges and coaches get along a lot better in MAG.

Mpeg should play easily even on older computers though it did take a moment to load ( I'm on an machine built with parts roughly 7-8 years old but I have 1.5GB of ram at least [ slow cpu is all ] ).

btw, I am a men's coach ( I've got a L4 squad now and had 4's and 5's last year at a different gym ) in Norcal so I'm familiar with most of the judges and teams. I'm not going to try to guess yours but I think I recognize them but I don't recognize their leo. Right now I'm training our boys but another coach is taking them to meets while my background check is in process since I didn't come on till Dec/Jan as I am just coming back from a 6 month hiatus in coaching ( from where I was actually coaching compulsory/optional girls in late spring before I left that gym so I'm still in the process of remembering everything and getting back in the game ).
 
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gymdog

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Jul 5, 2007
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Last year, I would ask the judges what they deducted for after all the boys in one flight would have competed and the scoring was finished and we were just waiting to rotate. I never had any problems with judges not telling me what they deducted for ( and was surprised a few times when they missed some stuff ). Men's judges are pretty cool where as the culture in WAG is just bizarre and many times subjective. Judges and coaches get along a lot better in MAG.

Men's judges are MUCH more informal (at least from my perspective. I'm always laughing at our meet because the guys who are judging will like, talk to the kids as they move from pommel horse to the mushroom and cheer for them. Meanwhile I'm sitting at the girl's bars and the judges are sniping).

Still I would think if you want a clear answer about a specific routine you think was scored incorrectly you'd have to fill out a score inquiry. Girls meets tend to follow a different format so I guess there's never really a fairly long "end of rotation" period, but usually if coaches approach the judges they give kind of simple answers and don't go back through their notes, which probably means they don't really remember each routine. Although in WAG, with some judges, as soon as they see a coach approach they're already waving them off and saying "fill out an inquiry."
 
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Harv

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Bob -

Thank you for a most excellent analysis. I think you caught things even the judges didn't see. Of course I guess it helps to have instant playback available.

I'm printing out your message so I can go over it with my boy and maybe his coach. As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter if anyone agrees or disagrees on any aspect of the routine, as long as it stimulates awareness and discussion.

If you're a Norcal guy, we undoubtedly crossed paths at either Petaluma, Oroville, or Stanford this season. This sport is more about comradery than rivalry, and I appreciate your generous feedback from a neighbor team coach.

- Harv
 
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BlairBob

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I'm gonna play hookie for tomorrow's meet at Tidal Wave Classic. I will probably go to Eric's meet at Fisherman's Wharf, the Gold Country Classic but we are not going to the big meet in Oakland.

Actually, when I inquired, some of the judges went through their notes. Bare in mind, you are not required to use symbols for L4, I think.

Very often, men's judges are very positive to the gymnasts. Many of the judges are coaches as well so the culture is different.

We were encouraged not to fill out inquiries, unless necessary because of how long the processs is and holding up meets at the Coaches meeting before meets. They wanted to keep the meets flowing through and not get delayed as so many meets often happen.
 

munchkin3

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14.70 isn't bad at all......HB us usually the event that judges score hard on...I was just at a meet were the highest score given on HB was 15...look to see what everyone else got....I bet he was in the top 3 for that event....:)
 

gymdog

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We were encouraged not to fill out inquiries, unless necessary because of how long the processs is and holding up meets at the Coaches meeting before meets. They wanted to keep the meets flowing through and not get delayed as so many meets often happen.

Oh, I agree (as someone who has been responsible at big meets for that stuff :dizzy: Scoring issues are a nightmare), you definitely shouldn't fill them out for general things or just "we expected higher", I meant if a coach really disagrees with a score on a specific routine if they thought the score was actually incorrect. Most judges here will mention general things, but if I thought a score was flat out wrong then I don't think just asking is going to help. Girls judges really vary, some of them don't want to talk, a lot will say general things usually like "a lot of them weren't holding the handstand long enough". But they won't usually look at what they took on specific routines in my experience, then again with the way our meets rotate, the last girl in a flight dismounts and we're picking up to move to the other table for the next flight - so there's not a lot of time to ask, especially with L4 where the routines move fast and they don't get as much warm up time in the other flight. At smaller meets it can be different though some optional judges can still be not too interested in talking about it. It's a little different with optionals because there's more of a "did they get credit or not" issue but I've definitely seen some optional judges that won't even answer that if approached.
 
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