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Can judges really be impartial?

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lagymmom

Member
Jan 21, 2008
51
Do you think judges who work at a gym can be fair when judging girls from other gyms along with the ones from the gym where they work? Just curious what others might think about this.
 

bogwoppit

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Feb 26, 2007
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I have seen it go both ways.

My youngest DD"s team last year was on the edge of winning the team banner for their level. (Top 3 scores on each apparatus over 3 meets added together). At the final meet of 3 our gym and the host gym were 3 points apart, ours in the lead. Their gym had one of their coaches as floor judge, our girls were up first on floor. Every girl in our club was scored over a point lower on floor than they had been at the two previous meets. The parents were confused, girls crying and coaches madder than a woman with PMS. Luckily we still won the banner as our girls strengths really lie elsewhere.

Our head coach is a judge and I actually think that she is a bit harsher with her own girls than those from other clubs.

So, in actual fact, I think it depends on the judge.
 

catesmom

Member
Nov 9, 2007
220
Illinois
One of our coaches is also a judge, and although she avoids working meets we attend, she occasionly works one and she is realy tough on the girls. She also always seems to judge them on an events she doesn't coach at the gym, I would think by choice although I have never asked.

In working at the various meets I do think that judges come in with expectatons for girls at the higher levels, experience of judging them for years I would guess. In five years of watching them judge I don't think I have ever noticed over the top favoritism. I have seem coaches hurt their cause by being shall we say rude, if there are points in queston I don't think their gymnasts get them if they are rude. I think that these judges are doing the job because they love the sport and I think they take their jobs seriously.
 
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Billy

Guest
I think it really depends on the individual. There is some opinion involved in judging to begin with. A judge might be harsh if they don't like the music for the floor routine or if she is tired of watching the same old thing in an optional bar routine. And a judge that's also a coach can be easier on "her" girls, or she can be tougher because "I know you can do better than that". It does seem to me that they wouldn't allow a judge to coach his/her own team. I think asking anyone to be totally impartial in that situation is too much.
 

gymkat

Active Member
Former Gymnast
Judge
Jun 24, 2008
691
When you're judging, you really don't have time to think about leo colors or whether you like the coach, since you're so busy keeping up with shorthand (and most judges have shorthand for specific deductions or problems in the skill/routine as well as the elements) and deductions. During the 3-day meets in particular (or long 2-day meets), you don't care what gym is going, as long as there is always someone on the equipment!

Judges can judge their home team, but they cannot be the head judge. I've judged my gym quite a few times, and it has always been fine. After one of the home meets, I was told that the parents were talking about my panel and how consistent we were throughout the day. Judging is a lot like gymnastics in that you get into a zone.
 
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flippymonkey

New Member
Feb 8, 2008
10
Related to this.... there are certain gyms by us that are known to be very very good. I know some say judges don't really notice leo colors, etc - but do you think it matters (more in compulsory levels) what gym a girl is from. Do you think they would be judged differently knowing they are from the top gym in the area???
 
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flippymonkeysmom

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ooops - that last post was me - my dd was the last one on so she was still logged in.
 

gymdog

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Jul 5, 2007
5,121
When you're judging, you really don't have time to think about leo colors or whether you like the coach, since you're so busy keeping up with shorthand (and most judges have shorthand for specific deductions or problems in the skill/routine as well as the elements) and deductions. During the 3-day meets in particular (or long 2-day meets), you don't care what gym is going, as long as there is always someone on the equipment!

Judges can judge their home team, but they cannot be the head judge. I've judged my gym quite a few times, and it has always been fine. After one of the home meets, I was told that the parents were talking about my panel and how consistent we were throughout the day. Judging is a lot like gymnastics in that you get into a zone.

All of this. I've never judged (no attention span, could only end badly) but I've run/flashed/whatever next to judges who are judging a meet that the team from a gym they own or coach at is competing in, and I've been quite comfortable with how things appeared. There's going to be a problem if one judge is consistently scoring several tenths higher than the other judge and the situation wouldn't be set up where two judges from the same gym were judging together. The people who I have observed that are involved to that extent, to be owning, judging, coaching, they are very prominent in the gymnastics community, and pride themselves on their reputation. They aren't going to throw it all away to cheat on scores that wouldn't even mean anything. Yay, we won...but we were really worse. These people take gymnastics seriously.

It wouldn't even be in their best interest to do it anyway. I suppose it could happen unconciously, but I don't think so, because when you've seen a routine multiple times and know a girl, you tend to LOOK for what's wrong in it. i.e. you would know that you and the other coaches always have to get on this one about tightening her lower back - you would be more likely to look for the arch anyway and possibly perceive it to a greater degree than someone who you were impartial with. But even that, eh. I think most judges just keep moving and don't have time to dwell on it. Execution error, deduction...missing requirement, deduction. If there WERE an unconcious bias though, I would assume it to work against the girls the judge knows, not for them.
 

gymkat

Active Member
Former Gymnast
Judge
Jun 24, 2008
691
I don't see how it would matter more in compulsories than in optionals. If there is a problem with biased judging, then coaches can discuss that with the meet ref, who can take appropriate actions. There really isn't a secret scheme to hold up the top gyms; you honestly don't have time (or the energy!) to think about anything other than what you're watching. Judging is incredibly mentally draining (those 3-day meets!!), and I can't even imagine trying to think about pretty leos or hairstyles while trying to judge.
 
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gracefulone

Guest
By us, a judge who coaches one gym cannot judge at a meet where her gym is competing at. We had a judge/coach from our Y, and she mostly judged club meets or YMCA meets we didn't go to. So it's not an issue.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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Jan 21, 2007
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Hehe, we were discussing this at a meet last year (a boys meet) where one of the judge was coaching during warm-ups.

The thing is, if anything, I would expect a judge to be harder on kids they coach. I know I would.

If I were judging somebody else's kid, I would do my best to score them accurately based on what I saw. If I were judging my own kid, I would know what mistakes to look for, because I know what mistakes they most commonly make. I would also probably be harsher in my deductions, because I'd know just how many times they've been told to straighten their legs.

That lazy kid who doesn't listen to his coaches? I'll make darn sure he gets that 2.00 I told him he'd get if he didn't get his butt into gear.
 

Blackie6

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Mar 1, 2007
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WE also have a coach who is a judge and she's great! She tries not to judge meets we participate in but sometimes it happens. It's funny because my DD often comes home from practice and says "I got an 8.5" on bars tonight" because she often scores them to let them know strengths and weaknesses. At one meet last year, my daughter's first season competing, she was a floor judge and my DD was still collapsing her arms on her ROBHS. She got a good score of 8.0 and I later asked coach/judge if she gave my DD a "gift" because that was her best floor score so far & she was qualifying for States. She assures us parents "no" and she is never head judge when our gym competes. It really is nice having her as coach because she can tell us exactly what happened to girls/events on score problems when we are confused & routines look great but don't get great scores. And since our girls are younger, being judged more times than just at meets makes them a lot more comfortable in the meet/judge setting too. I think for the most part the judges are pretty fair.
 

Kayleigh

Member
Oct 6, 2007
261
27
Pittsburgh, PA
There's this one judge who works a lot of the meets we go to. He used to coach at another local gym. Magically at all the meets he works, that team's scores are RIDICULOUSLY high (I'm talking 9.4-.5 range). It really upsets us. They're good, but they aren't THAT good! :(
 

Laura

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Oct 22, 2007
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London
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My coach is the only high level judge our club has. So when I compete she is always (or nearly always) judging me.
On one occasion last year she was judging me on beam but during warmup she had to spot me for something, so I had to warmup first so she didn't have to get up in the middle of judging to to spot me!
She is always a very fair judge though and like others have said she is probably a bit tougher on me and others from our club who she coaches as she knows all our little mistakes because she sees them regularly!
I think an experienced judge is definitely capable of being impartial and fair, even as a low level judge I find I am concentrating so hard on what I am doing and you are trying to keep the competition moving etc that you can barely focus on who is performing and where they are from etc
 

eeyoretumbles

Member
Jul 13, 2008
234
rainy washington
I think it really depends. We had an ex coach at one of our meets, [she was fired haha] and she really was harsh on our team. Not only did we notice, the other judge on bars notice [they had two judges]. We recieved our scores, and since the final score is the average, we noticed that her score was atleast a point difference then the other judge. I think most judges are a little impartial, we're all human and its hard not to be nicer to some gymnasts.
 
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