Gymnastics got official recognition in 1881. Currently, people appreciate it as a fine mixture of balance, strength, and precision for flawlessly executing critical acrobatic movements like twists, flips, and others. Level 4 is considered the first competitive level in gymnastics. Gymnasts must at least earn a minimum mobility score for advancing to Level 5 from level 4.
Level 4 in Gymnastics is a compulsory level. The gymnasts have to learn a particular routine for each event for competing at this level. The judgment of the gymnasts is done based on the way of execution of skills and how he or she performs the exact routine flawlessly.
So what are the level 4 gymnastics requirements!
In the USA gymnastics structure, Level 4 is the fourth level that can be entered by the gymnasts who have passed Level 3. As this level is compulsory, gymnasts have to compete in an identical routine. Certain skills are mandatory in the new compulsory routine.
The ideal age to enter Level 4 gymnastics:
A gymnast must be of at least 7 years old to be able to participate in the first competition.
Skills – level 4 gymnastics requirements:
- Front handspring
- Cartwheel to side handstand
- ¼ turn dismount
- Split leap (120 degrees)
- Split jump (120 degrees)
- Squat on
- Straddle / Pike Glide kip
- Back hip circle
- Long hang kip
- Cast to horizontal
- Front handspring (two feet)
- Back walkover
- Straddle jump with a split of 120 degree
- Back extension roll
- Round-off back handspring
How many hours a gymnast of Level 4 should practice?
4 to 5 days per week are okay for a Level 4 gymnast. 15 hours approx. is the average amount of hours required for a level 4 gymnast to practice. In fact, they can increase timing for practicing more and achieve perfection.
Again, timing can be broken as 3 hours per day in a week.
New Level 4 Gymnastics Program:
Today’s Level 4 (2013-2021) is the earlier Level 5 (2001 – 2013). The main skills are taken from earlier Level 5 are now used for generating new Level 4’s routine.
Now, there are only 5 compulsory levels and not 6. The new USAG Compulsory levels are from 1 to 5. The main elements from the earlier Level 1 and Level 2 are taken together to create a new Level 1 routine.
Level 4 is the starting of the advanced levels. Here, the gymnast is expected to expand each and everything he or she has learned till now in the program’s first phase. The balance beam skills involve various activities like career steps, partial hand stops, somersaults, split jumps, pivot spins, and side strips. Moreover, the gymnasts have to perform backbends, headstands, and advanced turns and jumps. This applies to all advanced levels including Level 4. The more advanced level it is, the tougher the activities become.
Additional things you must know:
- Gymnasts can skip level 3 and straightaway participate in the competition at Level 4
As per UASG, it is not required for gymnasts to compete in Level 3 and progress to Level 4. They can skip the competition in Level 3 and directly advance to Level 4. There is one condition though. The gymnasts have to prove that they can demonstrate proper development of skills and ample prerequisites.
Tips for gymnasts to stay safe while practicing and competing:
- Always get a sports physical done before you begin a new sport.
- There should be a qualified program director and coach during every practice and competition.
- The coach must remain updated about the current safety recommendations.
- Do a warm-up and stretch without fail before starting your gymnastics practice and competition.
- A coach must assist the gymnasts every time they are trying to do any difficult stunt.
- A padded floor is a must for practice. Never ever try to do any stunt on a hard surface.
- Take care of the mat and the equipment and check them to make sure if these things are in good condition.
- Always inform the coach if you face difficulty in performing any movement. If the coach refuses to assist you, inform your parents or authorities in the administrative department.
- Do not try to do any stunt all of a sudden by yourself without the supervision of your coach.
- Do not do any new move in a competition that you haven’t done earlier or practiced enough.
You must follow certain gym rules:
- One person should practice on the equipment at a time. Equipment includes rings, uneven bars, balance beam, etc.
- Do not train alone, especially critical stunts.
- Do not wear any jewelry during practice or competition.
- One person should practice on a trampoline at a time.
- No chewing gum is allowed during practice and competition.
- Wear a gymnastics costume that won’t be stuck with any equipment.
- If you get hurt or feel pain, stop training immediately.
- Visit a doctor for regular physicals and medical check-ups. In fact, if you get hurt, going to a doctor for a check-up is very important.
- Playing various sports throughout the year is crucial for preventing overuse injuries.
- When you will jump into a foam pit, do land on feet, back or bottom. Do not attempt to land on your knees. Also, no diving headfirst is suggested.
- Acquire knowledge about the team plan for emergency situations.
Know about gymnastics gear:
Gymnastics gears depend on the specification of the events.
Shoes usually contain a reinforced toe for helping pressure absorption during landing after a vault. Many gymnasts prefer wearing gymnasts’ shoes having rubber soles for protecting against slipping while performing on the balance beam.
Grips, wrist straps and guards:
Usually, male gymnasts make use of these gears on the still rings, parallel bars, and high bars; whereas female gymnasts wear these gears on the uneven bars. These gears help in improving the hold of the gymnasts on the apparatus. Also, gymnasts can be saved from blisters on their hands.
Most of the gymnastics grips contain a piece of leather connected to a wrist strap. There are other options that are wrapping hands in gauze or sports tape. It is compulsory for beginners to use tape, gauze, grips, etc. for protecting their hands from tearing and blistering.
Do not forget that beginners are basically children with very soft skin and body. They are prone to injury. Hence, safety gears are must for them as well as adults.
These belts hook into cables connected to the ceiling. Spotting belts provide support to the gymnasts when they learn something new or practice any difficult move.
Level 4 is tougher than Level 1, 2 and 3. Again, this is the first advanced stage. Thus, the gymnast must be extremely careful. The coach, administrators, and parents should take this Level very seriously as the little gymnasts are entering the world of competition and gradually moving towards national and international championships. The activities will get more critical with the furtherance of the levels.