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You passed your test, now what?
Before you can actually begin judging you will need to obtain a Safety & Risk Management Certification and a few professional memberships. The Safety & Risk Management Certification you need to obtain is through USA Gymnastic. This is an online course that discusses and reviews safety and risk management topics related to the sport of gymnastics. After you take the course, you must then take and pass (75%) a written multiple choice test. This certification is valid for four years.
Once you pass the Safety & Risk Management Certification, you can then apply for your USA Gymnastics Professional Membership. Applying for your membership includes passing a Background Screening, if you are 18 years or older. Your background screening is valid until July 31, two years from your approval. Once approved, your USA Gymnastics Professional Membership will be granted and will expire on July 31 of each year.
In addition to your USA Gymnastics Professional membership, you will also need to become a Professional member of the National Association of Women’s Gymnastics Judges (NAWGJ). Like your USA Gymnastics membership, your NAWGJ membership will expire on July 31 of each year.
If you intend on judging for other organizations like the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) or High School gymnastics, you will have to become members of these organizations as well.
NAWGJ requires all professional members wear their official uniform. The uniform is a navy blue suit with the official NAWGJ patch on the breast of the jacket, a white blouse, and professional dress shoes (dark navy blue or black). The official uniform can be ordered from Land’s End.
First year judges are permitted to wait until their second year of judging to buy the official uniform. Until then, first year judges must wear a navy blue jacket, navy blue slacks and/or skirt, white blouse, and professional dress shoes.
Finally, as part of being an active member of NAWGJ each judge must obtain a specific number of continuing professional education (CPE) hours a year. A year is defined as August 1 – July 31.
“NAWGJ expects a judge to ‘want to continue to improve’ no matter how long he/she has judged. Judges who think that judging a lot means you don’t have to attend clinics or prepare for each meet is not doing the gymnasts justice. Also how long you have been around or ‘meets you have had the privilege of judging’ doesn’t make you better than the next person” states Evelyn Chandler.
Each rating level is required to obtain a specific number of clinic hours a year towards their CPE total. These clinic hours can be obtained from State, Regional or National Congress, Clinics, Courses or Symposiums. The remaining CPE hours can be obtained from coaching (6 hrs.), in-gym with coaches & gymnasts (6 hrs.), volunteering (4 hrs.), or pre-approved video or live practice judging (3 hrs.).
The table below lists required CPE by rating:
Becoming a women’s gymnastics judge is personally rewarding and an honor. Your knowledge of the deductions, rules, and policies is appreciate by all those you work with; fellow judges, coaches, and athletes.
Evelyn states, “People who are involved in gymnastics are basically good people and great friends. Otherwise we would not give up our weekends away from our families. I have always said I could be stranded in any city and be able to call someone for help. Gymnastics people are the ones who have always been there in my deepest time of need!”
“Having judged for two and a half decades now, I find that there are so many things that are very rewarding with judging. It gives me great pleasure to “give back” to the sport and volunteer my time, knowledge and services, whether that as the Sate Judging Director or as a line judge for a Regional competition”, admits Susan.
To obtain more information about becoming a Women’s Gymnastics Judge, you can find the contact information for your local State Judging Director (SJD) by clicking here.
Sources: USA Gymnastics, National Association of Women’s Gymnastics Judges