Don’t Forget The Small Stuff – Compulsory Beam & Floor



As coaches and judges get ready for another competitive season, it is always good practice to review the compulsory beam and floor routines.

ESPECIALLY the small details!

Cross Handstand on Beam Picture:

As a coach, it is valuable to review each compulsory routine found in the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic (JO) Compulsory Program book to ensure you are teaching the routines correctly. As a reminder, do not teach the routines based on the pictures, but instead teach the routines from the text found in the compulsory book.

Teaching this way helps to ensure the routines are being performed in the way they were meant to be performed.

According to Tom Koll, JO Committee Chair and one of the choreographers of the present JO Compulsory routines, many of the movements in the beam and floor routines should be fluid and not stiff and sharp. Tom has noticed that over time, the routines morph into something other than what they were choreographed to be.

At competitions, scores can often be very tight. To set your team and individual athletes apart from other teams and gymnasts, reviewing the deductions for each skill and routine can help distance your team and athletes from other competitors.

Table A, below, lists some recommended deductions to review to assist in teaching skills and routines correctly. Ensuring that your athletes are not making these skill and routine errors can help them save every tenth possible so that they stand out and find themselves standing on top of the podium.

Table A – Recommended Deductions For Review:


Tom Koll stated, “It is the responsibility of the judges to apply the appropriate deductions in order to maintain the integrity of the routines.”


At some meets, judges have the tough job of calculating a score based on the performance of several hundreds of gymnasts at any given competition. This could result in a very small separation between the top athletes on an event at the end of a session. Many times there needs to be more of a separation between the athlete who performed the beam or floor to the highest degree from the athlete who just did the routine.

To help separate these athletes, judges can remember to take any one or more of the deductions listed in Table A. Many of the skills in the compulsory beam and floor routines have specific performance requirements that if not met, receive a deduction. Remembering to take these deductions can place the exceptional athlete at the front of the leader board.

Tom came up with a list of “Top 10 Things to Remember for Success in Compulsory Floor”:

10. Staying with your music will help the gymnast score well.

9. There is an up to 0.40 deduction for the entire routine for failing to perform the text  correctly.

8. Quality of movement will make the difference in receiving a high score. This category is up to 0.15.

7. Gymnasts should show excellent presentation as this up to 0.15 deduction can make the difference between 1st and 5th place in many cases.

6. Turn out and proper footwork should be a constant focal point.

5. Posture errors occurring on connections/poses can add up to a 0.30 deduction when looking at the entire routine.

4. In the Level 4 and 5 routines, there are 7 places where the gymnasts are required to contract and/or extend. These pose/dance moves are worth up to 0.10 EACH!

3. Good height and alignment on dance elements is a must to score well.

2. Strong tumbling and acrobatic skills will help get a great score.

1.The emphasis for coaches and judges need to be working and rewarding the perfection of the major elements.

Source: USA Gymnastics

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