Judges Shorthand – Twists & Turns



In our first Judges Shorthand article, we discussed the basics of shorthand and how many of the shorthand symbols look like the actual gymnastics skill being performed.

For example, the shorthand symbol for a cartwheel is an “X”.

Photo: usagym.org

Once you learn to script many of the JO compulsory skills you can begin to learn the symbols for optional level skills.

You will find that the script symbols for optional level skills build off of the compulsory script.  For example, variations of a skill like adding a turn or twist to a skill is as simple as adding additional shorthand script as seen below.


Twisting shorthand symbols for both front and back saltos are the same. Once you script your front or back salto symbol, you simply add on an additional “twist” symbol to the end of the scripted salto skill.

Each full twist in a skill is represented by a loop in the symbol. A half twist is scripted with a full twist symbol with a “slash mark” made through the loop, cutting the full twist in half.

Complete full twists with an additional half twist, like a layout 1 ½, is represented by scripting the next highest twist, 2/1, and then scripting a “slash mark” through the lower loop.  This is illustrated in the third example below.

Examples of the twisting script symbols:


For turning shorthand symbols, the symbol indicating the number of turns performed is placed above the scripted skill being performed in a routine.

A partial to a fully scripted circle with or without “slash marks” represents the number of turns in a skill performed.

For example, a 1/4 to a 1/1 turn is represented by a circle broken down into parts. A 1/4 turn is scripted using a half circle with a “slash mark” made through it. A 1/2 turn is scripted using half a circle, a 3/4 turn is scripted using a circle that is 3/4 quarters closed and a 1/1 turn is scripted using a completely closed circle.

Each additional half turn performed is represented by a “slash mark” made through a completely closed circle. See examples of the twisting script below.

Examples of the turning script symbols:

One way to practice your turning and/or twisting shorthand is to practice judge using videos of Elite competitions or college meets.  This can be helpful because the routines are generally very clean and you can recognize the skills being performed more easily.

The difficulty with either the turning or twisting script is not learning or remembering the shorthand but being able to identify the number of turns or twists being performed by a gymnast.  Gymnasts turn and twist so quickly that it can seem like one big blur!

In a future article we will cover how to determine the number of turns or twists an athlete actually performed in their routine.


Judges Shorthand


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