What Makes That a Perfect 10.0?



We are now in full competitive swing with NCAA Women’s Gymnastics.

Fortunately for us, they still use the 10.0 as the pinnacle of perfection!

But what makes a routine a perfect 10.0?

First, a judge needs to ensure that the routine being performed on Bars, Beam, or Floor have met all the Special Requirements for that event.  Or that the Vault being performed has a 10.0 Start Value.

Special Requirements are a list of “must haves” for Bars, Beam, and Floor that gymnasts must ensure they include in their routines.

If all the Special Requirements have been met, now the judge needs to look at if the gymnast received all the bonus necessary to bring them from their 9.5 beginning Start Value up to a 10.0 Start Value.  Bonus comes from performing specific valued skills and also combining specific valued skills in combinations.

Next, the form of the gymnast is evaluated as the routine is performed.  Judges watch for bent arms and legs, flexed feet, piked or arched body when not required, leg separations, and more.


If any or more of the fore mentioned errors are observed, they will receive a deduction resulting in the routine receiving a less than perfect score.

On Beam and Floor, another deduction that can reduce a gymnast’s score is an Artistry deduction.  A judge can take up to 0.30 off a gymnast’s score if they feel any of the following were weak or missing; originality/creativity of choreography in elements & connections, quality of gymnast’s movement to reflect her personal style, quality of expression.

Another thing that judges look for are the height and dynamics of tumbling and dance skills on Beam and Floor.

For Vault, in addition to an athlete’s form, the judges evaluate the height of the Vault on the post flight and the distance the gymnast lands as compared to her hand placement on the table.

BUT most importantly, the judges are looking for the “stick” on all landings!

Now that we know just some of the things judges are evaluating in a routine, lets look at a few 10.0 routines and see why they deserved this score.


Things to watch for –

  1. Straight legs in the back handspring onto the table
  2. Straight arms on the table
  3. Height of the flip
  4. Tight legs side by side in the air on twist (not crossed)
  5. Distance from table upon landing
  6. Stuck landing


Things to watch for –

  1. Straight legs side by side (not crossed) in all skills
  2. Cast to handstands finished in vertical
  3. Height of all release skills
  4. Tight, straight body in dismount
  5. Height of dismount
  6. Stuck landing


Things to watch for –

  1. Straight legs and point toes in all tumbling and dance skills
  2. Height on her leaps and jumps
  3. Artistry (presentation)
  4. Rhythm (tempo of routine – fast and aggressive)
  5. No wobbles on landings of tumbling and dance skills
  6. Form in dismount
  7. Height of dismount
  8. Stuck landing


Things to watch for –

  1. Height on all her tumbling passes
  2. Straight legs and pointed toes in all tumbling and dance skills
  3. Height on all her dance skills
  4. Secure landings on all tumbling and dance passes
  5. Artistry (presentation)

Now as you watch college gymnastics on TV or in person, you can better understand what the judges are looking for and what the athletes need to do in order to receive that perfect 10.0!

Don’t forget to check out our “College 10.0 Routines” page for all the past and current routines that have received a 10.0.

Related Articles:

How Did They Come Up With That Score?

Scoring A Front Handspring Vault

What’s Your Bar Angle?

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



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