Page 1


Vol. 4, No. 2

Technique Preparation of Articles for Submission: Please follow a uniform format of preparing articles for submission in order to provide the most efficient channel through the evaluation and review process. The following should be included in submissions : 1. An original type copy , double spaced on 8V2 x 11 inch paper. 2. an abstract . on a separate page , a short summary of procedure and explanation of study or artic le content (not more than 150 worlds) . 3. A short biographical paragraph on a separate page of the author or authors accompanied by a small photo (2 1/ 2 x 3V2') of the author. 4. References on a separate sheet double spaced in consecutive order, using Index Medicine style (author's name- last name first , name of book , city , publi sher, year, page numbers) journal references, should follow same format (author, name of artic le, Journal name , volume, pages , year). 5. Duplicates of pictures and diagrams or figures (black and white preferred) with sharp detail. Also include explanations (captions) of pictures and diagrams on a separate sheet. Photograph release- a letter of release from any identifiable subject in photos that are included in the article unless the face or eyes are obscurred . Letter should be signed by subject, parent or guardian . 6. Title page consist in g of an informative tit le, author's name and comp lete in stitutional or profess ional address .



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Submission of Articles for Publication: Wr itten artic les w ill be accepted for review and possib le publi cation in the fo llowing procedure. First the artic les are sent to : USGF Department of Pub licati o ns 101 West Was hington St. , Suite 1144E Indi anapolis, IN 46204 Upon receipt of the artic le, to the USGF office , the research coo rdin ator wi ll review and forward cop ies to the appropriate USGF Sports Advisory Comm ittee members for review . On receiving their review , copies of the arti c le wi ll go to the Managing Editor and Executive Director for fina l approval for publication . If it is necessary for the article to be edited or revised in order to im prove the effectiveness of communication to a w ide variety-level of readers . the author will receive the edited article prior to pub li shing for their approval. • 1f the artic le or parts of have been submitted and / or pub li shed by another pub li cation , a comp lete name and address of the Editor and Publi cati on should accompany the artic le upon submiss ion to the USGF in order to follow proper procedures of publishing and to receive approval to reproduce the article in the USGF publi cation . Editorial Staff Mike Jacki , pub lisher, Debbie Forsten / Managing Editor, Mike Botkin / Production Director, Dr . Gerald George/ Educational Research Editor . Unless expressly identified to the contrary , all articles , statements and views printed herein are attributable solely to the author and the United States Gymnastics Federation expresses no opinion thereon and assumes no responsib lity therefor.


Table of Contents 6 Athlete Eligibility Code 7

8 10

Injury Data

By Bill Sands


By Jack Rockwell

Space Sickness By Patty Charmichael-Gerard

11 12

Schedule of Events

16 19

ROV in Judging

By Ted Muzyczko

Biased Judging

By Charles Ansorge John Scheer

Relaxation Response By Robert McKelvain


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B. A gymnast may receive uniforms . travel Ellglbillty Code of the apparel and accessories from the USGF . United States Gymnastic Federation FIG . IOC or USOC. Uniforms . appar el and Rules and Guidelines accessories donated to entrants in USGF I. AMATEURISM events by sponsors are also allowable An amateur gymnast is one who trains and insofar as they are presented to all performs without searching for or accepting entrants and carry personalized markings personal financial reward or material benefit in to specify the event. A gymnast may not connection with his or her sports participation. convert into cash any award . gift or (FIG Rule of Eligibility 1.6. IOC Rule 26) uniform received from the USGF . FIG . IOC. II. FINANCIAL AND MATERIAL BENEFITS USOC or comoetition sponsor A. No gymnast may take part in a sporting V. ADVERTISING & PROMOTION event for which he or she is paid A. A gymnast may not authoriz e any immediately. (FIG Statutes. Art. 38) indiv idual or organization to use the B. No gymnast may give authority to or gymnast's person . name . likeness allow a professional agent to represent picture . or sports performance in such a the gymnast in negotiations regarding way that his or her position or reputation his or her participation in compet.ition . No as a gymnast is used to advertise or gymnast may give authority to or allow promote any commercial service . act1v1t y anyone to represent the gymnast in or enterprise unless the USGF has entered negotiations regarding receipt of money into a co .1tr act for sponsorship or in exchange for participation in competiequipment making that individual or tion . organization a USGF sponsor A gymnas t C. No gymnast may accept. directly or inmay enter into an agreement with a USGF directly. any money or other considerasponsor for the use of a gymnasts tion for expenses or loss of earnings . person . name . likenes s. picture or except that during the preparation for performance in advertis ing or promotion gymnastics competition conducted . provided that agreement complies with sponsored . sanctioned or approved by the terms of the USGF Sponsorship the IOC. USOC. FIG or USGF. or the Program (FIG Rule of El igibility 1.8 IOC competition itself. a gymnast may Bye-Law to Rule 26 \ receive the following types of financial B. A gymnast may permit his or her na me. and material benefits . provided such photograph . or personal appearance to support is received through the USGF be used for news reports or to publicize a 1. Board and lodging expenses . competition or exhibition conducted 2. Transportation expenses . sponsored . sanctioned or approved by 3. Sportswear and sports equipment . the USGF. provided such use 1s not al so 4. Pocket money in an amount per dav directly associated with com me • c1a l to be fixed by the USGF. · advertising in a manner inconsistent with 5. Expenses for medical treatment . the USGF Sponsorship Proqram physiotherapy . medical services VI. DRUGS and medicine. The use of any drugs appea ring on the IOC s 6. Expenses for training facilities or list of prohibited drugs is strictly forbidden . An y instruction. gymnast who . at any competition conducted . 7. Premiums for insurance . sponsored . sanctioned or approved by the 8. Educational expenses . USGF. (1 l refuses to submit to a medical 9. Compensation to cover financial examination designed to detect the use of such loss resulting from a gymnast's drugs . (2) refuses to sig n a statement absence from work or basic occupa representing that he or she has not used such tion in order to train for or particidrugs . or (3) uses such dru gs shall be pate in an event conducted . spondisqualified from competition pending an sored. sanctioned or approved by investigation by the USGF El1gibil1t y Committee the IOC . USOC FIG or USGF. A (FIG Rule of Eligibility 1.8 IOC Rul e 291 gymnast may not receive such VII . PROFESSIONALISM " broken time payments· in an A. A gymnast may not be 01 ha ve been a amount in excess of what the professional in any sport or ha ve signed gymnast would otherwise receive a contract for that purpos e !FIG Rule of from an employer during the same Eligibility 1.8 IOC Bye-Law to Rul e 26 1 period . (FIG Statutes . Article 38: FIG B. A gymnast may not be or have been a proRule of Eligibility 1 ?l fessional coach in any sport. !FIG Rule of Ll . A gymnast an employee paid by a Eligibility 1.81 sports organization . including but not C. A gymnast may not knowingly take part limited to employment as a counselor or in a competition or other event with proinstructor. provided any compensation fessional gymnasts . (FIG Stat utes. Art received by the gymnast (1) is not in 38) return for his or her athletic performance VIII. MEMBERSHIP A. A gymn ast may not participate in any and (2) is not excessively out of proporevent conducted . sponsored. sanctioned tion to the payment normally received for like work in that area of the country. (FIG or approved by the USGF unless he or she Rule of Eligibility 172 Bl is a member in good standing with the Ill . SCHOLARSHIPS /DEVELOPMENT FUNDS USGF B. A gymnast may not compete against any A. A gymnast may accept scholarships a) other gymna st he or she knows to be given to support his or her preparation ineligible to compete under USGF rules . for and participation in gymnastic IX . ELIGIBtUTY COMMITTEE com pet it ions a·pproved or sanctioned by A. There shall be a Committee on Eligibility the USGF. or b) granted on the basis of consisting of the Executive Director of the and fulfillment of scholastic obligations USGF and an even number of additional IV. AWARDS . GIFTS . UNIFORMS A. In any competitive event. a gymnast may members numbering not less than 4 who not accept monetary prizes . and any shall be appointed by the Executive other prizes or awards received may not Director and approved by th e Executiv.e exceed the maximum value designated Committee of the Board of Directors . At 6 by the USGF. (FIG Statutes . Art. 38) le ast 1/ 4 of the members of the


X A.




Committee on Eligibility shall be ath let e representatives . The Committee on Eligibility shall be charged with the responsibility of 1 Overseeing compliance with the rules of elig ibi lity as defined by IOC. USOC. FIG and USGF. 2. Recommending to the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the USGF revisions of the Eligibility Code . 3. Responding to inquiri es from gymnasts. or their coaches . parents or representatives . concerning the Elig ibility Code . 4. Investigating alleged violations of the Eligibility Code and recommending to the Executi ve Committee sanctions to be imposed for violations of the Code . ENFORCEMENT The Elig ibility Committee sha ll act on any complaint alleging that a gymnast has violated the Eligibility Code provided the complaint (1) is in writing. (2) is sign ed by the per son or persons filing tile complaint. and (3) alleges conduct wlli cl1 does in fact violate the Eligibility Code . Upon receipt of a complaint. the Eligibility Committee shall notily the named gymnast in writing by certified mail of the all eged vio lation and appoint one ot its members to conduct an investigation of the underlying facts . That investiga tio n sllall at least include an interview (01 attempted interview) witll the gymn<ist the person or persons filing the complaint. and otller persons who may have direct knowledge of t11e alle9ed violation . A written summary of the investigation and the Committee member's conclusion as to whether there is reasonable cause to believe th e alleged viola tion occurred will be sent to the gymnast al'ld each member of the Eligibility Committee . 1. In the event the Committee member concludes that reasonable cause do·es not exist. no further action will be tak en on the complaint unless a majority of the member shi p of the Eligibility Committee vote to conduct further investigation. 2. In the event the Committee member concludes that reasonable cause does exist the gymnast will be asked to provide a written response to the complaint and the evidence as summarized in the Committee member's report. In addition the gymnast may request a hea rin g before the Eligibility Committee. No less than 10 days prior to his or her appearance before the Committee. the gymnast shall receive a written copy of the procedures to be followed during the hearing . Those procedures shall include the right to be represented by another. present witnesses and cross examine any adverse witnesses . At the conclusion of its investigation the Eligibility Committee will prepare written findings of fact and . in instances where a violation is found . recommend sanctions in the form of : reprimand . restriction of participation . probation. suspension or loss of eligibilit y. (Continued on page 22)


Injury Data NCAA Female Gymnasts 1983-84

Data Reveals Potential Patterns By Bill Sands University of Utah


mong the data collected from the 1983-84 gymnastics season for the NACGC-W was inju ry information . The coaches were requested to send injury information to the University of Utah for collection and analysis . Gathering this information was looked upon skeptically by some of the coaches who were concerned that published knowledge of this information might reflect upon their individual programs or that the word would "get around " and harm their prospects for recru iting . The following consists of 100 injury records submitted to the national statistical service for the NACGC-W during the 1983-84 season . The information obtained is strictly for preliminary examination since the amount of data is insufficient and the potential biasing of results due to unbalanced participation of some programs does not afford us the opportunity to draw conclu sions . The treatment of the received data is still interesting however, and as a preliminary example of injury data one might be able to see some potential patterns that deserve further investigation . The following tables and graphs show the resu Its of treatment of the data sent regard ing injuries to female gymnasts in the NCAA. These include Division I, II, Ill , NAIA, and Junior College athletes . The total number of injuries reported was an even 100. Although this makes the percentage calculations very easy it does not provide us with a large enough sample to draw any firm conclusions about the role of injury in women 's gymnastics . Some schools were very diligent about reporting injuries and of course , some schools did not report any. This can bias the results iri the direction of the conduct of these reporting programs enough to make the results very suspect. I have only included the percentages on each category or factor in the injury data sent to me. This low level analysis is due to the cursory information and the small and possibly biased sample . You should be very careful about interpreting the results of this analysis and perhaps use it only in determining new directions to proceed in furthe r research . It is a shame that the number of

injuries reported was so small since I believe that even this type of epi demiological approach can tell us a great deal about how to prevent some of our inju ries by being particularly alert to those areas that the statistics show us are likely to be connected with injury in some way. Perhaps the most interesting and useful


statistic obtained from the data is that the average weight of these 100 injured girls was over 125 pounds. Correlation between height and weight produced an r of .676. This is in contrast to earlier research that I did with gymnasts from my former program in Chicago who ranged in age from 8-17, were highly trained , pre-pubescent , and Class I or Elite level competitors . The r was 30 in the earlier study and the r fo r height correlated with weight was .982. This earlier study showed that height and weight were quite linearly related while the heights and weights of the collegiate girls does not appear to be nearly so . We all know that increased weight can be a predisposing factor in injury and this area along with its corollaries shou ld be investigated more closely. In looking for a profile of the injured athlete from this data we can begin with height

which indicates that our athlete will be slightly over 5 feet 3 inches. Her weight would be approximately 125.5 pounds . She would most likely be injured in November or January and the injury would probably appear somewhere from the knee down. She probably strained or sprained something, and if she were a little less lucky it may be a ligament tear or a bruise . The injury would probably have occurred on floor exercise and the most likely skill was a double back somersault. Finally, she is less than 22 years old. In conclusion , let me thank the NACGCW for the opportunity to participate in the statistical service and the NACGC-W through the NCAA for the funding of this project. Supported by a grant from the NCAA through the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches fo r Women .

Cor r elation of Height and 'll'e ight.

Graph of Injuries Over The Trainin g Season T I Pl £


Regression Line


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(More statistics on page 22). 7

_ _M,odalities_ _ A Hot And Cold Subject In Sports Medicine By Jack Rockwell Associate Director Center For Sports Medicine


he word modalities as defined by Dorland 's medical dictionary means : "A method of application , or employment of any therapeutic agent, usually having to do with physical therapy." What will be attempted in this article will be to descri be the action , need for, and in some cases the application of many of the modalities that are employed in treating gymnastic injuries. Let's fi rst explore some of the modalities we all hear about, have used on us at times , but must be applied legally only by a therapist, a person certified or licensed in their use, a physician or an athletic trainer. It is important to note these matters as litigation is an ever increasing problem amongst all of us employed in both athletic and sports as well as medical and all ied medical work . The moda lities listed below wil l be described as to their action and in what type of injuries they are usually employed. This first group are all modalities that produce either heat or cold , the two basic reasons we use any of the modalities. (1) Diathermy- As we know it now is primarily short wave or microwave . The action is somewhat different in that diathermy will produce heat in a more general area while microwave heat over a local area. In both cases the heat is generated in the tissues by the direct action of electrical energy. Short wave diathermy and microwave are both used to some degree in the following situations : Trauma and inflammation to the bursae and joints in congestive conditions such as bronchitis, and in callous formation and ankylosis following joint injuries. Diathermy and microwave have been used less in recent years with the advent of other modalities which seem to do the job better. Infra-red radiation is exactly the same type of heat we receive from the sun, the proportion of impaired being over 60 percent in the average sun light as compared to ultraviolet and visible light. This impaired generation is a very convenient source of heat and until recent years the most popular source of external heating . Unfortunately the penetration of this heat source is very small and other modal ities have proven much more efficient.


ltrasound is a term we hear a great deal more about and in fact is one of the very highly used modalities by therapists and trainers in the treatment of athletic injuries. The mode of action is actually the irritation of oscillation of very high frequencies into the body. These are purely mechanical in nature and in turn develop an irritation or vibration effect within the tissue which in turn creates a deep tissue heating effect. Ultrasound is indicated for use in the treatment of muscle bruises, tears, sprains, dislocations, hematomas, and contractures . Ultrasound, although an extremely valuable tool in the treatment of injuries, can be extremely dangerous and should not be used unless the application is done by a trained technician. High voltage pulsed galvanic stimulation has burst on the med ical field in the past 7 to 9 years . This is in fact no more than electrical muscle stimulation but actually has been a great


addition to the modalities we al ready have available. The current emitted by these units varies to some degree in almost every brand of unit on the market but is basically either faradic or galvanic and either pulsed or continuous with several units having superimposed currents available. The units are useful in treating the following injuries : muscle spasm , areas where increased circulation is needed , as a tool for reeducation of muscles atrophied from disuse, reduction of edema through the pumping action of the contraction and relaxation of these muscles being stimulated. This modality has been one of the best things to happen in the area of sports medicine in a long time. TENS units are and have been a very wonderful addition to the sports medicine field as a whole . TENS , or TNS, refers to transcutaneous nerve stimulation. This modality works on the principle of applying electrical current through the skin to a peripheral nerve or nerves for the control of pain . Although the "Gate Method " or "Gate Control Hypothesis" was first widely accepted as the mode of pain control , this has been shown to be only partially right and at present although we know it works we are not totally certain as to how it works . In the case of chronic pain syndromes it has been a tremendous help, but it has just as much help in relief of acute pain. In the relief of extremity pain , back pain , and headaches it (TNS) has almost been miraculous in a majority of instances. TNS does not seem to produce any physiological changes other than pain relief.


ach day we pick up medical magazines as weli as newspapers and read about new medical miracles brought about by some new modality. Most of these are unproven and fall by the wayside quickly. I've taken one easy way out to include the remainder of the modalities I had wanted to cover in this article. Sherry Buickel, athletic trainer, University of Florida put together our extremely good modality guidelines some time ago , and has been good enough to allow its reprint in this article. The modalities listed in this guide are those that most of you should have access to if needed. They are the simple things that far more often get the job done in treatment far better and faster than the expensive, complicated modalities. If I were operating a gymnastics school I would like to have, in fact would feel that I needed to have, the following modalities : An automatic ice maker, (refrigerator, styrofoam chest filled with ice, freezer for ice cups) to have ice available at all times , plastic bags and elastic bandages to apply the bags , two or more large plastic tubs (wastebaskets , etc.) for contrast baths , and if possible a treatment table . None of these things are terribly expensive and they can help cut down the incidence and particularly the length of injuries. In closing , I'd like to add one more piece of equipment to every gymnastics school , that is some form of a stationary bicycle to be used by impaired gymnasts who cannot bear full weight on their lower extremities. To be able to keep up the cardio-vascular efficiency, reduce the atrophy in the hip and thigh muscles is of extreme importance. Please feel free to write care of the Journal to the author at: Center for Sports Medicine - Saint Francis Memorial Hospital 900 Hyde Street - San Francisco , CA 94109 - if you have any questions we might be able to help with . We love gymnastics as you do and want to see it continually developing.


Modality Guidelines


Sh erry Buick el , Athletic Train er, Uni versity of Florida Modality

Physiological Effect

Indication fo r Use

Techniques for Application

Time Intervals


Hydrocollator Packs (moist heat)

Circulation is increased Tissue temperature rises . Relaxes muscles. Helps relieve muscle spasms.

Pos t acute conditi ons of

Wrap in hydrocollator covers or in about 6 la yers of toweling.

J0-20 minutes per application .

Never apply where there is a loss of sensation, immediately after an inj ury, when there is decreased arterial ci rculation, or directly over eyes or genital areas. Don 't overheat sensiti ve skin .

Whi rl pool (moist heat )

Circulation is increased followed by a reduction in congestion, spasm, and pain . Relaxes m uscles. Helps relieve muscle spasms .

Before range of motion exercises. Relieve muscle spasms. To contrast with cold (see contrast bath ).

Use at a temperature from J02"-J JO".

20 minutes less time when contrasting (see contrast bath ).

Sensitive skin cannot handle the high er

Analgesic Pack

Give the feeling of warmth . Increase in loca l circulation creates a m ild anesthesia.

Pos t ac ute conditi on of

Massage analgesic in area. Pl ace on area and cover wi th piece of combine roll. Secure with elastic wrap.

Will generate a mild analgesic effect for as long as 3 hours.

Blistering could occur.

Ice Pack

Reduces circulation . Reduces pressure on nerve endings resul ting in less pain .

Acute conditions. To control bleeding and reduce pain .

Cover area with a cold, wet elasti c wrap . Secure ice pack on with elastic wrap, then elevate

20-45 minutes with compression and elevation . Continue cold treatment for 24-72 hours. Apply cold pack alter activity to a post acu te injury to control swelling.

Be sure there is something between ice and body part to avoid frostbite (cold we t elastic wrap) .

sprains or s trains.

sprains and s trains .

area .

I - ice C - compress ion E - elevation

tem pera ture .

Use lower temperature if whole body is submerged.

Ice Massage

Reduces circulation .

Post acute. lee massage al one or in conj unct ion with heat modalities such as hydrocollator.

Freeze a cup full of water lice cup).

JO- I 5 m inutes .

Keep ice moving so creates a massaging effect.

Contrast Bath

Flushing effect. Cold constricts vessels. Then Hot dilates vessels. Creates relaxed fee ling.

Post acute. Can only be used on certain areas of the body.

Warm whi rl pool J06" OR Bucke t of warm water. Cold tank 40째-50째 OR Cold whirl pool OR Bucket of cold water.

Alternate cold and heat treatments, beginning and ending with cold .

Watch for swell ing when in hot water.


Increases circulatio n .

Post acute to help move out swell ing.

Move toward heart . Use a l u~ ri cant.

5- JO minutes.

Don 't begin too soon after injury. Can cause more bleedi ng. Don 't do in place of warm -up exercises.

" Gives feeling of warmth and re laxati on .



An ft4pothesis Concerning Space Sickness And Its Amelioration By Patty Carmichael-Gerard Ed itor's Note : This article is a continuation of Patty Carmichael-Gerard's article "From Tiny Tots To Astronauts" which appeared in the March/April issue of USA Gymnastics.


ccurate sensory perception of environmental stimu li and integration of sensorimotor information is appreciated with higher cortical areas after transference of information from the vestibular apparatus. The vestibular mechanism and cerebellum along with proprioceptors in muscles, tendons and joints tend to regu late posture, equilibrium , muscle tone and the orientation of the head and body in space. In order for the vestibu lar mechanism to send accurate information to the higher cortex it must be exposed to specific sensory stimulation. This enables the vestibular mechanisms to retrieve information and thereby suppress conflicting data. Without proper internal processing of information previously implanted into the vestibular apparatus , spatial disorientation and clinical symptoms related to equilibrium dysfunction can occur. Two separate and very distinct types of vestibular stimulation shou ld be differentiated: internal and external. External vestibu lar stimulation is acquired in relation to an object ; a rotating chair (2 dimensional), a spinning aircraft (3 dimensional). Internal vestibu lar stimulation is that stimulation which is self motivated without the use of an object; dancing (2 dimensional), skating (2 dimensional), gymnastics (3 dimensional). External stimulation is of lesser significance to the vestibular apparatus. It will recall and transmit the information to the higher cortex on ly when the exact object is used in the same type of environment. External stimu li to the vestibular apparatus need not always translate to internal vestibular information. Astronauts in a weightless environment floating in three dimensions experience internal vestibular stimulation. This type of flipping and twisting is not the same as that learned in relation to an object, (a chair, an aircraft). Without prior proper stimulation and training the vestibu lar mechanism would react to this unusual environment by producing the various clinical symptoms of an immature vestibu lar system : disorientation, nystagmus, vertigo and gastrointestinal upset.


ymnastics , using a three dimensional environment deve lops the interna l vestibular sense . What is especially attractive about the developed internal vestibular sense is that internalized information can be transferred to the externa l environment. This important distinction between external and internal stimu lation is perhaps the reason why conflicting data has been obtained with regard to vestibular reaction in space compared with earthbound studies on the vestibular apparatus. As far as I know, I am the on ly gymnast to have been tested


by NASA techniques. Under the guidance of Dr. Hornick, head of vestibular research for NASA (Johnson), I sat in a rotating chair, performing head movements from 12V2 rpm 's to 30 rpm's for 20 minutes without feeling any symptoms of sickness. When the "dead stop test" was performed , Dr. Hornick found it quite curious that instead of the sensation of the room spinning in the opposite direction , my sensation continued the movement in the same direction about 45 degrees and then pulled back to center. I had no fee li ng of vertigo upon leaving the chair although I did feel a sense of motion as if I had been flying or driving for a long period of time. I wou ld like to think my performance could be attributed to the fact that I was unique . Research of the pertinent literature demonstrates that this is not the case. Dr. Brian McCabe conducted a research project in 1960 entitled "Vestibular Suppression in Figure Skaters."( 1) The procedure included two high ly proficient figure skaters. They performed rapid spins on the ice (at four rotations per second). Slow motion fi lm was used to reveal if spotting (as in ballet) was evidenced. In the Baranay chair close observation for postrotational nystagmus was made after adequate stimu lation. Baranay spins were filmed with and without blindfolds , observing nystagmus and staggering on immediate tape walking . These tests are all considered non-maximal vestibular stimuli . To provide maximum stimulus a caloric test using 20 cc of ice water playing directly on the posteroinferior quadrant of the tympanic membrane for 20 seconds was employed . The posterior semi-circular canals were tested in unison , and the horizontal canal separately.(2) . .. "after each spin , the subject was able to stop suddenly, holding a graceful pose for as long as required. Post rotational nystagmus was absent. This applied whether the horizontal or vertical canals were stimulated .. . subjects were able to tape walk after a Baranay spin, equally wel l whether blindfolded or not. Nystagmus was absent whether blindfolded or not . .. Neither vertigo nor nystagmus could be elicited by stimulation of the vertical or horizontal canals ."(3 l Logic should allow that gymnasts wou ld perform equally wel l in simi lar testing. Gymnasts perform in a 3 dimensional environment, therefore , 3 dimensional information could be equally and accurately processed by their vestibular apparatus.


r. McCabe also took three novice skaters and had them train over a period of five months, concentrating on the specific art of spinn ing. At the beginning he found all had normal responses to caloric and Baranay testing .(4 l By the end of the fifth month all had a markedly diminished but not completely absent response to the tests employed .(S) Dr. McCabe concludes that central suppression is possible and is an abi lity that can be developed. "It is possible , then , to attain complete vestibular suppression by physiologic means .. . This evi dently has been an active intended suppression . . . that particularly in motion sickness , a method


pletely absent whether blindfolded or not. Skating , however, is still two dimensional in nature and I contend that skaters , if placed in a flipping environment, would experience symptoms of vestibular mismatch. 3. Gymnasts perform fast twisting and flipping in a three dimensional environment. I believe that at the present time they would be placed in the highest category of vestibular development and that this development is highly internalized. Many symptoms of space adaptation syndrome are probably the result of an immature or inadequately developed vestibular mechanism. As the mechanism is further internally stimulated , (first in the 2 dimensional then in the three dimensional phase) the symptoms of space adaptation syndrome will be suppressed and the current problem our astronauts face will subside. Vestibular stimulation and training should be regarded as a necessary program for the development of the new "space man ".

of central suppression would be a more physiologic and , hence, a more desirable method of management than is presently available ."(6) Similar testing was done in 1972 by Kameswaran on the vestibular function of the Karagam Dancers in South India (who spin quickly while balancing an object on their heads.) The study concluded that in all dancers the cap ulo-ocular reflexes are subject to conditioning .(7) .. . The dancers did not feel vertigo even though nystagmus was present.(Bl


find the presence of some nystagmus in the Karagam Dancer quite curious. It is similar to tests done on ballet dancers in 1957 by Kurt Tschiassny.(9) When blindfolded , dancers who could normally spin without vertigo , experienced normal post-rotary nystagmus and past pointing . I contend that each of these tests performed on different groups represents different levels of internal vestibular stimulation : 1. Ballet and Karagam dancers develop to a primary level where sight is of primary importance to the vestibular mechanism . Without it they experience the symptoms of vestibular mismatch ; nystagmus and past pointing . 2. Skaters with an opportunity to experience more rapid rotation under their own stimulation develop an intermediate level of vestibular adeptness. Nystagmus and vertigo are com-



McCabe. B. Vestibula r Suppression in Figure Skaters. Trans. Am. Acad. Ophth. and Otolaryngology. 64: 264-268. 1960. Kameswaran, S., Raje nder Kumror, P.V. International Surgery. 57: 976-977, 1972. Tschaissny, K. Stud ies concerning vestibular factors in the ballet da ncer, the pigeon a nd the bli nd person. Trans. Amer. Acad. of Ophth. a nd Otolaryngology. 61 : 503-506 (July-Aug ) 1959.

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RELAXATION RESPONSE: STRATEGY FOR EFFECTIVE USE IN GYMNASTICS By Robert McKelvain, Ph. D. Department of Psychology Harding University Ed itor's Note: Th is series of articles on relaxation training is being reprinted from Coaching Men 's Gymnastic , th e journal of the USGF Junior Olympic Men 's Program . These articles are part of the result of the ongoing research , program development and integration of sport sciences into the junior men's program . The author, Dr. Robert McKelvain , a psychologist. is a member of the Junior National Team Coaching Staff and liaison for sport sciences for the Board of Directors of the Junior Olympic Program.

Part I: Introduction


x perienced coaches can use the relaxation response to improve gymnasts' performance. Athletes and coaches are hearing more these days about using relaxation and other psychological skills, but most of the information is based on informal reports and the popular press and is incomplete . Consequently, coaches often underestimate the complexity of the relaxation response and also underestimate its great potent ial for helping athletes improve . Coaches and gymnasts who understand relaxation can avo id the dangers of improper use and enjoy the benefits of the skill . Coaches can use the relaxation response as a good beginning point to increase their skills in using sport psychology with their ath letes. This article is the first in a series devoted to informing coaches about when and how to use relaxation techniques with gymnasts. While a coach cannot learn how to teach relaxation skills from reading only , these art icles will provide a basis for demonstrations and supervised practice in clinics and workshops. Improper use of relaxation has some subtle, but real, dangers. Improper use of the relaxation response produces transiet, undependable results. Inconsistent results from any training techniques lead the athlete to lack confidence in himself and his preparation . Beginners in learning the relaxation response often find the response a remarkable experience and assume that that experience can easily be translated into improved performance. Without proper training these ex periences and any trans ient improvement in performance are soon lost. Subsequently, the athlete and coach may attribute the failure to the ineffectiveness of the relaxat ion response rather than to poor training and be come disenchanted w ith relaxation and other sport psychology skills . Having heard the relaxation response is effective in im proving performance, a gymnast who is performing poorly




1983 Junior National Team member p ractic es mental relaxation techniques p rio r to parallel bar routine to improve performance. (USGF photo 漏 1984 Dave Black).

may grasp relaxation as a solution to his problem. Under these circumstances improper use and the inevitable poor results may deepen the athlete ' s self-doubt and discouragement because he attributes the failure to himself rather than poor training. As with my training technique the relaxation response must be thoroughly understood and properly applied for it to produce consistent results . Coaches and athletes must know that they have properly learned and used the relaxation in order to judge its effectiveness-another reason for this series of articles . Briefly stated the keys to successful use of relaxation training are: 1. Proper training and practice of the relaxat ion response as a self-control skill . 1路2


2. Selection of appropriate techniques and objectives for training. 3. Combined use of relaxation training and thoughts about self and performance. 4. Use of relaxation to enhance imagery skills. 5. Integration of relaxation training in the work-out gym and on the competition floor. These and other aspects of relaxation training will be explored in this series . Part II describes what relaxation is and why it is helpful to a gymnast.

Part II: What Is The Relaxation Response


he relaxation response is a change in the state of the body's nervous system. The change may occur in response to changes in the environment or it may be produced by the use of specific skills which can be learned. The relaxation response and its usefulness is best understood in biological terms . The internal balance of the body is maintained by the autonomic nervous system (ANS). This network of nerves automatically regulates heart rate, blood pressure, skin temperature, digestive activity, hormone secretion and many other functions . One part of the ANS-the para-sympathetic system-manages minute-to-minute internal business-asusual in the body. The sympathetic system, a second part of the ANS, may override the minute-to-minute functions of the body in order to coordinate all the body's functions to meet some threat of harm to the person. The sympathetic system response prepares a person physically to fight or run as a means of avoiding harm . The "fight or flight response" is characterized by familiar changes in the body-butterflies or queasy stomach, rapid heart beat, blanched skin , cool sweating palms, trembling hands, and a sense of being uptight, uneasy or jumpy. If the threat is indeed an occasion for fighting or running, the body is well prepared to meet the challenge with extra blood flow and energy in the muscles. If the situation does not call for a physical response, the arousal will result in inefficient performance. Over-arousal can effect performance in six ways. 1. Increase muscle tension . 2. Disruption of concentration . 3. Disruption of imagery skills . 4. Disruption of internal dialogue. 5. Disruptive escape and avoidance responses in practice. 6. Subjective distress which triggers further overarousal.


he relaxation response is basic to solving problems of both under-and over-arousal. Problems of under-arousal are best solved through imagery training. The relaxation response can be used directly or indirectly to solve the problems caused by over-arousal. The relaxation response is the physiological opposite of the arousal response. 3 The athlete who has the skill to produce the relaxation response can voluntarily alter his internal processes-muscle tension can be reduced , heart rate, blood pressure, and blood flow to skin can be controlled . By using the relaxation response a sense of calmness and self-control can be achieved in contrast to the sense of being uptight and nervous. Over-arousal has two direct and four indirect negative effects on skilled gymnastics performance. First, overarousal causes increased skeletal muscle tension. This excess tension restricts swing . The proper balance of relaxation and tension in the upper body is an essential


Jon Omori, USGF National Team member, traces mental preparation steps prior to his routine. (USGF Photo Š 1984 Dave Black).

part of all events, but pommel horse and parallel bars are especially effected by excessive arousal. The relaxation response allows the gymnast more control over the muscle tension level and consequently improves basic swing.

The gymnast may think "I must not miss the stutz, I have to hit the stutz." This gymnast will likely miss the stutz or, if he hits he stutz, will miss a small, relatively easy part immediately following the stutz. A second direct result of excess arousal is a change in attention or concentration. Excessive arousal may increase distractability and cause lapses of concentration due to irrelevant thoughts or external distractions.4 The gymnast may be distracted by thoughts of poor performance, of an injury, of an opponent's score or by other thoughts which are unrelated to his performance. Excessive arousal may also produce narrowing of attention .5 The gymnast may think "I must not miss the stutz, I have to hit the stutz ... etc . ... " . This gymnast wil I likely miss the stutz or, if he hits the stutz, will miss a small, relatively easy part immediately following the stutz. A coach's last minute instructions which focus on a particular skill combined with excess narrowing of attention is especially likely to produce bad results. Use of the relaxation response at the proper time can help the athlete concentrate on total performance while screening out both internal and external distractions.


The four indirect effects of over-arousal are the inhibition of imagery,6 distruptive self-talk ,6 escape and avoidance responses , and subjective distress. Detailed descriptions of the role of imagery and self-talk will be included in a later part of this series .

The essence of the fight or flight response is escape or avoidance of the situation which is perceived as threatening . Considering effort is needed to motivate young gymnasts to practice the events on which they need the most improvement. This avoidance response may be caused by over-arousal which is produced by failure on those events.7 A major factor in this process may be anxiety and consequent avoidance of potential failure. Properly applied , the relaxation response can reduce the avoidance response in practice and perhaps reduce the drop-outs which may result.


he fourth indirect effect of over-arousal is the distress of feeling an xious or uptight. Taken alone , subjective distress would not have an effect on performance. However, the gymnast ex periences the upset of over-arousal as a signal that a situation is hazardous. From experience athletes learn that they perform more poorly when they are an x ious. Consequently, athletes become more anxious when they recognize that they are anxious. When an athlete becomes over-aroused telling him to relax is of little value. The relaxation response provides a self-produced , portable skill to directly reduce the subjective distress which can rarely be reduced by other means. Relaxation is a self-control strategy which is the basis for developing other sport psychology skills . Part Ill and Part IV of this series will describe how to train the relaxation response so th at it can be utilized by the athlete when and where he needs it.

demands upon the coaches who will learn them . As with the coach , the athlete must also be able to master the skill efficiently. Long training sessions are boring and lead both coach and

Part Ill: Training Methods


x perienced and properly trained coaches can teach athletes the relaxation response and its application in practice and competition . This article describes the criteria for choosing a training technique and outlines the key elements in the training procedure for the relaxation response. Criteria Three criteria must be applied in the selection of a training strategy for teaching the relaxation response . Several different training approaches are available, but not all meet the demands made by the sport, coach , and athlete for a usable technique. The first criteria for choosing a training technique is an acceptable rationale for a particular procedure . Both coach and gymnast must understand why a particular approach is used and how it is supposed to produce results . Also , the technique must not trigger any pree x isting negative attitudes . For example, hypnosis is an effective tool in acquiring the relaxation response, but coaches, gymnasts, and parents may have beliefs which cause resistance to using hypnosis. The second criteria is that the strategy be easy to teach both to coaches and to athletes. Coaches who will be training athletes must have an in-depth knowledge of the training techniquethis is no less true in training the relaxation response than in training any gymnastics sk ill. For conscientious coaches to be willing to teach the relaxation skill , the coaches must feel confident that they understand what to do . Procedures such as hypnosis or biofeedback which are complex, timeco nsu ming to learn , and which engender uncertainty uncertainty for the coach , may effectively produce relaxation , but they mak e too many



hen these three criteriabelievable rationale, ease in teaching, and effectiveness-are applied to the five common approaches to rela x ation training, progressive muscle relaxation as a self-control strategy stands out as the most suitable procedure .

Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) procedures are well researched and effective in reducing musc le tension and in controlling the emotional consequences of over-arousal. 9路 12 The PMR procedure is easily taught both to coaches and athletes and does not evoke the negative attitudes and misgivings which hypnosis often evokes. When properly trained in PMR , athletes may relax when and where it is necessary without the assistance of another person and without the aid of special conditions or devices . PMR has the added advantage th at it can be taught by audio tape programs when these programs are properly utilized by a coach who personally directs the training. 13 Taped programs also allow for standardized training procedures which maketraining and evaluation much easier. Because of its relative advantages , p rogressive muscle rela xation as a self-control skill is the procedure which forms the basic for the training outlined in this series on rela xation training in gymnastic.

Dr. Bob Mc Ke/vain. membe r of the men 's Junior National Team coac hing staff.

gymnast to wonder whether the training is worth the time . The third criteria for choosing a relaxation training techniqu e is that the training be usable and effective in th e situations in which it is needed. The rela xation process must be easily selfinduced without the aid of special equipment in c ircumstan ces which are highly distracting. M e ditation techniques are often used to induce the rela x ation response , but ther e is growing doubt that the techniques are effective .8 Meditation and autogenic techniques are not easily used in highly di stracting or urg ent situations .


Criteria for Selection of Training Technique Techniques

believa bl e rationa le

biofeed back


medi tati o n au togen ic tra ining hyp nosis prog ress ive mu scle relaxatio n



ease of learn in g no yes

usa ble an d effec tive


? no

bi no yes



Table 1. Compa rison of re laxation train ing tec hn iques for use in gymnas tics.


Training There are four stages in training the relaxation response using progressive muscle relaxation. 1. Ex plaining the rational e and getting commitment to practice. 2. Inducing relaxation by focusing on the tensing and relaxing of specific muscle groups . 3. Attachment of special cues or images to the rela xation process . 4. Practice of the relaxation response i n the actual setting in which it will be used. This article will describe the first two stages. Future articles will explain the imagery training and on-site practice. Rationale and commitment The relaxation response is a sport skill similar in many ways to other gymnastics skills . Gymnastics requires a difficult , precise balance of muscle contraction to generate force and relaxation and flexibility to facilitate swing . The rela xation response is comparable to flexibility as an athletic skill . By developing the rela xation response the gymnast will be able to use mental imagery more effectively, reach just the right balance of arousal and selfconfident in competition , be more efficient in each workout session , and be more consist e nt i n competitive performance. Each of these points reflects needs often ex pressed by gymnasts and is an incentive to practice the skill.


ike any sport skill, the relaxation response must be practiced. However, the time spent in relaxation response training is part of the mental training which should be included in the preparation of all elite gymnasts. At the beginning of training , a minimum of thre e, twenty-minute sessions per week is necessary for efficient acquisition of the relaxation response . Less practice lengthens the period required to achieve the relaxation response at an effective level. In about four weeks the average athlete should have sufficient ability in the relaxation response to use the skill in som e ways .9 , 13 , 14 Full usefulness of the

potential of the skill will take longer. To promote adherence to the training program , the coach should monitor the practic e. 15 Monitoring may b e accomplished either by doing the training during scheduled workout tim e or by having the athlete keep a notebook or other record of th e tim e and place of the practice. Some coaches find that practice of the rela xation response and of relat ed imagery skills prior tob workout improves the athlete ' s concentration during the workout . For the relaxation response to benefit the athlete it must be practiced . Inconsistent practice and monitoring will produce poor results and lead to the premature dismissal of sport psychology skills as ineffective or to the loss of selfconfidence by gymnast and coach .

Training activities The actual relaxation training consists of four activities in which the trainer assists the athlete-preparing for relaxation , contrasting tension and relaxation , controlling the relaxation , and recognizing progress in learning the relaxatin response. Preparation.The trainer first makes clear that there is no " right" or "wrong " way to experience the relaxation response . Concern over evaluation can seriously reduce the effectiveness of training . All that is necessary is for the athlete to listen to the instructions and focus his attention as he is directed. The rationale for rela xation training in gymnastics should be explained .' Athletes should be encouraged to maintain a certain curiosity and expectancy about what their experiences might be . In the initial phase of rela xation training the coach should provide a comfortable environment as free from distractions as possible . As training progresses th e athlete will be able to rela x in less comfortable , more distracting surroundings , but beginning training is most effective in a quiet comfortable place. Procedures for transferring the relaxation skill to more realist ic situations are described in Part IV of this seri es. Contrasting . The central aspect of

Goldfried , M .. The use of relaxation and cognitive relabe li ng as cop ing skil ls. In


Suinn. R. . and Richardson , F.. Anxiety management training: A non-specific

11 .

Conner. W .H .: Effec ts of brief relaxation training on au tonomic response to

18. 19-23, 1980. 12.

anxiety-evoki ng stimu li, Psychophysiology 11 : 59 1-599, 1974 . 4.

5. 6.

Easterbrook, J. A.: The effect of emo tion on cue utilization and the organization

of behavior, Psychological Review. 66: 183-201 . 1959. Wachtel, P.L.: Concep tions of broad and narrow attention , Psychological Bulletin . 68 417-429 , 1967. Schwartz. G. E., Davidson. R. J. , and Goleman , D. J .: Patterning of cognitive and



somatic processes in the self-regulation of anxiety: Effects of mediatation vs .

exercise, Psychosomatic Medicine. 40: 32 1-328, 1978.


Passer, M: Fear of fail u re . fea r of evaluation. perceived competence , and selfesteem in competitive-trait-anxious children , Journal of Sport Psychology. 5:



Holmes , 0 . S. : Medita tion and somatic arousal reduction : A review of the


experimental evidence, Am erican Psychologist. 39: 1-10, 1984. Borkovec, T.D., and Henning, B. L. : The role of physiological attention-focusing


Oven , H ., and Lanning , W .: The effects of three treatment methods upon anxiety and inappropriate atten.ti onal style among high school at hle tes . International

Journal of Sport Psychology. 13. 154- 162, 1982. Borkovec, T. 0 ., and Sides . J . K.: Critica l procedu ral va riables related to the physiological effects of progressive relaxation : A review , Behavior Research and


17 1- 188, 1983.

Counseling Psychology. 27 : 9-15, 1980. Gray, C. L. , Lyle, R. C .. McGuire, R. J ., and Peck, D. F.. Electrode placement, EMG feedback, and re laxa tion for tension headache , Behavior Therapy and Research .

behavio r therapy program for anxiety control, Behavior Th erapy .2: 498-510, 1971. 3.

stress reaction , Behavior Resea rch and Therapy. 16: 7-20, 1978. Deffenbacher, J . L. , and Michaels, A. C.: Two self-contro l procedures in the reduction of targeted and non-ta rge ted anxities - A year later , Journal of

Stuard, R.B .. ed .: Behavioral Self-Mangement: Strategies, Techniques, and Outcomes. New York , Brunner/ Maze!, 1977 . 2.

(see PART Ill, page 22)

in the relaxation treatment of sleep disturbance , general tension , an d specific

Referencesâ&#x20AC;˘ 1.

learning relaxation is the ability to distinguish between muscle tension and rela xation .16 We sometimes take for granted out ability to make this distinction, but we quickly habituate to sensory f e edback which indicates muscle tens i on . Consequently , gymnasts are often mo re tense than they realize . The ability to discern th is muscle tension is crucial in preparing for competition and for using the relaxation response. In progressive muscle relaxation the trainer instructs the athl ete to tense and release specific muscle groups in a p rescribed order (hence the name, progressive muscle relaxation). As each muscle group is tensed, the trainer instructs the gymnasts to attend to the tension . When the muscle group is relaxed the athlete's attention is directed to the sensation associated with relaxation. The procedure of tensing then releasing muscle groups serves two purposes . First, tensing heightens the sensation of tension so that the sensation of relaxing is a more noticable contrast. Second , tightening the muscle is like pulling a pendulum far to one side so that it can swing further to the opposite side. The rela xation which follows the tension builds momentum and once moving , the relaxation is easier to control. Control. The athlete is instructed to "contro l" the continuing progress of the relaxation by " letting go" or by "letting the relaxation flow ". The mechanisms through wh ich the athlete " controls " the relaxation are passive. The process is not effortfu l; "try ing " to rela x produces tension . The athlete 's control of the rela xation is a subjective experience and the manner in which the athlete "controls " the rela x ation will elude precise description, but the athlete will " know" how he does it. Recognizing progress . Finally, the trainer gets feedback from the athlete about the athlete's experience as he describes it. Th is feedback is used for three purposes . First, the trainer can

Therapy. 17: 119-125, 1979. Chen, W.: Retention of EMG biofeedback relaxation training, Perceptual and Motor Skills: 56: 671-67 4, 1983. Shelton, J . L. , and Levy, R. L.: Behavioral A ssignments and Treatment Compliance. Champaign, 11 1. , Research Press, 1981 . Bernstein, 0 . A., and Borkovec , TD.: Progressive Relaxation Training: A Manual for the Helping Professions . Champaign, 111., Research Press . 1973.

' The references cited in this series have been chosen to illustrate the scientific resea rch basis for these articles; they do not represent a comprehensive review of the literature.




he purpose of this article is to review the application of the new ROV (Ris, Originality and Virtuosity) rule for bonus point awards used in the NCAA Mens Gymnastics Finals Competition . An explanat ion of the landing deductions is also included . A lthough the new ROV bonus award points are for the NCAA Gymnastics Finals only , the interpretations described here, are a guide for general use during the entire season . The landing point deduction interpretations are within the context of the FIG Code. The change to higher bonus point awards (from .6 to 1.0) for the NCAA finals was based on a cooperative efforts of gymnasts, coaches, judges and administrators . All of these groups working together positively have strategized to improve gymnastics. The rules have been approved by the NCAA Rules Committee. It was clear in the NCAA finals of 1983, as well as other competitions in which the f inals rules were used , that many ties were inevitable. The old scoring system forces ties in many instances. An event that shows great inequ ity is vaulting . This has been resolved by a re-evaluation of the maximum scores possible in different categories (see reference 3) . This rule change has also been approved by the NCAA Rules Committee and should move us forward. However, for the remaining five events , the bonus point award system is really the cutting edge of the sport. No matter how right it sounds to work on moves of greater originality and better virtuosity, most coaches and gymnasts simply do not put forth the effort unless a core award reflects their efforts . In short , if we want our gymnasts to do better , one way is to structure scoring rules and interpretations so that the gymnasts will perform exerc ises in the desired manner to get the highest score possible . This , of course, must be balanced with an awareness of international trends in judging and safety consideration. The rule change was a pilot program for the 1983-84 season. An evaluation of this rule based on the 1984 NCAA Finals is included in the summary of this article . Our current international scoring system has difficulty, combination and execut ion elements together with the bonus point category . Each are related as shown in the fo ll owing Figure 1. FIGURE 1 JUDGING CATEGORY RELATIONSHIPS Note, The Total Final Score Cannot Exceed 10.0


ost of the gymnastic scoring is based on deductions. The one area in which we truly add awards is the bonus category. Too often judges and coaches still say "how much will you give back for ROV. " You cannot give back what you have not taken away. Therefore , we must think positively about this category. In summary, a departure from international scoring has been made . For the NCAA Finals competition , all events , except vaulting now have a base score of 9.0. Bonus points of 1.0 (max imum) in the following categories are awarded: Virtuosity Up to .2 Up to .3 Risk Originality Up to .7 Total Cannot Exceed 1.0 The additional originality award (.4) is "taken " from the combination category. The use of up to 1.0 bonus points (especial ly .7 for originality) has been established for the following reasons: • A better means of separating finalists is needed. The past rules force ties . • The growth of our sport nat ional ly and internationally is tied to new move introductions. • The combined elements of virtuosity and originality provide the possibi lity for alternat ives to risk . The following Table 1 summarizes the interpretations or the use of bonus points in the NCAA Finals. TABLE 1 MENS GYMNAST ICS 1983-84 SEASON-NCAA FINALS , BO NUS POINT AWARDS-S UMMARY O. . 1 or .2 REGARDLESS what is awarded for RISK o r VIRTUOSITY = ORIGINALIT Y i.e .. 2 maximum . DEFIN IT ION -ANY PART . SEQUENC E O R ENT IRE EXERCI SE EXECU T ED W IT H FORM EXCEEDIN G CURRENT M IN IMUM ST AN DARDS - AN D TH AT DO ES NOT RAIS E THA T PART O R S EQUEN CE T O A HI G HER DIFFI C ULTY CATEGORY . G IV EN FOR- FLAW LESS PER FORMAN CES ONLY FOR G ROUP ED A PARTS . B PA RTS. C PARTS . SEQUENC ES OR T HE ENT IRE EXER C IS E. RISK =

A no minal base o f up to .2. but can be ra ised to .3i f ORIGINALI TY is dr opped to .5 o r less (See Exampl e 4). DEFINIT I ON - LI S TED C P A RT S (COD E O R N GJA SUPPLEMENTS ) OR NEW C PAR T S IN WH IC H EXECU T ION FAU LTS DO NO EXC EED .2 FOR TH OS E PART S.



VIRTUOSIT up to .2

RISK up to .3









.2 .6 .2

.3 .7





1 0


.7 2

.7 .2


4 .3 .5 .2


.3 .2


.9 1.0 1.0 1.0





3 .2 .6 .2

5 .3 .4



2 .6


R +O =

.8 Maximu m , and R cannot exceed .3 nor can 0 exceed .7 . Furth er, V c anno t exceed .2 Any single part ca nno t be g iven more than .4 for R + 0 + V


ote , all original C or CC dismounts or landings in floor exercise passes can be judged more leniently if the potential execution error is not more than .3 points for that part. This interpretation is within existing rules , since " upt to" .5 may be deducted for dismount/landing errors. Simply deduct less. This has been used internationally and is reasonable. Note, this applies to vaulting as well. An example would be an original floor exercise tumbling pass that has the C valuation mentioned above. If a gymnast has a potential deduction of .3 , you may deduct only .1. In other words , you may deduct less by an amount of .2, but not more. Another example is if a gymnast lands from a high original C dismount on the horizontal bar and the potential deduction is .2, you may chose to deduct nothing. But in no case should the " leniency" exceed .2 points. Further , if a gymnast incurs .3, .5 or more deductions on the landing or pass , then this rule does not apply . We want to encourage gymnasts to do original movements, but these must be under control. For original parts that do not involve landings, use the existing rules and your judgement . SPECIFIC EXAMPLES OF IMPLEMENTATIONS VIRTUOSITY As the term virtuosity implies, performances must be truly extraordinary , as far as techn ique and execution are concerned . Virtuosity awards may be 0, .1 or .2 regardless of what is awarded for risk or originality. Note, the maximum award possible is .2 . The definition of Virtuosity is as follows: ANY PART , SEQUENCE OR ENTIRE EXERCISE EXECUTED WITH FORM EXCEEDING CURRENT MINIMUM STANDARDS-AND THAT DOES NOT RAISE THE PART OR SEQUENCE TO A HIGHER DIFFICULTY CATEGORY . Obviously virtuosity is not a static concept , it is dynamic. What is acceptable as virtuosity today may be a minimum standard tomorrow . Some ex amples of virtuosity include the following : 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) 9) 10) 11 ) 12)

Very high tumbling Very rapid tumb ling Unusuat rhythms in sequences or an ent ire exercise Very tight pikes or very tight tucks (clear body posit ions are shown Pike opening combinations (this shows an exceptional command of the move) Piking out from double twisting or trip le twisting somersaults rather than simply tucking into the mat Un usual ly straight cross positions. par ticularly if the cross is perfo rmed on the fingers . Straight arm work fo r an en tire still ring exercise Ar ms kept straig h t fo r an entire horizontal bar exercise Extremely exaggerated and unusual ex t ensions in movements on the pommel horse H ig h. fre e and stu ck landings o n t he parallel ba rs Terrif ic post fl igh t on vau lt ing. par ticularly when t he landings are stuck

The concept of virtuosity based on the definition above requires a little amp I ication . If we take as an example the front stutz-kehre on parallel bars , consider the following possibilities: a stutz-kehre to a horizontal position= A move; a stutz-kehre to a 45 ° = B move; a stutz-kehre to handstand, held on second = move ; stutz-kehre to handstand held one second with a 2/ 10 deduction or a stutz-kehre to handstand held two seconds = C move. In the A move category , if the gymnast perfo rms the stutz-kehre very high, he has an opportun ity for virtuosity . However, if his ang le hits 45° , then t he stutz-kehre must be viewed as be ing a B move. In order to get virtuosity for a B move, the gymnast may do a high 45° to 90° angle stutz-kehre or do it to a handstand position , but not hold the handstand for two seconds . In the C category , it is difficulty to get virtuosity in the conventional fashion. However, if the stutz-kehre is very high and falls off the arm position is excellent, there is a possibility for virtuosity. If a gymnast does his stutz-kehre to a B position, (i .e. 95° anglerather than a horizonta l position) his award is a rise in category , in other words from a A to a B, but this does not


necessa ril y mean a virtuosity award . See th e foll o wing Figure 2.


::r_ -==,r _·_ A




Another example would be the hollow back press to a handstand on either the floor, the rings or the parallel bars . An extremely virtuous press wou Id be one which the arms are very sl ightly bent and there is not much dipping of the shoulders (i.e . he approaches the C move, but is not quite there .) If, however the arms are kept perfectly straight, the the category of the part moves up from a B to a C and virtuosity is not awarded . A similar analogy may be drawn for other held positions such as planches. A straddle planche is generally given B credit on the sti ll rings . If the legs are held together it would be raised to a C category. Also static parts which are in their fully extended form with excellent body positions are candidates for virtuosity awards . On a pommel horse, an uphill reverse stockli without the use of a "touch back " is a candidate for virtuosity .

RISK The award for Risk is based on a nominal amount of .2 . But it can be raised to .3, if the originality nominal value is dropped from .6 to .5 or less. Note, that article 40, Section 2 of the 1979 Code, requires that if risk is raised to .3, the additional .1 award must be based on a flawless performance of the part in question. Again you can refer to the Example 4 in the summary table above. The definition of Risk (application) is: PREDETERMINED , LISTED C PARTS (CODE OR NGJA SUPPLEMENTS) OR NEW C PARTS IN WHICH EXECUTION FAUL TS DO NOT EXCEED .2 FOR THESE PARTS. RISK IS DETERM IN ED BY T HE JUDGE, BASED ON OBSERVING THE PART BEING PERFORMED AND BEING SURE THAT THE PART MEETS THE CORRECT PERFORMANCE SPECIFICAT IONS . The part in question is then compared to the comparab le part in the Code or NGJA Supplements. If the part is not listed , then the judge must use his " gymnastics sense" to determine whether or not Risk should be awarded . For additional commentaries on Risk see References 4 and 6.


Some examples of Risk are shown below: 1)

In Floor Exercise the front somersault to front leaning rest pos ition or the 1- 3/.: sommersault .

2) 3) 4)

On the Pommel Horse. circles on one pommel On the Still Rings, the double layout dismount The triple back salto on Still Rings The double full in back out dismount on Still Rings

5) 6) 7) 8)

9) 10) 11) 12) 13)

On Parallel Bars. t he back rise to a hop pirouette The giant swing wit h one half twist on Parallel Bar s The front uprise stutz to handstand on Parallel Bars

The Healy turn to support on Parall el Bars The double front salto disniount on Parallel Bars The double pike salto dismount on Parallel Bars On Horizontal Bar. the double layout dismount On Horizonta l Bar. the double full in back salto out dismount

Note, although Risk is easy to obtain in floor exercise and pommel horse, it is more difficult to obtain on the parallel bars and rings . The judge must be very obse rvant here . Risk on th e horizontal bar is also relatively easy to obtain. In vaulting , the Risk elements are already incorporated in the valuations of the vault. For new vaults , th e bases described above shou ld be used. It should be noted and emphasized that if 3/ 10 or mo re in execution errors are incurred , no Risk points may be awarded . Risk points are awarded for C parts esse ntiall y. If B's or A's may be combined to make a C, th en the awards for Risk are possible . Risk points are generally not awarded for an entire exerc ise . ORIGINALITY Originality has a nominal base of .6 but can be rais ed to .7 (maximum) if Risk is dropped to .1 or less. Articl e40, Section 2 of the Code applies in this case . Th e definition of 0 riginality is as follows : ANY NEW PARTS (SERIES OF A 'S, B PARTS OR C PARTS, SEQUENCES OR WHOLE EXERCISES) FOR WHICH NO DEDUCTIONS HAVE BEEN MADE FOR EXECUTION ERRORS . EACH JUDGE DETERMINES WHAT IS ORIGINAL BASED ON HIS VIEWING EXPERIENCE AND FREQUENCY OF PART PERFORMANCES . Also see the li st of NGJA ass igned moves in the 1983-84 Supplement. The following guidelines are to be followed in assessing Originality and using the point awards mentioned above: 1)




Originality awa rd s mu st be given for flawless parts only . I f any final execution deduct ions are incurred for a part or a sequence of three parts that are being considered for Originality (or even a whole exercise). then no Originality bonus poi nts can be awa rd ed . A ll judges are required to assess new parts objectively. with an open mind . before passing judgement as suitability of the new parts for a given event. This reservation of judgement certain ly has not been true historically. Jn the past . the Japanese had shown very Original pommel horse movements on the parallel bars . These exercises were ded uct ed. rath er than bei ng viewed as o riginal cont ribu tions . We cannot let th is happen in the U .S. Suspend judgement: be objective in your eva luation ; remember this is the creative cutting edge of ou r sport. H owever. be sure that there are no gross violations of existing ru les . Should sitting or bru shing be considered within the context of an Original move as seen? These are judgement questions which you must answer on the floor. Again, you must use you r background experience to determine if the move in ques tion is original. A nu m ber of moves that are listed in the Code or even Supplement. as mentioned above. are still considered Original. An Original move must show mastery and premeditated thought . not a defensive. "save" For examp le. a "twist-off' to a one arm catch on the horizontal bar . t hough possibly Original . may not be premediated . Mistakes can be a source of Orig inality in practice. bu t rarely would be so in a finals competition . Any new "Original as the individual judge sees it" group of three or more A

moves, a - B ORA - C part may receive: up to 1/ 10 fo r th e 3A parts: up to 1/ 10 for the 3A parts: up to 1/ 10 for the B part: up to 2/1 0 for a C part. 5) 6)

Any sequences of three moves. that are Original in their comb ina tion in which at leas t one is a B or C part. ca n receive up to 2/ 10 for Originality . A new technique of part execution can be considered as Original. Award up to

1/ 10 for each part so performed . An example of thi s would be a straddle piked 7)


In Floor Exercise. sometimes a gymnast will derive over 50% of his difficulty from one "type" of movement. This is maybe the use of fou r or five different types of front saltos . Th is shows a li mitatio n. A good exerc ise should show rapid tumbling , twisting tumbling . double backs . good! ran sit ions , good solid balances and good rhythm . A good exercise should not consist of high value C moves with military turns. poor rhythm and poor transitions . etc.

back sal to in Floor Exerc ise. Th is is a whole new Original techn iqu e. An entire exercise can rece ive up to 4/ 10 for Originality. A gymnast has a reperto ire of eleven nom inal parts to show you what hi s comb ination possibilities are. I n the pommel hors e eve nt for example. if the gymnast shows one type of movement such as front support work on ly (czec hkehres) . then he is showing you that he has a lim ited repertoire . A good pommel horse exercise these days could consist of the following : • Balan ce of more types and wo rkin g the entire horse • Behind the back work as well as front leaning rest work • Flaring motions • Some hand stand position • Some variety in scissors and/ or sing le leg work . • Some single pomme l work • High value mou nt and dismount • Hand pos itions on the horse, in th e saddle A pomm el ho rse exerc ise composed in the above fashion certa inly is balanced a nd can be shown by a number of our top performers in the U .S.

8) 9)


The same thing is tru e of the horizon tal bar . There we should see good controlled releases. high co ntrolled dismounts and a va riety of in bar work . Keep in mind that in no case should a bonus award exceed .4 for Ri sk plus Originality plus Virtuosity for any given one part . In vaulting, a reasonable interpretation of landings must be used for Originalvaults . Th is means that we wou ld show some leniency if the deductions "potentially '' do not exceed .3 . Leniency m ust not exceed .2. Al l Original C or CC dismounts or land ings in Floor Exercise passes are to be judged leniently , if the potential deduct ion does not exceed .3 . We can be lenient up to 2/ 10 of a point. Thi s is an interpretation that is within exis ting rules. since "up to" .5 may be deducted for dismount landing errors . Simply deduct less when

app licable and appropriate.

EXPECTED CONSEQUENCES AND COMMENTS BY EVENTS FLOOR EXERCISE Floor Exe rc ise presents the greatest possibilities for Originality . More elegant " transitions" are expected . It should be easy for the better " Finalists" to get 1.0 bonus . . . .7 for Originality. Here original techniqu es of execution will be extensive ly tried . Watch for rhythm and whole exercise Originality. Watch the choice of moves-is the gymnast showing a full " range " of skills or is he hidi ng behind single strengths. POMMEL HORSE Many finalists should have an easy time getting up to .7 for Originality. Certainly their sequences and " whole exerc ises " could get .4 for Originality. The use of one or two predominant types of moves would be awarded, less for Originality. Watch the choice of moves. See item 7 above. STILL RINGS Originality here is still difficult to get. We need a " Fl air Breakthrough ". Scores will be lower, but note the applicable points li sted above . PARALLEL BARS Many new combinations are possible. Flair mo ves , Horizontal Bar moves and Pommel Horse moves wi ll g ive good carry-over bases. Als o Women 's Uneven Bar moves are sources. HORIZONTAL BARS This eve nt has been and will continue to be innovative. It should be possible to mak e easy separations based on Originality. The dismount interp retation will be important. The following table compares bonus point awards of the o ld system to th e new: PERCENT MAXIMUM BONUS POINT AWARD COMPARISON FACTORS RISK VIRTUOS ITY OR IG INALITY

OLD SYSTEM '3.0 2.0 3.0

NEW SYSTEM 3.0 2.0 7.0



TOTAL · E xamp le:

·3 (lOO)

COMMENTS Same Value Same Value


~ 3.0 percent


We are constantly reviewing the methods of awarding bonus points at all National Certification Courses. Furth er, all coaches are sent these guidelines through the NACGC/ NGJA . For additiona l background information , see Referen ces 3 and 6. BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE 1984 NCAA FINALS


here was considerable originality shown in the preliminary competition . Many of the compet itors did not make the finals but neverth eless did show many original movements and sequences . We need more of these " trial bal Ions". If a movement or sequence is good , it will be maintained as part of the gymnast ics thinking ; if it is not, it will be rejected and others will replace it thereby facilitating positive, effective growth .



page 22)


Biasing Factors Affecting Judging Of Gymnastics Charles J. Ansorge and John K. Scheer School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Ideally, scores which judges assign to a gymnast should be based on objective criteria and should not be influenced by any extraneous factors. Practically, however, few judges for either men's or women 's gymnastics are able to base all of their scores only on the appropriate objective criteria. Attempts made in the past to improve the objectivity of judging gymnastics (e.g. , Hunsicker & Loken , 1951; Faulkner & Loken , 1962; Landers, 1970; and Wilson , 1976) have achieved mixed results. Many gymnasts, coaches, and spectators at all levels of competition are still distressed about judging irregularities. All problems associated with evaluating gymnastics competitors have not been resolved. Landers (1970) , in a review of the literature on gymnastics judging , expressed surprise that a sport which relied so much on judges to determine the outcome did not have more research knowledge regarding factors which may influence the accuracy of the judges' scores. Since Landers made this observation over ten years ago, some literature has been published which might shed light on those factors which may influence judging . The purpose of this article is to review pertinent comments made by gymnastics authorities regarding potential biasing factors and also summarize the research which has been published in the past decade which is related to this topic. This information may be useful to help future researchers who are interested in studying the judging of gymnastics to focus on areas which are currently void of scientific substantiation . Also, the information , if read by currently certified gymnastics judges or individuals who are considering being certified , may serve to alert them to potential biasing factors and thus improve the validity of their judgments of gymnastics performers. The authors of this paper believe that the factors which may affect the judgment of judges can be grouped into the following classifications : ( 1) subtle influences, or those which judges are not even aware of as they are judging ; (2) pressure influences, or those which are usually obvious to judges ; (3) expectancy infuences, or those which are related to various expectations which judges have. (See Figure 1 for examples of the extraneous factors which may influence judges.) Subtle Influences MULTIPLE SESSIONS TEAM MOMENTUM Pressures SPECTATORS CONFORMITY AFFILIATION JUDGES BIASED?


Figure 1. Factors Affecting Objectivity of Judging

Subtle Influences Multiple Session Effect. In gymnastics meets having more than one session during a day of competition , the scores tend to rise from session to session . Calkin (1979) called this tendency the "Multiple Session Effect. " From 1972 through 1975 the NCAA Championship format had three compulsory sessions on a Thursday and three optional sessions on a Friday. Complaints regarding the multiple session effect were made almost yearly by coaches and gymnasts. Criley (1972) noted in his report on the 1972 NCAA championships , " Some observers charged


that the judges were fatigued by the third session , and that the scores had crept up as the day wore on. " Other comments were sometimes made (Criley, 1974) that one team or another received a "good draw" for compulsories (i.e ., they competed in the last session) or a " bad draw" (first session) . Fatigue of judges has been the primary reason offered for the tendency of scores to rise during multiple session days. Following the 1975 NCAA Meet, the NCAA Gymnastics Rules Committee voted to change the meet format to only one session of compulsories on Thursday and one optional session on Friday by having six events underway at a time. In response to the change , Biesterfeldt (1975) wrote, "We heartily approve. The three-session system has been very unsatisfactory, due to fatigue of judges . ... [Now a judge] does half the work, so he should be less exhausted. " In addition to the opinions expressed above, Feigley (1980) reported the results of a meet in which data were collected to determine if judges' scores tend to rise from session to session. In the 1978 USGF Class I East Sectionals, he found judges' scores on both balance beam and floor exercise rose by an average of two-tenths in the afternoon session over the morning session, and all-around scores rose by an average of five-tenths . These increases in scores, in spite of random assignment of girls into morning and afternoon sessions, were statistically significant (p <.001) . Overall Order Effect. The overall order effect refers to the contention that judges' scores tend to rise as the order of competition within an event progresses, even within the same session or in a one-session meet. For example, a gymnast who appears first in the finals of an event, or a team that competes first in the preliminaries of an event, is generally considered to be at a disadvantage, while the last competitive spot is considered to be the most advantageous. Scheer (1973) supported the existence of an overall order effect when he analyzed the scores in the preliminary competition of the Nebraska State High School boys' meet, which was contested in one session. For statistical analysis the competitive order in each event was divided into thirds. Even though gymnasts were randomly assigned to the orders of competition , in three of seven events the teams and individuals in the first third of the order were at a significant scoring disadvantage (p < .05) , with scores increasing in the middle and last thirds . In the remaining events, scores tended to increase through the orders, although not to a significant degree. Viewing Perspective Effect. Landers (1970) and Feigley (1980) sug gested that the angle from which a judge evaluates a routine may influence his or her score, although in many instances judges may not be able to control this factor. In an unpublished study, Scheer and Ansorge (1974) investigated the effect of judging angle, using the preliminaries of the Nebraska State High School boys' meet. The floor exercise, pommel horse, and parallel bars were each videotaped from four angles, which approximated the actual judges' positions. During four judging sessions, over a two-week period, each of 12 judges, using a counterbalanced design , viewed and scored all the routines from each of the different perspectives. The angle from which they scored the routines had no effect on their scores in the floor exercise and parallel bars. However, for the pommel horse their scores were significantly affected by angle (p < .05). Further analysis revealed that the majority of gymnasts had completed their scissor requirements facing the same direction . Scores were significantly lower for the routines on the two tapes in which the majority of gymnasts had done their scissor work facing the cameras than for the same routines on the other two tapes in which most gymnasts had done scissors with their backs to the cameras. It was concluded that a piece of apparatus which partially restricts the view of judges may influence scores. In men 's and women 's gymnastics the men's pommel horse may be the only event where the judges' viewing perspectives may influence scoring . Momentum Effect. Calkin (1979) has suggested that judges will favor a team which takes a lead in a meet and appears on the way to victory. However, he stated that if gymnasts for a trailing team can perform a series of outstanding routines in an event or two, then there may be a shift in the scoring of the meet by the officials . The judges may reverse their trend and favor the come-from-behind effort.


The above phenomenon is also identified as " momentum " and it affects sports other than gymnastics. Spectators are aware of shifts in momentum for a basketball game or football game and what effects this may have on the outcome of the contest. For a phenomenon which has received so much attention in recent years, it is surprising that there has been no research evidence to support the effects which momentum may have on gymnastics meets. A likely reason for the dearth of research is the difficulty in scientifically manipulating the variable. Until evidence is available for scrutiny, there can be no confirmation that momentum impacts on the objectivity of judging a gymnastics meet. Electric Event Effect. The performance by a team of a series of extremely well executed routines in an event can lead to what Calkin (1979) called the "electric event effect." According to Calkin, as each gymnast, one after the other, completes his or her skills exceptionally well , an "electric" atmosphere is produced which can lead to overscoring by the judges . Scheer and Ansorge (1980) hinted at the possible existence of this " electric" influence when they wrote about the importance of a team 's consistency in pumping the scores higher for each succeeding gymnast in an event, although both consistency and exceptionally well executed routines would be required to achieve the electric event effect. Any observer of gymnastics can relate to the heightened sense of arousal or anticipation that one feels as a series of exceptional , exciting routines are completed , or to the deflation one feels as such a series is broken by a gymnast who falls or suffers a major error. However, since no research exists to support the idea that judges' scores are influenced by such an effect, these comments represent only speculation . Pressures Which Influence

Audience or Crowd Effect. Landers (1970) reported that research investigations on judging should be conducted under controlled and semi-controlled conditions without an audience . This suggestion was made because he believed that an audience may influence gymnastics judges. Calkin (1979) indicated that a judge may question his or her own score simply because spectators may have responded very enthusiastically to a routine . In such a situation , judges may feel pressure to give the gymnast an extra one or two tenths of a point to reflect the approval of the spectators to the routine. No research has been completed to determine the effects of a crowd on gymnastics judges , so the degree of possible crowd influence is unknown . Home Team Effect. A number of writers have noted that the home team qppears to be in an advantageous position . For example, Criley and Biesterfeldt (1980) , in writing about the 1980 NCAA Championships , stated , " Nebraska, with Hartung and Cahoy, and the home gym advantage (underlining ours) was a strong favorite ." If a home advantage exists, a number of factors may be responsible. First, judges' scores may be influenced by the crowd effect noted earlier. Second , for most meets most of the judges come from the region of the home team , and Landers (1970) noted that the judges, due to their increased familiarity with home gymnasts, may be influenced by their performance expectancies for those gymnasts. Third, Calkin (1979) stated that gymnasts frequently perform better at home, thus earning higher scores. In writing about the 1980 NCAA Team Finals, Criley and Biesterfeldt (1980) concurred with this when they said, " Nebraska's team score, 282.075 (9.40 average) was the highest ever recorded (amazing what encouragement a home crowd can give) ." If the home team does, in fact, perform better because they are at home , then judges' scores should be higher than average for the team , and this factor would not be considered an extraneous influence on judges' scores . However, in spite of the opinions expressed above, no research is available to establish the existence of an advantage, or, if it does exist, its degree of influence . Pressure to Conform Effect. Many judges may feel pressure to be in the "scoring mainstream" in relationship to the other judges in any given competition. In other words, a judge may work very hard to award scores which will be in agreement with the other judges. The extent to which any given judge alters his or her scores, either consciously or subconsciously, in an attempt to be " in the middle" would reflect the effects of the pressure to conform . A series of studies have been completed over the past 30 years to determine the objectivity of judging various gymnastics championship meets (Hunsicker & Loken , 1951 ; Faulkner & Loken , 1962; Johnson 1971 ). In each study, the authors equated agreement among judges with objectivity in judging . If there was a high level of agreement among judges, then it was assumed that they were objective ; low agreement


indicated a lack of objectivity. However, an open scoring system was used in each of the meets studied , and a high level of agreement among judges in such a situation may not be an indication of objectivity at all , but only an indication of the pressure on judges to conform . in fact , as Sterling and Webb (1969) pointed out, it may be inappropriate to test for objectivity by measuring correlational agreement among judges. They write, "The showing of scores after each performance serves as a feedback mechanism which reduces the objectivity of scoring but undoubtedly increases the agreement among judges concerning the placement of routines in rank order." (italics ours) Landers (1970) noted that gymnastics judges may avoid giving extremely high or low scores, possibly to avoid the uncomfortable task of having to explain their extreme judgments. He further stated that inexperienced judges, in an open scoring system , may be heavily influenced by the pressure to conform . However, such a pressure to conform may operate even in a closed scoring system , in which all judges' scores are released to coaches and judges after the competition . It would seem that agreement among judges has become one of the criteria by wh ich judges are evaluated . Individual judges and groups of judges are sometimes heard speaking proudly about only having one or two conferences during a meet, thus indicating their belief that the judging was good because agreement among them was high . Judge sometimes calculate the percentage of their scores which are in the middle. This widely held belief would certainly seem capable of producing pressure on judges to conform, the result of which would be the avoidance of extreme scores and the failure of judges to discriminate adequately among the various levels of routines they judge. It would appear that the pressure to conform could be an important factor for inexperienced judges, in an open scoring system , and/or judging with well known judges. Instead , some degree of conformity pressure may be present in all judging situations. Affiliation Effect. Any form of affiliation which a judge may have with a team or gymnast could be a source of influence on the judge. For example , affiliation bias may influence a judge who formerly competed for a university and then judges that school's team . If a high school or club coach judges a university for which some of his or her former gymnasts are competing, a similar form of influence may be possible. A third form of affiliation pressure may be felt by a judge who officiates a meet involving a school where he or she is employed . Regional affiliation has also been suggested as a possible biasing factor in national meets. For example, does a judge score the team or teams from his or her region higher? Landers (1970) cited an unpublished study on Big Ten dual meets in which it was found that home judges scored significantly higher for the home team , and away judges scored higher for the away team . While the exact source of the bias was impossible to pinpoint, it was , nonetheless, present. The effects of affiliation on judges' scores could take any of several forms. First, judges' scores could reveal outright cheating for their team or gymnast. The literature, for example, is so full of evidence regarding affiliation bias in international judging as to leave little doubt that cheating exists at the international level. A second , more subtle, form of affiliation bias may be shown by some judges who , without even realizing it, give the team from their home town or region the benefit of most doubts, thus scoring them somewhat higher than other teams. Yet other judges may be resistant to affiliation pressures , showing essentially no bias in the scores they award . Aggressive Coach Effect. Some coaches have been known to try to pressure judges in a variety of ways . Coaches who show obvious displeasure with judges' scores during a meet may be attempting to influence judges' scores for their gymnasts yet to compete. A few coaches have been known to stand directly behind a judge where they can see the judge's scoresheet as a gymnast competes, possibly hoping to pressure the judge into being lenient with his or her deductions. Some judges may be influenced by such pressure tactics from coaches, other judges may be resistant to the influence attempt and may even be influenced in a direction which is opposite to the wishes of the coach . Expectancy Influences

Personal Appearance Effect. The effects which the personal appearance of a gymnast may have on his or her scores have never been determined in a controlled research investigation . However, there has been some research evidence reported in recent years suggesting that the attractiveness of a student may bias his or her evaluation . Clifford and Waister (1973) found that attractive children were perceived



by teachers to possess a higher IQ, greater educational potential and more interested parents. Dion (1972) reported that college females in a teacher preparation program attributed fewer antisocial traits to attractive children and also perceived unattractive children as being more dishonest and unpleasant than attractive children. Adams and LaVoie (1974) determined that the facial attractiveness of children may have an effect on the expectations which teachers have regarding peer relations, attitudes, and work habits. Results of these few studies suggest that physical appearance may influence teachers' expectations and perhaps even their assessments of students. If one accepts this premise, then it is pe.rhaps equally likely that some gymnastics judges would allow the physical appearance of an athlete to interfere with his or her objective judgment of that athlete's performance . Maybe such factors as length of hair, facial attractiveness , and appearance of the uniform may affect the objectivity of judging . As suggested by Landers in 1970, controlled research studies are needed to identify if any influence is exerted by personal characteristics of gymnasts . No such studies have been done in the 1970's, and they are still need.ed . Reputation Effect. Many gymnastics authorities would say that the reputation which an individual gymnast or a team carries into a competition can significantly influence the scores for that individual or team. Landers (1970) stated, "Although coaches have cautioned judges not to be fooled by the name of the performer, the fact is that judges do not live in a vacuum ; as familiarity with the competitor increases, the tendency for a judge to associate a score or range of scores with a particular gymnast increases." The writers would suggest that this effect of reputation can influence scores of gymnasts who are less well known than the top-scoring individuals within any level of competition. For example, a gymnast who regularly scores 9.0 to 9.2 in an event may develop a reputation for scoring in the low 9's. When this particular gymnast, however, unexpectedly performs the best routine of his or her life, the " low 9's" reputation may prevent him or her from being fully rewarded with a deserved 9.4 or 9.5 score. The same tendency for judges to associate a range of scores with a particular team may have a similar impact on team scores. However, reputation is probably most noticeable for top, well known gymnasts. In his report on the 1976 Olympics, Criley (1976) said, " ... when I saw 'name' gymnasts getting scores one to three tenths higher than 'unknown' gymnasts following the same mistakes, I couldn't help but feel that the politics were still there. " While no empirical research investigations have been completed regarding the effects of reputation on judges' scores, most observers, nonetheless , believe that reputation , or "developing a name", is an important factor in gymnastics judging. Within-Team Order Effect. There now is some research support for the hypothesis that scores for gymnasts who appear last within a team order of competition may be artificially enhanced by a clever gymnastics coach. Scheer and Ansorge (1975) and Ansorge,Scheer, Laub and Howard (1978) reported that both male and female gymnasts were at a scoring advantage if they were judged as either the fourth or fifth, rather than the first, competitor for their team . Because of a long established pattern of coaches placing gymnasts in a low to high scoring order, judges apparently expect the quality of the scores to improve throughout each team 's order. It was shown in two separate studies, using edited videotapes, that this natural expectation resulted in the biased assessment of gymnasts by some judges. The results of both investigations revealed that gymnasts were scored, on the average, from one-tenth io one and one-half tenths of a point higher when they appeared in the fourth or fifth positions for their team than when they appeared as the first competitor. This difference may not seem to be consequential until one considers that even smaller fractions of a point have separated winning and losing in both team and individual competitions. Suggestions

Some steps should be taken to help judges improve their objectivity of scoring gymnasts . First, there should be an effort to incorporate information presented in this article into materials wh ich are distributed to those individuals who are interested in acquiring judging certification . Second , both the NGJA and the NAWGJ should distribute information regarding potentially biasing influences to the well established or veteran judges. These individuals as well might be able to improve their evaluation of gymnasts . The writers believe that further research related to potential influencing factors is needed to improve the objectivity of gymnastics judging. Much of the information presented in this article was based on opinions


of gymnastics authorities. Carefully designed investigations are necessary to determine whether the beliefs expressed by these individuals are tenable. In Table 1 is presented a summary of the influence areas discussed. Of the thirteen areas , only four are supported by research evidence. Those areas lacking scientific substantiation should be studied in this decade .


Gymnastics Research Support for Suggested Influences on Judges

Effects Subtle Influences

Pressures Which Influence

Expectancy Influences

Multiple Session Overall Order Viewing Perspective Momentum Electric Event

Supportive Research Evidence No Yes

x x x

Audience or Crowd Home Team Pressure to Conform Affiliation Aggressive Coach Personal Appearance Reputation Within-Team Order

x x x x x x x x x



Adams, G.R., and Lavoie, J.C. The effects of student's sex, conduct , and facial attractiveness on teacher expectancy. Education , 1979, 95(1 ), 76-83. Ansorge, C.J ., Scheer, J.E., Laub, J ., and Howard, H.J. Bias in judging women 's gymnastics induced by expectations of within-team orde r. Research Quarterly , 1978, 49, 339-405. Biesterfeldt, H.J . NCAA follow-up . Gymnast , 1975, 17(6), 48-49. Calkin, G.F. Judging effects in men's collegiate judging. International Gymnast, 1979, 21(1), 55. Clifford, M.M ., and Waister, E. The effect of physical attractiveness on teacher expectations . Sociology of Education, 1973, 46, 249-258. Criley, D. NCAA university division viewpoints. Gymnast, 1972, 14(4) , 14-31 . Criley, D. NCAA university division. Gymnast , 16(4) , 18-37. Criley, D. XXI Olympiad-questions, and answers . International Gymnast, 1976 , 18(9) , 10-11 . Criley, 0 . and Biesterfeldt, H.J . 1980 NCAA division I gymnastics championships. International Gymnast, 1980, 22(6), 19-31 . Dion, K.K. Ph ysical attractiveness and evaluatin of children 's transgress ions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1972, 24 , 207-213. Faulkner, J . and Loken, N. Objectivity of judging at the national collegiate athletic association gymnastic meet : A ten-year follow-up study. Research Quarterly , 1962, 33, 485-486. Feigley, D.A. Psychological factors in gymnastic judging: Personal feelings about locus of control and susceptibility to external influences. NAWGJ National Newsletter , 1980, 2(3) , 2-4 . Hunsicker, P. and Loken, N. The objectivity a l judging al the NCAA gymnastic meet. Research Quarterly , 1951 , 22 , 423-426 . Johnson, M. Objectivity of judging at the national collegiate athletic association gymnastic meet : A twenty-year follow-up study. Research Quarterly, 1971 , 42 , 454455. Landers, D.M.A review of research on gymnastic judging . Journal of Health, Physical Education and Recreation , 1970, 41 (7), 85-88. Scheer, J .K. Effect of placement in th e order of competition on scores of Nebraska high school gymnasts. Research Quarterly, 1973, 44(1) , 79-85 . Scheer, J .K. and Ansorge, C.J. Effects of viewing perspective. Unpublished study, 1974. Scheer, J .K. and Ansorge, C .J. Effects of naturally induced judges' expecta ti ons on the ratings of physical performances. Research Quarterly, 1975, 46, 463-470. Scheer, J.K . and Ansorge, C.J. Expectations in judging.IG Technical Supplement, 1980, 1(4), T51-T52. Sterling, l.F. and Webb , R.W. Sco ring behavior al gymnastics judges. Modern Gymnast , 1969, 11(4), 18-19. Wilson, V. Objectivity, va lidity, and reliabilit y of gymnastic judging. Research Quarterly, 1976, 47, 169-174.


Eve nt

(from page 7) Injuries to NCAA Female Gymnas ts

I nju ries to NCAA Female Gymn as ts 1983- 84 Types of Injuries


Weight (lb) Injuries 90-94.9 2 0 95-99.9 100-104 .9 105-109.9 110- 114.9 11 115-119 9 18 120-124.9 18 125- 129.9 15 130-134.9 12 135-1399 140-144.9 145- 149.9 150-154.9




Heights (I n.) I njuries

2 58 0 59

11 18 18 15 12 1 6

60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68



6 12 29 14 5 13 6

12 29 14 5 13 6 2



Injuri es

Concussion Contus ion Dislocation F racture H yperextension Impingement Synd. Jammed Lacerat ion

4 11

Ligament Tea rs

11 21 36

3.88 10.68 3.88 0.97 2.91 0.97 2.9 1 1.94 10.68 20.39 34 .95 3.88 1.94

Sprain Strain Ove ruse Un kn own


To t als


There was muc h orig in ality show n in t he fina ls. One of th e notable events was tha t of pomm el horse. Dagget's m ethod o f exec ut ion , Pineda's in cred ible d ismount and a number of Ki eso s movements were breat h taking . In f loor ex ercise the doubl e back-f ro nt combinati on as wel l as man y o th er m ove s and sequences showed that our gymnasts are no w m ov in g in the correct direction . Still rings was a littl e stagn ant ex cept fo r certa in moves such as som e hold po sitions and combinatio ns of them. Vaulting need s work and I w ill comment on that later. Para llel bars , and especiall y horizontal bar showed some excel lent origina l moves as we ll as sequences . There were only two t ies fo r t he first three p laces of all events in th e fi na ls: vau lts and rings. Th is was a consid erab le con t rast from the 1983 NCAA finals. Further, there w ere no f irst pl ace ti es. Th e po int separations we re gene rall y larger showin g th at distin ct d ec isio ns w ere being mad e. A rec omm end ati on here is th at w e sh o u ld al lo w a 2/ 10 po int spread between sco res o f 9.0 to 10.0.

identify any difficulties the gymnast had during the train in g. T hese problems can be disc ussed and th e athl ete c an be reassured . Second , th e tra iner can learn the subjecti ve way in wh ich th e athl ete describes the ex perience and th en can incorporate th is information into th e t raining program. Third , bas ed on th e ath lete's report , the tra iner po ints out th e success which the at h lete is hav in g and how th is success w ill lead to improved gymnast ic performan ce th us imp ro ving the gymnast's m ot ivatin to con tin ue th e pra ct ice. Caution


either th e relaxat io n response n or t he ski ll s fo r tea ch ing it c an be taug ht by written i nstruct io ns . L earning th e in struc tin s, th e p rop er phrasing o f th e in stru c tions, and descript ion of t he ex per ience require demo nst rat ion and pra cti ce .


Condition ing

Floor Exercise

Percen t

1 28 16 1 35

1 28 16 1 35





O veruse

Vaul t Warm Up Unknown

Tot als

Ages Involv ed

Ag e 18 19 20 21 22

Injuri es

Pe rce nt

27 28 15 27 3

27 28 15 27 3



T he ROV m ax imums could be changed to th e fo ll ow ing :

3/ 10 for Vi rtuo sity; 3/ 10 for Ris k; 7 / 10 fo r 0 rigi nal ity- st ill maintaining a 9.0 base sco re. We co uld al low mitigation for vault s w hi c h have m o re th e n on e twist and mo re th an tw o rot ation s. Thi s sh o uld not exceed tw o to thre e tenth s. An y residu al t ies in th e fin als co uld be broke n by co nsidering ho w man y of th e judg es ac t ua ll y m ad e separations. In other words if three judg es gave one competitor a higher place than another th en th at co mpetitor might be con sidered to be better. Finall y , we are ahead of th e FIG Int ern ati o nal rul es in th at our fin als are now to ugher than th ey w ill be fo r th e Ol ym pi c Games. We required c ompetiti o n three rul es , a 9.0 base score , and re vised va ult ing diffi c ulty. We ar e toget her, moving forwa rd.

The judges hand led the new system well. Fo r va ultin g we cou ld use 3/ 10 fo r virt uos ity. Further , I reco mm e nd t hat we use two va ults in du al meet co mpet it io ns

( from page 15)


Balance Beam

Injuri es

to he lp our internationa l c omp etit ors and to in c rease th e qu ality of vau lts in th e NC AA final s. I rec omm end t hat we let th e better of t wo vaults c ount and th at th e co mpetito rs be lin ed up in a " py ram id " fa shi o n so th at th e meet can be kept movi n g al o ng .

(from page 18)


Uneven Ba rs


Typ e

Heights Involved

We ight s Involv e d

A ll


REFERENCES 1. FIG Code of Points . 1979. Edition 2. NGJ A I n terp retations Boo k. 1981 3 NGJ A Supplement and Additio ns 4. T ed M uzyczko " Respons ible Risk " USGF 1983-1 984 Gymnast ics . M ay/ Ju ne. 1982 - Paqe 8 5. Ted M uzyczko ··Land 01 T he Free 6 F IG . B u llet i n - Tables of parts and H om e O f T he New-RO V USGF connecti ons w hich can be awarded by Gymnast ics. Sept/O ct. 1982 Pages bonus points fo r Rand 0 8- 13.

A numb er of t aped relaxa ti on programs are avai lable. Each of these programs is designed w ith particular users in m ind , but some are poorly conce ived for any use. One ex ce ll ent set o f tapes by Lars- Eric U nestah l of Swed en has bee n prepared for use by athletes . Howeve r, even t hi s program needs som e revi sion when app lied to g ymnast s , esp e ciall y young e r gymnasts. The taped program s do not (Eligibility, from page 6)

E. A deter mi nati on by the Eli gib ility Committee tha t a gym nast has violate d th e Eligibi lity Co de wil l be review ed by th e USGF Execu tive Com mittee. Att e1 rev iew of the entire record 1n the ca se . the Execu ti ve Committee may re ver se 01 affir m th e Eligibi li ty Co mmittee·s determina tion. If th e Exec uti ve Com mitt ee aff irm s a findin g of a violatio n. it may (11 instruct th e Exec ut ive Dir ector to im pose th e sanction recomm ended by the Eli gibil ity Committee or any other less severe sanction. or (2) requ est that the Eli gi bili ty Committ ee rec onsider its rec omm ended sa nction .

teach how to appl y to rela x ation response to ach ieve max imum results once it is learned . In the near future some standardized evaluation of taped programs may be undertaken , but for now coaches , parents , and gymnasts should be ca utio us in investing time and money in a taped program without kn o win g how th e prog ram will fit into an overall sport psyc h o logy program for t he indi vidual athl ete . REINS TA TEME NT An at hlete declared inelig ible by th e USGF may ap ply fo1 rei nstatement to amaleu1 statu s by filing a peti ti on for re in stat e ment witl1 the USGF Execu tive Com mitt ee A peti ti on fo1 rei nsta temen t 111 may not be filed wil hin a yea r of the l1111c ;i gymnast ha s first been declared in el1 91ble . and 12) mus t inc lu de a conci se stat e men t of t11c ci1cu mstan ces sup por t 11111 petit ion B. A pet1 t1on fo 1 re1n statcmcn l sl1al l Ii· re ferred by Ill e Execut ive Co mm1lt ee 111 th e El1gib il 1l y Co mmitt ee for process1 nq in a 111anne1 si mila r to t11e processing r·f complain ts



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Profile for USA Gymnastics

Technique Magazine - Vol. 2, 1984  

Technique Magazine - Vol. 2, 1984