Rules changes approved by the NFHS Girls Gymnastics Rules Committee during its October 20-22 meeting in Indianapolis centered on the athleticism of today’s high school gymnasts, current trends in the sport and consistency in terminology within the rules book. The recommended rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.
“The rules committee focused on revising the rules to benefit the gymnast, as well as preserve the integrity of interscholastic competitive gymnastics,” said Becky Oakes, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the Girls Gymnastics Rules Committee.
Event deductions were changed for all events to allow for consistency between events and improvements where deductions may occur.
In the vault, for example, in Rule 6-4-2b it is maximum deduction if an arm is bent 90 degrees or more.
Similar changes were made in the uneven bars terminology. Rule 7-3-4a(5) becomes 7-3-4a(6) and reads, “legs crossed during dismounts with a twist is up to 0.10 deduction.”
Most of the changes in terminology were made in the balance beam including a clarification of Rule 8-3-4c(3), which now states that a squat on landing (hips even with or lower than the knees) is up to a 0.30 deduction.
In floor exercise, Rule 9-3-7o(1) was revised to state that whistles, animal sounds and human sounds are allowed, provided there are no words spoken or sung.
Other rules revisions involve event requirements for the uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise. Rule 4-1-2b changes Event Requirements from 1.2 to 1.0, and Rule 4-1-2d revises Execution from 4.2 to 4.4, which applies to all three events.
“The committee worked on adjusting event requirements and composition to better address the athleticism of today’s high school gymnast,” Oakes said.
Another significant rules change allows expanded use of electronic devices by coaches and judges under specified criteria during the meet.
“The committee’s action addresses what is now being used for coaching tools and in the administration of meets,” Oakes said.
According to the 2012-13 NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, 1,516 schools offered girls gymnastics in 2012-13 and 19,563 high school girls participated nationwide.
This press release was written by Megan Filipowski, an intern in the NFHS Publications/Communications Department and a graduate student at Indiana University Purdue University - Indianapolis.