I hope you've all had an enjoyable summer and are looking forward to the year ahead. As the new Chair of the GfA Technical Committee, I've been reviewing comments made at the technical assembly/rules revision day, as well as additional comments received via email.
Feedback was provided on a range of issues, but it became clear that my top three priorities were:
1. Developing the competition programme
2. Reviewing competition rules
3. Standardising judging
As a result, GfA is introducing a new competition programme, with revised levels and competition rules. We are also developing a new judging course and introducing judges' revalidation, the details of which I will share with you at a later date.
The GfA competition is extremely popular and we know more and more gymnasts want to take part. However, the current size and structure is too demanding on organisers and clubs, and has reached a point where it is unsustainable.
The new competition programme attempts to address the views raised, as well as offering clubs the opportunity to get more involved and take ownership of parts of the event, which I know many of you will welcome.
I have taken on-board guidance from experienced judges, coaches and sports professionals to design a programme that allows us to continue to grow and run successful regional competitions that everyone can enjoy.
It is a significant change to how the competitions have been run before, but I believe the new structure will allow GfA to expand over the coming decade while also ensuring continued skills progression for gymnasts.
The competition will consist of four quadrant competitions for the first two levels, which will be equivalent to white and blue, and then two London zone competitions for the next four levels.Level 3 will be a transition competition between blue and bronze. Levels 4-6 will replace the current bronze to platinum levels. Gymnasts who meet the qualifying criteria at the Zone competitions will compete in a grand final.
Requirements at each level are being designed by two Olympic judges, with support from former national gymnasts (all of whom have current experience within our GfA Programme) and will be shared with you shortly. The intention is to have a simplified set of rules that allows for a smooth developmental progression of skills.To help support coaches, we intend to provide videos of sample routines on YouTube to highlight what judges are looking for. Clubs will also receive a programme document detailing the structure, levels and set routines.
By holding the competition in different London areas we are bringing it closer to you and also reducing the size of the competitions, making them more manageable for organisers. Information about venues and dates will emerge once volunteers step forward to run the competitions. The final competition programme, dates and venues will be published by mid-January.
This is an opportunity to create a dynamic programme that everyone can get involved in and own, so please take the opportunity to volunteer and help to shape this new programme.
Four London Quadrant Competitions for Levels 1-2 (equivalent to white and blue)
• Levels 1-2: set routines to help support clubs and make it easier for coaches. Moves will be based on the current programme.
• Location and timing:Competitions will be held in four locations across London on one day, either one of the first three weekends in May or on one of the last three weekends in June. Quadrant competitions will be coordinated with the two London Zone competitions.
• Marking: Each level will be split into bronze, silver and gold tariffs, so no gymnast at Level 1-2 will feel that they have 'failed'- every gymnast will receive a certificate, sticker and/or pin for whichever tariff they achieve. Certificates and pins will be given out immediately, so there will be no presentation ceremonies.
Apparatus 1 mark Apparatus 2 mark Overall pin Progression
Gold Gold Gold Automatic move up
Gold Silver Gold Automatic move up
Silver Silver Silver At coach's discretion
Gold Bronze Silver Does not move up
Silver Bronze Bronze Does not move up
Bronze Bronze Bronze Does not move up
Two London Zone Competitions–Levels 3-6 (blue-bronze transition and bronze to platinum levels)
• Level 3: a transition level from blue to bronze. Coaches will be able to build a routine from a series of set moves, which will be based on the current programme. Gymnasts will perform on a small square floor without music.
• Levels 4-6: will be similar in style to the current bronze to platinum levels.
• Location and timing: competitions will be held in two locations and act as qualifiers for a grand London Final. Competition dates will be coordinated and held on either one of the first three weekends in May or on one of the last three weekends in June, depending on venue availability.
• Marking: scores will be given and criteria set to determine who has qualified for the London final. There will be presentations of pins and cups.
GfA London Final
It is our intention to hold a grand final later in the year to allow qualifying gymnasts from the two zones to compete to see who is the London GfA Champion.
Organisers and venues
To run the competitions,volunteers will be required for the following roles:
• 2 Zone Competition organisers who arrange competitions for levels 3-6 and support quadrant competition organisers
• 4 Quadrant Competition organisers who set up sub-committees to organise level 1-2 competitions. Quadrant Organisers will liaise with the Zone Heads and provide volunteers to support the organisation of the level 3-6 competitions
• GfA would welcome offers of venues for the four quadrant competitions which will be based in the NE, NW, SE and SW. Dividing white and blue among four areas means 200-250 gymnasts taking part in each quadrant.
GfA will supply guidance to competition organisers on what to do and how to do it; provide money to the Quadrant and Zone leads to pay for competition expenses; and supply a pack of equipment such as PA system, laptops for scoring and / or help to source any equipment required. Entry fees will be reviewed each year and any profits reinvested back into the competition and education programme.
The TeamGym event in November is going ahead in Redbridge as planned. Clubs wishing to take part will be asked to provide volunteers and judges to help run the event. Future TeamGym events will be reviewed, so they fit with the new competition programme.
If you have comments on the new competition programme structure or wish to volunteer to run either the Quadrant or Zone competitions please email [email protected] by 21 October 2016.
Don't forget to enter your gymnasts for TeamGym so please find the rules and details via the following link http://bit.ly/2016TeamGym
TeamGym Competition Autumn 2016
Sunday 27th November 2016
Entries OPEN 30th September CLOSE 14th October at 2pm
Looking forward to meeting and working with you soon,
London GfA Chair