Compositional Deductions – Bars

Compositional Deductions - Squat or Pike on Jump to High Bar - JO Optional Bars

At level 8 and above, the way the routine is composed is judged and compositional deductions may apply.

Today we will look at uneven bars and what the judges are looking for in a quality bar routine at levels 8, 9 and 10.

Most of these deductions are small but a poorly constructed routine can really rack up the composition deductions.  If you or your gymnast are receiving a deduction you can’t figure out, this may be a good place to start.

Compositional Deductions

Insufficient Distribution of Elements – Up to .1

This basically means you cannot put all your difficult elements in a clump and then the rest of the routine be really easy.  They want to see your difficult elements spread out throughout your routine.

Insufficient Change of Direction (Level 9 and 10 Only) – Up to .1

There should be a minimum of two directional changes in the routine.  If you do most of your routine in the same direction or only have one change in direction this could be cause for them to take this deduction.

It seems it would be pretty hard to get all the special requirements in without two direction changes but maybe something like…

start from outside high bar, kip cast handstand to bail to toe shoot to high (with our without kip in between) kip cast handstand stalder handstand clear hip handstand double back dismount.

This would be a 9.9 start value routine for level 9 but only has one direction change so would be vulnerable to this deduction.

Some examples from the code:
– No element with half turn or one element with a full turn (a full turn does not count as a direction change) – .1 deduction
– One element with half turn and one element with a full turn – .05 deduction
– Two elements with half turn – No deduction

Uncharacteristic Elements – .1 each

This gives the judges some leeway should a gymnast do something really strange like swing back from high bar to stand on the low bar or some really bizarre  skill that doesn’t make sense.  Can anyone say “Gymnastics is subjective”?

More than one squat on or pike on to high bar with or without sole circle (Only Level 10) – .1 for each beyond the first

Level 10s can only do one of these moves without penalty.

One place where this can come into play even with a properly formatted routine is when there is a fall.  Judging begins again after a fall once a skill is performed so if a gymnast does a glide kip squat to high bar after a fall, this deduction could apply if another one of these exists in their routine.

You will see coaches lifting gymnasts to the high bar for this reason or gymnasts doing a pull over onto the low bar or just jumping to front support on the low bar to get around doing a skill.

3/4 Giant Circle forward with or without a grip change – .1

Basically if the front giant doesn’t go all the way around and turns into a swing instead this gives them a way to ding you for it.  This applies even if you change directions at the top of the swing. It isn’t considered a skill at that point so will break any connection and if the swing stops before horizontal than an additional .1 deduction will be taken for insufficient amplitude.

Here is an example from an elite routine.  Not JO but this is what this deduction would look like.

Choice of Elements

The following are to be considered when evaluating the skills chosen to make up a routine.  Compositional deductions can be taken for any and all of these considerations.

These requirements are different than the special requirements and connections for a routine to start from a 10.0.  These are deductions taken for not meeting the difficulty level and combinations that are expected at a given level.

The exercise must contain elements that move forward and backward – Level 9/10 Only – .05

The forward elements must move around an axis, either the bar or the center axis of the body.

example of forward elements – front giant, jaeger, deltchev

I imagine many level 9 routines are missing this if they don’t have a front giant.

Level 9 and 10 routines need to contain both flight and turning elements – up to .1

There should be a balance in quantity and difficulty in flight and turning elements.  If the routine is heavy one way or the other they can take a small deduction for that.  If either flight or a turning element is missing entirely the deduction is .1

Lack of variety of elements and connections – up to .1

This is basically for if you use the same skill or variations of the same skill to accomplish too many requirements or connections.  Also, if your most difficult elements are only connected to the lowest level skills.

Some examples would be too many kips or too many variations on a back giant.  Here is an example of a routine where this deduction could possibly be taken for too many kips.


For Level 10 only, release moves must be a sufficient difficulty – up to .2

Basically this means you better bring it and not try to skirt around the release move requirements by completing only easy skills.  For example if you do a bail not to handstand and a swing with a 360 turn release on the HB (B and C releases).  Not good enough, .2 deduction.  B release moves are hard to come by and not used much, probably due to the expected composition of a routine.  Two different D level release moves is what is expected in a good level 10 routine.  A hard connection could make up for this, such as a bail/overshoot directly connected to a toe shoot to high bar.  Doing more releases can also be seen as adding difficulty and could possibly make up for not having a second D release.

For level 8 Only, lack of skills that pass through vertical – up to .2

Example of these skills would be giants, pirouettes and circling elements that are completed in handstand.

For level 10, two bar changes are required – .20

More than one element before a mount – Like a Round off Back handspring.  When do you ever see that?  – .2




photo credit: TWU Gymnastics [Bars] Brittany Johnson via photopin (license)

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