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Monday, July 17, 2017

Adult Gymnastics FAQ and links

I've only just gotten involved in the world of adult gymnastics! There are people who know WAY more about this than I do. Surf the internet. Find Facebook groups. Ask questions. I'll add more FAQ and links as I learn of them.

So what organization is putting on adult competitions? 

The meet I attended was an AAU national competition. This meet attracts enough adults to have an entire ladies' division! For me, that was key--competing alongside others like me! Levels/routines are according to USAG. More info here on AAU.

NAIGC is club level gymnastics in college, like intramural sports--but the great thing is, you don't actually have to be affiliated with the college. Or in college. Or something. You can be really good, or you can be a beginner, but you'll be scored according to level 6 or level 9 rules. So you might get a 3.1 on something, but it's all good, because you're having fun! Here's the important thing about NAIGC--they have MEN'S gymnastics too.

What about USA Gymnastics? Are they encouraging adults to compete? 

No. USAG-- please emerge from your insular walls and take note of how many adults shell out hundreds or thousands a year to run 5Ks and marathons, participate in triathlons and obstacle courses, or subscribe religiously to fitness regimes like Crossfit or Bodypump. If each state simply had a USAG-affiliated "alumni" or "masters'" type of competition--particularly with a charitable motivation like many 5Ks--old coaches would be crawling out of the woodwork to step out once more and show their gymnasts what they can (or can't) still do. If USAG were truly interested in growing the sport, they would start thinking outside of the box. Are you listening, USAG?

So what's the minimum skill level I could do in a competition? 

If you've been out of the gymnastics scene for a while, there's a fabulous program within USA Gymnastics called Xcel. The lowest division, bronze, is constructed to be totally inclusive for beginners! For vault, you can actually run and do a straight jump on the springboard, then a handstand to your back. Your very minimum on bars is jump to front support, back hip circle, cast off. On beam, you can do a forward or backward roll, a partial handstand, or a lever to touch the beam, then a jump off for a dismount. Floor--can you do forward rolls? A single cartwheel? You're good!

You can do this level in AAU meets, you can also do it in USAG meets. USAG meets are the predominate type of meet in the US. The vast majority of kids do USAG. But here's the thing. There's no age limit. You can be in a meet--you might be the only adult in a sea of children, but you can do it! There are plenty of adults across the country that simply go out to any meet and compete alongside the kids.

Do I have to wear a leotard? 

Yes. Yes? Ok in AAU yes, but you can wear lycra shorts, hooray! NAIGC too? I think so, but I'm not sure. NAIGC people can help with that.

Do I need a coach to attend a meet? No! If you're like me, just a gymnastics coach who enjoys playing around, you don't have a coach telling you what to do. In the AAU meet, everyone simply helped out everyone, and a coach who happened to be at the meet stepped up to help us all!

More info pending...

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