Level 3 is defined as a development level by USAG meaning not all clubs or gymnasts will compete these skills at a competition. This article will guide you through the skill requirements and explain how level 3 fits into the Women’s Development Program (WDP).
Let’s get into this!
Table of Contents
- Overview of Level 3 Gymnastics
- Level 3 Floor Skills
- Level 3 Beam Skills
- Level 3 Bar Skills
- Level 3 Vault Requirement
- How to move onto Level 4
Overview of Level 3 Gymnastics
Coaches mainly use level 3 within their clubs to test and identify which girls have the potential to work at level 4 and beyond. This is a critical stage because Level 4 is the entry-level to competitions and girls hoping to progress through further Development Levels will need to illustrate to their coaches that they have mastered the level 3 skills successfully.
Although Level 3 competitions are not mandatory for girls, there are some USAG-sanctioned events depending on which state you are in. Those girls who do take part in such an event will gain valuable competitive experience.
Level 3 Floor Skills
A level 3 gymnastics floor routine is required to include the following skills:
- Handstand to a Bridge Kick-Over
- Leap with a 90° split
- Split jump with 90° split
- Backward roll to 45° above horizontal, lower to Pushup position
- Round-off Back Handspring
- Handstand Forward Roll
The trickiest skill for most gymnasts is the round off back handspring as it requires a large amount of training time to master and many young gymnasts have to overcome the fear of jumping backward into the back handspring.
The handstand forward roll should be performed with straight arms. This is another skill that requires a good level of strength.
Level 3 Beam Skills
Gymnasts are required to perform the following skills on balance beam at level 3:
- 180° Heel-snap turn
- Straight jump
- Pivot turn
- Cartwheel to side Handstand, 1/4 turn dismount
- Split jump with 90° split
Level 3 beam skills are fairly straight forward. Handstand and Cartwheel to side Handstand are the two skills that usually take a little more work. Flexibility skills such as the Split jump are important on beam – consistency is key to all flexibility skills.
At this level many of the skills on beam can still be practiced at home by those gymnasts wanting to perfect their skills.
Level 3 Bar Skills
At level 3 gymnasts are required to perform the following skills:
- Back Hip Circle
- Front Hip Circle
- Single leg Squat-on
- Glide swing and Pullover
- Underswing or stretch jump dismount
Uneven Bars are usually the hardest of all four events for most girls. Strength takes time to develop through regular conditioning and many girls haven’t been training for long enough to become really strong.
Back Hip Circles and Pullovers both require a good level of upper body strength and body tension. Regular work on exercises like pull-ups and leg lifts on bars will help enormously.
Level 3 Vault Requirement
At level 3 gymnasts have to perform the following Vault:
- Handspring to flat back over raised mats
Improving at Vault takes time and confidence. At the point of working towards Handspring flat back coaches will be able to see which girls have the confidence needed to work towards more difficult vaults in the future.
For the level 3 vault girls will need to focus creating lots of power from the springboard and hitting great lines through the handstand. The example in the video below is an excellent demonstration of the Handspring flat back vault.
How to move onto Level 4
Once a gymnast has mastered the routines set at level 3 she will be ready to move onto level 4. The minimum score required at level 3 in order to move up to level 4 is 32 All Around (all four pieces).
Form and body shaping are key to performing well at level 3. Although some of the skills are not super difficult coaches will be evaluating which girls can execute the basic skills with excellence.
How many hours should a Level 3 gymnast train?
Level 3 gymnasts typically train between 6 to 10 hours per week but this will depend on the gym facility you are at.
How old are girls in level 3 gymnastics?
The minimum age is six years old and there is no maximum age.
Can you skip level 3 gymnastics?
Level three is a developmental level and a gymnast does not have to compete it. So technically it’s not being skipped if a gymnast doesn’t compete at level 3! There is no mobility score out of level 3 but gymnasts do have to demonstrate they’ve completed the ‘Entry and Mobility Requirements’ before they can take part in a level 4 meet.