The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama


Some pre-Thanksgiving notes.

Watching meets in 2015
Fair warning with a month still to go before the season: There will be changes to the way we watch NCAA gymnastics meets this year, mostly involving the SEC. 

In emerging-from-the-cave-to-finally-see-the-light news, the debut of the SEC Network means that we’ll actually have the chance to watch SEC gymnastics meets live on a television this season. Who would have ever thought?

It’s not a ton of live meets (and it still doesn’t include the SEC Championship), but it’s something. The Pac-12 Network also had a fairly scanty collection of meets its first season before expanding every year since then to the point where the majority of conference meets will be on TV this year. UCLA had 3 televised meets in the first year of P12N, but had 7 last year, and has 8 this year.

In addition to the TV schedule, a large number of SEC meets will be streamed on SEC Network+, part of the ESPN family of streaming. Not all schools have announced their full streaming schedules, but we do know that all Georgia and Alabama (and almost all LSU) home meets that aren’t televised on the SEC Network will be streamed on SECN+. As far as I know, anyone who has ESPN as part of a TV package can sign in to WatchESPN for access to SECN+ [EDIT: See comment below]. So, this is good news for people who live in the US and have a television, and bad news for people who don’t.

Elsewhere, All-Access/U-Live has finally realized that it had a terrible, confusing, nondescript name and has rebranded itself College Sports Live, which is much clearer. The monthly subscription is also cheaper than it used to be, just $9.95 a month now instead of $17 or whatever it was, which is not how prices are supposed to go, but great. The only question is whether it’s even worth it anymore. As the big conference networks grow, fewer and fewer teams are part of this service. Dilemma.

Florida @ Alabama and UCLA @ Utah are at the exact same time on the exact same day this season. Worthless.

Feet apart on landing
One of the bigger scoring complaints that gets tossed around during the NCAA season is about landing stuck dismounts with feet apart. Are the judges taking this deduction? Should it be a deduction? Should it be a deduction only for the school I want to lose? So, I thought people might be interested in the clarification given by the joint technical committee this spring (which can be found in a recent newsletter if you want to read the whole thing).

Regarding landings on vault and dismounts on uneven bars and balance beam: No deduction applied for landing with feet a maximum of hip-width apart, provided that they join (slide) the heels together on the controlled extension. If the entire foot/feet are sliding or lifted off the floor to join, it is considered a small step and a deduction of up to 0.10 would be applied. Landing with feet further than hip-width apart will receive a 0.10 deduction. A deduction of up to 0.10 would be applied for landing with feet staggered (one foot in front of the other).

Keep in mind that when a deduction is “up to,” the full “up to” value is almost never taken in NCAA. Otherwise, the scores would be more like JO.

Training videos have been happening for the last month or so. Some teams are going the full instagram or vine route with their training this year, so if you’re a fan of blips of out-of-context layout stepouts, check out the various team’s various accounts. I recommend Oklahoma for their frequent videos going, “This is our ninth-best beam routine, and it’s still more beautiful than anything you’ve ever accomplished in your whole life.”

Utah has some tumbling, bars dismounts, and Dabritz beam going on, so we can pretend she’s going to make the lineup this year. 

LSU is showing off casual DTYs and acro amplitude

Georgia beaming and vaulting

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