Gymnastics Judging Symbols and Shorthand Guide - Part 1

Looking to learn the judging symbols for women's artistic gymnastics? Here is the guide to get you started!

Where do I begin?

Probably the easiest place to begin is with the symbols for front tuck and back tuck:

Front tuck:

Back tuck:

Imagine the direction the loop in the symbol is facing - up or down - and remember this mnemonic "back on top" "down in front". If the loop is on top (back on top) it's a backwards skill. If the loop is facing down (down in front) it's a front tumbling skill. Likewise, for side-somis the loop faces - you guessed it - sidewards!

Got more than one salto? Just add loop! Here is a double front:

And if the skill is not tucked?

That's easy enough. A "normal" loop is a tuck, a loop with a "V" attached is piked and a loop with a "stretched line" is a layout or straight. If you want to make sure someone knows your back tuck is a tuck, you can add a small, backwards "N", which I'm sure you can tell shows toes (pointed of course!), knees, favourite-landing-spot and shoulders.

front tuck: front pike: and a front straight:

back tuck:  back pike:  and a back straight

What about twisting?

Twisting symbols make sense even if they are not so clear right away. Twists are essentially drawn like loops around a vertical pole with a loop for each full twist. To show a 1 1/2 twist, we have to start by showing TWO loops, but cutting the lower one "in half" with a line.

Here are some basic twisting skills:

straight full: , straight double full:

And here are the halfs (spelt just so on purpose!):

180: , 540: , 900:

How can I tell if it's a front full or back full?

That looks a little tricky, but is actually quite simple. If the skill is a backwards LAYOUT skill, the "pole" is used all on its own. If it is a front layout skill, just add a pole to the straight front.

Like this for a front full: + =

Now you can add up other skills, too.

Here is a full twisting double layout:

In addition to the above skills, there is one more family that is a bit different - "arabians" (in French that's "twist").

To identify an arabian skill, add a line and a dip before attaching to the front salto. Think of the "dip" here as one of those half twists we chopped off the Rudi.

Double arabian:

Double arabian straight:

That's great. Now what about turns?

Turns are a logical application of the same lines we draw for tumbling. Don't forget to read Part 2 for a guide on turns and as well as leaps, hops and jumps.

Happy judging!

How we colour code our shorthand

By now, you've probably noticed our symbols are colour-coded to match a skill's value. Here is the key:


We also include some skills not recognized in the Code of Points, but which are essential building blocks frequently used in lower levels. These skills are coded like this: 1