One of the main differences in bar routine requirements at different levels is how high you have to cast. At some of the lowest gymnastics levels you just need to do a cast in your bar routine, but by Level 7, you need to do a cast to handstand.
When you do a cast, make sure you are maintaining a tight, straight body position. Judges will imagine a line through the lowest part of your body when they are evaluating how high you have to cast. So if your belly is lower than your legs, the line will be drawn through your belly and not how high you have gotten your heels up.
Cast with Hips Off of the Bar
When you’re just beginning in gymnasts, for Level 1, Level 2, Level 3 and Xcel Bronze, the gymnast is only required to clearly achieve hips off of the bar with no specific angle requirement. Easy peasy, you’ve got this!
Cast with Minimum of 45º Below Horizontal
Xcel Silver is the only level that has a required specific angle below horizontal. This means that your cast has to be within 45º below horizontal.
Cast to Horizontal
For Level 4 and Xcel Gold, gymnasts are expected to achieve a horizontal or a 90º angle from the bar. This is the beginning of the progression to a cast handstand. You also want to make sure you’re hitting your angle requirement so that you aren’t getting those pesky, annoying deductions on your skills for not achieving the correct required angle.
Cast to Above Horizontal
At the Level 5 and Xcel Platinum levels, a cast angle above horizontal is what is required. There is no set required angle over horizontal, but it must be above horizontal. As you’ll see in the next angle requirement, they do get more specific the higher the level.
Cast with a Minimum of 45º Above Horizontal
The Level 6 required angle is at least 45º above horizontal – this means you’re allowed to go ABOVE the 45º above horizontal, but the lowest your cast angle can be above horizontal is 45º.
Cast to Handstand
Beginning with Level 7, gymnasts are expected to achieve a cast handstand. At this level, there is no required degree to vertical with the handstand, however the gymnast must pass through the handstand motion.
Cast to Handstand Within 20º of Vertical
Level 8 and Xcel Diamond step it up a notch, where gymnasts are required to not only pass through the handstand motion, but their handstand must be within 20º of a vertical handstand – this can be within 20º above or below horizontal meaning the gymnast will not receive a deduction if they are within the 20º above or below horizontal, allowing for slight under or over vertical handstands as the gymnasts are perfecting the skill.
Cast to Vertical Handstand
Ah, the ultimate requirement. Level 9 and Level 10 require gymnasts to achieve a vertical handstand. There is a “within” for this though, which is within 10º of vertical – which again, can be either above or below horizontal. The expectation is that the gymnast will achieve vertical, but they don’t penalize unless it’s greater than the 10º of vertical, either direction. Since this is a very minimal window, judges are really wanting to see gymnasts achieve the vertical position but give leeway for 10º below or above vertical.
Hope this helps with some visuals of what you should be working on for your casting requirements!
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