INDIANAPOLIS, IN (February 24, 2004) - The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Girls Gymnastics Rules Committee changed the vaulting table recommendation it made in 2002 to a requirement for the 2005-06 high school girls gymnastics season.
The committee met January 31-February 2 in Indianapolis, Indiana, and while several changes were made, making the 2002 recommendation a requirement was considered to be the most important revision.
The official change, made to Rule 6-1-2, states that beginning with the 2005-06 season, a vaulting table must be provided for all competitions. The height must be 45¼ - 49¼ inches measured from the floor to the center top of the table. The rule now allows for an optional vaulting horse in addition to the table, by state association adoption.
"Since the rule was made in 2002 allowing vault tables to be used along with the vaulting horse, we have been tracking what state associations are doing," said Susan True, liaison to the NFHS Girls Gymnastics Rules Committee. "But by mentioning it in the 2002 rules book, the committee hoped it would serve as an announcement that this piece of equipment was the future equipment for vaulting."
True said the committee believes the vaulting table will reduce the risk of injuries, which is a key focus of all NFHS rules committees.
Consistent with that focus, a major theme of this year's meeting was the emphasis on risk minimization. Rules 3-1-4, 6-1-4, 7-1-4 and 8-1-4 were changed to require that if the landing area for vault, bars and beam is over a pit, the surface must provide for a solid landing. On bars and beam, there also must be a solid base for mounts.
"The committee is always trying to adjust and add rules to reduce the risk of injuries," True said. "Risk minimization remains a top priority."
In the case of time infractions in Rules 2-2-1b(12d), 8-3-7b and 9-3-7c, the committee changed the penalty to read overtime, so that a short routine is not penalized if it meets all other requirements.
Changes to sections of Rule 5 regarding coaches' inquiries were another focus of the committee this year. Rule 5-1-4 was changed so that inquiries can only be submitted within five minutes after all scores for that team are recorded for an individual event. This change provides for better time management than the previous rule, which allowed inquiries until five minutes after all scores were recorded for the event.
Rule 5-1-5 was changed to allow coaches the ability to check the completed judges' score summary sheets without a deduction. This change provides coaches with more information than merely the tally sheet, while allowing judges to retain the shorthand notes section of the scoresheet.
Rules 7-4, 8-4 and 9-4 were all adjusted to be consistent with current trends in gymnastics. "Basically, revisions and additions were made to the difficulty values on bars, beam and floor," True said.
Of those changes, the rule regarding the balance beam was the topic of much discussion at last summer's NFHS Girls Gymnastics Rules Interpreters Meeting.
In the last rules book, either a roundoff with a flight or back handspring needed to be directly connected to a tumbling skill to raise a gymnast's value to a high superior. With the change now, the roundoff with a flight or back handspring needs to be connected to a superior tumbling skill.
Other changes included adding walking on hands (with a 0.1 deduction up to 0.3) to Rule 6-4-2g and deleting the deduction for release of the hand without supplementary support in Rule 7-3-4i.
The NFHS is the national service and administrative organization for high school sports and fine arts programs in speech, debate, music and theatre. Based in Indianapolis, Indiana, its membership is composed of state high school athletic/activity associations in the 50 states plus the District of Columbia. The NFHS also has national programs for high school coaches, athletic directors and athletic contest officials, as well as speech, spirit and music coaches, with combined membership of approximately 170,000 individuals.