JUDGING AT THE 2019 AUSTRALIAN GYMNASTICS CHAMPIONSHIPS IN TRAMPOLINE SPORTS
Katie Dunn joined MGGS in the role of Program Manager and Head Coach of our Gymnastics Program at the beginning of this year. Katie is a former gymnast and national level trampolinist, and current international level judge in Trampoline Sports.
In this two-part series, Katie generously shares her personal road to international judging. It’s a fascinating insight into the skills required to be a good judge, what she brings to the craft, what is involved, and what she loves about it.
In case you missed it, click here to read Part 1: What I Love About Judging
At the 2019 Nationals Campaign, I officiated in two main roles over the 5-day competition.
My first role was the Chair of Judges’ Panel which is referred to as the CJP or ‘Head Judge’. This role entails 16 official duties as listed by the FIG COP – too many to list here – but what is crucial to this role is managing all the technology we use in each event. In individual trampoline, for example, we use four systems concurrently:
- A combined Horizontal Displacement (HD) and Time of Flight (ToF) laser and computer system;
- An overhead camera as HD backup;
- A GoPro-style camera and Kinovea for the Degree of Difficulty (DD) judges to use as playback – which also acts as a back-up ToF system;
- iPads and the computer scoring system ‘Sporttech’.
There is a lot of good-natured peer-pressure to get the right button pressed at the right time because if it isn’t done correctly, the competition is delayed.
Most of my CJP duties were thankfully uneventful – a few missed routines or departures from the trampoline here and there. There was only one instance of an athlete suffering an unpleasant, awkward fall onto the landing mats. High praise is owed for the swift response by Gymnastics Australia medical doctor (Dr Kathy Yu), and multiple state physiotherapists and ambulance staff who rushed to the athlete’s aid within seconds of the incident. Thankfully, there are strong medical procedures in place to manage such an incident and in time the medical staff were able to remove the athlete from the arena for further attention.
The 10-minute delay this incurred meant that our half-finished competition required extra care and compassion for our competitors to ensure they all felt at ease and confident to execute their routines. I arranged additional warm-ups to the athletes, and all the coaches rallied around to ensure their athletes were in a positive mindset and ready to compete despite the trauma and delay. Most touchingly, they wrapped their arms around the remaining competitors whose coach had been taken from the floor to look after the injured athlete. It warms my heart to see such caring people in our sport.
My second role was a Degree of Difficulty (DD) judge. This involves writing each skill in a math-and-shape formula as the athlete performs it.
For example: A ‘full full straight’ (backwards double layout with a full twist in the first salto, and full twist in the second salto) is written as 822 / in FIG Code.
Each trampoline routine comprises 10 skills and takes between 15 – 25 seconds to complete, so this ability to ‘Code’ quickly (and legibly!) is important.
Athletes do submit their routines on paper prior to competition but have the freedom to change their routines during competition with no penalty. DD judges work in pairs, compare their code, and then determine the final difficulty score. The main cause for the discrepancy in judging is the shape. This happens because an athlete might change their shape to speed up the rotation or to put them in a better position to land a skill. Doing this, however, might result in a downgraded difficulty score or what is known as a repetition. (A repetition means a skill is repeated, and therefore cannot receive a difficulty value again.) DD judges need to agree before publishing a difficulty score, and in all fairness, the athlete does receive the benefit of the doubt if they are unsure.
DD is my favourite role. It’s fast, challenging, and unpredictable!
One of the greatest benefits of Judging at Nationals was the capacity to meet and talk with coaches to expand my knowledge and ideas.
I currently coach tumbling at MGGS, and whilst I’ve coached it before, it has never been my primary focus. I used my judging privileges to access, watch and film the tumblers during training and talked with many tumbling coaches and athletes to make sure my technique and strategies are spot-on. Learning at its best!
Opportunities like this are invaluable and will play a big role in the ongoing design and delivery of Artemis Gymnastics. We want all our participants and athletes to be exposed to the best coaching and teaching possible in order to advance their learning and experiences now and into the future. I’ve since been able to show the MGGS girls the videos, and they’re awed, inspired and impressed at what can be done. Win-win!