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competing as an adult gymnast

your one-stop guide

Say what? Adult gymnast? We are anyone 18+, with a range from 22-70 plus. And yes, we still compete!

If you are an adult gymnast, it can be difficult to figure out how you are able to find and enter competitions. This one-stop guide will show you how to jump into this fun and exciting world! 

adult gymnastics competitionCompeting in adult gymnastics is incredibly fun and rewarding. Learn how to join in!

AAU: LADIES DIVISION

competing adult gymnastics2019 AAU Nationals: Ladies Division in Orlando, FL

The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is one of the largest, non-profit, volunteer, sports organizations in the United States. A multi-sport organization, the AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports and physical fitness programs.


Pros: Costs are lower than many other gymnastics leagues. Your club doesn't need to be an AAU member. And most meets don't require you to have your own coach! Simply let the coaches at the meet know you are alone and they are usually happy to help you set your springboard, the bars, etc. You can train at adult classes or open gyms as fits your schedule ad just show up for the meets.


Cons: Some areas of the U.S. don't have many meets happening. Other than at Nationals, there are not often many adults to compete against (although the more of us who enter, the better!) There is a winter nationals and a summer nationals held each year. The sites vary from year to year across the United States, but are typically held in Florida or the Midwest.


how to join

Step 1:  Become a member. Memberships usually run Sept. 1 thru August 31 of each calander year. You can purchase one- or two-year memberships. The AAU Adult Athlete Membership $24 for a year. If you have a coach you will want on the floor, he/she will need to become a Non-Athlete Member. The Non-Athlete is $16. Become a member

Step 2: Figure out what level you will compete. Reference the AAU Gymnastics Handbook. Levels are the same as USAG. The only exception is that you can use air-o-board for any Xcel level with no deduction. In addition, there is no time limit on floor or beam. Otherwise, the rules are exactly the same at the national level. There may be a few districts that have modifications to the rules such as Florida and Georgia. These changes should be available online if you search "Florida AAU Gymnastics rules" for example.

You will compete in the "Ladies Division." Bike shorts are allowed in meets. Many meets only offer XCel levels for the Ladies Division. XCel levels are all optional, meaning that you create your own within the rules. It's OK if you don't quite meet the requirements - in that case, your score will just start from less than 10.0 on that event. You won't be alone - many gymnasts have an event or two that start below a 10.0.

Step 3: Find events in which to compete. You will have to send in your intent and the fees typically at least 2 months in advance. Ladies Division athletes don't have to pre-qualify to any meets. Find an event (be sure the event includes the Ladies Division before signing up!)


Have you heard about our Adult Gymnastics Camp?

naigc

adult gymnastics meetsThe Alumni Community Team wins the WAG developmental division at the 2019 NAIGC Nationals.

The National Association of Intercollegiate Gymnastics Clubs (NAIGC) is an organization set forth to provide further gymnastics opportunities for college aged and adult gymnasts. The NAIGC is a great place for male and female gymnasts with any level of experience, ranging from absolutely none to training elite. The main goal of the NAIGC is to provide a fun environment for gymnasts to continue/start their gymnastics careers.

There are a handful of meets in October and November, but most meets occur January - March. People can participate as individuals or as a part of a club. The season culminates with a National Championship meet in April. With exception of a few competitions, the NAIGC is co-ed. Most NAIGC clubs will not have tryouts and everyone will make the club team. Most clubs will have semester or annual membership fees.


Pros: There's college club teams all over the country and you don't have to be a student to compete. The meet fees are lower than with most organizations. There are also a number of community adult clubs for which you can compete as an individual who typically trains alone. They have the option for “decathlon” which means you compete both men’s and women’s events if you would like. There’s also trampoline and tumbling now at NAIGC nationals!


Cons: For women, there is a more limited choice of developmental and level 7, level 8 or level 9. However, you may compete as much as you can (forward rolls as a "tumbling pass" happens sometimes) and just accept that you'll have lower start values. Many do, and it's a low-pressure, fun environment. To compete in Nationals you have to be an NAIGC member which is about $30 and comes with a membership gift along with the Nationals meet fee which covers your competition and includes a meet t-shirt. Note: Men have their own levels and rules.

Read an NAIGC Nationals Meet Report.

Get more links about NAIGC on our Routines Construction Guide Page.


how to join

Step 1: A list of clubs appears here: List of NAIGC clubs

Step 2: You can also check out our facebook page: NAIGC Facebook Page or member group NAIGC Member Group as a good way to learn more and connect with NAIGC members. You can also visit the NAIGC FAQ Page.

Step 3: Find an event to compete in.

USAIGC

gymnastics meets for adultsMelody is competing at the USAIGC world gymnastics championships in 2013.

USAIGC provides an environment that fosters and nurtures the attributes of a sound mind, sound body leading to successful healthy and well-rounded gymnasts. The competitive program is built on long-term skill development with the intentional slowing down of our gymnast's learning curve providing the necessary time to develop and perfect gymnastic skills in a safe, logical, progressive order without excessive training hours (such as what might be needed in a compulsory entry tract). 


The competitive options prevent gymnast's "frustration" of being stuck in a competitive level:

  • The gymnast's skill level determines their competitive entry level. 
  • Mobility between competitive levels is decided by the coach, not by a score. 
  • Mobility between competitive levels does not have to be in progressive order. 
  • Gymnasts may compete on two consecutive competitive levels (All-Around and/or an Individual Event Specialist) on their next level up.
  • There are five competitive platforms: (a) All Around, (b) Individual Event, (c) Team and (d) Club High School, (e) International. Our International competitions are open to all USAIGC competitive levels.

The membership fee is $40/year.


Pros: No coach or club affiliation needed; just select United States Association of Independent Gymnastics Clubs as your club when you register for your membership and you will be able to compete as an independent: Click here to register for your membership. There are TONS of meets to choose from and there are pretty much meets offered every weekend during the season. Click here for the master list. USAIGC is very supportive of adult gymnasts! In many of the meets, you will be introduced to the audience as an adult gymnast and held up as a great example for all the competitors before a competitive session.

Another great Pro is WORLDS! Every year at the end of June-beginning of July, USAIGC hosts a World Championships. Gymnasts from all over the world (USA, Bermuda, Canada, England, India, Mexico, Romania, South Africa & Wales) gather for a week of competition. Meets are usually held in Orlando or Palm Springs (alternating each year). They even have event finals for ALL competitive levels! It's an amazing experience. Adult athletes (16+) are allowed to directly qualify to the World Championships from any meet hosted by USAIGC (not by a local club), making it easier for adults to qualify rather than having to compete in so many meets. Click here for a list of those meets. They have a Club Directory, making it easy to find a club near you.


Cons: The main concentration of USAIGC clubs and meets are in the NY/NJ area, which might not be convenient for you. Judges need to attend special USAIGC trainings each year in order to be available to judge meets for the organization. This has made it hard for the league to expand into other areas. Meet fees are comparable to those in USAG (which can be higher than other leagues). Meet fees aren't listed on the website for most meets so you'd have to contact the host club for that information.


how to join

Step 1: Registration Info

Step 2: Find an event


usag

adult gymnastics competitionMeghan competes in a USAG meet as an Xcel platinum athlete.

Any USAG Junior Olympic level or XCel level offers the opportunity to compete with other athletes of a similar skill level. USAG aims to encourage participation in all aspects of gymnastics, support athletes in their pursuit of competitive excellence and generate public awareness of the sport of gymnastics. Summaries of some of the various levels are listed below.

Age groups tend to vary from meet to meet from state to state.  There is a chance you won't have other competitors in your age group if the meet places you in 18+ (In other words, you may be the only adult competing in the meet). Some meets will place you in an age group where you will have competitors (these age groups are usually a certain age "and up." Example: 13+ or 15+ age groups. If you aren't willing to compete against kids, be sure to find out how the age groups will be split up in advance by asking the meet director.


Here are some links to the rule charts to help you determine which level/division is most appropriate.

XCel overview

JO overview

JO level 6-8 cheat sheet

JO level 9-10 cheat sheet

 

Pros: There are TONS of meets held all over the United States. You will have a coach on the floor with you, since you will be affiliated with a member club. And that coach will send in your info. to the meets for you. You won't have to set your own equipment or figure out the steps needed to enter a meet, which is especially helpful if you have never competed before so you aren't as familiar with everything.

Cons: Not every gym will allow an adult to train with the team, either for insurance or for other reasons. It never hurts to ask though! However, there are not that many adults who compete UASG, so you're typically in a meet with mostly youth athletes (i.e. age 18 and under). Also, the meets tend to be more expensive than with other leagues.


how to join

Step 1:  Search for areas around you that have competitive gymnastics teams.

Step 2:  Call, email or stop in to inquire about the opportunity to train with their team. Usually if there is a possibility, just like with children, you will most likely be asked to "try out" before a commitment is made.

Step 3:  Make sure their practice schedule jives with yours! Many practices occur right after school, which can be tough for adult schedules. Also, be prepared for practice times to change from year to year. Having a flexible work schedule and family life that isn't too demanding makes it more likely that this will work for you. Once you have worked out with the team for awhile, the odds of them being accomodating to your scheduling needs increase, but especially at first you will be expected to attend to follow you're level's practice schedule in most cases. Situations vary, so always talk about any concerns you may have with the staff before making a commitment.

Step 4: You won't have to find your own meets because the gym will already be taking care of it. Score!



find another event where you can compete

Besides the leagues listed above, there are also some private gyms who host adult meets from time to time. Those are usually run with a more laid-back vibe - but it can also be harder to find out about them. Visit this page to see a list of meets we know about that adults can enter!


need a little help from a coach, no matter what league you're looking at?

finding a meet adult gymnasticsTony Retrosi is a huge supporter of the adult gymnastics movement. He was my coach for a long time!

If you are in New England and do not currently have a coach who can accompany you to meet and you would like to compete USAG, please contact Melody of Oxford Hills Gymnnastics . She may be able to help you out! If you are anywhere in the world and need a coach to help you out on the floor, contact me about getting help from Tony Retrosi, an international clinician and owner of the club Atlantic Gymnastics where my Adult Gymnastics Camp is held. Tony Retrosi offered to volunteer his time to help adult gymnasts at meets who don't have a coach.


nervous because you've never done an adult gymnastics meet beefore?

starting competition adult gymnastics


need training tips for preparing for competition?

(so you can be more like aimee)

training tips adult gymnastics competition

Check out our training page for articles on training for competition.


need help constructing your routines?

This lovely guide by Danelle Pecht will be a huge help, whether you are looking to compete in USAG, NAIGC, USAIGC, or AAU!


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