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2022-24 NFHS Rules Changes

Girls Gymnastics Rules Changes - 2022-24

By NFHS on April 19, 2022 

Rule 1 Definitions: Defines a dance passage in the rules book. 
Rationale: Adds a definition to the rules book.

3-3-1: This change expands acceptable uniforms. 
Rationale: Uniform modifications reflect current trends within the sport and across society as well as being more inclusive of participants’ cultural and religious beliefs without increased risk of injury.

5-1-5: Clarifies the procedure for the misapplication of rules and clerical errors. 
Rationale: Addresses clerical errors and prohibits judges from changing gymnasts' scores after submission to the score system.

6-2-1, 7-2-2, and 8-2-1b: Specifies the procedures for administering the fall time on the vault, uneven bars and balance beam. 
Rationale: The increased time is a risk minimization procedure which provides the athlete the opportunity to assess their condition before continuing.

8-6-2: Revised the Leaps/Jumps/Hops Chart. 
Rationale: Specifies that specific elements that land inside position (facing out) are more difficult and will be awarded a higher value.

9-2-3 b1 and b2: Clarifies the dance event requirement on floor exercise. 
Rationale: Specifies the components of a dance passage in floor exercise event requirements.

2022-24 Girls Gymnastic Editorial Changes
Rule 1 Definitions, 7-1-3e, 8-1-3e, 7-1-3a, 8-1-3a, 7-3-3, 8-3-3, 9-3-3, Appendix B Dance Criteria/Technique Chart

2022-24 Points of Emphasis

Girls Gymnastics Points of Emphasis - 2023-24


Good sporting behavior is one of the fundamental ingredients to the continued success and enjoyment of education-based high school sports and activities. In fact, in the 103-year history of organized high school sports in the United States, good sportsmanship has been one of the most important outcomes of high school activity programs.

NFHS playing rules are written to encourage sportsmanship. Participation in these programs should promote respect, integrity and sportsmanship. However, for these ideals to occur, everyone involved in these programs must be doing their part.

The NFHS is concerned that unsporting behavior in education-based athletics has increased across all sports. As a result, the NFHS has made sportsmanship the No. 1 Point of Emphasis for the 2022-23 school year.

Sportsmanship, or good sporting behavior, is about treating one another with respect and exhibiting appropriate behavior. It is about being fair, honest and caring. When these types of appropriate behavior occur, competitive play is more enjoyable for everyone.

Coaches set the tone at athletic contests with their display of sportsmanship. If these individuals act in a sportsmanlike manner, their behavior sets the tone for players, spectators and others. If coaches, however, are complaining constantly about the decision of contest officials, spectators are more likely to do the same.

There must be a collaborative, working relationship between contest officials and game administration to promote good sportsmanship and safely conduct the contest. Everyone has their roles to play in creating a positive, sportsmanlike atmosphere at contests.

Officials should focus on the actions of players, coaches and other bench/sideline personnel. A positive, open line of communication between officials and coaches ultimately results in a better contest for everyone involved.

Contest officials, however, should never engage with spectators who are exhibiting unsporting behavior. Once the contest begins, school administration is responsible for dealing with unruly spectators. A proactive approach by school administration includes monitoring the behavior of spectators and intervening as needed.

If spectators are using demeaning or profane language at officials – or at others in the stands – those individuals should be removed from the contest by school administration.

In recent years, a heightened level of unsportsmanlike behavior has been occurring by spectators at high school sporting events, and it must be stopped. The use of demeaning language, or hate speech, by students, parents and other fans must cease.

High school sports and other activities exist to lift people up, not demean or tear people down. The goal is to treat everyone fairly and treat each other with respect. Any speech or harassment that is insulting, demeaning or hurtful will not be tolerated.

High schools must establish a culture that values the worth of every single person – both players on the school’s team and players on the opposing team. There must be a no-tolerance policy regarding behavior that shows disrespect for another individual.

Good sports win with humility, lose with grace and do both with dignity. It takes the efforts of everyone every day to ensure that sportsmanship remains one of the top priorities in education-based activity programs.


Awarding Credit:

When an element is performed (M/S/HS/AHS), the judge must decide whether or not to award credit for that skill in the Difficulty category. If the technical criteria for that skill have been met, credit is awarded. If poor technique causes a fall after the landing of a skill, the skill is still considered complete for the purpose of awarding Difficulty. The fall is considered an error on that skill the same as any other Execution or amplitude error. A salto that does not land on the feet, a release element on bars in which the hands do not contact the bar, or an acro element that does not bear weight on the beam would not be considered complete and would receive no credit in the Difficulty category. These would then be considered void elements. Because it is void, it may not count as part of a series, pass, Event Requirement or Bonus.

When awarding credit in Bonus for an AHS, there must be no fall or spot. If there is a fall following the AHS, due to poor performance of that AHS, and weight is borne prior to the fall, the AHS is considered complete and credit may be awarded in Difficulty but is not awarded 0.20 in Bonus.

Examples: Standing back tuck on beam, front salto full on floor or double back salto flyaway on bars. If any of the above lands on the feet and then falls, each receives credit for Difficulty but no credit in Bonus for the AHS. Note that there is a difference in that awarding Difficulty credit requires only that the element be complete. Awarding AHS credit in Bonus requires the element be complete without a spot and without causing a fall.



The intent of the composition category is to evaluate the structure of the routine. By reducing the number of deductions and combining similar deductions, the revised composition category will provide a more efficient method of evaluation. On the uneven bars, the choice of elements category in composition was redefined and is now worth up to 0.30. Guidelines for composition deductions will assist judges to identify deficiencies in composition and link them to the appropriate deduction. Balance beam and floor exercise composition requirements were adjusted to eliminate the redundant categories for ease of use and for better application of the rule. On beam and floor, guidelines were added to composition under acro and dance.


Event Requirements on Floor:

The intent of the dance passage is to create a large, flowing and traveling movement pattern regardless of the direction of the locomotor movement which can be in any direction (forward/backward/sideward). This allows for individual expression and interpretation of movement in harmony with the music. The dance passage must include two different Group 1 elements that can be directly or indirectly connected and also must include both a superior and a leap (cross or side split position). A pause or stop, a lunge preparation into a full turn, or an acro element performed between the dance elements would break the dance passage and no credit would be given in Event Requirements.

Two examples of a broken dance passage:

• run, switch leg leap, step to pose to a tuck jump.

• run, switch leg leap, lunge prep to a full turn, straddle jump.

These examples include a superior (the switch leg leap) which also satisfies the leap requirement and fulfills the two different Group 1 leaps/jumps/hops (switch/tuck and switch/straddle). The pose and the lunge preparation would both break the dance passages.

Group 1 elements may land on one or two feet. Rebounding out of a leap/jump is allowed and does not constitute a pause or stop.


Seventh Way to Break a Series:

Any deviation of body movement which is NOT in line with the beam breaks a series. For example, while attempting a back walkover-back walkover series on the beam, the gymnast leans sideways between the two back walkovers but keeps moving. If the torso/trunk deviates to the side, it is not in line with the beam and therefore breaks the series.



There are several new rules with reference to the gymnastics uniform that reflect current trends within the sport and across society as well as being more inclusive of participants’ cultural and religious beliefs. The first change allows a gymnast to wear a unitard that extends to the ankle. The unitard may or may not also have sleeves. In addition, gymnasts may wear ankle length leggings, tights, or fitted shorts with the leotard. There are color requirements for all. These must be skin-colored, black or of solid matching color to the leotard. In addition, it is noted that the manufacturer’s logo

must meet the size requirements within the regulations. These new uniform rules also allow for a head covering to be worn for religious reasons. This head covering must be made of non-abrasive, soft material, fit securely, and it must not impose a safety hazard to the gymnast. Judges and coaches who have questions about the legality of a uniform are encouraged to reach out to their state association for clarification and interpretation of the rule.

2023 Rule Interpretations

Publisher’s Note: The National Federation of State High School Associations is the only source of official high school interpretations. They do not set aside nor modify any rule. They are made and published by the NFHS in response to situations presented. Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff, Publisher, NFHS Publications © 2023

SITUATION 1: During warm-ups, prior to the start of the meet, the coach of a gymnast wearing baggie shorts asks the Meet Referee if the gymnast is allowed to wear her baggie shorts during the competition. The Meet Referee replies to the coach that baggie shorts are not allowed. RULING: Correct procedure. COMMENT: If the gymnast chooses to wear shorts, they must be fitted shorts. [3-3-1 (2)]

SITUATION 2: On vault, a gymnast performs a round-off flic-flac on and a back tuck off the table. As soon as the gymnast’s feet leave the board for the flic-flac on and just as the hands contact the table during the support phase, the gymnast bends the knees. The judges deduct 1.0 for early tuck. RULING: Incorrect procedure. COMMENT: The deduction for early tuck for a vault with a salto is up to 0.2. [6-4-2a (5)]

SITUATION 3: On bars, the judges award a total of 0.4 in Bonus (0.2 each) for the performance of two forward giants, both of which are advanced high superiors. RULING: Incorrect procedure. COMMENT: A maximum of 0.4 may be awarded in Bonus for the performance of two different advanced high superiors.[4-1-2E (1), 7-6-6 (6.401)]

SITUATION 4: On beam, after a fall, the judges resume judging a routine as soon as the gymnast’s feet leave the floor to remount the beam. RULING: Incorrect procedure. COMMENT: After a fall, judging on beam resumes with the first movement to continue the routine. (8-2-1b)

SITUATION 5: On floor exercise, a gymnast performs a sissonne with 180° split of the legs, followed by three running steps into a wolf jump with full twist. The judges do not award credit for a dance passage. RULING: Correct procedure. COMMENT: There is no leap in cross or side split position in this example. Although the sissonne has a 180° split of the legs, it is not considered a leap. It is considered a jump because it takes off from two feet. [1, 9-2-3b, 9-6- 1 (1.111a, 1.303)]

SITUATION 6: On floor exercise, a gymnast performs a switch leg leap with 180° split of legs indirectly connected to a straddle jump. The judges award credit for a dance passage. RULING: Correct procedure. COMMENT: The switch leg leap is a superior leap performed in the cross position. It takes off from one foot and lands on one foot. The straddle jump, a superior, is a different Group 1 element which takes off from two feet. A dance passage must contain two different Group 1 elements either directly or indirectly connected. The passage must include both a superior and a leap (cross or side split position). [1, 9-2-3b, 9-6-1 (1.209, 1.208)]


Rules Related Materials

WI Adaptations to NFHS Rules


WIAA Adaptations to NFHS Rules - Please print and place in your rules book for reference.



Music Copyright and Compliance

Uniform Rules

Uniform Rules Adjusted for High School Girls Gymnastics

RULE 3-3-1 THRU 8 NOTE: Each state association may, in keeping with applicable laws, authorize exceptions to NFHS playing rules to provide reasonable accommodationsto individual participants with disabilities and/orspecial needs, as well asthose individuals with unique and extenuating circumstances. The accommodations should not fundamentally alter the sport, heighten risk to the athlete/others or place opponents at a disadvantage. Clear or skin-colored or black undergarments. 

ART. 1 . . . The proper uniform shall be a one-piece leotard of moderate proportions with matching clear or skin-colored or black undergarments. A single partial/whole manufacturer’s logo/trademark (no more than 2¼ square inches in size with no dimension exceeding 2¼ inches) is permitted on the top and bottom or one-piece uniform. 

1. Unitards that are ankle length with or without sleeves are acceptable. 

2. Unitards, ankle-length leggings, tights, or fitted shorts (black, solid matching color to the leotard, or skin-colored) may be worn with the leotard. 

3. Head covering worn for religious reasons must be made of non-abrasive, soft material and must fit securely, not to impose a safety hazard to the gymnast. 

ART. 2 . . . One American flag, not to exceed 2 inches by 3 inches, may be worn or occupy space on each item of uniform apparel. By state association adoption, to allow for special occasions, commemorative or memorial patches, not to exceed 4 square inches, may be worn on the competition uniform without compromising the integrity of the uniform. 

ART. 3 . . . Gymnastics footwear, if worn, shall be a neutral color. NOTE: Tennis shoes (athletic sneakers) are NOT considered gymnastics footwear. 

ART. 4 . . . Jewelry shall not be worn in competition. a. Medical alert medals are not considered jewelry and shall be taped to the body and the alert may be visible. b. Religious medals are not considered jewelry and shall be taped to the body. 

ART. 5 . . . Hair devices that do not pose a risk of injury and are securely fastened in the hair may be worn to keep the hair away from the gymnast’s eyes and face. 

ART. 6 . . . Casts or splints on any body parts are prohibited. 

ART. 7 . . . Hand, wrist, elbow, knee and ankle braces which are unaltered from the manufacturer’s original design/production do not require any additional padding. 

ART. 8 . . . Body paint and glitter are prohibited.