Rules & Regulations


Rules and Regulations

Uniform Adjustment - April 2022

Uniform Rules Adjusted for High School Girls Gymnastics

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                              

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (April 18, 2022) — High school athletes participating in girls gymnastics now have additional uniform options beginning with the 2022-23 season.

The change to Rule 3 – Uniforms was one of several changes recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Girls Gymnastics Rules Committee at its meeting in Indianapolis and subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Among the changes adopted were an expansion of acceptable uniforms, procedures for correcting scoring errors during a meet, athlete safety following a fall, revaluing leaps and jumps on balance beam that land in the side position, and the addition of a dance passage and a turn to event requirements on floor exercise.

“The Girls Gymnastics Rules Committee adopted the new uniform changes to reflect current uniform trends in the sport as well as accommodate cultural and religious norms,” said Julie Cochran, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the committee.

According to Rule 3-3-1, gymnasts will now have the option to wear black undergarments, unitards, ankle-length leggings, tights or fitted shorts that may be worn with the leotard provided the apparel meets color requirements. Additionally, head coverings worn for religious reasons were added as part of the acceptable uniform. Procedures for correcting clerical errors during a competition were added in Rule 5-1-5. The rule specifies the conditions when a Chief Judge is permitted to make score adjustments. Once the score is submitted to the scoring system, a score may not be changed unless there is an inquiry. The procedure also clarifies that any change to a gymnast’s score must be reported to the coach of the competitor affected.

Rules 6-2-1, 7-2-2 and 8-2-1b were amended to provide a clear procedure to follow when a fall occurs on vaults, bars and beam. The change clarifies the 45-second fall time begins when an athlete is standing on the feet. This risk minimization procedure also gives gymnasts the opportunity to assess their condition before continuing.

“The continued emphasis on athlete safety is a focal point of the rules committee,” Cochran said.

Leaps and jumps that land in the side position on Balance Beam were re-evaluated. Because of the added difficulty in landing sideways on the beam, specific leaps and jumps were given a higher value.

Finally, the dance event requirements on floor exercise were modified. A turn and a dance passage were added to reflect not only the current trends on floor but also to provide an expanded opportunity for a competitor to use dance as an interpretation of movement and music.

Girls gymnastics featured 18,658 participants throughout 1,578 schools, according to the most recent NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey.

This press release was written by Luke Modrovsky, coordinator of publications and communications at the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

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 - 2022-24

By nfhs on April 19, 2022


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.

2022-23 Rule Interpretations

Girls Gymnastics Rules Interpretations - 2022-23

By NFHS on July 21, 2022

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 © 2021

SITUATION 1: Baggie shorts are allowed as part of the uniform. RULING: Incorrect procedure. COMMENT: Acceptable types of uniforms for girls gymnastics include: a leotard, ankle-length unitards with or without sleeves, ankle-length leggings, tights, fitted shorts, head coverings worn for religious reasons and a logo/trademark that meets specifications. (3-3-1)

SITUATION 2: A score can be changed if an inquiry is submitted. RULING: Correct procedure. COMMENT: Once a score is complete and submitted to the scoring system, it may not be changed unless there is an inquiry. (5-1-5)

SITUATION 3: A gymnast may use a trampoline-like mounting device at the end of the beam in preparation for the mount. RULING: Incorrect. COMMENT: Trampoline-like and inflatable rebound devices are not allowed. (7-1- 3, 8-1-3)

SITUATION 4: After a gymnast falls off the equipment, the fall time begins immediately when the feet touch the floor. RULING: Incorrect procedure. COMMENT: The fall time does not begin until the gymnast is standing on the feet. (7-2-2, 8-2-2)

SITUATION 5: Does a switch ring at head height, run, assemblé, straddle pike jump meet the specifications for a dance passage? RULING: Yes. COMMENT: The indirect connection of the switch ring at head height and the straddle pike jump are from Group 1 and the switch ring is a high superior that is performed in the cross-split position. (9-2-3, Box 1.309d, Box 1.208a)

SITUATION 6: Does a wolf jump full twist, run, roundoff, straddle jump meet the specifications for a dance passage? RULING: No. COMMENT: The wolf jump full is a high superior but is not performed in a cross or sidesplit position. Also, the roundoff is an acro element and an acro element performed during a dance passage breaks the connection of the dance passage. (9-2-3, Rule 1)


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