Reading time: 6 minutes.
This is the fourth and final part of our rulebook series. To keep it “short”, I won’t repeat all the information we’ve already established in parts 1-3, so make sure you read those first or refer to them if there’s anything you don’t understand:
- Glossary, general rules, general tumbling rules, spotters, stunt heights
- How to find the right rule, 3 rulebook examples
- Level 3: what’s allowed and what isn’t & should you do level 3 or 4?
As always, the rulebook has final say about what’s legal and what isn’t, so make sure to check your specific skills in the rules. Let’s dive into level 4 and what you’re allowed to do there.
In advanced running tumbling, you can do whatever you want, except twisting. So no full twisting layouts here. The only exceptions to this rule are Onodis and Aerials. If you have a front handspring – front tuck – round off – back handspring – whip – layout, show it off, this would be an amazing level 4 tumbling pass.
There’s a few rules for standing tumbling, so here’s a list of what you can’t do there.
- Arched or twisting dive rolls
- Standing fulls
- Flip-Flip combinations from standing (standing back tuck into another back tuck or standing back tuck into punch front)
- Jump back tuck or Jump punch front
You are allowed to do Jump back handspring back tuck, you just can’t directly connect the jump to a flip. Also keep in mind that a jump breaks up the running tumbling, so if there’s a jump in your pass, everything after it has to follow standing tumbling rules.
There are too many level 4 stunts to list, but I’ll write down a few for inspiration. These are all true level 4 stunts, meaning that they’re not yet allowed in level 3, so you will want to have at least some variations of them in your routine.
Liberty = single-leg stunt above the head (extended)
Low-Liberty = single-leg stunt at shoulder level
Elevator = 2-leg stunt at shoulder level
Extension = 2-leg stunt above the head (extended)
Sponge = Feet of the flyer are no higher than bases waist
- Tic-Tock from floor to Liberty
- Tic-Tock from Liberty to Low-Liberty
- Toss up to Extension or Liberty
- Ball-up to Extension or Liberty
- Full twisting ball-up to Low-Liberty
- 5 up to Low-Liberty Stretch
- 5 around from Elevator to Elevator or Low-Liberty
- Full-up to Extension or Liberty (with no immediate body position)
- Full-around from Elevator to Extension or Liberty (no immediate body positions)
- Full-around from Extension to Extension or Liberty to Liberty (no immediate body positions)
- Full twisting Tic-Tock from floor to Low-Liberty or Low-to-Low
- Back handspring entry pushed to Liberty (with any body position)
- Extended hand-in-hand (=handstand)
- 180 degree helicopter
As you see, the list is long, and it’s not even close to complete. I feel like the most “limiting” rules in level 4 (when you compare to level 5) are these:
- Twisting is limited to 1.5 twists to prep level, 1 twist to extension/block/liberty and only a half twist to liberty with body positions
- Release moves that land extended have to start on the floor or at waist level and cannot twist at all
- Release moves that start extended are not allowed to twist
As always, you have to be a bit careful with inversions and especially downward inversions, but as long as they don’t twist they’re mostly allowed.
Easy: From all two-legged stunts, you can do double-downs. From all single-legged stunts, you can do full-downs (body positions don’t matter). Kick-fulls are not allowed.
As usual in lower levels, our tosses aren’t allowed to flip or travel. You can do up to 2 tricks, for example pike-split or kick full. The word “trick” isn’t explained in the glossary, but judging from the examples they give I personally assume that they count a twist as a trick, though I’m honestly not sure. In any case, you’re allowed to do 2 and a quarter twists if you’re only twisting (like a double superman), but if you want to do anything else then twisting, then you’re only allowed 1 and a quarter twist. That could be a full-up toe-touch or a pike full down or whatever creative combination you can come up with – just no kick-doubles yet.
Here, we have the same dilemma I had in level 3; there’s just too many options in pyramids for me to talk about. I can really only give you some pointers on popular things, but it’s best you come up with the pyramid you want to do first and then find a way to make it legal by reading the rules carefully. Here are some tips.
- Liberty-Liberty connections are not allowed
- Extension-Extension connections are allowed and the easiest way to score some points
- Low-to-high and high-to-high Tic-Tocks and Full-arounds are allowed if at least 1 flyer in an Elevator is bracing the top flyer
- Flips (rewinds, front-tuck to cradle or back-tuck to cradle, watferfalls) are allowed if they’re braced from 2 different sides by 2 flyers or people on the floor
- Flips are not allowed to change bases, and the bracer has to connect before it starts and can only let go once it landed
With braced flips, execution matters: your top flyer is not allowed to travel downward while she’s inverted. Make sure there’s a good push, your flyer finishes the flip at the very top of the height, and then travels downwards in a cradle position. Especially in waterfall-style elements, this can be difficult. If you execute poorly, you might get a deduction. As always, be sure to read the pyramid-specific spotter rules and check all of your elements very carefully against the rules.
Thoughts on when to do level 4
That’s it! As you can see, the jump from level 3 to level 4 is a big one. You have very few limitations with level 4 when we compare to the overall level of what our Swiss athletes are currently capable of. The only staples in our current repertoire that are missing are high-to-high or low-to-high Tic-Tocks, double downs from Liberty and maybe the odd kick-double basket toss.
What does that mean for us? Should we all do level 4? I don’t know, and I think the only one who can judge that is a coach for their own team. It’s tricky, because there are a lot of level 4 stunts that are definitely harder to do than the easier level 5 stunts. When are you ready to compete level 5?
In my personal opinion, if you don’t have at least a handful of true level 5 stunts (with your whole team) in the first quarter of the season, you’re probably not going to have a lot of fun in level 5. Here are some examples of stunts that judges typically want to see in level 5:
- Low to high or high to high Tic-Tock
- Double down from Liberty with body position
- Kick double basket
- 5 up or double up to extended stunt
- 5 or double around to extended stunt
- Half-up Tic-Tock (or more twist)
- Paperdoll pyramid (connected Libertys)
- Twisting flips in pyramid transitions (braced by 1 person)
In Tumbling, being Swiss gives you some leeway, because the level isn’t very high across the board yet, but you should still be aiming for flips with a majority of your team. Internationally, you’d be looking at fulls.
If you have none of the above stunts with your full team a few months into the season, Senior level 4 is probably the safer bet for you. As we learned today, level 4 can also be incredibly difficult, but it’s also the level where you can pick up a lot of the same techniques that you’ll be needing in level 5. Investing time in solid kick-fulls, double-downs, full-ups with traditional grips and straight up Tic-Tocks is incredibly valuable for any athlete, especially if they want to compete level 5 in the future.
Let’s not forget that a lot of the best teams in the world stunt level 5, so it’s frankly ludicrous to get athletes in their first or second year of training to even attempt it, let alone compete it. With that said, the safety concern in level 5 is not that much bigger than in level 4, so this really is a coach’s decision to make. Look at your team and decide what’s best for you – you’re the only one who can judge it properly.