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  • Writer's pictureKathi-Sue Rupp

Execution Deduction Symbols Part 2

This is a continuation of how to develop Execution Deduction Symbols.

You can find Part 1 here.

Getting Started with Execution Deduction Symbols

Just as many judges get started using only a few element symbols, it is wise to get started with employing just a few execution deduction symbols, and then gradually add more as they become habituated.

The easiest symbols to start with are the 4 “carrot” symbols for

bent legs bent arms legs apart hip bend

It is important to get the direction of these habituated early so you don’t need to think much to write them.

It is also simplest to start using symbols to notate deductions on compulsory (setwork) routines, as there tends to be more repetition of particular errors on those, and they are more predictable to judge in general.

Vault is also an excellent apparatus to start employing the uses of execution deduction symbols because on vault you mainly write the deductions after the entire vault has been performed as you replay the vault in your mind and can take more time between vaults to mentally process. By notating the deduction symbol, you must consciously account for each deduction you give. You can’t just think “that was kind of sloppy, I’m going to take -0.3 and -0.1”. You must decide was it -0.3 for bent legs and -0.1 for legs apart, or was it the other way around? This forces the judge to think about the exact angles for each part of the deduction and E jury judging becomes more precise.

Example of Execution Deduction Symbols for judging Vault:

(-0.3 legs apart on pre-flight, -0.1 off axis while on the table, -0.1 legs crossed, -0.1 lack of height, -0.1 lack of preparation for landing, -0.3, -0.3, -0.1 for steps or hops)

By specifying the deduction with symbols, a judge can more simply differentiate between pre-flight, on table, post flight and landing deductions using simple vertical lines, and it is not necessary to use the old-fashioned vault deduction template to notate where the deduction took place.

The typical notation of vault deductions (pictured above) isn’t as precise. One can clearly see when the deductions occurred, but were the post flight deductions for bent legs, lack of amplitude, foot form deductions or something else? The execution deduction symbols are much more precise, and you can simply notate the pre-flight, table, and post-flight phases without a vault deduction template.

Execution Deduction Symbols on Various Apparatus

What execution deduction symbols can look like for other apparatus (These examples use a 3-line system for notation with deductions on the top line, element symbols on the middle line and element values with element group designation on the bottom):

Note that the same symbol can be used to notate several types of errors, but you can determine by the context of the element to differentiate exactly what it was for. For example, a line drawn under a -0.3 deduction “3“ would indicate a short hold, whereas a line underneath a -0.1 deduction “1“ would indicate too long of a pause. The amounts of these deductions are different, and therefore the judge can easily differentiate by the context of the amount of the deduction what it was for. Likewise the ““ symbol has several applications, but the exact type of angular deviation or skew will be determined according to what element it was applied to.

Additionally, the judge can easily specify multiple deductions on the same element.

For this back-uprise straddle planche on rings it is notated that the gymnast bent their arms during the back-uprise action (-0.1), rose above the perfect hold position (came in too high -0.3), had a hip bend (piked -0.3), and an angular deviation in the final hold position (deviation of body from horizontal -0.1).

Practical Considerations for Use of Execution Deduction Symbols

Keep in mind, the execution deduction symbols used here are all single character symbols (i.e. single letter abbreviations) that use as few pen strokes as possible. While it might be easier to remember “bal” to notate a loss of balance, or “inc” to notate an incomplete twist, it simply takes too long to write such notations in real time.

Execution deduction symbols can play a key role in judges’ education. In some countries that typically use split D/E panel formats, judges learn E jury before they start learning D jury and element symbols. In these cases, it is possible to get started using execution deduction symbols and habituate their use before learning element symbols. This can improve the mentoring and education process of novice judges when they have to more precisely account for the deductions they take.

Even without the element symbols, it is easier to reconstruct what deductions were taken on which elements and why they were taken than on a typical novice judge’s paper which simply consists of a series of “1”s, “3”s, and “5”s.

Of course, the implementation of execution deduction symbols is more difficult when a judge is already simultaneously performing both D and E jury duties, as there is already so much to notate in very little time. For poorly executed routines on fast apparatus (i.e., pommel horse or high bar for MAG, uneven bars for WAG) there is barely enough time to symbol the elements and all of the deductions, let alone the execution deduction symbols. In such cases, the judge must prioritize what is written while the routine is occurring and write additional notation (such as element values) after the routine is complete. The execution deduction symbols can be written after the routine is complete for key deductions, not necessarily for every single deduction. Judges having to simultaneously D & E is not an ideal situation in general and has been shown to have less accurate E jury scores than when the D & E duties are divided among jurors. The limitations for being able to effectively employ the use of execution deduction symbols is one more reason to avoid having judges simultaneously judge D & E.

As one starts to employ the use of execution deduction symbols, it is unrealistic to expect to be able to notate every single deduction for very poorly performed routines, even for an E only juror. There is simply too much to write in too little time and in the end, a low E score for a very poor routine is often understood without detailed explanation. However, that is not the case for the best executed routines. When there are few deductions to notate, there is more time to notate exactly what every deduction is for. It is also the best executed routines that need to stand up to closer scrutiny, as those are the ones that are awarded the medals.

By using standardized execution deduction symbols based off of existing FIG element symbols, such as the ones presented here, judges can easily understand their colleague’s judgment similarly to what is presently done for D score judging. Execution deduction symbols facilitate communication between judges, give greater precision to deductions being applied, and increase accountability for E jury judging.

What do you think about Execution Deduction Symbols?

These execution deduction symbols examples are from MAG judging. What adaptations would be necessary for best practice use in WAG?

Are there any significant, common deductions that cannot be captured in these symbols?

Tell us in the comments.


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