Frequently asked questions

Gymnastics can be very intimidating if you have never done it before. Even if you have done gymnastics before, the system of student gymnastics in the Netherlands can be a bit confusing. For this reason, we have listed some frequently asked questions to explain a bit about how the world of student gymnastics works. If you still have questions, feel free to send an email to u.turn.utrecht@gmail.com, or ask the board or trainers during practice.
1Do you spell U-turn will a capital or lowercase T?
U-turn is spelled with a lowercase t ;) this is very important!
2What is the difference between student competitions and KNGU competitions?
  • The Royal Dutch Gymnastics Union (KNGU) is the national sports organisation for gymnastics. If you were to train with a "normal" gymnastics club in the Netherlands, you would compete in competitions organised by the KNGU. As a student, you may also compete in KNGU competitions.
  • Student gymnastics competitions (Dutch student gymnastics competitions, or NSTC’s) are organised by the Dutch Student Gymnastics Union (NSTB). These competitions are open exclusively to members of student gymnastics associations such as U-turn. We have our own regulations and breakdown of levels, and some of the rules are a bit more relaxed than in the KNGU. Also, the general atmosphere at student competitions is a bit more relaxed and there is more emphasis on fun and social interaction.
3What does a competition weekend entail?
  • A competition weekend consists mainly of the competition itself. This is often divided into two or three rounds. The first round starts in the morning around 9:00 or 10:00, and the final round may end towards 19:00 (or even later) if there are any delays.
  • After that, the festivities are not over yet, as there is also dinner, an awards ceremony, and a fun themed party! After the party, you can stay overnight on location. This is usually on air mattresses in a gymnasium. In the morning, you then have breakfast together, before returning home.
  • You can register per parts of the weekend you want to attend.
  • Overall schedule for a competition day:
    • 9.30 - 18.00 Competition in 2 or 3 rounds
    • 18.00 - 20.00 Dinner
    • 20.00 - 03.00 Awards ceremony and themed party
    • 03.00 - 10.00 Sleepover and breakfast
4How does a gymnastics competition work?
  • In a gymnastics competition, you go around all the apparatus of your discipline and show a nice routine that will be judged for a score. It is recommended to be present a half hour to one hour before the start time of your round, for final preparations, and also because the competition may run ahead of time, which means you have to start earlier.
  • The competition starts with a general warm-up, during which everyone can run warm and stretch a little. The start of the general warm-up will be announced by the competition organiser, and the square floor may also be used. After that, all athletes will march in to officially open the competition. Important announcements will also be made here by the competition organisation.
  • After the march in, you will go to your first apparatus. Here you will have a few minutes to warm up. This means that you can practise elements one last time before you do your official competition routine for the judges.
  • When it's your turn for your competition routine, you must wait until the judges signal that they are ready to judge you. They usually do this by raising their hand. After their starting signal, greet the judges by extending both arms or one arm (this is also called 'presenting'), after which you can start your exercise. After you finish, you greet the judges again, so they know they can stop judging.
  • You then rotate on to the next apparatus until you have completed all the apparatuses.
  • In the event that you’re not participating on an apparatus, you may have to tell the jury.
5How are the scores structured at a gymnastics competition?
  • At a gymnastics competition, your routines are judged by a jury. The judges give a score after each routine. The score in gymnastics has two components: execution (E-score) and difficulty (D-score).
  • The E-score starts at 10.00. For mistakes such as bent legs or a fall, points are deducted from the E-score.
  • Your D-score is the sum of the difficulty values of all elements shown in your exercise and any bonus for connections between elements. For example, an A element is worth 0.1 points and a B element is worth 0.2 points. The more difficult the element, the more points it is worth.
  • If you compete in the four-event discipline (see: 'Which discipline can I do at a competition?'), you also get half a point for each composition requirement you meet in your routine. If you compete in the six-event discipline, you get half a point per element group that is in your routine.
  • Neutral (N) deductions may also apply. This is separate from the E- and D-scores. You may get this, for example, if you step outside the lines of the floor during your floor exercise or have too few elements in your routine.
  • Your total score is calculated like this: D-score + E-score - N deductions.
6What should I wear to a competition?
  • At NSTB competitions, you may dress however you like. It is not compulsory to compete in a leotard. You even get bonus points on your score if you have an outfit/prop in the competition theme!
  • Of course, it is always nice if you wear our association colour, U-turn blue! Also, don't forget to bring/put on all your fancy U-turn merch!
7How much does a competition cost?
  • In the 2024-2025 season, participation in a competition will cost a maximum of 15 euros, but U-turn reimburses the cost of the competition for all members.
  • The cost of the rest of the weekend (dinner, party, sleepover and breakfast) may add up to a maximum of 20 euros.
8Which discipline can I do at a competition?
  • Gymnastics is traditionally split into two disciplines: women's gymnastics and men's gymnastics. Despite these terms, everyone is allowed to compete in the discipline they want at NSTB competitions, or even both. To emphasise this, within U-turn we call women's and men's gymnastics, four-event and six-event gymnastics, respectively.
9How do the levels work? Which level should I do?
  • There are different levels within the disciplines, and student gymnastics has its own regulations. In the six-event discipline ("men's gymnastics"), there are 5 levels. Men's 5 (or H5, "H" for the Dutch word "heren") is the lowest level, and H1 the highest. In the four-event discipline ("women's gymnastics") there are 6 levels, where Ladies 6 (or D6, "D" for the Dutch word "dames") is the lowest and D1 is the highest. 
  • For beginners, the lower levels are a good place to start. If you have competed at the KNGU before, the NSTB regulations state which KNGU and NSTB levels are comparable. For example, Ladies 3 is comparable to KNGU supplement C or D. Furthermore, you can look in the regulations to see which requirements for each level you can or cannot do. You do not necessarily have to meet all the requirements to compete in the level.
  • You can always ask a board member/trainer/judge/fellow members for advice on choosing your level, especially since many of the documents are in Dutch. Everyone is happy to help!
10Are the regulations available in English?
  • The NSTB has translated both the four-event and six-event regulations, and the four-event supplements, which explain the requirements for each level. However, the regulations for the jumping competition have not been translated yet.
  • Additionally, the element tables, which are a collection of all gymnastics elements and their difficulty value, are by the KNGU and are in Dutch. These are based on the FIG code of points (FIG is the international governing body of gymnastics), which are available in English. However, be aware that Dutch 'tA' elements will not be listed in the FIG documents. This is mostly relevant for the lower levels.
  • If you need help making sense of the regulations, please feel free to ask the board/trainers/judges/fellow members. Everyone is happy to help.
11How do I make a routine?
  • If you have never done gymnastics before, it can be difficult to put together a routine. The '23-'24 board is still putting together sample routines for the lower levels to give an idea of what kinds of elements can be performed. As soon as these are finished, they will be available on our website.
  • In the four-event discipline, you will also need choreography for your beam and floor exercises and on floor a music (floor music is not required in level D6). If this is tricky, you can always ask for help from your fellow athletes, there is surely someone willing to help!
  • Furthermore, a few of our members are also judges. These people are very familiar with the regulations, and can also be consulted when putting together a routine. If you don't know who these people are, you can always ask a board member or trainer for advice or ask who are judges.
12What are dance/acro elements?
  • Acro (acrobatic) elements are elements where you go upside down, support yourself with your hands or roll. (The 'illusion' is an exception to this. This is a dance element).
  • Dance elements are elements such as leaps, jumps, pirouettes and twisting jumps.
  • Choreography steps in your beam or floor exercise are not elements.
13Do we bring a mascot to the competitions?
  • Of course! Every student gymnastics club has a mascot they take to competitions. Our trusty mascot is Slettie Bettie, a very cute piglet. If you want to know more about Bettie, check out this page.
  • But beware, mascots can be stolen or 'brassed' at a competition! (see: 'What is brassing?')
14What is “brassing”?
  • Brassing is the action of stealing another gymnastics association's flag or mascot. Brassing is allowed at student gymnastics competitions, for example, where members must take the stolen mascot outside of the gymnasium.
  • There are also official brassing regulations by the NSTB, where all the rules are explained. Unfortunately, this document is in Dutch. Some other rules are that you may only bras someone's flag/mascot if your association's flag/mascot is also present. Mascots and flags can only be stolen without violence, and if someone is actively holding their own mascot or flag, it cannot be stolen.
  • If something has been brassed, the brassing association must take a photo and write a bras letter (in the form of a poem) within 24 hours, explaining what the association's board must do to get their flag or mascot back. It is a way for boards of associations to bond with each other, for example, by getting a drink together as a bras assignment.
15What is the difference between an all-around competition and an apparatus competition? Do I always have to compete everything at a competition?
  • An all-around is when you perform a routine on all apparatuses in a discipline in a competition. Your all-around score is the sum of all your scores on each apparatus. Usually, you can only win a medal at an all-around competition if you finish in the top 3 of the all-around in your level. It is not necessarily required to compete all-around, but if you don't, you will miss out on a lot of points to have a chance of winning a medal.
  • An apparatus competition is a competition where medals can be won per apparatus. It is not obligatory to compete all-around. There is one apparatus competition per year (the first competition of the year, the NSTC1), and at the NSTC teams competition, you don't have to compete on all the apparatuses for your team.
16Where can I find the results of the competitions?
  • Competition results will be posted on the NSTB website no later than a few days after the competition.
  • These pages are also in Dutch, but you can still view the scores. The apparatus names are translated to Dutch as follows:
    • Beam - Balk
    • Uneven bars - Ongelijke brug
    • Floor - Vloer
    • Vault - Sprong
    • Rings - Ringen
    • Pommel horse - Voltige
    • High Bar - Rek
    • Parallel bars - Gelijke brug
17Do I necessarily have to participate in the competition to attend the competition?
  • No! You may also come to support and for a good time, because a fun day/weekend is guaranteed and encouragement is much appreciated!
18Where do the competitions take place?
  • Each competition is organised by a student gymnastics association in their city. So the competitions can be organised very close by (Utrecht), but can also be organised as far away as Groningen or Enschede. For example, you can see the competition calendar for the 2023-2024 season here.
  • People often travel together to the competitions, either by carpool or by public transport.
19What are sister associations?
  • Our sister associations (sisters) are the other student gymnastics associations in the Netherlands. There are 10 of them:
    • STAH (Amsterdam)
    • Pegasus (Delft)
    • Twist (Eindhoven)
    • Linea Recta (Enschede)
    • STUGG (Groningen)
    • Saturnus (Maastricht)
    • KUNST (Nijmegen)
    • Euroturn (Rotterdam)
    • Saltare (Tilburg)
    • Split (Wageningen)
20What do I need to take with me to a competition weekend?
Sample packing list:
  • Sports/ gymnastics clothing
  • (U-turn blue) clothing
  • Towel, shampoo, shower gel
  • Hairbrush, hairspray, hair gel, hairbands, etc.
  • Snacks
  • Party outfit and accessories (in theme)
  • If you are staying overnight, also bring:
    • Air mattress
    • Sleeping bag
    • Pillow
    • Toothbrush, toothpaste
    • Pyjamas
    • Phone charger