Below is a detailed explanation of the meet format at acrobatics and tumbling competitions, courtesy of the National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association (NCATA). These rules are sanctioned by USA Gymnastics.
Acrobatics and Tumbling meets are typically held as a match between 2-3 teams. Each meet is exciting, fast paced, and fan friendly. Each team has up to 28 competitors on their game-day roster and compete in six events throughout the meet, including: Compulsory, Acro, Pyramid, Toss, Tumbling, and Team Event. Teams compete and are evaluated in each event, receiving a score based on starting difficulty values and execution. In a competition, a team can score up to 300 points. The team with the highest overall score is declared the winner. The following provides a brief description of each event.
Event 1 – Compulsory - Each team competes identical pre-determined set of skills with a pre-determined starting value of 10.0. There are four heats that include acro, pyramid, toss and tumbling. Each heat can score up to a perfect 10, with the total combined event score of 40 points.
Event 2 – Acro – In the acro event, teams compete in three different heats of 5, 6, and 7 element acro skills. In the acro event, teams of typically 2-4 athletes will compete acrobatic movements demonstrating great strength, balance, technique and core from both the bases and tops. Each heat may score up to a perfect 10 with a total combined score in this event up to 30 points.
Event 3 – Pyramid – In this event, teams compete in three individual heats of pyramids valued at up to 10 points per heat for a maximum of 30 points for the event. Teams want to use as few athletes as possible to create the most unique and difficult pyramid. Each heat has a different requirement: inverted top, synchronized and open.
Halftime -- Fifteen (15) minutes– After the completion of the first three events, there is a 15 minute half time. During this time, teams will warm up for the second half of competition.
Event 4 – Toss – The toss event is a high flying event with four athletes tossing a fifth athlete (top) high in the air, while completing flipping and/or twisting forward or backward. Two of the three heats are solo tosses while one heat is a synchronized toss. Each of the three toss heats may score up to 10 points each for a total maximum score for the event of up to 30 points.
Event 5 – Tumbling – The tumbling event shows the sheer power of each team. Six heats construct the Tumbling Event with 10 points each for a maximum of 60 points for the event. Athletes may compete in both the synchronized portion and in one solo pass. In this event, tumbling combinations will feature difficulty, multiple flips, and twists in various passes with athletes tumbling both forward and backward.
Event 6 – Team Event – In this event, athletes perform synchronized choreographed skills in a 2 1/2 minute routine set to music. Each team competes up to 24 athletes. Routines are composed to showcase all skill sets that have been competed in the previous five events. This event has a maximum of 110 points, making it extremely crucial to the outcome of the meet.