These girls have individually designed routines that are unique to each athlete.
The requirements for difficulty that must be included in each routine get progressively harder as they progress from one optional level to the next. These levels train three to four times per week, and advance from one level to the next as they achieve the necessary scores and skill requirements.
Those with qualifying scores compete in State Championships. Level 7 and above may advance from State Championships to Regional Championships if a qualifying score is made at State Championships. Levels 9 and 10 may advance to National Championships if they qualify to the Regional Championships at their level and place high enough when competing at Regionals.
Level 6 & 7
This is the entry level for the optional program. Gymnasts develop basic optional skills, dance and knowledge of skill value. All routines at this level have a Start Value (SV) of 10.00. The competition season is January through April and ends with a state meet for level 6 and 7 and regionals for level 7.
At this level the gymnast develop creativity in their optional routines, skill difficulty and knowledge of skill value. All routines have a SV of 10.00 with the exception of the vault. The competition season is January through April and extends to the regional level.
This is the advance level in the optional program. Assuming that all requirements are met the SV is 9.7. Gymnasts must include bonus skills in the form of connections and/or higher rated skills to raise their SV to a 10.00. The competition season is January through April and extends to the National level.
This is the highest level in the USAG Junior Olympic (J.O) program. It is one step away from the elite level (which is the level of gymnastics that represents the US at international competitions). The SV for these routines is a 9.5, bonus skills in the form of connections and/or higher rated skills must be performed to start from a 10.00. Level 10 extends through regionals to national competition.