The following section is provided as a resource that provides information about the sport of Acrobatics and Tumbling from the Club level through the Collegiate level. This guide also provides recruitment and scholarship opportunities for Athletes wishing to continue their career at the College Level. The National Collegiate Acrobatics & Tumbling Association (NCATA) is the competitive sanctioning body of A&T at the Collegiate Level and works in association with USA Gymnastics which is the sanctioning body for A&T Meets at the Pre-Collegiate (Club) Level.
Acrobatics and Tumbling meets are typically held as a match between 2-3 teams. Meets are exciting, fast paced, and fan friendly. Each College 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.
NCATA Collegiate Meet Overview VIDEO
This video, produced by the NCATA, provides a general overview of what a Collegiate A&T Meet looks like with visual explanations of the six main events, including Compulsory, Acro, Pyramid, Toss, Tumbling and Team Event.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do you choose your teams based on looks or size requirements?
A: No, Acrobatics and Tumbling teams are chosen based on athletic ability. There are no weight limits or height restrictions. Athletes are recruited based on position just like any other sport. In the aerial acrobatics portion athletes are recruited as bases, flyers or backs. Flyers are typically shorter than 5’3” and weigh less than 115. Most backs are over 5’6” and weight over 140. Bases are any size or height. An athlete may be recruited if they excel in the tumbling skill and only compete in that event.
Q: What are you ‘judged’ on?
A: Our teams are scored on the execution of skills. All skills performed in every event, even the Team Event have pre-determined start values. Officials are trained to evaluate each skill and make deductions if needed. You will be scored the same in Maryland as you will be in Oregon due to a standardized scoring system. Teams are not judged on looks, choreography and uniforms, but instead on how well they execute their athletic discipline.
Q: Where you do recruit these athletes?
A: Club gymnastics programs (several disciplines, including Acro, Artistic [specifically Levels 8-10], and Trampoline & Tumbling) and competitive cheer gyms (primarily Levels 4 & 5).
Q: Will Acrobatics and Tumbling athletes be crossovers in other varsity sports or with the cheer team?
A: No, we want to CREATE new opportunities for female student-athletes, not shift them.
Q: What is a standard uniform for Acrobatics and Tumbling?
A: It is a form fitting numbered jersey and shorts (much like a university volleyball team).
Q: What type of facility is required to host an event?
A: A basketball arena with 13 strips of carpet bonded foam (6 x 42 ft mats).
Q: Could this be a co-ed sport?
A: The NCATA’s mission is to bring Acrobatics and Tumbling to women’s emerging sport status. There is a possibility the sport could develop at different levels as a co-ed sport, but that is not the goal or intent of NCATA.
Q: Can a university have an Acrobatics and Tumbling team, a cheer team that competes and a gymnastics team? Or any combination of the three?
A: Currently all NCATA schools have both Acrobatics and Tumbling AND sideline cheer squads. Although the athletes share a skill set they will not crossover. Gymnastics athletes train on a different type of mat or flooring than Acrobatics and Tumbling. Cheer teams have a different purpose. Individuals would not have time to train safely for both Acrobatics and Tumbling and fulfill cheerleading duties.
Member Colleges and Universities
This is the most recent list of Colleges and Universities with an Acrobatics and Tumbling Team. A&T is a rapidly growing Women’s Collegiate Sport and although we make frequent Member updates, we may be missing some programs. Feel free to contact us with any new additions or the NCATA for an up to date roster