Can good form be taught or are you just born with it?

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Claire

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Jun 12, 2009
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I was just wondering if in your experience form can be taught to a gymnast or if it just something they are born with or comes naturally? Have you ever had a gymnast whose form wasn't great to begin with, but with hard work ended up doing well? Also, how important is flexibilty?
 
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hammy

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In my experience, form can be taught. It just takes a lot of mental work, hard work, determination, and a willingness to make corrections.

As far as flexibility goes, it is pretty important. If a gymnast does not have proper flexibility some skills will be more difficult to complete.
 

mariposa

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Sep 25, 2007
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I think that some kids just naturally have good form, but it can definitely be taught. My 3 year old already does things "pretty" and she doesn't take gymnastics. My gymmies best friend has had good form since I first met her, when she had just turned 3. Soon after meeting her, she was doing perfect cartwheels at 3. I rarely see her with her toes not pointed and her body tight, even at play.

My 6 year old (almost 7!) level 4 has to work hard to have good form. If it isn't expected, she doesn't do things very pretty. Most times if she is at open gym, you wouldn't guess she was on team. LOL. Put her in front of the coaches or a judge and she can do things beautifully. I have noticed that if she is still new at a skill, her form isn't as good as when she fully owns it. She does more if the coach she is working with expects that, if they let her do whatever, she does just that. I know that good coaches can make a huge difference with form. My DDs form was slowly improving, but since moving to a new gym it has improved hugely in a short amount of time. It is something that is always expected, so she is getting used to it. I noticed it at open gym last week. She was on the tumble track doing stuff, but it looked as if she were in class, done with nice form. :D

Just looked up and saw you were asking coaches, but since I already typed it, I am hitting enter. LOL.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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Like almost everything in gymnastics, it's a bit of both.

It can be taught; you cannot expect kids to just get it right off the bat. They have to develope a feel for it over the course of their training.

That said, some kids will pick it up quicker than others.
 
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cher062

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I was just wondering if in your experience form can be taught to a gymnast or if it just something they are born with or comes naturally? Have you ever had a gymnast whose form wasn't great to begin with, but with hard work ended up doing well? Also, how important is flexibilty?

Of course form can be taught its a skill like any other skill. And just like any other skill some gymnasts have better form than others. most of the gymnsats out there needed to be taught how to be graceful and have good form. They don't even know what "good form" is until someone shows them.

Flexibility is another skill that can be worked on not everyone is a Gumby but you can stretch and become more flexible. In gymnastics you don't have to be so flexible that you can pick your nose with your toes but it doesn't hurt if you are that flexible.

Like any thing else you do in life practice and working out will improve all.
 
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nettyinpa

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"In gymnastics you don't have to be so flexible that you can pick your nose with your toes but it doesn't hurt if you are that flexible." :rotfl:

I believe they can both be taught. Honestly, I think my dd came out of the womb with her toes pointed! She has beautiful form, especially on the beam. She has the best releve' of any of her teammates and gets told that by her coaches all the time. Now, her flexibility is a totally different story, especially in her shoulders. She is always asking me to stretch her shoulders for her. She needs to start doing it every day because now that she's on the Level 6 team, it's getting even more intense.
 
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KAQuinlan

Member
Mar 6, 2009
93
Florida Panhandle
I have noticed a trend that is just my theory and does not hold true for all people... The gymnasts with the best form usually are the ones who are the strongest. It takes muscles to hold in your tummy, keep your legs straight, and even point your toes. Certainly, anyone can do these things, but I think that it's easier and perhaps even more natural for the gymnast that is mostly muscle. I have one young lady that struggled for a long time with keeping her tummy tucked in. She could do it if reminded during her beam walks, but when she would attempt her beam skills, the belly would pop back out. I worked her stomach muscles extra hard and the belly slowly pulled in. Now, this is only one girl and there was no control group, so this is hardly proof, but just an observation I've made after 20 years of coaching. Oh, and I've seen this in rec kids as well as team kids.
 

gymmomntc2e6

Moderator/Proud Parent
Aug 25, 2007
2,842
North Carolina
Flexibility is another skill that can be worked on not everyone is a Gumby but you can stretch and become more flexible. In gymnastics you don't have to be so flexible that you can pick your nose with your toes but it doesn't hurt if you are that flexible.

Like all.

My DD could do that !!! She can lay on her tummy and touch her chin with her feet. Can't straighten her legs or seem to stay tight!!!!
 

fuzi

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As a coach, I will say that form, most certainly, can be taught. In fact, it's what we do a lot of the time. Some kids naturally have better form than others, although everyone learns form and continues to perfect it.

I would however say, that sometimes natural limitations interfere with form. For example, I have a wonderful gymnast training level 5 who works super hard, listens well, and makes corrections. However, no matter what she does, her arms never straighten all the way. Her older sister was the same way. Perhaps it's genetic, but even when she straightens her arms as much as possible, they still look quite bent. There is no point in pushing her to straighten her arms, as it isn't humanly possible for her. We just focus on all the other fine points of form.
 
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BlairBob

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Strength and flexibility will affect coordination which comes in to play with body awareness.
 

Pineapple_Lump

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Jan 31, 2008
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As I have heard many times from a Russian coaches 'Teach it right first time, never teach again' Spending lots of time with the gymnast early on enforcing good form on the most basic of skills creates a follow through to other skills. It is a lot harder to tidy up a skill that has had poor form for three years than on the first few attempts. Obviously there are times where you can give and take a bit, but good form is good habit. Some kids seem to do it naturally and others don't seem to care what a skill looks like so long as they are doing it. I have seen many children with naturally good form slowly slip because the coaching did not reinforce it.
 

sportyspice

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Jan 10, 2009
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My DD and DS are taught by Russian coaches and form is everything. Months were spent shaping a perfect BHS and then only allowed to do 1. When they did 1 perfectly most of the time, then allowed to do 2. etc. It can be frustrating for the gymnast (and sometimes the parent) to be held back from doing a skill they are physically capable of, simply because their form or shape is not good yet. DD not allowed to do press to handstands on beam until they are done perfectly with srtaight legs and pointed toes on floor. But then once allowed as mount on beam - it is beautiful!
 
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Mack_the_Ripper

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Good form is a result of adequate strength, body awareness, focus, and determination. Gymnasts who seem to "just have" good form usually focus well and have good body awareness. If you think about it, you can do it. It's not like trying a really hard skill - you just have to focus a little bit. It makes a big difference.

Flexibility, I think, is about 80% work and 20% natural ability. Does that sound right? Of course, people with natural ability don't have to do the work part...it makes me so mad...there are some people who really CAN'T stretch to split, no matter how often they stretch. I have a friend who is like this. But most people can achieve adequate flexibility with a little hard work and pain.
 
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