Getting back into gymnastics after 5 years?

MiraiNikki16

New Member
Former Gymnast
Jul 31, 2020
2
19
Country
USA
Due to money problems I've been out of gymnastics since I was 15. I'll be 20 soon and I really want to get back into it. I know I'll never be an Olympian but is it possible to compete at a high college level in a couple years? I was training level 7 when I left.
 
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Carabistouille

Coach
Coach
Gymnast
Judge
Jan 22, 2019
76
Country
France
In my experience, the hardest part about adult gymnastics is finding a structure that is willing to take you in and to accomodate to your needs. Adult rec classes are becoming more and more common, but if you are looking for a competitive experience, that won't do it for you. you would be looking for a class with a real structure, a qualified coach and competitive objectives.
I guess something within your university would be ideal, as you would train with gymnasts your own age.

Skills will probably come back rather easily if you stayed somewhat in shape (bars often being the exception, especiallly if you weren't a very gifted bars gymnast to begin with). Make sure not to come back too quickly (your body probably remembers how to flip but it does not mean that your articulations will be able to withstand the training loads associated with it).
You might have to ajust and forego some skills that are not very compatible with old age, e.g. the skills relying on back flexibility (back walkover on beam is a very common no-go for adult gymnasts).

You might want to do a little bit of strength (holding shapes, very basic strength exercices that can be done at home easily) and flexibility (legs and shoulder opening) before coming back.
 

QuietColours

Member
Nov 10, 2008
56
Country
USA
It is definitely possible--our adult team has several members who left the sport for periods of years and came back to compete levels 7-9. For most, skills came back fairly quickly, strength was harder

The hardest part is often finding places that do adult classes at all, much less allow adults to compete (with the extra hours and actual coaching). You might have to do rec classes and be very self-directed. If you're in college or near one, look into if there's an NAIGC club team. Rules vary by school, but many don't require you to be a student to be on the team and will have a lot of people with similar goals.
 
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MiraiNikki16

New Member
Former Gymnast
Jul 31, 2020
2
19
Country
USA
It is definitely possible--our adult team has several members who left the sport for periods of years and came back to compete levels 7-9. For most, skills came back fairly quickly, strength was harder

The hardest part is often finding places that do adult classes at all, much less allow adults to compete (with the extra hours and actual coaching). You might have to do rec classes and be very self-directed. If you're in college or near one, look into if there's an NAIGC club team. Rules vary by school, but many don't require you to be a student to be on the team and will have a lot of people with similar goals.
Thank you this is very helpful! I’ve been trying to look it up but what exactly is the difference between NCAA and NAIGC?
 

QuietColours

Member
Nov 10, 2008
56
Country
USA
NAIGC is club-based. No scholarships, a lot fewer hours, and much more laid back and flexible--actual structure varies a lot between teams. NAIGC gymnasts can compete developmental (around Xcel gold), 7, 8, or 9 for women and dev, modified 9, and modified NCAA for men. You can compete any combination of events you want: men's, women's, or both (Nationals always has a decathlon competition). Meets tend to be pretty laid back. Most NAIGC competitors are in college, but there's a large and growing percentage that aren't, either competing with a college club team, through a private club that allows them to do it (don't expect a lot of coaching if this ends up being what's available for you), or as an 'NAIGC alumn' who is basically unaffiliated. You can check out the rules here: https://naigc.org/

NCAA is the formalized college competition structure run by the NCAA organization, competing a modified version of USAG's level 10 COP, and always requires you to be a student at the school, with very strict eligibility rules. It's the college gymnastics you see on TV.
 

bogwoppit

Former Admin
Gold Membership
Former Gymnast
Feb 26, 2007
16,701
Country
Canada
I agree with the hardest part being finding classes that work for you.

My daughter went back this year, after 8 years out, she was in the UK and they have a great gymnastics program in university for all levels. Beginner to elite. But this is club gymnastics, there are no scholarships.

Now she is back in Canada she found it very hard to find classes, they are pretty pricey and just once a week. There are also very, very few competitive opportunities.

So definitely the best advice is, find a club where you can train as an adult. See how you like it, and how it fits in to your adult life.
 
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