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For Parents Just curious.....

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mom2ab

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I have read recently on some posts in here about body type. I can kinda guess what the "ideal" type is, but I wondered what you guys thought. Also, have you seen favoritism towards those with that perfect gymnast body, regardless of their talent. My DD does have a "gymnast" body, but is not the most natural, by any means. In fact, I have saw her advanced before others, when, in reality, they had more skills and grace, but did not look like a "gymnast". Know what I mean? I think she does get favored some because of this, and I just wondered if you guys saw this too. Jodi
 
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GymTwinsMom

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Well, when I think of gymnast, I think of small but powerful, thin but rock-hard.;) Maybe your DD is a hard worker and thats why she is a favorite. Or never complains? And yes, there are many girls who don't have that "gymnast" body. There is one girl who is about 10 or 11 and really tall for her age. Looks almost like one of the coaches!:eek: I asked DDs what she is all about and they said she isn't too liked. Lexi said she was getting a drink and the other girl pushed her....sorry getting off topic:eek: But I don't think there would be any perfect body type...anyone could be a gymnast
 
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Ingymmom

Active Member
Jul 12, 2007
981
There may be certain characteristics that would seem like one body type could perform better than another - but I don’t believe this is so at all. There is not one type that is better then another. I have seen gymnasts of all shapes and sizes that are amazing, mostly based on their hard work and drive. Look at all of the differences in Alicia S. Nastia L & Shawn J. Their body types are all completely different, yet they are all great. Hard work & drive.

 
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bpatient

Guest
This article explains why some body types are favored by gymnastics coaches:

Talent Identification in Elite Gymnasts: Why Body Size is so Important

That explains a lot: It turns out that it was just easier for Shawn Johnson to learn some gymastic skills than it would have been for me. . . .

Of course, the USA Gymanstics Junior Olympic program's raison d'être isn't to identify and support elite athlete's--it's to encourage and support participation by children like ours--like everyone's children. Even kids with bodies that (perhaps excepting the correct numbers of arms and legs) little resemble the "ideal gymnast body type" may develop the ability to perform at a very high level: One of the Division 1 programs near my home features a five foot-ten inch gymnast who might have been neglected by some coaches because she didn't fit the mold. I suspect that a good coach can help a great athlete develop her potential, but a great coach can help a lot of kids learn to develop in their own ways.
 

ellabella

Member
May 26, 2008
176
I think there is an ideal body type that makes gymnastics easier. If you are 6ft tall you will certainly have to work harder to get something than someone who is 5 ft. You won't see Nastia throwing a double double on floor off bars anytime soon. She won't be vaulting an Amanar either. It's likely physically impossible for her. Gymnasts who are outside that ideal body type often have to be creative to find stuff that works for them.

I've already heard many comments about DD's body type. She has a very muscular build and a wide back. Her father looks just like that. He was selected as youngster in his country for his body type. They also looked at his parents. It's a good thing gymnasts aren't selected like that here. They'd take one look at me and say "no thanks". I'm tall, long legs and about 30lbs overweight. I was a chubby kid too. She definitely didn't get my body.
 

Livinatthegym

Member
Feb 4, 2008
204
Region IV
In JO, body type shouldn't matter, although I think the skills can be tougher on bigger bodies--more weight (and power!) can throw an athlete up higher, but then she lands with greater force. Harder on the joints. In 5 years as the parent of competative gymnasts, I've only seen two "big" girls at our gym go on to optionals--one was my dd1's best friend. The gym itself always encouraged them to continue.

JO gyms that would select little girls based on some percieved body type would be very foolish indeed. Dd1 had a great gymnast body. Her adult height is under 5'. but when puberty hit, wider hips and breasts meant she never had the straight up and down look. Again, though, the gym certainly didn't try to weed her out or slow her down because she didn't have the gymnast "look."

I think, too, gyms that have Olympic dreams may differ than your run of the mill JO gyms. Even before Chow got SJ to international elite, we heard about his team selections. Chow's an excellent coach and has a reputation as a very nice person, but his goal was to get somebody to the Olympics. His teams have always been very, very small. Families of girls who weren't invited to his team track and went to other gyms have told us that he does, in fact, look at body type and height of the parents. I am not being critical as the gym is pretty up-front about what it's looking for, and since Chow selects young girls to start his team program, there's plenty of time to find a another gym (there are two other really strong ones in the area) and still get to compete.

So, mom2ab, if you're at the kind of gym that thinks it wants to train Olympians, you might very well see some advantages to looking "like a gymnast." For most of us, though, I hope the goal is encouraging and supporting participation for kids regardless of size/shape.
 

flipgirlsmom

New Member
Jun 28, 2008
7
My DD is built like Mary Lou, very short, strong and firm. Everyone, including her coaches, tell me she has the perfect gymnast body because when she does her sills she looks so fast and strong. IMHO it doesn't matter what their body type is as long as their skills and technique are good and they can look graceful on the floor and beam.
 

mariposa

Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Sep 25, 2007
3,529
Country
USA
The gym my DD goes to has girls of all shapes and sizes and that is how it should be at the JO level. I don't even know what the ideal gymnasts body is. I know that I don't really have a preference when I watch. I really enjoy watching a gymnast that looks like she is having fun, smiling, etc. Someone with personality.
 
Jan 22, 2008
437
People look at DD and they pretty much know she is a gymnast. Even parents at the gym say she is just built like a gymnast. What ever that really means. She is tall for her age but she is a peitie build if that makes sense. She is very muscular for her age. She doesn't have long lines. SHe is all torso so to speak.
 
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flippymonkeysmom

Guest
My dd does not have the typical gymnast build - not even close. She has ridiculously long legs. She definitely has to work her upper body strength a lot more to be strong enough for some of the things she is working on now because of it - but on the other side she has great body awareness and twists and flips very well. Even though her body type would keep her from ever being an elite gymnast - let's be honest - I don't think she will be complaining about having gorgeous long legs when she is older :D
 

Ingymmom

Active Member
Jul 12, 2007
981
I think there is an ideal body type that makes gymnastics easier. If you are 6ft tall you will certainly have to work harder to get something than someone who is 5 ft. You won't see Nastia throwing a double double on floor off bars anytime soon. She won't be vaulting an Amanar either. It's likely physically impossible for her. Gymnasts who are outside that ideal body type often have to be creative to find stuff that works for them.

Correct, but gymnastics is still possible, particularly at the JO level. I have seen gymmies that don't "fit into a tiny size" at level 9/10 meets. They all seemed happy and having a great time and doing very well. They may have limitations - especially on bars, but any body type is still quite possible to do gymnastics at a higher level if they want it. I am very impressed by these gymmies that have to work harder and do to reach their goals. Their drive and determination is amazing! :)

I would be appalled by a coach that favored a gymnast for their body type. A great coach can coach ANYONE successfully IMO.
 

Granny Smith

Active Member
Proud Parent
Jun 21, 2007
1,444
Country
USA
I have a petite tiny gymmie and I can see the disadvantages of these qualities too. My dd is going to be 12 in Sept., she is 52" and 62#. Her teammate who is 6 weeks older than her is 5' tall and probably close to 90 to 100#. My dd can not compare to this girls power. My dd struggles with vaulting and is learning the Yurchenko. It is very hard for her to get the power onto the table. As for tumbling on the floor, my dd does fine, but when the other girl tumbles right after her, you see a huge height difference. Percent-wise they are probably close to the same, but boy does the other girl's tumbling look that much higher!

Oh well, not much we can do about it. I can say though that dd has beautiful giants because she is perfectly straight going around the bar! :D

Another disadvantage of small gymmie - doctors tend to think that something is wrong with her and we end up at specialist.... appt with endocrinoligist 7/15. Basically they will tell me nothing wrong, just genetic short stature... :rolleyes:

Can say though that we have delayed puberty - I think that is a positive! ;)
 
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starmaker

Guest
DD is diffently built like a gymnast! Even at 2 years old before she started people would ask me if she did gymnasics. I actually started her in gymnastics because so many people would tell me to put her in it. We started My Gym at 18 mo in a mommy and me with my bestfriend and her son. She stood out back then with all the other parents. I actually have a video of it. When I find it, maybe I'll post it.
At the first competition I attended I overheard someone say: "you could tell which are good by looking at them." I was confused! I assumed he was just being shallow. Since then though, I too have heard something about favoritism and scoring based on body type. I really hope none of that is taking place especially at JO level.
 

ellabella

Member
May 26, 2008
176
Ingymmom, you are saying exactly what I was trying to say. The "ideal" makes it easier, that's why it's the "ideal". I didn't say it wasn't possible. Any type can be successful with hard work. I was using the example of Nastia vs. Shawn because they are so different. They do what they can with what they have. It translates to any level. I too have seen many, many body types at JO meets.
 
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luv2watchgym

Guest
"ideal" body types?

I get a bit mad when I hear about "ideal" body types. My dd was identified by the gym owner as having an "ideal" gymnast's body when she was little. I guess the fact that I'm under 5'2" also influenced the coach. Yet no matter how hard she worked, she was never able to do well in compulsories. As soon as my dd hit puberty, she shot up (4 inches in 3 months!) and completely changed her body shape, yet after a couple of years of adjusting to her new body, she still was able to win one event and come in second in another at Level 8 Regionals! Now she's 5'5-1/2", and the doctor says her growth plates have still not closed, but she's incredibly powerful. Who could have known? When she was little, she was slim, petite and graceful, with lots of upper body strength, but not much leg strength. Now, she's a power tumbler. So when she had the "ideal" gymnastics body, she never did very well, but now that she has absolutely the wrong body shape, she's winning!
 
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