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Training hours

Annikins

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Aug 16, 2017
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Sorry, I know variations of this have been posted a lot, but I haven't exactly seen the answer to this:

What are the minimum hours of training you have seen/know about for someone to qualify as elite?

And at what age do you need to start doing those hours?

How many hours are necessary at 10-14 yo?

Every answer I've seen says the hours aren't necessary unless you're planning to go elite. What if your daughter is hoping to do that? (Disclaimer - have no idea whether it's remotely possible for her, but curious anyway!)

We are not from a gymnastics background, and have many, many reservations (so please not hundreds of posts about how bad lots of hours are - we already know that! That's why we want to know how few we could get away with but still have a chance of achieving her aim, or at least not totally ruling it out before she's old enough to make informed decisions herself)
 

amiandjim

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Well, this is obviously highly variable but I will give my opinion just based on what I’ve seen. I would think by age 10, MOST kids (and yes, I know there are outliers like Jade Carey) that go Elite are at least doing level 7-9. So, at that point, they are probably doing 20-24 hours or so. I know elite hours vary but most I’ve seen are 25-35.

As for progression, I will give you an example of a very talented kid from our gym. She did level 3 and TOPS at age 7-8, which was 15 hours (she made B team last year). She then went to level 7 but trained with the level 8-10s for around 22-24 hours I think. I expect her to make A team this year as a 9 year-old. She is currently training 8-10, TOPS, and HOPES for I think 27ish hours but I’m not 100% sure.
 
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FlippinLilysMom

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My daughter maxes out at 25 hours per week, she will be attempting to qualify as a first year elite in January. She has done 2 years of Hopes and is a 3rd year level 10. She is 13 and in 8th grade. She started down the HOPES/elite path at 9 years old.
 

Faith

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The problem is everyone aiming for elite trains these hours. That is the culture. if you are training future elite gymnasts you know it us unlikely they will get the skills and polish to the same level as kids training 25-30 hours. They won't win or podium at comps- you have parental pressure as to why their kids aren't doing well, they will look to other clubs with more successful gymnasts and likely move.

A gym that trains low hours won't be looking to produce elite gymnasts. A club that does produce elites will do the hours.

In gymnastics it is incredibly hard to go slow, even if it's the right decision. If you do make that decision, at 12+ they will be behind their peers by some distance, and even if they have the talent and ability to catch up, finding a club that will invest coach hours into catching up that child is impossible. They will be looking at the kids already at that level. I've seen it happen, rarely, but it takes a special type of coach/club as if you're putting 25+ hours a week into your squad, do you really want to take on another that needs much more input and attention.

if the question is can you reach elite on fewer hours, i believe the question is yes.
. This is Noel Van Klaveren- she was on 12.5 hours until junior elite when she had to decide to switch gyms to progress. There was also a british gymnast years and years ago who was national squad on 9.5 gymnastics hours a week- he was a personal trainer in the day (so conditioned then) then trained skills in the gym at night. I believe Beth Tweddle was not at an elite gym until junior elite when she moved to Liverpool.

I don't think it matters if it's possible though, the culture means you won't find anyone to let you train for elite on those hours. In the USA/UK at least.

Personally I see benefits both ways, and it depends on the child, and to some extent needs a crystal ball as to when puberty will hit, and the growth pattern of the child. Either do the hours and big skills as a young child when the body is small and strong, build up a foundation, then slow down through puberty when the injury risk is greatest. Or go the slow approach, establish very strong basics, then ramp up the hours at 14/15 and watch them catch up incredibly quickly.
 

Muddlethru

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I think minimum would be 25 hours to train elite, give or take an hour or two depending on ability.

As for your second question, I’m not certain if you are referring to elite training hours or just training hours necessary for “12-14 year old”. If it is elite hours, it is still 25 hours. If it is just training hours for 12-14 year olds, it would depend more on their level not so much age.

Should you decide to go the elite route, make sure you are at a gym and have coaches that have success in the field. We’ve been led that route by coaches who have no business attempting elite and it was a waste of money, time
and stress on my daughter’s body, not to mention it adversely affected her skill development to this day.
 
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Faith

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This is British Gymnastics Long Term Athlete Development plan:


It says 10-13 15 hrs/week
14-15 20/week
16+ 21-25/week

Up until 10 years old it's "physical activity" so not solely gymnastics- it can be made up of dance, gym, swimming etc.

Theoretically I think it's ideal. In practice it isn't followed and potential elites are put on the elite track at 6 years old and it's 18 hrs + from the off. So many burn out by 12.
 
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Pineapple_Lump

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It can be done on fewer hours if the coach and gymnast have talent - for everyone else there is high hours to try and make up for lack of elite level talent.
 
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Annikins

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Thank you everyone! That was actually really helpful. I think the UK and the US have similar issues by the sounds of it. Everyone agrees higher hours should come later but no one does it... It would maybe mean less burn out though. And the national squads are full of the 25-30 hours per week gymnasts. It's given us food for thought...we were hoping to tick over at 15-maybe 18 for a few more years (she's just 9yo now) to keep options open until we get a clearer picture of how talented she might be and how dedicated she stays. But higher hours earlier would be a huge commitment for such a small chance!!
 

Annikins

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i just realized OP is from the UK. UK and US elite program is so different.
Yes I think the system is different, but it was really about how many hours training needed to get the skills, which would be the same (I think?) in both. Thank you!
 

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