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For Parents What do coaches want in a gymnast

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LTmom

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Some time ago, a post got shut down due to some concerning keywords. I’d like to resurrect the question contained within, not relating to the concerning keywords. Some coaches listed in that thread qualities they are looking for in their gymnasts. My gym is very opaque about their selection process. I know of the basic qualities, but would any coaches here please like to chime in?

Basic things I know they look for:
Physical strength
Flexibility
Emotional toughness
Mental strength
Daring
Willingness to work hard

What are the other things?
 

Gymx2

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As a parent I can't begin to answer this question, but I think I'd be more comfortable asking something more like, "What qualities lead to success in gymnastics?" or somesuch, vs what coaches want. What coaches want might not be what's best for gymnasts, or what is best for the sport of gymnastics.
 
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Aussie_coach

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The things I look for are

1. Strength
2. Flexibility
3. Speed
4. Technique - not nessesarily developed but the potential to develop it
5. Fearlessness. Again it doesn’t need to be a total dare devil kid who will jump of buildings. Just a willingness to try, and not excessively timid.
6. Effort - Hard working, enjoys working hard, energetic
7. Commitment - Good attendance, punctuality

I don’t always look for the best behaved kids, often the kids who are a little bit defiant, sometimes struggle to sit still etc can be an amazing addition to the team. Kids who push the boundaries a bit in life, are often prepared to push their own physical boundaries.
 

cjimenes

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Especially at the lower levels strength and flex are important factors in deciding kids but we know that these can be gained with work as well.

I look for these qualities in gymnast when Evaluating on top of strength and flex

Work Ethic
Maturity
Confidence (in themselves and in their surroundings)
Coachability: do they take direction and corrections well.

Ability to learn quickly and retain information:
A gymnast can have all the strength and flex in the world but that doesnt always make a good gymnast. They need to be able to make corrections quickly, and retain and repeat the corrections in the future

Artistry: Can they hold good shapes and create pretty lines. In most beginners this is something that has to be learned but they should understand basic shapes and good form by level 3 or 4.

Body awareness: do they feel what they are doing right/wrong. Do they understand how to hold their body tight and/or in certain shapes.
 

Faith

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I once had a very wise coach tell me to look for strong girls who were brave. You didn’t want the one doing neat BWO in the playground, you wanted the one who’d climbed the tree and was sitting at the top.

for boys, the opposite. The flexible ones, dancers etc.

Logic being flexibility is easy to train in girls. Strength is easy to train in boys.

for me personally, they just have to want to be there. Kids have surprised me over the years, I’ve seen one turn up age 11 so uncoordinated they could barely able to string a dance step together, less than a year later be looking at elite, albeit acro rather than WAG. I’ve seen kids so incredibly talented quit before Level 5.

i coach kids according to their current ability, not any prediction on what the future may be. Pushing talented ones can put pressure on them, ignore less talented and you could miss out on one who blossoms later.

Especially with girls where the little flexi ones shine brightly very early on, but when it gets to big skills don’t have the power and strength.

turn up, try your best. That’s all I want.
 

xxStumpyxx

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My youngest gymnast (dd, 13) is not exactly confident, not exactly fearless and is not the fastest runner, her flexibility has near enough gone during lockdown. But what she does have is good work ethic, always behaves well in the gym, great attendance, strength is better than her flexibility and she loves gymnastics even though she isn’t what you might call naturally talented.
 
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MILgymFAM

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Sitting on the other side of this as a parent, I’ve seen a coach give a speech about my daughter on more than one occasion, and the things they always call out are her dogged work ethic, her ability to take corrections, and her absolute care and support of her teammates. She’s not naturally strong, or flexible, or fearless (quite the opposite there), and she’s all wrong by so many coaches’ metrics, but she has always fought hard for her place in any team while always being everyone else’s cheerleader, and that has always been what has made us- and her coaches- proud. There have also been many coaches who passed on her altogether- teams that had lists of what they were looking for similar to the above. No hard feelings, but I always just smile and say it’s their loss.
 

Aussie_coach

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Systems for selecting gymnasts are far from perfect. Ideally coaches would take anyone who is keen, and give them all the same opportunities. But unfortunately in reality most gyms just don’t have the capacity to do so.

Each coach will often have their own little things they look for, unique to other coaches and this is often more related to the human social condition, that it is to do with real potential.

It’s all about personalities. Social we are drawn to people with certain personality characteristics (quite often similar to our own) and repelled by others. When coaches select gymnasts who they can “work” with on due to the fact that they are “coachable”. They are often selecting athletes with personalities that mesh with their own. The coach May select gymnasts they feel they will get the most out of, because their own personalities work better with those kids.

Since their personalities work well together, the coach can usually get more from the athlete, leading them to believe that gymnasts with those specific personality characteristics are more talented. While a different coach may have great success with a gymnasts with a very different set of attributes.

We all get on better with some people than others. And just like all human being coaches have their favourite gymnasts, and their least favourite gymnasts. Those who have mastered the ability to understand these social situations will know how to coach in such a way that the gymnasts will never realise who the favourites are. But in reality a great number of coaches have not mastered that skill.
 

TumbleTimes4

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My question for coaches is this: would you rather take a girl but with a strong work ethic but less talent, or a girl with talent but maybe lacking in work ethic?
 
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