Why gymnastics is for youngsters?

dan129834

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Hey guys, i have a discussion, i would like to hear your opinions.
So gymnastics is dominated by young athletes, aroun the ages of 16 to early 20's, and i was thinking why? I mean lets take someone in his early 20's who is healthy, talented and strong, but never did gymnastics before. let him train for 15 years, in the same condition as a young gymnast. At a certain time when he is past level 10, he will train like an elite gymnast, 35-40+ hours a week. would he be able to become an elite or olympian gymnast? If not, then why?
It is important to note that it is only discussion, and it is a hypothetical situation.
 
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Aussie_coach

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One problem that seems to be an issue is the training expectations. Young people are often supported by their parents, being able to train 35-40 Horus a week is possible because they don’t need a job. But unlike other sports like professional football it’s not easy to make a living doing gymnastics. There just aren’t enough hours a week to work in a job and support yourself and train full time.

The sport is also very demanding physically. To train at that level for years and years and years, can take quite a toll on the body. Most people can’t keep it up forever.

But in reality, for those with a body that does tolerate that degree of training, a source of income, no desire to do other things in life and no major injuries. They could continue to compete for a long time.
 
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dan129834

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So if that person has some source of passive income, or he owns a gymnastics gym or something like that, and he has time to train without worrying about a job, in theory, if he is talented, he could become an olympian even at a later age? even though he never did gymnastics before his 20's?
 

Aussie_coach

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Yes, I know of people who would be capable of going very far under those circumstances. But they’d also need a coach prepared to train them and they would have quite a challenge making up for the years of training they had missed.
 

JBS

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So if that person has some source of passive income, or he owns a gymnastics gym or something like that, and he has time to train without worrying about a job, in theory, if he is talented, he could become an olympian even at a later age? even though he never did gymnastics before his 20's?
Anything is possible.
 

dan129834

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So adults cant be elite gymnast only cause they are bound to their jobs and they need to worry about living, set this apart, and they can do what young gymnasts do
 

kecks

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human's ability to learn whatever is not the same during our inidividual lifetime. f.e. learning to speak is a "window" which opens around one year of age and closes some years after that. who did not learn to speak during this window - f.e. abused kids noone spoke to regularly - there will problems with speach. there is also a window for learning to read and write, it opens about age 4 and closes about age 10. after that learning to read or write is still possible but much more difficult, ask any adult person trying to learn it.

there is also a window in every kid's (!) development during which motor skils are learned fastest and best. this window is the (in germany) so called "school age", so 6 to about 12 or 13 years of age. they also call it "golden age of motor learnig" here. after that physical puberty starts. in this short time in your life you can learn about any motor skill you can think of. so most elite sports try to teach basic technial concepts at this age - not to perfection but setting the basic motor pathways straight through repetition in basic movements like running, jumping, rolling, throwing, using your body in all the ways it can be used if trained well. after that learning new skills is still possible but it is much more difficult and takes much more time even if there are no fears and such as any adult athlete who takes up a new sport knows.
speed and explosivesness also (very imortant for gymnastics) - while general heavily depending on individual genetic disposition - are developed during this small window. who did not run at top speed and practise accelerating several times a week at this age will most likely not fully develop their inidividual potential regarding speed.

it is like building the foundation of a house - this is done through general athletic development in one's school age years. after that this chance is gone for this life. you can still train but you will stand not much of a chance compared to someone starting young.
 

dan129834

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human's ability to learn whatever is not the same during our inidividual lifetime. f.e. learning to speak is a "window" which opens around one year of age and closes some years after that. who did not learn to speak during this window - f.e. abused kids noone spoke to regularly - there will problems with speach. there is also a window for learning to read and write, it opens about age 4 and closes about age 10. after that learning to read or write is still possible but much more difficult, ask any adult person trying to learn it.

there is also a window in every kid's (!) development during which motor skils are learned fastest and best. this window is the (in germany) so called "school age", so 6 to about 12 or 13 years of age. they also call it "golden age of motor learnig" here. after that physical puberty starts. in this short time in your life you can learn about any motor skill you can think of. so most elite sports try to teach basic technial concepts at this age - not to perfection but setting the basic motor pathways straight through repetition in basic movements like running, jumping, rolling, throwing, using your body in all the ways it can be used if trained well. after that learning new skills is still possible but it is much more difficult and takes much more time even if there are no fears and such as any adult athlete who takes up a new sport knows.
speed and explosivesness also (very imortant for gymnastics) - while general heavily depending on individual genetic disposition - are developed during this small window. who did not run at top speed and practise accelerating several times a week at this age will most likely not fully develop their inidividual potential regarding speed.

it is like building the foundation of a house - this is done through general athletic development in one's school age years. after that this chance is gone for this life. you can still train but you will stand not much of a chance compared to someone starting young.
Now thats interesting, i talked about it with a friend who's trying to learn English. He is 23, and he asked me how i know english so well, and i guessed that there was a window of learning in a young age, i just didnt think this was true. The question is if there is a scientific review about this? Because adults most of the time cant train like an elite really because they have a job and they should make a living. So whats the unambiguous fact?
 

Aussie_coach

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Sure there are windows of opportunity for learning many skills, but it is also not universally applicable.

Adult gymnastics is quite big here, and the adults tend to learn gymnastics significantly faster than the kids. Adult strength and coordination and the ability to understand instructions better helps a lot.

Fear is often far less of a problem with many adults than kids. Pre teens and young teens often have great difficulty controlling their fear, as thinking in the abstract is new to them. Adults have often learned to control their fear better.

I am not saying it is easier to teach gymnastics to adults than kids in general. I am saying that gymnastics is just not set up that way. If it was common to teach gymnastics to adults the same way we do to kids. We may find we surprise ourselves with just how far they can go.
 

dan129834

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I just read a study about that window for learning motor skills, and it actually shows that the age doesnt matter. I still need to read more about this, but one study is already against the golden age idea. Maybe cause of this we can stop restricting gymnastics for young people only, and start develop adult gymnasts, as long as they have time for that. Nowadays, many adult have passive incomes and a lot of free time, they just dont even think of gymnastics at all, not to mention doing gymnastics.
 

kecks

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this stuff is basic sports science. also the windows-concept is undergrad textbook for pedagogy. and the sports system of the gdr and the soviet union used these concepts all the way - general motor training for every kid and especially for the selscted few future elite kids in any sport so they will be ready for more specialiced sport specific training during and especially after puberty (wag is an outlier insofar peak age is biomchanically - child like body is considered best - pre puberty but on the other hand gymnastics training is an allround workout anyway and f.e. the basic workout for our track hopefulls during winter time).
 

dan129834

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Its kinda confusing, on one hand its a basic sports science stuff, but on the other hand, studies are against it. So what is correct, i think we can know only through experience.
 

dan129834

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Sure there are windows of opportunity for learning many skills, but it is also not universally applicable.

Adult gymnastics is quite big here, and the adults tend to learn gymnastics significantly faster than the kids. Adult strength and coordination and the ability to understand instructions better helps a lot.

Fear is often far less of a problem with many adults than kids. Pre teens and young teens often have great difficulty controlling their fear, as thinking in the abstract is new to them. Adults have often learned to control their fear better.

I am not saying it is easier to teach gymnastics to adults than kids in general. I am saying that gymnastics is just not set up that way. If it was common to teach gymnastics to adults the same way we do to kids. We may find we surprise ourselves with just how far they can go.
About experience we dont have, thats right. But we still very good adult gymnasts, that probably train even less than 20 hours. For sure there are even level 10 adult gymnast. Take them, and train them like an elite(of course assuming they dont need to worry about living), and i dont see a reason why they wont become elite, world champions or even olympians.
 

Aussie_coach

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Totally agree. It will take an adult with the right physicality, ability and commitment. But to get a kid there it takes the same thing.

Just like many of the issues we have in gymnastics. We have to change our thinking as a sport!
 

dan129834

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Thats good to hear, so lets wait and see who is going to be the first olympian gold medalisi that started late. This is going to be interesting
 

Aussie_coach

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First you need and coach and gym prepared to invest the time outside of their comfort zones.
 
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dan129834

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No matter who does that, he should treat it like some sort of a research, with the question, how far can a gymnast advance although he started late.
But in reality, for those with a body that does tolerate that degree of training, a source of income, no desire to do other things in life and no major injuries. They could continue to compete for a long time.
About this, that is my plan for a long time. Im curretly searching for a source of income that is the least time consuming, and i still can live with it(around 3-4 hours a day). My body is handling 15 hours a week of training, and i feel i can do much more(and my current job is 8.5 hours per day)
And about desires, i never found something that im more passioned about than gymnastics. I just need to find a coach that might think like you.
 
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