Gymnastics is a popular yet very demanding sport that requires physical attributes, such as strength, flexibility, coordination, stamina, and agility, in order to achieve success. If you or your child have an aptitude for this sport, and are looking to succeed at a high level, read on for some advice on how to realize your goals.
If you are reading this article, it might be too late for you to become an Olympic-level gymnast. The best gymnasts start remarkably young. According to US gymnastics, Olympic-level gymnasts start training between the ages of 2 and 4. It certainly is a lifetime of work!
If you are a parent who wants to foster a love of gymnastics in your young child, it is important not to put too much pressure on them. You want them to have a happy life, not just a healthy sporting career. Remember—gymnastics careers do not last until middle age. Make sure your child has the mental provisions for being happy after their career is over.
Train, Train, Train
This might seem obvious, but it is important to keep a very regular training schedule. Gymnastics is incredibly taxing and takes a great deal of skill. You’ll need to learn techniques inside out, push your body to the limit, and make sure you keep on top of any injuries if you want to have a competitive edge.
Apply For A Scholarship
Higher education institutions are a key venue for training and career development, but they cost a great deal of money to attend. Many institutions offer specialist scholarships for students who show talent in gymnastics.
If you are particularly talented, you’ll be able to shop around for the best scholarships using sites such as asmscholarships.com. Make sure to also research the academic side of the institution you are applying for.
Apply For TOPS
All five members of the “fierce five”—the US gymnastic competitors who took home gold at the 2012 London Olympics—took park in the TOPS program. The Talent Opportunity Program takes in 7–10-year-old gymnasts who show exceptional potential with the aim of molding them into successful national teams.
The work rate is remarkably intense in the TOPS program, but you’ll have access to the best coaches and equipment, and national-level peers.
Don’t be manipulated
Chasing your dream can leave you vulnerable to manipulation. Make sure you have people around you who can spot the tell-tale signs. No manipulation of a young person is acceptable. The athlete should always have agency over their body and their workload.
If you are a parent of a young gymnast, it is your job to safeguard your child against damage.
Find A Coach Who Inspires You
An inspiring coach can be your guide and driving force in the highly competitive world of gymnastics. Make sure you find a coach who inspires a passion for movement—not just for winning medals.
The factors that make a good coach can be subjective. Some coaching styles fit one gymnast in a completely different way to another. You’ll probably need to try out a few coaches before settling on one who truly pushes you to your limit. If you can, try and look at the cohort of gymnasts that prospective coaches teach. Don’t think you fit in with the cohort? Try and contact other coaches.