WAG The Future of Elite

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gym_dad32608

Proud Parent
Aug 7, 2018
124
53
Very simple concept... the best teams typically compete well below their actual ability. You see this all the time at Level 4. There are always tons of Level 4 athletes that already have their Level 7 skills. These athletes are typically very confident and have no issues hitting the podium on a regular basis.

If you are an elite and you are competing a Yurchenko double full on vault that lands fairly short most of the time... then you are competing at 100% of your ability. Not only are you competing at 100% of your ability as you can barely pull the vault around... others are competing at only 90% of their ability and doing harder vaults.

There will always be people pushing to 100% of their abilities in gymnastics. This is a terrible place to be in competition and on live surfaces. It causes injuries. 100% of abilities is like "maxing out" in weight training... lot's of failure occurs in this realm. In gymnastics... 100% abilities should only be done in training environments (loose foam... resi pits... while spotted... etc.).
Gotcha. But isnt that the whole point? Not everyone can do elite, and I guess that has been the issue. In a healthy and robust program, those folks that competing a DYF at 100% should be weeded out and not allowed to compete at that level, while the one doing it at 90% should remain. The adults in the room historically have not done their job and have continued to push these girls that probably should not, hence the injuries, mental anguish, etc all while investing their youth and parents $.
 
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GYM0M

Proud Parent
Jul 23, 2013
1,389
@JBS The crumbling of the developmental programs is a problem. The system under Liukin was phenomenal for training elite coaches. I don’t like elite gymnastics today so I probably shouldn’t say too much else, lol.
 
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LemonLime

Proud Parent
Jul 16, 2007
816
Gymnastics is in transition, but it's too early to know what form of gymnastics - let alone elite gymnastics - will emerge.

The Pandemic and dramatic loss (75%?) of Olympic-level programs can explain the dip in qualified juniors. Verbals among current sophomores and freshmen are a-typical because of the rule changes and collision with the Paris Olympics. Compare those facts with the high number of seniors competitive enough to compete at 2021 Olympic Trials and all-time high number of 2021 hopes qualification attempts. Simone continues to be a major draw bringing new athletes to the sport just like the Magnificent 7.

Developmental camps are new and also provide inconsistent numbers. Modern-day developmental camps started in 2006/2007, but were limited to around 20 athletes per year until 2016. Around 99% of those 20 athletes attended national team camps. When Valeri took over the developmental program, he and Marta had a different approach but they agreed he should run that program in his discretion. Under Valeri's tenure, the number of Dev campers increased significantly and DIC was added. The number of Hopes-qualified athletes, however, decreased.

There are some key indicators, however, to the depth of elite gymnastics. We will have to see how they play out in 2022 and 2023?

First, national elite team has never drawn significantly from Tops A team, although certainly there is crossover. The number of participating Tops athletes and Level 2-6 athletes in a given year, however, is very important to having enough athletes in the pool to fill Olympic Teams ten years later. The geographic distribution of teams is also important.

Second, top-10 NCAA coaches want high-performing Level 10s, but generally pick athletes with an elite background at a 3:1 ratio. This selection criteria will continue to influence choices. Until signing days in 2022 and 2023, it's hard to know how the new rules (delayed verbals and NIL) will impact the selection of athletes.

Third, just like elite, Level 10 and NCAA keep getting harder. Athletes need Es and upgraded vaults to be competitive - especially starting around Jr. E. A group may leave elite if they cannot satisfy a 5.5 SV, but another, larger group may leave JO if they cannot successfully compete Es.

Fourth, there are no elites without elite coaches. The Pandemic depleted the cash reserves of many programs. If current and future elite coaches cannot financially or emotionally commit to a hopes or elite program, the number of elite athletes will drop. Interested coaches need to be supported by NT coaches or their potential will be limited.

Fifth, it's hard to stay in elite from age 14-16. The first year in senior is HARD. Friends quit. Teams become smaller. School gets harder. Gymnastics becomes specialized. Bodies change. Stress increases. I presume those pressures are even harder because of the Pandemic and seismic shifts in the sport.

Sixth, Tom and Dan need to do a great job. They must funnel a strong number of athletes (40 hopes, 30 juniors, 20 seniors) into international experiences. They need to emphasize the correct skills and improve areas with the highest scoring potential (vault) while gaining points in areas with the biggest gap (bars). They need to constantly give new coaches a chance so the pool of coaches and athletes remains static. I don't know if they can afford to do what they need and want to do.
 

ReluctantGymMom

Proud Parent
May 11, 2020
184
31
You’ve also got a bunch of coaches with elite and national team experience who are just flat out getting old now. Our gym has HOPES, had elites, had national team members and individuals go to Olympic trials - but the coach is aging, he had a heart attack over the summer, how much longer is he gonna keep spotting those hard skills? It’s physically taxing

Same with our previous gym. The owners shoulder is shot but the girls learning new releases need him there, and they’re not 50, 60 lbs anymore (and even that starts to wear you down).

If no one younger is training to be an elite coach and many of the elite coaches are grandparents now, it doesn’t matter if kids want to train elite - there’s no one gonna be around to train them
 

jamieintexas

Coach
Proud Parent
Sep 30, 2017
137
51
You’ve also got a bunch of coaches with elite and national team experience who are just flat out getting old now. Our gym has HOPES, had elites, had national team members and individuals go to Olympic trials - but the coach is aging, he had a heart attack over the summer, how much longer is he gonna keep spotting those hard skills? It’s physically taxing

Same with our previous gym. The owners shoulder is shot but the girls learning new releases need him there, and they’re not 50, 60 lbs anymore (and even that starts to wear you down).

If no one younger is training to be an elite coach and many of the elite coaches are grandparents now, it doesn’t matter if kids want to train elite - there’s no one gonna be around to train them
Add to the fact that coaching is an extremely hard job with bad hours and low pay. My son is following in my footsteps but I hope that he stops. I have never made enough to support a family, if it weren’t for my husband paying the bills, I would have had to stop years ago.
 

rlm's mom

Proud Parent
Aug 21, 2021
109
39
Our gym used has had elites in the past but has come under new ownership who don't believe in gymnasts doing extreme hours. They are happy for our coaches to coach gymnasts for the elite path but believe any extremely talented athlete will reach hopes/elite whilst training less hours. No gymnasts at our gym do more than 24hrs a week yet we have/had multiple hopes and elites. Any gymnasts who want to train longer hours find themselves somewhere else to train. I think this is quite revolutionary in this sport and full support it. However we have had less elites than previously.
 
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