Anon At what point does gymnast age not matter as much?

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Anonymous (69df)

For example:
Obviously motor planning skills and developmental differences of a 6 year old gymnast and a 7-8 year old gymnast with the same number of years of gymnastic training… usually the 7/8 year old will have advantages all else equal. But let’s take a 11/12 year old vs a 10 year old gymnast with everything else equal… would the 11/12 year old have as much advantage still?

Post puberty year, in girls gymnatics, I’d imagine age matters less than other factors like innate ability, height, and experience.
I'm curious to see everyone's response. I would say it doesn't matter much at the younger ages either. I might ve alone in thinking but gymnastics isn't for everyone so even if a 6 year old and an 8 year old both had 2 years of training, the 6 year old could be at an advantage. Especially if the 6 year old was trained on a team routine and the 8 year old on a rec route
I would argue, in general, that older girls can have a focus advantage that translates into better attention to detail. It's just a little easier for older minds to keep sustained focus in the racket and emotion of a competition space. Emphasis on in general, though.

One of our level 9s this past season was 10, another was 16. The 10 year old has tremendous dynamism (as you can imagine) but the 16 year old has a smoothness and flow that the younger teammate can't quite put together... yet.
Past the age of around 10/11, there isn't much difference in terms of body awareness and focus. At that point I think it becomes more about how many years they've been in the sport, or similar sports as to whether they look more polished, show more confidence etc. ex. I always found it strange that there were age divisions for L10, a level where age matters less than the number of years you have been competing that level.
My daughter has always been the youngest on her team. When she was little (5-8), I do believe there was a disadvantage to her being the youngest and competing against older kids. I started to see it even out some at age 9. Now, at age 10, she consistently competes against 12 year olds but she is able to hold her own. Her team goes up to 16 year olds and she consistently has scored better or equivalent to them. I think the difference is that at age 10 she started competing at a level where everyone is good. All the kids who don’t quite have the talent have been weeded out or quit. Now, it’s about who works the hardest in the gym verses age. She might goof off a bit more than the older kids but her body control and abilities are even with her older teammates. It’s no loner about who has more years of experience but who is willing to work the hardest.
I know of a case where a 10-year-old with ADD practicing 6 hours a week was able to consistently outscore a neurotypical 16-year-old who practiced 10-12 hours a week, and had dropped down a level specifically to have an advantage. They were only in the same age group once so that was the only meet where it was evident to everyone.
I like this question! Although I don’t think it can be answered beyond citing anecdotal evidence. Not only is age correlated with a bunch of other attributes (muscle mass, body proportions, emotional maturity, etc.), but there is extreme variance within age groups. It’s nearly impossible from a statistical point of view to identify age-based trends with the exception of major biological milestone like puberty.

With that said, the focus and intensity of a gymnast’s training is always changing throughout her career. These changes are based on a lot of factors (current physical ability, potential for growth, short-term goals, long-term goals). In some ways, the question “At what point does gymnast age not matter?” doesn’t make sense. The age groupings in competitions is a necessary evil because we do not have a truly objective metric for clustering similarly-abled athletes. The only time age matters is in the context of planning for long-term goals like college gymnastics.
Age doesn't matter once they've made it... until then it matters.

In the US... competitive gymnastics in general and college gymnastics are both age based goals. There really is no adult gymnastics in the US other than elite... and college gymnastics definitely has an age based timeline.
Im in xcel gold and age as well as experience can help have more of an advantage in gymnastics.

I am 15 years old (one of the oldest in gold), and this is my 2nd year on gold
Im not very advanced skills wise as some of the younger gymnasts I compete with in gold (about age 10-13, who will pretty much chuck any skill without fear compared to me who struggles to do a cartwheel on beam with a spot), but I have also been competing since I was 9 and have learned how to stay tight, consistent, and make the routines look clean, compared to newer or younger golds with sloppy skills and not as high scores.

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