Coaches training hours for TOPS and elite pathway gymnasts?

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For any coaches/clubs who have elite pathway programs, training TOPS gymnasts or are training young gymnasts with a lot of potential, how many hours do your girls train a week? I have 5 girls on my team (ages 6-8) who seem to have a lot of potential and i’m trying to get a sense of what it takes and where the bar is at.
 
I would love to see answers to this question. My Future Stars 8-year-old trains 8 hours per week total in a large group with a lot of down time. It doesn’t seem like enough.
 
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I’m seeing 20 for a group of level 3-4s ages 6-9 and focused on elite. The younger ones in that group also do additional privates for routines. My observation is they don’t have the concentration at the end of practices to pick up the details of routines and are trying to fix it in privates. It seems like too much.

Another group that is more 7-10 year olds is doing 12 now and will be doing 16 soon. They might not move up as quickly but it seems more sustainable. This group didn’t do TOPS this year so I think it would have been tough to squeeze in as part of the 12 hours unless they had been more efficient.

I think the hardest part would be adjusting to the composition of the group. I watch some training groups who are brutally efficient because all of the girls have similar personalities, and if you didn’t know the girls you would think their hours are low. Others look like the right number of hours on paper, but it’s wasteful because the spacey girls are distracting the focused girls and some girls get skills instantly and others work slowly, so everyone is spinning their wheels.
 
20 hours is far too much for 6-8 year olds. If the goal is to get these kids to elite, they need to still be in the sport in 10 years, where they are old enough for senior competitions at 16-18.

Excessive training hours on very immature bodies will pay the price later on. When they are young you probably won’t notice the physical issues but the stresses in their bodies will be occurring, and then when they hit puberty the problems related to a lot of stress on their soft bones over the years will start to show, and you will usually Get chronic injuries.

Not to mention burn out, not just the kids but the parents and families. At 6, training 20 hours a week and doing school is a lot, so many parents will opt to home school. 10 years of that will take its toll on the parents too. Not that home schooling isn’t loved by many families, and they make it work well for their kids. But if parents feel forced into by the sport, then they often expect the sport to pay them back in many ways and they become disillusioned.

I would keep, it at no more than 10 hours a week at 6, and stepping up a little at 7 or 8.

Group size obviously plays a role. A large group without multiple coaches will make it hard but you don’t want the group to be too small either. If the group os too small it can easily lose its emergy and dynamic. The kids feed off each other and learn from each other.
 
20 hours is far too much for 6-8 year olds. If the goal is to get these kids to elite, they need to still be in the sport in 10 years, where they are old enough for senior competitions at 16-18.

Excessive training hours on very immature bodies will pay the price later on. When they are young you probably won’t notice the physical issues but the stresses in their bodies will be occurring, and then when they hit puberty the problems related to a lot of stress on their soft bones over the years will start to show, and you will usually Get chronic injuries.

Not to mention burn out, not just the kids but the parents and families. At 6, training 20 hours a week and doing school is a lot, so many parents will opt to home school. 10 years of that will take its toll on the parents too. Not that home schooling isn’t loved by many families, and they make it work well for their kids. But if parents feel forced into by the sport, then they often expect the sport to pay them back in many ways and they become disillusioned.

I would keep, it at no more than 10 hours a week at 6, and stepping up a little at 7 or 8.

Group size obviously plays a role. A large group without multiple coaches will make it hard but you don’t want the group to be too small either. If the group os too small it can easily lose its emergy and dynamic. The kids feed off each other and learn from each other.

Agree that 20 is way too long! It’s bananas! I’m just a parent of a kid in a very different, low hours group and glad we have no involvement in that other one. The kids are home-schooled or do half-days, and some of them have moved towns to be nearby.
 
I’m fairly new to coaching competitive so I can’t answer on experience here. Dave Tilley from SHIFT (@shift_movementscience on Instagram) has actually suggested that athletes under 12 shouldn’t be training more hours per week than their age. I don’t fully agree with this (for example if you have 9 year olds that can safely compete optionals, they will have to train a bit more than 9 hours per week to progress if they want to get to the elite level), but I think it’s important to use more of your time to educate, train the basics, and do conditioning. Only a relatively small portion of each practice should be focused on pounding and “big” skills. I agree with the people saying 20 hours is far too much at that age.

Many senior elites train up to 40 hours a week which in my opinion is WAY too much and not sustainable for a long career. When chellsie Memmel came back to elite in her 30s, she said she was training about 15 hours a week with a big focus on conditioning (IIRC, she dedicated Tuesdays to ONLY conditioning).

Just my two cents but like I said, not speaking from experience here so take everything with a grain of salt!
 

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