Principles of Gymnastics Skill Training

Here are some principles of gymnastics training, some of which apply to skill training.


There is a tremendous difference between doing skills and routines in practice and in competition. Just preparing to do routines during practice does not necessarily mean that with a higher level of excitement and anxiety, a gymnasts will be able to successfully perform them during a very important competition. Overtraining is a method of gymnastics training that has gymnasts forced to train at a higher and harder level, than the level at which they compete. This can be done in many ways, including doing things like performing skills with one-arm, dealing with staged distractions during practice and cold routines.


Adaptation refers to a gymnast’s ability to adjust to increased physical demand. It refers to both increase muscle strength and the ability to develop gymnastics skills. Repeated correct practicing of skills and routines makes them second nature. Adaptation makes a gymnast them to be efficient allowing them to expend less energy doing the same movements and routines. This means workouts must vary if continued improvement in both strength and gymnastics skills is to be expected.


This principle states that the more regular the training, the more rapid the improvement. Errors, in the application of this principle, often apply to younger lower level and training team gymnasts, who say train two times per week for three hours, instead of five days per week for two hours. While the gymnast’s parents may much prefer driving to practice fewer days, everyone must understand that gymnast’s progress will be slower. This principle also applies to higher level gymnasts who only train five days per week, vs. six days per week. Regularity in practice is needed, especially, to maintain rhythm in tumbling, bar routines and bream series.


This is a well understood principle in gymnastics training, which is not always applied correctly. Proper progression does not mean incessant unsupervised repetition of drills and basic skills. It means, by definition, that progress occurs. Everyone understands that progress should only occur after the prerequisites have been mastered, but once that step of progress has been mastered, it is time to move on to the next step. There are both skill and equipment progressions. Skill progression can occur by learning new skills, improving skill execution or improving skill and routine consistency. There are too many steps of progress that gymnasts need to make to reach high level optional gymnastics success, for coaches to get stuck doing the same low level drills over and over again without making real progress. That said, proper progression must be carefully planned and tracked in order to be effective and efficient.

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