The Reasons for Gymnasts’ Injuries? – Part 2

Lack of Consistency Tracking

We are aware and share gymnast’s and coaches’ excitement about learning new skills and moving skills along to the next equipment progression. No one is more committed to a training program that focuses on doing steps of progress than us. But it is best to avoid gymnasts’ injuries and ensure gymnasts’ safety at every level of the process, especially when moving skills to a harder surface, the competition surface or including new skills in competition routines. Coaches need to be aware, and take into consideration the fact that until a gymnast is consistent in doing a skill, there is still potential injury danger moving to a harder surface, from even one inconsistent performance of that skill on the harder surface.

No Safety Margin in Routine Skill Choices

Most coaches (and therefore gymnasts) compete the hardest skills they can do in competitions. The worst case is coaches who actually have gymnasts try to compete skills they have never actually landed successfully in practice, because they expect the extra effort and adrenaline from the meet will allow the gymnast to make the skill in the meet. Some coaches and gymnasts think some gymnasts do better in meets than in practice. While that may happen occasionally (or even if it happened most of the time), it will still likely result in at least one time where the gymnast fails to make the skill and is potentially at injury risk.

For True Gymnast Safety and to Avoid Gymnasts’ Injuries

For the true safety of gymnasts, competition skills must be chosen from the range of skills that a gymnast can not only do consistently in practice, but are also easily within their abilities to do under intense competition pressure. It has been suggested that for safety, gymnasts should be competing at about 80% of their current training level, to give them a safe margin of error in competition.

Poorly Trained Coaches

Regardless of where the fault, for coaches being poorly trained, derives (and the fault could range or include all of the following – the national federation, the gym owner, the head coach and/or the individual coach), coaching errors because of a lack of true comprehensive gymnastics and safety training, education and experience, are a significant factor in injuries.

No Safety Training Designed for High Level Optional Coaching Available

While training at the lower levels of gymnastics safety education may be more or less sufficient, few gymnastics safety education programs even address safety at the high level optional team training level. And any on-the-job training optional coaches go through is a period during which the safety of gymnasts is not completely protected.

Still Coaching After All Those Gymnasts’ Injuries

It is not unwarranted to conclude that even some of the most successful optional coaches, in some countries, have too many injuries, because they have not studied or understand how to coach at the highest levels, in the safest method possible without injury.

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