What USAG Level 1 to 4 Gymnast Should Really Be Doing

The sport of gymnastics is inherently a complicated sport in terms of training.  With 4 – 6 events, hundreds of skills and virtually an infinite number of possible skill combinations for routines, it is a difficult sport to train for.

Start Purposeful Gymnastics Training Earlier

The young age of the participants in gymnastics, especially on the female side, and the need to try to get in the requisite hours of skill training before they hit puberty and skill learning speed and ease drops, while still going to school, presents huge training scheduling problems.

Hit the Windows of Opportunity for Training

There are three windows of training opportunity that need to be taken advantage of for gymnasts before they hit puberty, and two (flexibility and speed training) need to be implemented before the age many gymnasts are “identified” as team material, much less start serious team training.

Establish a Comprehensive Gymnastics Career Training Program

The USAG Level 1 – 4 system only covers a minimal number of gymnastics skills, and is more of a participatory program than a true training program. The Level 1 – 4 system does not provide either gymnastics career direction or a comprehensive beginning gymnastics training program. For that, gyms and coaches are on their own.

Train What You Can Early

While not a comprehensive list, here are some of the things that young gymnasts really should be training:

  • Speed training
  • Flexibility
  • Body shaping
  • Salto/skill body positions
  • The beginning and early progressions of learning A through E level difficulty skills
  • Handstand mastery
  • Conditioning and neuro-muscular strength and skill response training
  • Balance training, including Romanian and Soviet Beam Complexes
  • Bar swing, including strap bar training
  • Vault entry training progresssions

Set-up All Your Gym Programs for the Necessary Gymnastics Training

The basic assumption should be that all gymnasts are potential champions and should receive real gymnastics training from the very beginning. Preschool and recreational class training needs to be modified and upgraded to cover the necessary windows of training opportunity and provide meaningful gymnastics training.

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