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JanTanja

Hello all. My name is Jan, I am 17 years old and I am about to be a senior in high school. In many ways, I am a typical high school student, going to pursue a degree after high school (hopefully mech engineering or civil engineering), playing sports (rugby, wrestling, weightlifting), music, extracurriculars, etc. What separates me is my will and dedication to the awesome sport of gymnastics.

 

I found gymnastics about a year and a half ago. Well technically, I was inspired first by street workout and then was baffled at the strength of gymnasts when I bought my first pair of rings. So far, I have been training seriously for about a year, but it was only from this last month that I have decided to ONLY train for gymnastics strength elements (such as maltese, pl, bl, fl, etc). Well actually I lift weights once a week, the only exercise being deadlifts. I have tried all the other events, like pommel horse, high bar, floor, parallel bars, and vault. Currently, I can press to handstand both pike and straddle, hold an L sit for about 40 seconds, hold a full back lever for 10 seconds, hold a straddle front lever for 5 seconds (I know it needs work), and hold an advanced tuck planche for around 20 seconds. I am also learning how to backflip. Reading around the forums, it seems to me that I am progressing pretty quickly (at least in my opinion). I train at least 5 days a week, 7 times a week. To be honest, training for gymnastics has been a blast and I feel that I am a natural at it. I have the dedication to keep working and eventually hone my skills to possibly make it big (well actually, I'll be realistic; I know I won't be going to the Olympics or anything but at least self train myself to at least be in the NAIGC or even the NCAA). I truly love training because of the mobility aspect of gymnastics, combined with the functional strength you do not get in any other sport. I plan to join a gym, attend a few open gyms a month, and possibly save up for some of the programs on gymnasticbodies. In college, I wish to participate in some kind of gymnastics club, such as the NAIGC.

 

ANYWAYS, here is my question. I was wondering if there are any fortunate gymnasts who have started around my age and have succeeded in the competitive sport of gymnastics. Or at least made it to the NCAA. I want to make realistic goals for myself. Although I know I train more than I even study sometimes, I know there has to be a limit for what I can accomplish. Thanks in advance!

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Coach Sommer

Up into the 1970s, yes - such a goal was possible. My own college coach (Wayne Young) was a diver in high school, started gymnastics as a freshman in college and within a few short years was the US Champion and then later was our top athlete at the 1976 Olympics.

However that was then and this is now. In today's competitive arena your dream of making an NCAA team at your age is impossible; the technical level of skills is simply too high and require more years than you have to achieve the necessary mastery.

You may be able to someday make a club team at the NAIGC level; depending upon your talent, work ethic and the quality of coaching available.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Jan Tanja

Thanks coach!! Is the NAIGC even comparable to the NCAA?

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Toni Laukkavaara

I like how everyone always say that 'i am too old to start gymnastics'. Why is that? I dont think that people go into weightlifting gyms thinking that they are going to be worldclass someday.

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JanTanja

True, but I mean it's good to have goals. Realistic goals at least. I mean who wouldn't want to be the best in the world?

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Daniel Burnham

Thanks coach!! Is the NAIGC even comparable to the NCAA?

No. There are some guys that are very good and a few who had been on an NCAA team but you the competition is done for fun by most and isn't as competitive. However the level of competition seems to be getting higher every year. Like most club sports it is mainly just to have fun and push yourself if you want. There aren't many who have their own gyms or coaches. So it depends on the team.

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Toni Laukkavaara

True, but I mean it's good to have goals. Realistic goals at least. I mean who wouldn't want to be the best in the world?

You can still achieve some really impressive feats of strength! Only if you are consistent and you like this type of training tough

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