Many people are confused at exactly why so many gymnasts who are professional are so very young.  There are several reasons, however one of the main reasons why most gymnasts especially those who are heavily competing are so young.  As young girls especially are concerned, they reach their maximum potential usually around 16 to 17 years of age.  

At this point in a girls life she has developed the muscles and strength necessary to perform the routines and tricks and she also has the greatest amount of flexibility possible.  The ability have maximum strength as well as maximum flexibility usually factor together and allow most girls to compete actively until they are approximately 20 years old.  

However, this is simply a guideline and the past has taught people that it is possible to still complete in gymnastics even after the age of 20 for females.  It is important to realize though that gymnastics physically takes a lot of energy and effort and once the body starts to really age and mature keeping up with the strains is quite difficult to do.

In contrast to women’s gymnastics, the men who are involved are spending greater amounts of time focusing on strength.  Because of this difference, most men reach their peak in gymnastics around the age of 20-25.  This greater age allows most men to achieve the higher level of strength that is required to actively participate in the elements and events.

As the age of gymnasts continue to stay low, it is important to realize that there are rules limiting the ability of very young athletes from participating in major competitions.  The age limits are currently no gymnast younger than 16 is permitted to perform at any international competition including the Olympics and World competitions.  

While this may seem unfair the overall goal is to help ensure that the gymnasts are physically and emotionally ready for the rigors of strict competition before participating.  In the past gymnasts as young as 14 were allowed to participate however this changed in 1997.  In the meantime, the age of maximum ability has remained fairly steady in the 16-17 year old range.  

The young age for professional and semi professional gymnasts has also helped to encourage the number of children moving around in the search for the perfect coach.  With many children involved in gymnastics reaching their maximum potential at a very young age parents are often left with the decision about where they can find the best coach possible.  There are times when a local coach is acceptable and other times the best coach possible is on the other side of the country.

Selecting the right coach for your child and their needs will vary based on quite a few criteria.  The ultimate result is still the same, gymnasts are forced to wait longer before completing in world events, and the sheer ability of young women and men is tested each and every day in gyms all around the country.  With the are requirement rising for international competitions it is anticipated that the overall age of professional gymnasts will rise as well.  How accurate this will actually be has yet to be seen though.

For those who have competed successfully or even as professionals there is many years following retirement which makes it essential that the gymnast also have another hobby or career to fall back on.  Due to the incredibly young age for professional gymnasts it is possible for children as young as 16 to become licensed gymnastics coaches which opens more doors to them and even greater long term career opportunities that will last long after they have retired from active competition.

Choosing and selecting the perfect gymnastics program to turn your tiny daughter into the superstar you dream of certainly is not easy.  However, by realizing just how young most professionals are and taking an honest stock of your child’s talents as well as desire can be quite helpful in making the correct decision.


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