The value of a non-sport-specific motor test battery in predicting performance in young female gymnasts
Vandorpe, Barbara × Vandendriessche, Joric B Vaeyens, Roel Pion, Johan Lefevre, Johan Philippaerts, Renaat M Lenoir, Matthieu #
Taylor Francis Health Sciences
Journal of Sports Sciences vol:30 issue:5 pages:497-505
Gymnastics talent identification focuses on the identification of young gymnasts who display characteristics for potential success in the future. The aim of this study was to identify which current performance characteristics are related to performance in competition 2 years later. Twenty-three female gymnasts aged 7-8 years completed a multidimensional test battery measuring anthropometric, physical, and coordinative characteristics and were technically evaluated by expert coaches. Two years later, the all-around competition results of those gymnasts now participating in elite (n = 12) and sub-elite (n = 11) competition were obtained. None of the initial measurements significantly correlated with the results of the sub-elite gymnasts 2 years later. For the elite gymnasts, a non-sport-specific motor test battery correlated strongly with the competition result, with more than 40% of the variation in competition performance being explained by the result on that test 2 years earlier. Neither the coaches' judgement nor the anthropometric and physical characteristics were sensitive enough to predict performance. A motor coordination test might be valuable in the early identification of gymnasts, as its discriminative and predictive qualities might be sufficiently powerful for selection within a relatively homogeneous population of gymnasts exhibiting similar anthropometric and physical profiles.