Selection,detection, And Promotion Of Talented Children For Olympic Gymnastics: a Multidisciplinary Experience

Por: F. O. Carvalho e L. A. G. Freitas.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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The development of a high level athlete is a process that initiate in the early childhood, selecting the future sport expert,
and where only the fittest and the one with the best performance will excel and present conditions to achieve the
podium in his/her sport [1,2,3,4,5]. Based on these guidelines, this study had the purpose to present a methodology built
and tested by a multidisciplinary staff of State University of Londrina, Paraná State, Brazil, to assess, select, detect and
promote talented children with potential to expertise in Olympic Gymnastics.

This study was characterized as an exploratory pilot study, and through selection criteria involving an analysis of
predetermined genetic aspects such as stature, strength, flexibility, speed, body composition, and cognitive capacities.
Anthropometric measures (body mass, stature, and percentage of body fat) were related to 10% of the total evaluation
score; motor performance (flexibility, abdominal endurance, lower limbs power and speed), 24% of the total score;
technical evaluation (eyes-hand reaction time, balance, front grouped roll, inverted three stance), 10% of the total score;
postural asymmetry (back: scoliosis, hip, knees, ankle; and lateral: cifosis, lordosis, hip, knees), 20% of the total score;
and psychological evaluation (cognition, learning capacity and comprehension, fitness for performance and
sociometry), corresponding to 28% of the total score. The project had the duration of three years and it was developed
in public elementary schools and during gymnastics events, where it were evaluated approximately 1000 children (male
and female), in the age range from 8- to 10-years.

The total number of children participating in the evaluation process (1000) only 7 (seven) achieved the high level
criteria, demonstrating a high potential for competitive practice in gymnastics. The children that did not achieved that
level were invited to participate in sport initiation and recreation gymnastics. The obtained percentage for each
evaluated variable or criteria established a potential ranking for the competitive athlete children in Olympic

The results of this study suggested a battery of tests standardization specific to Olympic Gymnastics based in criteria,
with a score table, that can be easily applied in different levels and sites of sport practice. The advantages of this
methodology indicated a low operational cost, easy measure evaluation, and higher reliability to detect potential
children to develop competitive Olympic Gymnastics practice.

[1]. Assaiante C. & Amblard B. (1995). Hum Mov Sci, 14, 13-43.
[2]. Debu B. & Woollacott M.H. (1988). J Motor Beh, 20, 273-300.
[3]. Oliveira A.R. (2001). Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh, PA (USA).
[4]. Robertson S. & Elliott D. (1996). Int J Sports Psych, 27, 361-7.
[5]. Whitney S.L. (1992). Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh, PA (USA).
National Council of Scientific and Technological Development of Brazil - CNPq

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