Coach Awareness, Knowledge and Practice in Relation to Growth and Maturation, and Training Load in Competitive, Young Gymnasts

Tejal Sarika Patel, Alex McGregor, Louise Fawcett, Sheree Bekker, Sean Williams, Karen Williams, Sean Cumming

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Abstract

Growth-related and overuse injuries are commonly reported in young gymnasts. Two risk factors of these injuries are growth and maturation, and training load. However, little is known regarding current coaching knowledge and practice in relation to these risk factors. To help understand current knowledge and practice, 44 coaches of competitive, young gymnasts, from 3 gymnastics disciplines (men’s artistic, women’s artistic, trampoline) took part in focus groups. The focus groups explored the awareness, experience and practice of coaches in relation to growth and maturation, training load and injury in competitive, young gymnasts. Data were analysed manually using an inductive thematic approach to identify core themes. The findings showed that coaches were aware of the physical changes and injuries that occur during the adolescent growth spurt. Both psychological changes and skill loss/confusion were also identified as challenges during this time. The knowledge and practice of monitoring growth and maturation, and training load did however differ between disciplines. Sports science and medicine practitioners were recognised as key stakeholders in helping manage and reduce the risk of injuries during growth. There appears to be gap between coach knowledge of growth and maturation, and training load, and practices such as monitoring training load and growth. Educating coaches and further research in these areas will aid coaches in reducing the risk of injuries in young, competitive gymnasts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)528-543
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Science & Coaching
Volume16
Issue number3
Early online date10 Dec 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the coaches for their time in taking part in the study and the National Coaches for supporting the study. The authors would also like to thank Jason Laird, Jonathan Bucke and Lindy Laszig for their time in taking part in the pilot study. The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by British Gymnastics and University of Bath.

Funding Information:
The author(s) declared the following potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The following authors, Alex McGregor and Karen Williams are employees of British Gymnastics. Author Louise Fawcett is an employee of the English Institute of Sport working with British Gymnastics. Author Tejal Sarika Patel is a contracted employee and partly supported by British Gymnastics.

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by British Gymnastics and University of Bath.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.

Keywords

  • Artistic gymnastics, injury, trampolining, youth sport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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