Talent Development

Scottish Gymnastics has identified the importance of understanding the process of talent development for coaches across the various disciplines in the Sport. It has identified these 4 areas as being key things for the development of talent:

- People develop at different rates, it takes time
- All skills can be developed
- It’s important to have a self-regulation process
- Your beliefs impact on your performance

Below a series tools and downloadable practical documents to support coaches on the talent development process.  Each document has a ‘how to use’ explanation.  These can be used independently or interlinked into a wider programme and can also support an understanding in the process with parents. You can also view this course on our e-learning platform, Absorb

Athlete Driven Self-Development

How do we empower our gymnasts to think about their own development?

The quicker we can get the gymnasts to self- aware and figure out to develop themselves the better progress we will make as coaches.  Self-regulation is a hugely important tool for both coaches and gymnasts with the focus on setting SMART goals, reviewing progress and looking at our reasons for success and failure. Attached is a series of downloadable documents that can be used by coaches and athletes to help with self- development and goal setting. You can view and download the athlete profiles for gymnasts below:

> Junior
> Espoir
> Senior

> Scottish Institute of Sport Coaching Tool for Planning

There is a wide range of supporting academic research that highlights the importance of self-driven improvement and the positive impact mindset and postive psychology can have on young gymnasts. You can read more in the following resource:

> Self-Driven Improvement Resource

Gymnast Led Session

Do we ever allow our gymnasts to lead the session?  Why would we do this and what benefit it is for us as coaches?

During a practical session, try to allow the gymnasts you are working with to develop and lead either a whole session or part of a session.  Commonly, coaches would only allow the warm up section to be lead but we feel you can get a lot more out of the gymnasts in skill or physical preparation areas.  The can provide you as a coach with a huge amount of information such as; what goals they set for themselves, their work ethic, how they work on their own, their understanding for progressing themselves as gymnasts, the challenge of being the coach and many more.


The theory of mind-set came to fruition through the work of Carol Dweck and has been documented in the sporting world for some time also.  Please see the infographic below from Believe Perform which describes the differences from having a Growth to Fixed mind-set.  This is something that could be displayed on the gym walls. The key thing to remember is that our beliefs ultimately impact on our performance.  Another important factor to be clear on is that people fall into different areas on a mind-set continuum often people can be fixed and growth in different areas.

The idea of the mind-set continuum allows the coach to understand more about their gymnasts beliefs about the sport.  This can help shape areas of future development between the coach and the gymnasts.  Gymnasts have to write down 15 attributes that they feel make up an ideal performer in the sport.  The gymnasts have to rate between 0 – 100 what percentage they think that attribute can be developed.  From here you can generate a lot of discussion with the Gymnasts around the certain attributes, why they might be important and how they can be developed. View the following resources below for more information.

> Mindset Continuum
> Mindset Infographic
> How to Develop a Growth Mindset

Challenge Day

How often do we go home from a training session and say ‘that was an amazing session today I was really challenged, I wasn’t very successful but learnt loads about myself’. It seems that we are not open to allow a struggle or failure as being something to admit and it being ok.  And yet we know that we make mistakes all the time and we learn from them. 

The aim of ‘challenge day’ is to create a culture in the gym where mistakes are openly used as learning points and failure is a by-product of stepping out of the comfort zone with success being very unlikely that day.

What would a ‘challenge day’ look like for you as a gymnastics coach?

As a coach you will need to think of the strategies you could use to help the gymnasts deal with the information processed during this session?

The key thing to remind your gymnasts is that as a developing athlete of any level skills take time to learn, people learn at different rates and not being successful is ok and very common.

Coaching Habits Checklist

How often do we reflect on our own practice as coaches?  The coaching habits checklist is a tool for coaches to repeatedly check and challenge themselves against the principles of Talent Development.  Are you continually referencing the key aspects of talent development in your sessions?  The checklist is a simple but effective document to allow coaches to reflect on this.

> Coaching Habits Checklist

Long Term Athlete Development

> British Gymnastics - Long Term Athlete Development Resource