10,000 Rule debunked (again)

October 11, 2013

How come every time somebody “debunks” the 10,000 hour rule, they use being good enough to play in the NBA as an example of what it means to be expert.  Being the very best at something and being an “expert” are not the same thing.  There are an unlimited number of spots in the expert catagory.  There are a limited number of spots when you talk about being the very best at anything.  It’s so ridiculous that people can’t seem to get this straight.  I really believe it’s because they just don’t want to.  There are a lot of people out there who did put that 10,000 hours of directed training in and got really good BUT they didn’t get the record deal, or they didnt’ get into medical school, or they didn’t get into the NBA.  Hey, they’re not the very best, but are you really trying to tell me they’re not experts at what they do?  That makes no sense. 

Coach Rick http://gymnasticscoaching.com/new/2013/10/10000-hour-rule-debunked/ quotes Epstein:

Epstein quoted:

… for an American man aged between 20 and 40, standing between 6ft and 6ft2in the chances of playing professionally in the NBA are five in a million. If he’s 6ft2in to 6ft4in there is a still-distant 20 in a million chance. But if he’s 6ft10in to 7ft, the odds shorten to 32,000 in a million. And if he stands 7ft, there is a one-in-six chance he will currently be playing in the NBA. …

And goes on to say himself:

Height is far more important than number of hours trained in that sport.

LOL!!  Here we go again with the example of the 7 footers getting into the NBA.  Guess they must be “experts” since they got into the NBA.  Think again Epstein.  It’s a well known phenomenon that those 7 footers don’t always play the game that well.  They actually might not be experts.   Maybe they might’ve been if their training had had the proper direction.  That’s another thing that some people ignore about the 10,000 hour rule.  The training is supposed to be directed properly.  You can’t just train any old way for 10,000 hours and expect to become an expert. 

And as far as height being far more important in basketball:  Height may be important to the people who pick the teams, but it isn’t important in determining who is and who isn’t an expert at playing the game.  Just because somebody is not selected to play in the NBA doesn’t mean they aren’t an expert.   



From Fug to Fourth (IN THE WORLD!!!)

October 11, 2013

Remember Simone Biles’ first year as a junior elite when she had the fugliest bar routine ever?  The bar routine that made you go, “WTF, is this seriously a US elite?  Are we sure she’s not from Sri Lanka?”  Ok, it was actually way better than anything we’ve ever seen from a gymnast from Sri Lanka, but it was really, really bad for a US gymnast.  Honestly, it was mostly those nasty half turns.  Her feet flopped and crossed madly on every single one.  With like five half turns in the routine, it was a hot, fugly mess.

Fast forward to friggin’ fourth in the bar final (of the world)!  Day-um!  I don’t really care who wasn’t there.  For somebody, ANYBODY to turn that fug all the way around to fourth in the world?  That’s awesome.  It actually makes me think there’s hope for someone like Skinner. 

Let’s just hope all that time at camp rubbing elbows with Kyla’s coaches have made an impression on Simone’s coaches.  Sixteen is like a danger zone for elite gymnasts.  So many hit sixteen and the next thing you know, they’re injured.  I have to wonder if Kyla’s coaches knew she was in the danger zone and, after the Olympics, made adjustments to keep her healthy.  While all over the gymternet, people who apparently have not been watching too many 16 year old elites get injured for too many years bitched and bitched about Kyla’s lack of upgrades, I held my breath hoping it was a sign Kyla’s coaches actually had a plan.  I still don’t know if they had a plan but if they did, I hope it’s a plan that I hope more coaches, including Simone’s, catch onto and start using.   

Coach Rick posted:

Some feel Simone should have won that Vault final in Antwerp.

Really?  People think Simone should’ve won with crossed feet on her Amanar and a lower value on her second vault.  What?  Speaking of Simone’s crossed feet, I think they are getting much better.  She actually has one foot perfectly pointed on her Amanar but since the other one is fully clubbed and hooked around the first foot, it makes her legs look a lot more crossed than they are.   


Does Shang Chunsong Need Excuses?

October 11, 2013

Shang Chunsong is the newest teeny Chinese gymnast that people are suspicious of. Of course, that also makes her the newest teeny Chinese gymnast to have age defenders coming out of the woodwork in support of. I’ve even read a claim that Shang is small because her family was poor and she was malnourished. Is that really true?

I thought Shang went to the gymnastics sports school for her county at age six or seven. I’ve read that children train at these schools and are away from their families for weeks at a time. The school would’ve been responsible for feeding her and if the family paid tuition, wouldn’t it cover food? It would make no sense for them to let her train if she didn’t have enough food to fuel that training. There’s no reason for Shang to be any more malnourished than any other Chinese gymnast.

Anyway, without any sort of evidence to say she’s an age cheater – or malnourished – I think it’s fine to say she’s just small. Because honestly, some people really are just small.

Too Stupid

September 25, 2013

Coach Rick weighs in on the proposed plan to reduce team sizes from 5 to 4.

hmm …

Perhaps 12 teams of 4 for Team. Then individual specialists from any nation.

In the case of USA, for example. … What about 4 AA gymnasts, all to compete. Plus a maximum of 1 individual event specialist. That way there would likely be as many RUS, CHN and ROM gymnasts as in London. But still room for a few more specialists.

Too complicated? …

More specialists, more specialists, more specialists. Why are we elevating people who are good on whatever random event or three over people who are good AAers and over teams that are good? What the fuck is so great about specialists that they should have the sport twisted to favor them?

If there absolutely must be more specialists, why do we have to cut team size? Why not just cut team participation? The FIG would gain 12 more spots for their precious specialists if they cut team size to 4. Why don’t they just go to 6 teams of six, 6-5-5. Prelims would also be the team final which shortens the meet like they want. Then they can allocate however many spots to the teams that qualified 7th to whatever however they want to with extra spots available to give to specialists.

The FIG is actively marginalizing the team competition. First with three up three count finals and now cut after cut made to team size. It seriously looks to me like getting rid of team was the goal all along.

Elite Gymnastics Stunts Your Growth

September 12, 2013

High level gymnastics does. At least temporarily. In recreational gymnastics, the athletes aren’t working out that much and they aren’t watching what they eat that closely. It’s different when the gymnast is on an elite training plan. This usually involves a much more intense level of training combined with a much more restricted diet. Most elite gymnasts start training seriously at a young age. Of course, this will change how they grow. Intense training will not hold off growth forever. Most female elites seem to hit puberty sometime in their 16th year. If they have it earlier, it’s usually due to an injury that forced them to train less intensely while they were injured.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t other factors that make gymnasts short. The main factor is the selection process that coaches use. Serious coaches usually select for body type. Coach Rick illustrates his blog post with a picture of Maroney posing with basketball player, Roy Hibbert.

Gymnastics does not make you short. Basketball does not make you tall.

Basketball is a much less demanding sport where many coaches are obsessed with having tall players on their team. So a guy like Hibbert who was barely a good player, let alone a great one, couldn’t run, do a single squat or a pushup ended up with a scholarship to a D1 team.

Cut to 2004, Hibbert’s first year at Georgetown. In an early fall workout, Hibbert lay prostrate in the weight room, watched by strength coach Mike Hill. He’d hit the ground to bang out a few push-ups, but a problem soon became clear: Hibbert couldn’t do one. So while women’s soccer and lacrosse players looked on, Hill straddled the freshman big man, reached down, and grabbed him by the sides, pulling him up and pushing him down while Hibbert struggled to pitch in. “It was humiliating,” Hibbert says. “All these girls are watching — they can do push-ups but I can’t.” Not only could Hibbert not do a push-up, he couldn’t bend his knees enough to do a single squat, even without holding weights.

That’s not all. “He couldn’t run,” says Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green, who was part of the same Georgetown recruiting class as Hibbert.3 “He was pigeon-toed, and he had these size 18 shoes, so he was just tripping over himself trying to get up and down the court.” (Says Hill: “It was more of a waddle than a run.”) But in the half court, Green says, “he was a load.” Big, with good defensive timing and a soft offensive touch, Hibbert was capable of scoring when he got the ball down low. But this was the Big East, a league stacked with elite athletes. As long as Hibbert was incapable of passing a middle school fitness test, he wouldn’t have an impact.

Basketball players are tall because coaches pick tall players. Gymnastics coaches also select for height. They are more likely to select a gymnast for serious training if she’s small for her age. Then, because the gymnast is receiving intense training, she will stay smaller for much longer than if there were no intense training going on.

While gymnasts eventually grow no matter what, I don’t think they will be as tall as they would’ve been. Children around the world end up with stunted growth just due to not getting enough to eat without factoring intense training into the mix. Why would gymnasts be any different?

Still Sounds Like Bullshit

August 21, 2013

Coach Rick is still on his quest to promote shin-grabbing as the best technique in a tucked salto. He notes that Madison Kocian uses this technique in her beam dismount. Madison does have a fabulous double tuck off beam. She lands practically standing up.

This is the same girl who drops a full-in out of the sky on floor – while grabbing the back of her thighs. With that in mind, I still doubt shin-grabbing is a better technique than thigh-grabbing …or nothing-grabbing. Seriously, we have athletes doing full-twisting double tucks, double-twisting double tucks, or even double layouts with and without twist and they grab air. Basically just holding their arms by their sides or near their chest. Yet somehow it supposed to make such a big difference about whether an athlete grabs their shins or the back of their thighs in a double tuck. Tell me another one.

…And Ricky posted a comment on one of Coach Rick’s posts stating that while beam routines of old were beautiful,

…it would be a mistake to say that beam is not also beautiful today.

I’m not really seeing how today’s standing around and arm waving is just as beautiful as the old-fashioned routines.

Marta’s Weird Idea

August 19, 2013

A.K.A. her plot to kick the fourth gymnast in the teeth

The year after the Olympics, only four gymnasts are allowed per country at Worlds.  Only three gymnasts are allowed to compete per event.  Usually, the US competes two All Arounds and two gymnasts that split the last four events.  Why is Marta talking about competing a third All Arounder?  That would leave no events left for the fourth gymnast on the team.  I know she likes to keep the pressure on, but really.  That’s just low. 

Kyla’s Lipstick

August 19, 2013

On GTT, Kyla’s red lipstick was a big hit. 

Tortuga commented that gymnasts don’t usually wear lipstick.  I always thought they did because with all that eye make-up they wear, I just figured they had on lipstick too.  I just thought it was pale or whatever. 

It’s kind of funny that Kyla just won second All Around and two event gold medals at US nationals and some folks are still bitching about her upgrades.

Tim’s Pedo Moment

August 19, 2013

Bugging me.

Tim felt the need to let the “dad’s in the audience” know that Laurie Hernandez was just 13. I think every gymnast shown on tv was underaged. Why does he have to go all extra pedo about Laurie? He’s not the only weirdo around. I’ve seen an oddball comment here and there. Beautiful Gymnastics blog referred to her as a “saucepot”. GROSS! Somebody on GTT was saying her dance was a bit hoochie. I don’t get this. Her dance is dramatic. To me, there’s nothing sexy about it.

Where Are Kyla’s Upgrades?

July 25, 2013

It seems I can’t go a day without reading something from somebody wanting to know where Kyla’s upgrades are. Why isn’t she upgrading? Is she injured? Is Marta holding her back? Why isn’t she upgrading???

Personally, I don’t mind that she’s not upgrading. So many gymnasts have gotten injured because their coach has them training too hard for too long or too hard while their body is also trying to grow. I’ve always wished that coaches would realize that nature takes a back seat to noone’s gymnastics career. Let the gymnasts heal. Let the gymnasts grow. Maybe we can stop a few overuse injuries.

That’s what I HOPE is going on. She could just be in a holding pattern while she waits to go to college. Nothing wrong with that. It would just be nice if this eventually turns out to be something we point to as one of those moments that mark the evolution of gymnastics. It has taken a long time just to accept non-prepubescent female gymnasts and now it’s starting to look like we are heading into an era of not only accepting them but actually planning for longer careers.

Some folks are still convinced that younger and smaller is better. This is an old post from American Gymnasts that, among other things, talks about how there were so many more junior than senior gymnasts at 2011 US nationals. It’s supposed to be an example about how much better suited junior gymnasts are to the sport but it ignores the fact that junior gymnasts aren’t held to as high of a standard when it comes to qualifying for US nationals.

However, even some of the most die hard believers in the power of being young and tiny seem to be coming around.