Talent Pathways Resources

Here, you will find a collection of information and tools regarding talent pathways, specifically relating to gymnastics and similar acrobatic type sports. Information and resources are continually added, so be sure to check back here!

FTEM Framework

What is FTEM?

Foundation, Talent, Elite & Mastery (FTEM) is a user friendly framework of sporting development that is representative of the “whole of sport” pathway continuum. It integrates common and unique phases of development for participants at the active lifestyle, sport and high performance sport phases. The FTEM framework was developed by the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS).

For more information watch the 'Introducing the FTEM frameworkvideo.

Each Olympic Gymsport has their own FTEM framework

WAG FTEM framework     MAG FTEM framework     TRP FTEM framework     RG FTEM framework

Ideal Physical Attributes

Have you ever wondered what physical attributes High Performance coaches are looking for when it comes to spotting talent? 

Each sport and gymsport has a unique set of ideal physical attributes, necessary for identifying young athletes who will have future competitive success at an International level. 

Women's Artistic Gymnastics

Girls between the ages of 4 to 9. Small frame, light, thin limbs and shoulders wider than hips. Have good posture, flexibility, coordinated, naturally strong and powerful. The modern WAG gymnast is stronger and more robust than long and lean gymnasts of the past.

Need to be able to listen and follow instructions, and be courageous.

Ideally girls will be on or below the 30th percentile in height (female percentile charts)

Men's Artistic Gymnastics

Boys between the ages of 6 to 10. Small frame, light and broad shoulders. Have good posture, flexible, coordinated, fast reflexes and are naturally strong and powerful. Need to be able to listen, follow instructions and be courageous.

Ideally boys will be on or below the 25th percentile in height (male percentile charts)


Girls and boys between the ages of 9 and 16. Average frame, good power to weight ratio, have good posture, flexibility - shoulders and hamstrings/lower back, ankle range, coordination, naturally strong and powerful. Need to be able to listen, follow instructions and make corrections. 

Junior girls and boys with the ability to get into tight positions (tuck, pike and hold straight), be able to jump high on the trampoline, have plenty of guts and like the challenge of learning skills.

Often MAG and WAG gymnasts transition smoothly into trampoline as they have a solid foundation of the requirements needed to become a successful trampolinist.

Rhythmic Gymnastics

Girls between the ages of 7 to 12. Symmetry and balance in their body between the upper and lower halves of their body is crucial. Perfect symmetry of both sides of the body and a good upright stance. Normal to long limb length is ideal. Legs that are straight without hyperextension or knock-knees. Flexible feet with medium length toes. Hips that aren't too narrow or too wide. Also need musicality and artistry. 

Optimal height chart to age for high performance


Boys and girls between the ages of 10 to 15. High performance coaches prefer a gymnast who is level 6 and higher, however any amount of background in gymnastics is favourable. Good toe point, flexible, strong and can perform quick dynamic movements.  Flexible shoulders are important, slight hyperextended elbows is an asset. Need to be able to listen, follow instructions and be courageous.

Aerial Skiing

Female athletes between the ages of 14 to 18 is ideal, a gymnastics background reaching level 7 and higher is essential. Particularly girls who were strong on vault, floor and tumbling. Girls who are between 150cm – 170cm tall and who have good lower body strength. Need to be recovered from all prior injuries. Have the ability to take direction, learn new things and be very courageous. No skiing experience is required.

Male athletes with a strong gymnastics background will also be considered.

Below is a draft first year schedule of the Development Squad.


Talent Identification Assessment Forms

These Talent Identification forms have been developed over many years by the best coaches in Australia.

Feel free to download them and use within your club.

WAG Talent ID group assessment form
WAG Talent ID initial assessment form
WAG Talent ID extended assessment form
Female percentile charts
MAG Talent ID group assessment form
MAG Talent ID initial assessment form
MAG Talent ID extended assessment form    
Male percentiles charts    

Talent ID and Development in Women's Artistic Gymnastics in Australia

An extract from Michelle De Highden's paper regarding research and practices of Talent ID and Development of WAG gymnastics in Australia. Michelle is the Education Manager at Gymnastics Australia and is currently completing a Masters in Sports Coaching through the University of Queensland. She has an extensive background in coaching gymnastics spanning over 30 years and she was the director and head international levels coach at MLC gymnastics for 17 years.

Talent identification and development in Women's Artistic Gymnastics in Australia

Athlete Exit Strategy

For many years, a lot of time and commitment has been put in by the athlete, as well as the program staff. So, it is imperative that time is given to the athlete in the form of an exit strategy when they wish to cease the sport, whether at an elite level or altogether, to ensure their experience remains positive. 

Athlete Exit Strategy and Checklist

The Gym Report - The Timeline of an Elite Gymnast

An interesting article from The Gym Report blog about the average timeline of a US National Team Member. The average age for starting gymnastics was 3.7 years for all the current US Women's Senior and Junior team members.

The Timeline of an Elite Gymnast

Australian Institute of Sport - Top 10 Tips for Parents

Parents are major drivers and supporters in an athlete's development, and this web page provides evidence-based advice on how to best facilitate a child's sporting development. 

Top 10 Tips for Parents
For more information regarding talent identification, talent transfer or the Spin to Win project, please contact GA's National Pathways Coordinator – Spin to Win, Rachel Johnson - rjohnson@gymnastics.org.au