Developmental programs
posted on 04/26/2007
Artistic and rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline and tumbling have age-group, developmental programs to identify young, talented gymnasts.  The program for women is called the Talent Opportunity Program (TOPs), while the programs for men’s and rhythmic gymnastics are called Future Stars.  Trampoline and tumbling’s developmental program is called JumpStart.  The women’s, men’s and trampoline and tumbling programs have local, state and national testing, while rhythmic has national testing.

For women’s gymnastics, the Talent Opportunity Program (TOPs) is a nationwide, annual program to identify young gymnasts who have the ability to excel in the sport. More than 3,100 gymnasts participate in state and regional testing, with more than 300 qualifying for national testing based on state and regional scores.  State and regional testing is conducted for gymnasts 7-11 years of age, with the 9-11 year olds eligible to advance to national testing.  The best 7-and 8-year-olds qualify based on their test scores from state and regional testing, while the 9-11 year olds are named to the team based on national test scores.  The TOPs National Team has about 70 gymnasts, approximately 20 gymnasts in each age group. 

For the men, the Future Stars program is designed is to identify talented athletes and to get them started on the right developmental path to national and international success. The program uses a special competitive routine format to evaluate the skill, strength and flexibility development of the athlete. The Future Stars National Championships features the best 10-, 11- and 12-year-olds in the United States who perform special Future Stars competitive routines. Based on the results at the championships, USA Gymnastics identifies the Future Stars Developmental Team, which includes the top 18 gymnasts in both the 10- and 11-year-old divisions and 14 gymnasts in the 12-year-old division.

The programs for rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline and tumbling are aimed toward 7-12 year olds. Rhythmic gymnastics has national testing for its Future Stars program, which helps determine if an athlete is suited for the elite level of rhythmic gymnastics. Based on the results, a national developmental team is named. For trampoline and tumbling, the Jumpstart program begins on the club level and then advances to state and national testing.  Based on national tests for fitness, flexibility, strength and skills, a national JumpStart Team is named.