If you are gifted, it is great, but it is not enough to have only a talent to become a professional in particular activity. You need a correct and goal directed training to get good results and perfect, flawless technique of the chosen sport. Any sportsman, even the most talented one, needs a coach, who mastered modern methods on sportsman preparation, who has information on the new techniques in particular kind of sports and who is able to teach this technique to his student.
In 1930s the records of Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi in long distance races seemed to be supernatural at that time. Right now the thousands of ordinary people are able to have the same results. And world records are so high now that current champions would be ahead of Nurmi on a few rounds. But it does not mean that they are more enduring than Nurmi. Nature gave them all really good enduring. Then why modern athletes are running way faster than Nurmi? The thing is in the method of training, in a way to stimulate the body so it would build up stamina, which is not natural, it is obtained speed stamina. During the marathon sportsmen are passing each kilometer in 3 minutes and it already became a speed distance. So we are not even talking about 5 and 10 kilometers distances. And a lot depends on trainer. When Arthur Lydiard was invited to Finland on a year and a half to train their sportsmen on the late 1960s, Finnish runners started to win Olympics and European cups with a triumph. We have fundamentally new methods to prepare athletes right now, which are helping to sportsmen in winning the championships and reaching higher and higher records.
We can see even more surprising picture in swimming. Little girls are passing distances from 100 meters to 1.5 kilometers way faster than men were doing it just a half of a century ago. Johnny Weissmuller, world recordsman and Olympic champion in swimming, who is also famous for playing Tarzan in that time sensational Hollywood movie, would lose not only to male masters of a swimming sport but also to current female champions. And Weissmuller would definitely lose to schoolgirls as current swimmers age decreased dramatically and 15 or even 11 years old sportsmen break records. It is all because of the change in preparation methods with the time. They are currently passing distance in one training session, which sportsmen would not pass even in a week or even a month of trainings earlier. Moreover, swimmers are training not 2-3 times a week but almost daily, sometimes even 2 times a day. The results of that are obvious. And no one would dare to predict future records in swimming.
The reason of records grow in swimming is not only in the amount of trainings, not only in the number of passed kilometers per one training or lifted tones. The flawless technique is also really important. Here is a typical example. The records in the shot put sport were usually breaking by tall people with a high weight but who were also talented with a fast reaction and movements speed. Trainers were looking for such “fast giants”. When shot passed 16 meters, many people decided that is the limit of human possibilities. Because the sportsman, who broke that record, was almost 2 meters high, he weighted more than 100 kg, passed 100 meters race with a great result and also did a high jump really well.
However, the next record, 17 meters, have been made by person without outstanding physical possibilities. It turned out that he created completely new system of shot putting: he would turn to a putting sector with his back on the front and not with his side as it has been done previously. This allowed a shot to have a longer acceleration and it passed bigger distance. Soon all athletes would use this relatively modern technique. And then those shots, which weight more than 7 kilograms, started to pass 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 and then 23 meters with a better technique of shot putting. Soviet trainer Alekseev V. I. created a technique of shot putting “with a turn” – it increased acceleration of a shot, which leaded by the hand of Alexander Barishnikov and it flew over 22 meters.
Shot putting is not the most complicated athletics type in case of technique. Even more complicated are javelin-throwing, hurdling and pole vaulting. And in those sports there is intensive search for the technique and methodic, which will allow sportsmen quickly switch to a new technique.
Sportsmen used to practice high jumping with scissors technique but no one succeeded to reach 2 meters with it. But American sportsman Horine, who created his own style to overcoming the plank, which was more productive and effective, took this height. This style has been named after him or “a roll” as sportsman is rolling above the plank. Soviet jumper Boris Vzorov developed a new style of a jump in 1920s, which sarcastically was called “Tombov Horine”: who would imagine that provincial jumper from Tombov would create something new after the famous recordsman? Especially that Vzorov’s achievements were smaller than Horine’s. But when this technique have been noticed by more talented jumpers, the world records got mass of its breakers, which have been reached by this style, which currently called “throw over”. Famous Soviet sportsman Valeriy Brumel and his constant competitor John Thomas have been using this style. Later on Olympics in Mexico American Dick Fosbury showed absolutely new way to jump and won the strongest competitors. This style got a name “Fosbury-flop” after that sportsman. There are argues up until now, which style is the most successful: throw over or Fosbury-flop. Maybe someone will succeed in developing even more effective way to overcome the plank in high jump, and then the limit of records will rise.
As a conclusion, let’s talk about flip, that salto mortale, which translates from Italian as the death flip. In 1888 acrobat Iosif Sosin made impossible, as it seemed: he made a double salto mortale. Only his son Alexander Sosin could repeat this after quarter of a century. At that time this was something on the edge of reality. But years have passed and thousands of gymnasts are doing it now. The most talented and persistent of them could make a triple flip after a long training. Right now many sportsmen can do it. The quadruple flip is slowly become more accessible. Four turns in air compare to simple death flip, which looks as a kids game now.