Is Coach Timur Abdullin’s Approach Radical, or the Future?
Timur Abdullin’s 24-year coaching career began at a children’s sports school for Olympic reserve gymnastics back in 2000. Abdullin was not new to gymnastics, not even back then. As a former active gymnast and a member of the city and National Junior Teams of Kazakhstan, Abdullin is well-versed in the stresses and mental pressures faced by gymnasts. His own athletic career was cut short by injuries after 16 years. This first-hand experience led Coach Timur to hone his own coaching style to focus on an athlete’s well-being before results.
Coach Timur has a philosophy for coaching young athletes: develop each youth into outstanding individuals in sports, education, and their daily lives. And the injuries that halted his own career are imbued in his own approach to coaching. Coach Timur is constantly striving to train athletes to prevent serious injuries. This is always in the back of his mind as he coaches future Olympians.
Breaking his philosophy down, Coach Timur notes that gymnastics training at a high level can take 10 to 15 years. And those years can be filled with intense and increasing psychological pressures. Observations he’s made over the last 24 years, and before as a gymnast himself, have shown that such pressures can lead to increasing struggles post-career. Alcohol abuse is fairly common, as is steroid use, as an athlete tries to remain competitive as they age. When coaches rely on results as their sole metric of improvement, the young athlete suffers.
Coach Timur takes his approach seriously and with good reason. He studied at the University of Physical Culture and Sports, where he focused his thesis on the physical and psychological preparation of gymnasts. He graduated in 2003 and then received an international coaching certificate from the International Federation of Gymnastics.
Since he began coaching, he has coached athletes who have competed internationally, including at the Junior Olympic Games and Asian Championships. He served as the President of the Gymnastics Federation of Kazakhstan, where he helped develop the sport for the nation. He has trained local coaches and organized competitions and seminars to improve judging quality. He takes gymnastics seriously.
In 2009, Coach Timur began a judging career, participating in major international competitions over the years, including the World Championships and Olympic Games. As a judge, he has witnessed the rapid decline of promising young gymnasts. The Tokyo Olympics are a public example of this problem.
Coach Timur moved to the United States in 2020 to work at Universal Gymnastics Academy in Florida. Currently, he works as the Senior Coach at Metropolitan Gymnastics in Seattle, Washington, where one of his gymnasts recently took 5th place in vaulting at the 2023 Xfinity U.S. Gymnastics Championships, in San Jose, California, in Junior 17 Mens. Abdullin still judges regional competitions in the U.S. and served as a judge in the U.S. Nationals.
Coach Timur continues to practice what he preaches, emphasizing personal qualities over results first. He helps his gymnasts qualify for University teams and secure scholarships. He wants his athletes to be successful, respectable individuals who show the positive impacts of sports on their lives. He even maintains contact with hundreds of his former athletes, many of whom consider him a mentor.
Coach Timur believes that the personal development of a child athlete will always be more important than sporting results. A youth athlete’s well-being will continue to be his priority as he continues his coaching journey.
About the Author
Joan Middleton is a freelance sports writer living in the Pacific Northwest. She is a pickleball enthusiast but loves to cover all sports.