What’s the medical explanation for “gifted” coordination?

  1. How would you explain gifted coordination from a medical point of view? By gifted coordination, I mean someone like a gymnast who can flip around and do stuff that would injure most people. What do these people have that the rest of don’t?

  2. Are short people generally more coordinated than tall people?

Well, fine movement control is under the guidance of the cerebellum, and motor control is controlled by (no surprises here) the motor cortex (precentral gyrus, I believe). I’d say it’s more a physiological explanation of why some people have excellent coordination and others do not, rather than medical. It’s a combination of good fine motor control, good muscle mass to hold positions without shaking and becoming fatigued, and practice.

Developmentally speaking, in the early years the brain is more ‘plastic’ and can form neural pathways easier, so a child that practices things like balancing will have an advantage over someone learning them for the first time at, say, 40… but teasing apart how much of that advantage is truly due to the brain’s plasticity would be ugly.

Another reason that gymnasts don’t get injured doing the things that they do is that they stretch a great deal. Flexibility is protective when you’re doing those unnatural movements. Oh, and did I mention practice? If you worked at that kinda stuff for three or four hours a day five or six times a week, you could do all sorts of ridiculous things. :slight_smile:

As for short vs. tall… no clue.