Gymnastics produces, pound-for-pound, the best athletes in the world. Gymnastics uses almost exclusively body weight exercises to build upper body, lower body, and core strength. Kids who do gymnastics show off this strength at a young age. It is also great fun for them to hold all of their school records in gym class for push ups, sit ups, and flexed arm hangs.
This is something that I think we all wish we had a little more of. Flexibility is important in injury prevention and helping prevent the every day aches and pains. No sport gives an athlete the flexibility that gymnastics does. Not only is flexibility great for gymnastics, but it aids in the development for other sports as well. Next time you watch a professional sporting event keep an eye out for how flexible the men and women participating are.
At all ages, gymnastics provides an opportunity to develop social skills. Younger children learn how to stand in line, look, listen, be quiet when others are talking, work and think independently, be respectful and others. The older kids in the gym learn to inquire about why something works the way it does. They also learn how to set a good example for the people who look up to them and become role models at a young age. All of these skills are stressed by our staff because they are so important for a good learning environment.
Skills are taught and learned through progressions. By teaching in this manner children gain confidence as they progress through these skills. With each step, they become more confident in themselves and that carries over into all aspects of their lives.
Gymnastics is a difficult sport. Nobody can give you anything. Every skill you learn is earned through hard work and repetition. A great thing about gymnastics is being able to see the direct relationship between hard work and results. The harder children work the more quickly they progress. There are few better ways for a child to see how hard work and determination pay off.
This is a very important aspect of gymnastics and it comes in two parts. In the gym there are rules for the children’s safety. These rules must be followed and this takes discipline. The other part is self discipline. Each student must have the self control to make corrections when a coach asks them to. Children must also have the self discipline to stay on task when a coach is working with another gymnast. Working hard, even when you think no one is watching, is a great asset to any individual’s character and cannot be overlooked.
Gymnastics breeds determination. Most skills in gymnastics take a number of tries to get them right. This is true with a number of things in life. Gymnastics encourages kids to get up and try again even if they messed up, because they know if they continue to work hard that they will achieve their goals.
There are things in gymnastics that are scary. A lot of this has to do with the fear of trying something that you have never done before. This goes hand-in-hand with building confidence. Gymnasts are often challenged to try new things that allows them to achieve those challenges in a step-by-step manner. This approach allows kids to develop strategies to overcome things that they see as impossible and encourages them to try new things both in the gym and in life.
One thing that is overlooked by our population is the ability to perform in front of people in a pressure situation. In gymnastics, it becomes second nature. This creates confidence in our children to step up and do their best when people are watching. Gymnasts are often first to volunteer in schools to demonstrate or raise their hand to answer a question they are unsure of. They gain the confidence in themselves to be right, and the understanding that even if they are wrong, that they gave their best effort.