The Beginner's Guide To Gymnastics
- Lowers crime rate
- Delays development of high blood pressure
- Reduce hypertension in children
- Better school attendance
- Increase self efficacy
- Reduce risk of asthma
- Decrease risk of substance abuse
- Reduce risk of anti-social behavior
- Promotes self confidence
Benefits of Gymnastics
Gymnastics is one of the best sports for children because it develops the body and the mind simultaneously. Studies show that children who have participated in gymnastics have:
- better attention spans
- more sophisticated communication skills
- greater problem solving methods
- improved self esteem
Gymnastics is not limited to girls, boys can also benefit from participating. The great part about gymnastics is that it is an "all body" sport which means that it puts physical demands on the entire body. It's no secret that technology, computers and video games seem to be stifling the athleticism of our youth. Gymnastics is at the opposite end of that spectrum. Its physical benefits include:
- depth perception
- fine motor skills
- gross motor skills
- multiple intelligences
With a list like that it is easy to understand why gymnasts tend to be courageous, outgoing, excellent goal setters and terrific multi-taskers. Children who do gymnastics tend to be more self-confident and learn to express themselves. Gymnastics is a great sport for children who are shy. An excellent way to help a child come out of their "shell" is to start with an open-gym where parents can be on the gym floor and there is not a lesson plan or schedule of events. Take your kiddo to the gym, spend quality time working together. When you feel it's appropriate, join a mommy and me class where the instructor leads the lesson and you work with your child on organized instructed tasks. Finally, sign your kiddo up for lessons and let the growing begin!
What makes a great gymnastics teacher?
When you visit a gym, before you sign up, watch each instructor to see how they interact with the children.
- Are they smiling?
- Are they looking the children in the eyes?
- Are they working with all of the children?
- Are they being "hands-on"? (not standing to the side with their hands in their pockets)
- Are they high energy?
- Are they working on many stations and different events - not the same stations over and over?
- Are they consistent?
- Are the kids being supervised and controlled? (or are they running amok?)
- Are they effective communicators - using positive reinforcement?
- Are the kids having fun?
Cognitive and Social Benefits of Gymnastics
The benefits of gymnastics are far greater than just being physically fit. Gymnastics is a socially interactive sport which requires kids to work as a team while promoting healthy interaction and the opportunity for enrichment through experience.
In gymnastics kids learn important social skills such as learning to take turns, learning to stand in line, listening skills and the ability to work through several stations in a specific order at one time which initiates the development of problem solving abilities. The nature of gymnastics is a gradual process which allows kids to learn small steps and feel great about their accomplishments. Cartwheels don't have to be perfect - have you ever heard "hand-hand-foot-foot"? All that is expected at the earliest stages is a close approximation and, "the crowd goes wild"!
One great aspect of gymnastics for kids of all ages is that it provides an avenue to get into excellent physical condition. Research suggests that kids and teens who participate in gymnastics have greater bone density and are less likely to suffer from osteoporosis as adults. Additionally, they are less likely to develop diabetes.
In the 25 years I spent coaching, I can remember many teenage girls telling me that gymnastics literally saved their lives. Some were saved from being delinquents, some from dropping out of school and some from depression and even suicide. Gymnasts will tell you that gymnastics is a life choice, it's a camaraderie and a family. Once you become a gymnast it's with you forever. One of the best parts of gymnastics is that the individual strives for the betterment of the team. The friends you make at the gym become the friends you keep for life. I still keep in touch with girls that I coached 20 years ago. Every time we sent an athlete to college, which is truly the goal (not the Olympics), we knew that come summer, she'd be back in her leotard ready to workout. Every summer, they arrive like clockwork, they come home.
Benefits of Gymnastics courtesy of YOU TUBE
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