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The Perfect Sport: Gymnastics
My kids have tried a lot of sports over the years. Baseball, soccer, football, gymnastics, track, karate and more. The more I watch my kids do gymnastics and the more I learn about gymnastics the more I believe that it is the best sport for children. It seems as if gymnastics used to be only for petite girls, but I am constantly amazed at the number of different body sizes and shapes that can do the same skills. I also think that boys gymnastics is becoming more popular.
Gymnastics can help children in many ways. It teaches them strength and flexibility that will help them in whatever physical activities they want to try throughout their life. It teaches them proprioceptive skills which help them become more aware of their body and how it moves in space. If you are the clumsy type or have a child that is clumsy, it is frequently because their proprioseptive senses are off. Gymnastics can help them become more aware of how their body moves and how they move their body. This is a necessary life skill and one that many people struggle with (including one of my sons).
At the lower levels gymnastics is purely for strength, flexibility and fun. This is an awesome reason to do gymnastics. As a child progresses though, they can reach a level where it becomes competitive. Gymnastics is not only an individual sport but a team one as well. Gymnasts compete against themselves as compared to other individuals, but there is also a team competition going on at the same time. Typically the highest few scores are added together for each team and the teams ranked. Competing in this manner teaches children how to become a gracious winner and loser. It can teach them to only compare themselves to themselves, what I believe is a healthier form of competition.
In gymnastics a child will learn to perform complex movements with their bodies. This will give them confidence in all areas of their life. They will also learn lots of moves in a sequence that can sometimes be complicated. They then perform these routines in front of a crowd, both individually and in a group. This practice will help children gain experience in performing in front of an audience. I wish that I had this ability, if only to make public speaking easier for me. Gymnasts learn to follow instructions and listen to adults in a controlled setting.
As the famous mixed martial arts fighter Georges St. Pierre said in a recent interview, gymnasts have abilities that other athletes can’t duplicate. "Nobody can reproduce the movement of gymnastic guys, but gymnastic guys can reproduce the movement of everyone. They're the most athletic athlete in the world." If you want to become stronger or more flexible or if you want your child to become stronger and more flexible and confident in their body, gymnastics is the sport for you. You can learn gymnastics at any age and use the natural training moves of gymnasts to help you in all areas of your life.