Top 10 sports for kids to play Number 8 - Gymnastics
One of the sports that has been popular since the beginning of the modern Olympics, Gymnastics is consistently the most-watched event of the summer Olympics. Floor-based gymnastics requires very little equipment. On the other hand, artistic gymnastics relies on technologically advanced bars, vaults, rings, beams, and even sprung floors and high-tech mats. The growth in popularity of gymnastics amongst kids highlights the benefits to children’s physical development through the broad range of total body skills. Skilled expert coaches teach kids how to use the equipment, and nurture the talent in kids. Gymnastics is one of the few sports where the male and females train differently on different apparatus. It benefits all children, regardless of their other sporting interests to learn how to land safely, roll, focus, develop flexibility, be taught how to build and maintain core body strength and appreciate the artistry of sport as a viewer, not only a performer.
How Gymnastics Benefits Your Child
Gymnastics requires balance and flexibility. As adults, we forget that we can learn and develop balance and flexibility. In older adults, poor balance is the single largest risk factor in falls, breaks, and strains. People who develop skills to an elite performance level retain those skills longer. Learning gymnastics well may improve the quality of your life and your activity levels later in life. Performance at a recreational level of gymnastics establishes a broad base of skills that help children excel in other sports. Gymnasts learn to spring (jump). The height of springing activities can be improved over time. Former gymnasts may astound team members with this ability in football, volleyball, basketball, diving, or dance. Yet perhaps the greatest benefit of springing is knowing you can fly, even if only for a second or two. Gymnastics is a perfect place to correct physical growth issues ranging from poor balance, low muscle tone, flat feet, pigeon toes, and low bone density. Most of these conditions ‘go away’ as children develop skills on the apparatus. Pigeon toes make walking along a balance beam or floor line difficult. Coaches focus less on the pigeon toes and more on all children performing to their highest level. Children who lack core strength find they develop it on rings, ropes, floor activities, trampoline, or springing activities.
Boost Self Confidence
There are few sports where young children have the opportunity to test their fears as often as in a gym class. For some standing on a high beam is too much. They are progressively provided with opportunities to push their self-confidence. Add a little peer pressure, fun games, or activities and before long even timid children start to blossom. As their confidence builds many open themselves to other challenges that have nothing to do with gymnastics. At the end of one school gymnastics class, a mother said, ‘My daughter plays clarinet because of you!’ Although I know nothing about music – at all – she insisted that the confidence her daughter had due to her gymnastics lessons was linked to her desire to take up clarinet lessons as well. Let’s face it, everyone should have the opportunity to learn gymnastics. Whether you want to compete at the Olympics, train your mind and body, or merely understand the sport on TV when the family insists that is what they want to watch for the Olympics.
It would never do to be the odd one out, now would it!
Ryan Williamson is a gymnastics and movement expert. His personal experience of slipping through education's cracks gives him an unmatched passion to ensure his 3 young children learn in using methods that suit them. He has developed gymnastics based programs to improve academic test scores, numeracy, literacy and creative thinking. Read Ryan's story - above *My Story*