Resource Guide to Gymnastics
Anyone exploring the world of sports in search of a new hobby may want to take a closer look at gymnastics. With both recreational classes and teams for advanced gymnasts, athletes can work to develop their gymnastics skills at an individual pace. Although children often begin taking gymnastics classes, this sport is not out of the reach of adults. It’s possible to begin taking gymnastics classes at any age. Gymnastics can help people develop a variety of physical skills, and there are cognitive and emotional benefits as well.
Although health benefits abound with gymnastics participation as athletes increase strength, coordination, and flexibility, gymnasts also derive other benefits. Gymnastics can also enhance neurological development and communication skills.
Gymnasts experience enhanced fatigue tolerance due to the extensive anaerobic training they perform. Superior strength and muscle endurance are also common traits of gymnasts.
Why Gymnastics? (PDF)
People participating in gymnastics tend to be very strong and flexible, able to perform intense and short routines that involve a variety of movements.
Those engaging in gymnastics training often develop a strong desire to work hard, gaining confidence and self-esteem as they focus on building skills.
As obesity rates rise, gymnastics offers an enjoyable and effective way for kids to be active and develop physical strength and flexibility. Kids may be more likely to make healthier dietary choices when they are involved in gymnastics.
People attending gymnastics classes work on physical skills such as coordination, flexibility, balance, and agility. Some gymnastics skills can be intimidating. As students achieve these skills, their confidence and self-esteem rise as well.
Everyman’s Gymnastics (PDF)
Gymnasts learn tumbling skills that include rolling, jumping, and landing. Balance, flexibility, and agility are integral components of tumbling skills.
Learning gymnastics skills forces toughness and tenacity, and students who want to excel will develop discipline, which is crucial for success.
Gymnastics floor skills include the backward and forward roll, handstand, neck kip to stand, round off, aerial cartwheel, back handspring, and more.
Front Walkover (video)
This video demonstrates teaching techniques for the front walkover. Students begin using equipment to support the movement, and then they progress to performing the walkover independently.
Fundamental skills in gymnastics include the handstand, the split, back handspring, round off, split leap, and more. Students begin with the most simple movements and skills, building as they become strong and agile.
While artistic gymnasts focus on precision and strength, rhythmic gymnasts excel at flexibility, coordination, and rhythm. Both types of gymnasts can earn medals at the Olympics.
Although kids younger than age 11 may have an easier time learning gymnastics, age is never a barrier for someone who wants to acquire these skills.
Recreational gymnastics programs are noncompetitive, focused on helping students develop skills. Competitive teams include skilled gymnasts usually invited to join the team by a coach. These gymnasts have exhibited superior strength, flexibility, sportsmanship, and a desire to excel.
As students work to develop gymnastics skills, they gain core and leg strength, balance, coordination, and spacial awareness. As these skills grow, a gymnast will fine-tune these abilities, which also spills over into everyday activities such as running, walking, kicking, and even sitting.
Kids can begin gymnastics classes as early as toddler age. Regardless of a student’s size or ability, it’s possible to learn new skills at an individual pace.
Learning New Gymnastics Skills (video)
Olympic gold medalist Shannon Miller, one of the most decorated American gymnasts of all time, offers encouragement to gymnasts trying to learn a new skill who feel like they’re not learning fast enough.
Beginning with foundational moves such as the hollow-body hold and rock, an athlete can build strength and skills in gymnastics.
The BBC offers a comprehensive look at the sport of gymnastics and how you can get started with it, including information on the different types of gymnastics you can do, such as acrobatic gymnastics and trampoline.
Practicing leaps is one place to begin developing gymnastics skills. Gymnasts also perform holds such as pike holds, straddle holds, and split holds.