“How will gymnastics benefit my child? Isn’t gymnastics only for girls?” This is a typical question that probably arises in a parents mind when then think of Gymnastics. The reason for this thought is because you remember names like Nadia Comaneci, Mary Lou Retton and Shawn Johnson.
In fact Gymnastics, along with athletics and swimming, has been recognized by the International Olympic Committee as one of the three foundation sports from which all others stem. The reason being, gymnastics help develop strength, flexibility, agility, balance, coordination… the list goes on and on. Many articles have been written on the benefits of gymnastics.
This statement is one of the best summations of the benefits of gymnastics: “Gymnastics is a terrific sport for young people. Many people have grown up in and by gymnastics to become doctors, lawyers, teachers, business people, professors, police officers, nurses, scientists, and many others. Gymnastics provides an outstanding way for young people to test their mettle against themselves and others. Gymnastics can provide opportunities for physical development, character development, and education that are hard to find anywhere else.” – William Sands, Ph.D.
Obviously this statement pertains to boys as well as girls. Many boys who began gymnastics at a young age have graduated to excel in other sports like football, basketball, soccer, baseball, swimming, and track and field.
Gymnastics is the foundation of all sports. This is true whether it be traditional sports or the newer “extreme sports.” Training in gymnastics leads to a more well-rounded athlete, and those with a background in gymnastics naturally excel in other sports. The following sections outline the benefits of gymnastics training.
Developing an optimum level of strength will make all athletes better at their discipline. The sport of gymnastics is responsible for developing some of the strongest and most agile athletes in the world! Men AND women alike!
Too many athletes overlook the importance of flexibility in relation to their particular sport. Gymnasts cannot afford to do so, as every event hinges on this ability. Those athletes who do recognize the benefits of a flexible body have a true edge over the competition.
Gymnastics teaches the fundamentals of spatial awareness that apply to ALL sports, including and especially skateboarding, snowboarding, and other extreme sports. Being aware of how your body is moving and where it is in relation to the ground is crucial, and is the key to preventing injury.
Because of gymnastics’ great variety of skills, its techniques can be found in many other sports.
Gymnastics places an enormous emphasis on developing perfect form and balance in every aspect of the sport. These elements are also vital to a number of other activities such as cheerleading, dance, and the martial arts.
The extraordinary value of gymnastics as a training modality lies in its reliance on the body’s own weight as the sole source of resistance. This places a unique premium on the improvement of strength to weight ratio. Unlike other strength training modalities gymnastics and calisthenics allow for increases in strength only while increasing strength to weight ratio! Gymnastics develops pull-ups, squats, lunges, jumping, push-ups, and numerous presses to handstand, scales, and holds. These skills are unrivaled in their benefit to the physique as evident in any competitive gymnast.
As important as the capacity of this modality is for strength development it is without a doubt the ultimate approach to improving coordination, balance, agility, accuracy, and flexibility. Through the use of numerous presses, handstands, scales, and other floor work the gymnast’s training greatly enhances kinesthetic sense.
The variety of movements available for inclusion in this modality probably exceeds the number of exercises known to all non-gymnastic sport! For a combination of strength, flexibility, well-developed physique, coordination, balance, accuracy, and agility the gymnast has no equal in the sports world. The inclusion of this training modality is absurdly absent from nearly all training programs.
In conclusion gymnastics forms as the foundation for multiple sports for both boys and girls, these include like basketball, soccer, dance and martial arts.