Why do we encourage participation in gymnastics? The short answer is gymnastics is fun and it’s good for your child! While many children are initially attracted to the sport with a heartfelt desire to learn specific skills, the benefits of gymnastics extend beyond the acquisition of any specific skill to encompass diverse physical and psycho-social benefits for your child.
The ability to perform gymnastics skills for both beginners and advanced gymnasts of all ages requires body and spatial awareness, coordination, control, and precision in movement, which the gymnastics student develops through practice and repetition. Research has shown that gymnasts develop high levels of relative strength, flexibility, and balance (both static and dynamic) while practicing and perfecting the variety of skills in gymnastics, at levels above and beyond many other sports. These physical benefits of gymnastics are observed among gymnasts of all levels and ages – from the child learning a cartwheel in a beginner recreational class to the competitive team gymnast learning complex flips and movement patterns. While growing stronger, more flexible, and improving balance, the gymnast also learns how to roll and fall safely in different circumstances, which helps prevent injury as the gymnast progresses.
In addition to physical benefits, children experience psycho-social benefits through participation in gymnastics. Young children are often exposed to organized learning for the first time in toddler and preschool gymnastics classes, with classes combining learning and physical development in a fun, social environment. Young children learn invaluable skills including listening, following directions, and taking turns in an organized class setting. For children of all ages, gymnastics helps to develop greater focus, patience, determination, and perseverance through the process of learning new and increasingly complex skills. Gymnasts learn to encourage one another and trust in their coaches, developing positive communication skills and healthy social relationships within the support and structure of the gym environment. Gymnasts who participate in the competitive team program learn about team work and sportsmanship as they encourage one another during practices and competitions, learning to put forth their best effort individually while contributing to the strength of the team as a whole.
With all of the above taken into account, we encourage children to participate in gymnastics because it’s both fun and it’s good for them on many different levels. The physical and psycho-social benefits of participating in gymnastics extend far beyond the gym to increase the overall well-being of children as they grow healthy and strong!