The Purpose of Gymnastics

Discussion in 'Question & Answer' started by triptwister, Aug 19, 2010.

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  1. triptwister

    triptwister Guest

    Not all sports are equal. Sports tend to emphasize certain aspects of character and virtue more than or less than each other. You might learn the virtue of patience better in sports that require marksmanship as opposed to learning teamwork and fast thinking in a sport such as basketball.

    What is different about gymnastics over other sports that teaches a gymnast to be a better person?

    How does a coach make their gymnasts happy people? What does a coach do to keep their gymnasts happy as athletes?

    What exactly is the purpose of gymnastics?

  2. cher062

    cher062 Guest

    The text book answer would be

    It would be difficult to come up with another sport that offers so many different exercises, works so many different parts of the body and muscle groups, and trains you in an aerobic and anaerobic manner at the same time.

    What this leads to, if the student is putting the time in, is an increase in strength, cardio respiratory endurance, muscle endurance, body image, coordination, balance, eye-hand coordination, and self esteem.

    As a mom my answer is yes to all of the above but the most important thing would be for my child to have FUN doing something she loves!! Just like anyother kid doing anyother sport.
  3. MdGymMom01

    MdGymMom01 Well-Known Member CB Booster Club

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    Good question Trip!!! For me, I think gymnastics is one of the best all-around sports for kids of all ages. My dd has tried soccer, cheerleading, track and field, and dance (mainly ballet) in addition to the gymnastics. Gymnastics seems to be the one sport that offers so many benefits (like Cher has mentioned) in addition to others such as teammwork. I am sure that other people who are involved with other sports will argue that their sport offers these same beneficial aspects but it is what their child is involved in and what makes them happy.

    My ds has tried gymnastics, soccer, flag football, swimming and martial arts. And for him the martial arts seems to be the best fit for him both physically and mentally. Plus, he enjoys it and has a lot of fun.

    And I don't think it is gymnastics specifically that makes the athlete a better person. It is the people, influences and experiences around them and how they relate to that that makes them a "better person".
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2010
  4. Geoffrey Taucer

    Geoffrey Taucer Admin/Coach/Gymnast Staff Member CBBC Board Member Verified Coach

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    I think there are two areas where gymnastics has enormous benefits.

    First and most obvious are the physical benefits. Very few (if any) other activities are as effective as gymnastics in training strength, flexibility, and body control.

    However, I think the second area, the psychological, is far more important. Gymnasts learn perseverance. They learn to face their fears. They learn (assuming they have a coach who emphasizes it) good sportsmanship (though admittedly this should be true of any competitive sport). It can teach them self-confidence. These are all things that one hopes will follow the gymnasts for the rest of their lives.

    Everybody's going to quit gymnastics someday. Some kids will do it when they're young, some will do it when they graduate college, some may stay with it in some form well into their adult lives, but whatever the case, these psychological benefits are all things which will help them in just about anything they will ever strive to do in life.

    That is my hope, anyway.

    And, of course, it's fun!

  5. bribri514

    bribri514 Gymnast Banned

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    Personally I think my life would be so different without gymnastics! I played soccer (one year when I was 5, I was so bad!), rock climb, cheerlead and snowboard, but gymnastics has made biggest impact on my life by far!

    My mom first enrolled me because I was pretty energetic. She also had read studies that gymnastics like activities help Deaf children with strength and balance and coordination. She had no idea I'd actually go on to compete!

    From there, it taught me a lot about communication. Whether it was my teammates or my coaches we were always thinking up new ways to communicate.

    It also taught me discipline. Gymnastics is hard!! There's no doubt about it. You're forced to do things with your body that only crazy people would think about it. It hurts. It is mentally tough. But so is life. Learning English was also hard for me. I saw a lot of Deaf friends not bother because it was "too hard". But I think I was able to keep going with it, because of my gymnastics background. When kids made fun of me for trying to talk, or I'd come home from 4th grade crying I wasn't with the other kids in class or didn't understand what was going on. I learned to put 110 percent into everything I tried and keep pushing past what I thought was impossible. Without that I don't think I would have been mainstreamed in school or gone on to college. I would have missed a lot of opportunities.

    When people say they're amazed that I went to college and went to regular school and stuff I just kind of shrug. Honestly I think it's way more amazing I competed at level 10 and finally got my full in-full out down! If you can do gymnastics, you can do anything!

    I think gymnastics is unique because it teaches us to face the impossible, with a smile, with grace and with pure grit.
  6. MdGymMom01

    MdGymMom01 Well-Known Member CB Booster Club

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    That is such an inspirational post BriBri! This board is so lucky to have you and your insight into this crazy journey of gymnastics that we are all involved in. Your post summed up the "Purpose of Gymnastics" perfectly!!!! You rock, girl!!! And you know--with your outlook, insight, motivation, determination and spirit you can and WILL accomplish ANYTHING!!!
  7. txgymfan

    txgymfan Moderator Staff Member CBBC Board Member Coach Proud Relative

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    Great Post! It is so nice to see you posting again. I love reading your perspective on gym and life.

    I agree that gym emphasizes the patience of learning skills over a long period of time and presenting them as if they are easy.

    It so so much more impressive when someone accomplishes something with ease and grace rather than showing the effort in the performance.
  8. Shelovesthebars

    Shelovesthebars Well-Known Member

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    Along with the other benefits listed before, it teaches goals and also step by step progressions to get toward your goal. It also teaches that you have to try and fail over and over again to succeed. That is really important for a child or anyone else for that matter to know that failure is part of the process of success.
  9. CoachGoofy

    CoachGoofy Guest

    As a kid, gymnastics was a way to learn things. Not just skills, but things like "this is how to not annoy everyone on earth" (I was a really weird kid), that some things are more worth fighting for than others, that failure isn't the end of the world and doesn't have to be permanant, how to be a good winner, how to be a good loser, how to be happy for someone instead of jealous, and that impossibility is a temporary condition. Attention to detail, coordination (see again: weird kid), balance, poise, and the confidence that comes from doing crazy things in a leotard in front of a cumulative million strangers were other benefits. And we weird kids can be successful, socially and athletically, in gymnastics.

    As a teenager, I learned to be a role model, & to evaluate my actions in the light of "there are kids watching who think they want to be just like me". There's so much that isn't even a consideration when you know that a little kid or 12 who you care about are going to follow your example. The pressure got more intense, but gymnastics was a way to learn to deal with it. It was my non gym pressure valve...a bad day could become a good day with some gym time. And it gave me a way to earn my keep--coaching was my first job.

    As an adult, I'm still physically strong. I know that even out of shape, I can do things that most people I know wouldn't dream of attempting. Coaching allows me to pass on the gifts of gymnastics (and is my livelihood), & I know this makes an impact in the lives of shy kids, weird kids, short kids, girls who are growing up in a society that's not always awesome to them...and knowing that really, I impacted people I care about in a meaningful way, that's pretty awesome. Gymnastics is a tool for growth.

    Gymnastics gives one a taste of flying, a taste of invincibility. Once you've been immortal, flown, and done the impossible, there's very little you can't handle.
  10. triptwister

    triptwister Guest

    Not everyone chooses to climb a mountain. But when you do you have perspective over the climb with a view you could never have earned on the ground.
  11. dunno

    dunno Well-Known Member CBBC Board Member Verified Coach Proud Parent Former Gymnast Club Owner

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    flipping and twisting and all at the same time was my drug.:)
  12. gymmomof1

    gymmomof1 Well-Known Member Proud Parent

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    What a good thread! I agree with this Geoffrey. Last fall my gymie had a fear of vault. With her coaches encouragement, her own hard work and perseverance she faced her fear and at states her best event was vault:D. She herself at 8 years old now make the connection about how scared she was in the fall and by January she excelled at the event. So when facing a new challenge, she reminds herself how she overcame that challenge and goes for it. This definately will follow her in all she does in life. The physical benifits are also something that will follow her in life too!
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