Especially in recent years, gymnastics has become known for the intensive work put in by the gymnasts themselves. Even outside of the olympic arena, gymnasts seem to be pushed to their limits on both physical and emotional levels.
Let's give credit where credit is due: These gymnasts who put in 10+ hours/day, who work til they drop, and conquer new fears daily, are incredible and strong young women. They are role models to us all.
But not everyone wants to take gymnastics so seriously. It doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing sport. You can learn gymnastics for a few basic skills without the ultimate goal of reaching the olympics.
With so many benefits of learning gymnastics, kids are taking up the sport as a means to improve in other sports, to learn body awareness, or just for exercise that they consider fun. But these children are oftentimes being thrown into an environment that is too intense or too committed for what they are emotionally ready for.
Gymnastics is a sport that innately improves self-esteem, confidence, and emotional strength. That doesn't mean it has to take over your child's life. In fact, if you take out the olympic-factor of gymnastics, it's the perfect sport that works at any pace. How? Keep reading.
It's a Team Sport, and an Individual Sport
Gymnastics training is about individual achievements - and that means that the improvement isn't based on what level everyone else is at, but the level that the individual is at, and what they need to accomplish to move forward.
Gymnastics has the support of teammates going through the same drills and conditioning, but without the comparative factor. With four different events that focus on four different skillsets, children get a well-rounded training experience. If a child is a little behind on bars, they are usually a little ahead on beam, etc.
Being on a team and going through experiences together, while focusing on individual achievements throughout the training process, allows kids to move at their own perfect pace, and to feel no shame about whatever pace that might be.
Gymnastics Provides Well-Rounded Training
Gymnastics is one of the few sports that really works your whole body throughout training. All kids will be naturally good at some things, and naturally lacking in others. Regardless, gymnastics will naturally work them through all the kinks.
The great thing about this is that children will excel in areas they do well in, and build strength and flexibility in areas they are lacking. Not only does this bring up their overall fitness level, but it shows children through experience that some things come naturally, and some things take hard work, but the results are up to them.
You Can Conquer Fears Without the Stress
Gymnastics is a sport thats all about pushing your boundaries and trusting your body - but that doesn't mean you have to push too hard. With steady practice getting familiar and comfortable with a new skill, learning gymnastics recreationally can be a positive experience, not a stressful one.
Even basic skills like a cartwheel or handstand gets kids comfortable with being upside down and on their hands, which for many kids can be terrifying at first. But with positive motivation, encouragement, and patience, they will learn that they are capable of accomplishing anything with the right attitude.
Ultimately, gymnastics is a sport that is naturally good for mental and physical health. Any sport can be taken to the extreme. And while gymnastics can be one of the most extreme sports out there, it doesn't have to be. There are too many benefits to pass up, even if that means a simple hour per week of work.
If you want to start benefitting from gymnastics, there are many gyms that would be happy to work with you at a non-competitive pace (like us, at Energy!) or check out our Beginner's Gymnastics WorkOut Guide to get started on your own!