Hop, skip and jump into gymnastics!
Flying through the air, tumbling, spinning and then landing on your feet is pretty impressive stuff! We were spoilt for choice watching the amazingly talented gymnasts during the 2016 Olympics in Rio. In fact TeamGB won their first ever gold medals in artistic gymnastics this summer with Max Whitlock inspiring us all with his performances on the pommel horse and floor.
Does your child dream of gymnastic gold? Perhaps they are showing a keen interest in one of the disciplines of artistic, rhythmic or trampoline gymnastics? Where do you start to nurture and develop this enthusiasm? We explore the benefits of taking the leap into gymnastics and how to find the right gymnastic instruction for your child.
An ancient art
Gymnastics has a vast history spanning over 2,000 years. Thought by the ancient Greeks to demonstrate “the perfect symmetry between mind and body” (1) It takes stamina, strength and dedication to become an Olympian medal winning gymnast. Gymnastics doesn’t always have to be so serious and competitive of course, it can also be a lot of fun! We explore the benefits of gymnastics for children.
Gymnastics - The Benefits:
Hopping for Health
All of the gymnastic disciplines are fantastic at keeping your child fit and active. It can
improve their flexibility, core strength and of course balance. Gymnastics is also a great way to allow your child to vent the extra energy they have outside of the classroom.
Gymnastics encourages your child to concentrate and focus especially when learning new technical moves. Perfect for also developing their coordination skills.
All about the confidence!
The discipline of gymnastics can really help to develop your child’s confidence as they
learn new apparatus and skills. It can also assist them in conquering any childhood fear they may have such as fear of heights, making it a fantastic activity for building courage in your child.
Gymnastics - The Kit:
Now that your child has decided that gymnastics is the right children activity for them what next? How do you get kitted out for a class?
Usually a kit includes a leotard (with optional shorts worn over the top) for girls. Boys kit can include t-shirt and shorts, with no button, zips or poppers for safety reasons. Always speak to your instructor first regarding the kit to check that there is no particular club or class uniform.
Gymnastic classes should be performed in bare feet (socks can cause slipping), with long hair tied back. Again your individual children class can advise on this.
Gymnastics can be thirsty work! Always have a bottle of water and a snack available after your children class.
Gymnastics - Three top tips to consider:
Ensure you look for a gymnastic class with a full and well structured syllabus with an
emphasis on safety. It is important you and your child feel confident in terms of the safety of the equipment and apparatus. It is also worth checking that the instructor(s) are first aid trained for added peace of mind.
Artistic, rhythmic or trampoline?
Find out what type of instruction the class offers and find the right gymnastic discipline for your child. Make sure your child feels comfortable with the discipline they are going to be taught and the apparatus that might be used. Your child will need to feel confident with their teacher and the equipment if they are going to excel. Does the class offer taster sessions into the different areas of gymnastics to give your child more of an idea? A great resource for finding out what discipline is right for your child is the British Gymnastics website (2).
Getting the right environment to learn
Find out what the teaching environment is like in the gymnastic class. Can children take part in activities just for fun or can they take part to eventually enter into competitions? If your child does want to take up gymnastics professionally, is the correct structure in place for them to enter competitions? Setting the right environment for your child when learning gymnastics is important to develop and build confidence in the sport.
Gymnastics - How to get involved:
Gentle gymnastic classes can start for children as young as two years of age. Look out for pre-school classes for tumbling tots to give gymnastics a try at a very basic level.
To suit all ages and abilities in terms of gymnastics for children and after school children activities, there is plenty to choose from in Kingston-upon-thames and Twickenham for instance. Here are a couple of examples for local gymnastics classes:
MAXimum Force Gymnastics based in Kingston Upon Thames. A fairly new club founded in 2015, they offer gymnastic and cheerleading classes to both boys and girls aged 4 and over with all abilities welcome. All children work towards earning club certificates and at the end of each term a gymnast and a cheerleader are selected for their hard work and dedication to take the team mascot ‘Max’ home for a week.
Ace of Clubs Gymnastics & Trampolining based in Twickenham. They offer fun and educational classes for all abilities and talent, and focus on confidence building as well as general life skills and not just the sport’s skills.
Whatever their level - if you child is set for Olympic stardom on the Vault or the Beam or perhaps they just like to bounce around on the trampoline - there is a lot of choice and expertise out there.
Here at TheKidsDo we can take away the stress and the overwhelming feeling of organising after school activities for your children. We search and plan, so you don’t have to. We save you time and stress by not only searching for activities on your behalf but also organising a curated choice of after school activities into your very own weekly schedule. Simply sign up on our Parents page to request your schedule of after school activities and get your family calendar under control. Yu can also follow us on Facebook and on Twitter for regular news and updates.