Now that the sports academies are opening up slowly, most of the parents would be thinking and searching to admit their children into the right sports classes or academies. But the sports academies or the professional coaching is only for the children of 8 years and above. Then, what is the next best option available for the younger children? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children aged between 2-5 years should be playing sports like Gymnastics which develops their gross motor skills. And for older kids, depending on their interests, Gymnastics could be the best option.
Gymnastics is a sport and a physical activity too.
As they say, Gymnastics is the mother of all sports and it’s a comprehensive exercise program that teaches flexibility, balance, speed, and muscle coordination apart from others. Experts say that this is the hardest sport of all and requires a very agile mind and body to conquer this sport. When this sport is introduced to the children at a tender age, it will lay the foundation for their healthy lifestyle and future athletic career. Any sport requires strict discipline and a healthy body. It also helps in building excellent mind and body coordination, which is essential for any sport.
The beginner gymnastics would be teaching the child more about basic body stretches, balancing, jumping, and hopping. While the advanced skills teach more body coordination activities using various equipment in the gym under the trainer’s supervision.
Since the organized sports like cricket, football or badminton require teamwork and children below 6-8 years are not psychologically ready to play any team sport. So that’s one of the main reasons, why any sports teacher or pediatrician would be recommending Gymnastics as the best sport during the early years of your child.
7 facts about Gymnastics being the best sport for Kids.
1. Improves the Self Confidence:
Gymnastics teaches children to gain control over their bodies. The more they work on mastering their stretches, swings, and jumps the children would gain more confidence. Their newly gained self-confidence after completing different activities in the gym would get carried forward into their life outside the gymnastics center as well.
2. Overcomes the Fear Factor:
Children try out different equipment and different activities in gymnastics, and that will make them face their fears heads on. Like hanging on a high bar, doing a somersault, jumping high on the trampoline, etc will teach them to conquer their fears. Coaches always lay out the plans and help the children overcome their fears in a step-by-step manner.
3. Teaches the Discipline:
Any sport teaches discipline to children. To master various skills in gymnastics, the children have to exhibit high amounts of commitment, dedication, and hard work. Sometimes, these skills take months and even years to master. It’s been proven various times that gymnasts are highly disciplined when compared to other sports. The reason for this high discipline is that most of the events in gymnastics are always plagued with accidents. Unless the gymnast is highly disciplined, he will not be able to master those events without any accidents.
4. Improves Spatial Reasoning:
Gymnasts keep moving in all the different angles and plains, which improves their spatial awareness. Doing gymnastics regularly improves the connections that work on the logical and spatial reasoning in the brain. Children need a good foundation in spatial reasoning to understand and fair better in Geometry and solve the various mathematical equations. So that way, joining gymnastics would also improve the mathematical ability of the children.
5. Builds the Health and Strength
Children who start learning gymnastics at an early age, tend to love the movement of their bodies. Which in turn means, that they would be playing one sport or the other during their entire lifetime. Also, practicing basic gymnastics improves the body structure in the growing years, which gives the children good bone strength and solid muscle. So that way, this sport helps the children to eat healthily and stay fit.
6. Builds the Mental Resilience and toughness
The free fall from the high bars or trampoline, only to get up and do it again teaches the children that they need to pick up and start again. It’s tough to explain this concept to the children over the books and stories. But in gymnastics, this lesson is being taught without using many words. In any sport, making mistakes and falling down is common. But to get back into the game, the sportsperson has to make a tremendous effort. In Gymnastics, the simple act of swinging and falling from the high bar, only to get there again teaches the resilience required for any sportsperson.
7. Imbibes the Social Skills.
Attending the gymnastics classes would help in building social skills within the children. These gymnastic centers provide the children the opportunity to observe and mingle with the mixed age group children. So, they will be able to find a role model to emulate in their future. Listening to coaches, and talking/socializing with the other children in the class will make them respect others and understand the basic concepts of empathy and compassion.
Last but not, least Gymnastics is always fun for the children. All the children love to swing, climb, jump and hop. Regular participation in gymnastics would help in releasing endorphins – the happy chemicals, and it will help in improving the mood of the children.
My Personal Experience with Gymnastics:
The best part of gymnastics is that it will be played only indoors. So its weather independent and can be played at any point in time. Even during the pandemic, when all the sports academies have shut down, my child’s gymnastics center has decided to go digital and started conducting online gymnastics lessons. In fact, that move has helped my child to stay fit and healthy during the pandemic. Otherwise, it’s very difficult to keep the sporty kids at home in a fit and happy manner.
My child started with the basic stretches and other fitness routines in the online classes and then graduated towards conquering his fear of doing different events. His confidence levels have gone up after he had accomplished the handstand, started using the parallel bars and trampoline.
The practice and hard work required in gymnastics have given him exposure to the hard work that needs to be done to excel in any sports field. It also has improved his resilience levels. Now, Shrav has stopped reacting to failures and started trying again and again till he succeeds. What else would I require as a parent from my child?
So, this is my experience with Gymnastics as a sport as well as physical activity. This is what the research also says about this game, Gymnastics. In case, if you have tried gymnastics already, please let me know your comments.