In celebration of National Gymnastics Day, I wanted to share some of my favorite things about gymnastics. I have been involved in the sport for over 30 years, between competing, coaching, and judging. It’s safe to say that gymnastics has made a major impact on my life! So without further adieu, the top 10…
- Gymnastics is a sport that makes you feel like you can fly. When I did gymnastics, this was hands down my favorite part. Getting a ton of air during a tumbling pass, vault, or dismount gave me an adrenaline rush that could not be beat!
- Gymnastics helps athletes learn to set goals and work towards them. There are so many life skills that can be taught in a gymnastics setting, and my experience in gymnastics played a huge role in teaching me to set short and long term goals. I remember writing a paper in grade school about one of my first big goals in gymnastics, which was to learn to do a back tuck. As young as I was, I was able to spell out the steps to get to my end goal – and I was thrilled when I finally achieved it!
- Gymnastics is an amazing total body workout. Gymnasts need great upper body strength, lower body strength, flexibility, power, explosiveness, and endurance. Gymnasts, despite being small, are some of the strongest athletes in the world.
- Each gymnast can use their strengths to construct a routine that’s tailored to them. It’s a lot of fun as a judge to watch gymnasts perform all different types of skills and choreography to meet the same requirements. As a coach, it’s like putting together a puzzle: what value parts and special requirements are necessary? Which skills can the gymnast perform with the best execution and the most consistently to meet those requirements? And what choreography will help to tie it all together?
- There are multiple apparatuses on which to compete. Other sports just have one platform: for example, a baseball diamond or a soccer field. But in gymnastics, athletes get to learn skills on all the apparatus, and gymnasts also have the opportunity to compete as a specialist if they choose. Each apparatus has its own set of skills that are necessary to become successful. Gymnasts can choose to compete on all events, or to specialize in only the one(s) that they prefer.
- Gymnasts can invent new skills, and if they are performed successfully, they can get the skill named after them. This option is available to gymnasts competing at certain championship competitions, if they complete the skill within the expected criteria. The opportunity for innovation and progression of the sport is never ending!
- The sport is always evolving with new and difficult skills and combinations. In addition to brand new skills being performed, gymnasts and coaches consistently improve the level of the sport by trying new and different combinations of existing skills.
- Gymnasts can compete individually and as part of a team. Most people think of gymnastics as an individual sport, and only notice the team competition at the Olympics. However, there are many other team competitions every year. These include invitationals, State, Regional, and National competitions, high school championships, NCAA regular season meets and championships, and many more!
- Gymnastics is great preparation for other sports and activities. The strength, flexibility, and coordination learned when doing gymnastics is helpful when participating in many other physical pursuits. Some gymnasts also become divers, dancers, pole vaulters, and Crossfit athletes, and that’s just to name a few.
- Gymnastics is just amazing to watch! I could sit and watch it for hours on end and not get bored – and sometimes my husband gives me a hard time when I come home from judging a meet, then immediately turn on the TV to watch another meet. What can I say, I just love gymnastics!
BONUS #11: It allows competitors and professionals to travel and make friends all over the country, and even the world! Some of the best friendships are built through sport, and gymnastics is no exception to that.
What is your favorite thing about gymnastics, or favorite experience you have had? What would you like to see discussed on the blog? Leave it in the comments below!