It’s Gymnastics and So Much More
Often when I’m asked what I do for a living I reply that I provide a place for children to safely develop socially, emotionally and physically. Gymnastics is one of the vehicles used but equally important is the process of the whole child development that is taking place. I am lucky to be a small part of that amazing process. The fact that the development may have occurred as part of a progression to mastering a back handspring is often obscured by the back handspring itself. Much of what was simultaneously accomplished will not be recognized as equally, if not more valuable, until later – sometimes much later – in that child’s life.
Sometime after completing gymnastics lessons that child will remember how scary it was to trust the training, how frustrating it was to not be able to master it for such a long time, how many times they wanted to hang with friends instead of getting to gymnastics class, how their classmates learned it waaay before they did…and how really great it felt when they finally, finally got it!
They’ll recall how hard it was to remember to:
stand in straight hollow, arms by ears, head neutral, feet together… push hard through the toes to kick the feet over… finish in a straight hollow position. All that AND focus on hands while upside down AND keep arms straight with legs together throughout the whole thing!
But. When. They. Get. It – what a feeling of accomplishment and euphoria! And with each skill acquired they reinforce knowing how to set a goal, break it down into manageable pieces, apply themselves when they sometimes don’t feel like it, practice positive self-talk and celebrate hard work.
At age thirty-five they’ll rarely if ever perform a back handspring but they will have quite often employed the peripheral skills developed while taking gymnastics. It’s a brilliant system for these life lessons and these life lessons are some of the long-lasting reasons for gymnastics classes.
By Shauna Swank
Wings Gymnastics Boise, Idaho