Enrolling your child in gymnastics classes is a big decision for any parent and it's important to weigh up the pros and cons.
Let's take a closer look at why some parents may think gymnastics is bad for your child...
PROS AND CONS OF GYMNASTICS
Will gymnastics give my child body image issues?
Doing gymnastics will make your child more comfortable in their skin as they grow in confidence and learn more about how their body works. Your child will surprise you as they tell you that they need to work on moving an area of their body to a certain position to achieve their next skill, thus showing new body awareness.
Will doing gymnastics stunt my child's growth?
It is true to say that most high-level gymnasts are quite short. However, that's because smaller, lighter people with shorter levers (limbs) have an easier time doing high-level gymnastics and therefore succeed at a greater rate than their taller teammates. So it certainly is NOT gymnastics that makes them short, it’s by being short that it can help you to succeed at elite level in gymnastics. One, two or three hours a week of gymnastics will have ZERO effect on your child’s growth. It will, however, have a hugely positive effect in preventing obesity, strengthening muscles and bones and encouraging a lifetime of fitness and positive mindset towards sport.
Will my child get injured?
Gymnastics can be a dangerous sport and a solid club will do everything they can to minimise danger and accidents. Many gymnastics injuries are repetitive stress injuries due to over training. A gymnast participating in classes once or twice a week is highly unlikely to develop such an injury. Gymnastics when practiced in a club environment with trained coaching professionals who follow safe, logical and developmentally appropriate lessons is relatively safe. A gymnastics club's coach should always be enhanced DBS (police background) checked and there should be qualified first aiders and full child protection procedures in place. All equipment must be regularly safety checked to keep things running in top notch order. Having these procedures in place makes for a safe, happy environment.
Will gymnastics make my child stressed and anxious with the pressure to be perfect?
Doing gymnastics will equip your child with skills to better handle physical and emotional pressure in life. Gymnastics activities reduce signs of depression, increase endorphins and reduce stress. It can even help your child sleep better.
Will gymnastics classes be too strict and not fun for my child?
Make sure you choose a club where the focus is always on having FUN whilst learning new skills. Your child will learn the discipline of being in a structured class where they will learn social skills like listening, following directions, taking turns, being quiet, concentration and respecting others which will help them tremendously at school. Friendly coaches will make sure your child has a great time at their club.
Will classes take over and shall we miss out on family time at the weekend?
It is possible that your child will love gymnastics so much that they will want to join the squad and do extra hours at their club. But what's the worst that can happen? They will improve their strength, flexibility, balance, fitness levels, coordination and confidence - all fantastic skills that will help them in the years ahead!
I hope you find this useful and it helps you decide whether gymnastics could be the right sport for your child. You'll be happy to know that at Flair gymnastics clubs we have everything covered that we mentioned in this article.
The Parent's Champion