Benefits, Gymnastics, Skill Development, Sports, Training, Tumbling

How Can Gymnastics Benefit Your Child?

It is very important to keep children active and get involved with some type of physical activity. Especially in this modern age where technology has taken control and children get glued to their computers and mobile devices. In addition, the majority of public school systems have little to offer in terms of Physical Education and intramural sports – where many schools only offer PE classes as an option in the school curriculum.

However, when searching which activities are best to get your young child involved with, there are many choices. I believe Gymnastics is a great place to start!! There are many benefits in learning gymnastics as a young athlete.

All sports have their own physical attributes which need to be accomplished in order to be successful. For example, in sports such as basketball, track and field, and soccer, just to name a few, athletes need to be proficient in running and jumping as well as throwing and spinning. Dancers need to be flexible and learn complete body control and coordination.

The sport of gymnastics teaches most physical attributes that all sports require in order to be successful. Gymnastics entails training in flexibility, strength, agility, and coordination. It is important the students learn to run and jump effectively. Through consistent training, students will increase physical coordination and agility. The sport of gymnastics and tumbling entails training that enhance development in all parts of the body.

Skill development in gymnastics is typically a slow process due to the complexity of the skills involved. However, through time, students will learn and progress to higher level skills. It is through this development that students develop physical and emotional attributes that will be beneficial in other sports they may pursue.

Only a small percentage of students who participate in gymnastics at an early age will reach the highest level of competition. For students who participate in gymnastics at an early age and progress through several skill levels, they will have developed many physical and mental attributes that will help them become successful in another sport.

Not only is gymnastics and tumbling beneficial to students, it is a fun experience for most who participate. Give it a try – it could be a great experience!!

My new Beginner Tumbling Training Guide is published and ready for all to use. This is a great training aid for any and all programs who offer tumbling training. If you would like to order your copy, follow this link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0847D3VQC

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Athletes, Benefits, Competition, Evaluation, Lifestyle, Preparation, Sports, Success

Choices A Parent Should Consider for Their Child's Development: Sports: Choosing the Right Path for Your Child

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Which direction should I go in?

How do I get there?

Am I making the right decision?

So many choices
So many influences
Mixed messages from coaches and friends

These are just a few of the questions that many parents and students ask themselves in the pursuit of success in a sports career. The truth is, there is no clear path to anyone’s success. A major question to consider is, what is the objective? Where is the motivation coming from? This is key in determining which path to take. Is it coming from the parent or is it coming from the child? This is an important factor in determining the strength of the motivation (The Motivation Factor).

The age of an athlete is very important in determining which direction to go in. For example, a student at the age of 5, 6, or 7 years old typically will not have the maturity or understanding to know how to make these types of decisions. For children of this age, it is important that they experience as many activities as possible, so they can determine what they like best. This may take several years to determine. It is not uncommon for a child to have a passion for one activity and in several month’s make a change to participate in a different activity. This can be frustrating for the parent if they are trying to persuade their child to pick one solid destination.

multi sports youth         I often tell parents that are clients in my own program that it is important that their children experience different activities, so they can experience as much as possible while they are young. We have many students in our program attend classes periodically throughout the year because they are involved in different sports activities which conflict with our schedule. I believe this is a positive way to approach where the children are going with their lives.

As a child gets older, these decisions become more defined. They begin to figure out who they are, and in many cases, determine what their likes and dislikes are. The preteen ages, especially for the boys, is a great time to start figuring out which direction they may want to go into. For girls, this decision may come earlier as girls tend to mature at a much earlier age.

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Another factor to consider is the burnout and injury factor associated with students starting a sport at an early stage in life. Sports can be aggressive and physically demanding. If you are involved with sports, you are going to have injuries. It comes with the territory (Injuries: Prevention and Repair). The body, with all its complex physical anatomy, can only take so much wear and tear. The earlier the student begins to participate in sports the earlier the body begins to experience the impact of physical demands. At the higher levels of sport, the greater the impact of stress on the body (.

I often tell parents when they are considering whether their child should pursue a competitive atmosphere, I let them know that the earlier the children get started, the earlier their career may end. It is important not to rush this decision and I personally believe that starting a child in the competitive atmosphere at the age of 6 or earlier is not necessary for them to reach success. Not only is the competitive atmosphere physically demanding but it is also emotionally demanding.  Most young children do not understand how to cope with this demand.

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Okay, so the goal has been set and the child has determined what direction they want to go in. Now the decision needs to be made on what it’s going to take to achieve that goal (Setting Goals: The Path to Success). There are so many factors that go into play here. Is the sport offered by the school, or is it a club scenario? If the program is offered by the local school system, the child can participate with much lower costs and easy accessibility. However, if the program is a club system, the costs could potentially be much higher and accessibility more difficult.

In addition, the club programs may offer a higher level of coaching and instruction. These programs, in most cases, are for-profit organizations which make it more appealing for high level coaches. However, if your child is not at a particularly high level of sport, the club program could wait until the level of sport requires this type of training. Much like the High School football and basketball player who excels in their sport. These athletes may get the opportunity to progress at a higher level with a successful collegiate program.

A life in sports can be a great life.  It can be very rewarding and teach lessons that can be applied in all aspects of life.  Many successful athletes have become successful in their professional lives as well.  Sports teaches discipline, focus, and an understanding of hard work to achieve goals.  Whether a sports career ends with great success or not, the experience is enough to make all participants Champions.

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Benefits, Coaching, Communication, Evaluation, Skill Development, Training

A Coaches Guide to Seeking Help on Skill Development: How Do I Fix That?

 

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There are many articles, videos, pics and more that are designed to help athletes in skill development. The “how to’s” are posted everywhere on social media and other publications. These methods of training can be effective and is useful for many. However, what is needed more in training that is difficult to publish and define, is fixing the problem areas that athletes are challenged with.

The objective of the coach is to train the athlete in all areas of skill development. This starts with training each student from the ground up, so they can develop a strong foundation of basic elements to build upon. We see, in many cases, athletes who have missed learning the basics which results in many challenges in developing more advanced elements.  Without a strong foundation of basic elements, the student will have challenges learning more advanced skills.

A common problem we see in many gyms is that there may be several members of the coaching staff that do not have the experience and knowledge to teach skills with proper technique or fix a problem area that a student is struggling with.  We see this most in recreational programs where competitive gymnastics is not the major focus of the program.  However, many of the students who participate in these types of programs may have a desire to move up in the sport and try a competitive program.  When this occurs, the student will have challenges if they have not learned the proper basics with good technique.

I have seen many video clips posted to social media networks where coaches are requesting help in fixing a technical issue a student may be having.  I have seen clips of round-offs, back handsprings, front handsprings, and many more in tumbling.  There are also many clips requesting help for skills on the bars and balance beams.  These video clips are a great tool to assist the coach in fixing problem areas.

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I have found that on-line training is becoming more and more popular.  I have begun doing lessons via Skype and they have been extremely successful.  However, it does have limitations.  Although Skyping a training session is beneficial in helping with teaching proper technique, it will never be as good as the “hands-on” approach.  Especially if the student needs spotting to help improve the skill.

One of the biggest issues I have seen with posting video for corrective comments on group posts, is that the recipient may receive many comments from many different coaches.  Although it is great that so many are responding and attempting to assist with the problem, it can be somewhat overwhelming for the coach posting the video.  For example, if there are 30 responding comments on how to fix the problem, there may be 20 comments that have different views on how to fix the problem (i.e.: “too many chefs in the kitchen”).

Another concern is that many coaches have different opinions on how skills should be learned.  It’s not that different opinions are wrong, but what may work for one athlete may not work for another athlete (The Technique Controversy).  It is good to have several opinions to work with, but not to get overloaded.

An alternative to consider when looking for help with teaching or correcting a skill is to post and send to only a select few that you may have collaborated with previously or know has the knowledge you are seeking.  There are many experts out there that can be of great assistance.  Much depends on the skill you are needing help with.  Is it a tumbling skill?  Or a bars or beam skill?  You may even want to ask for referrals.

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The ultimate fix is for the coaches to become knowledgeable in the skills they are teaching.  For those programs that are lacking in this knowledge, it is beneficial to participate in local clinics and seminars.  If these are difficult to locate or not available in your area, you may consider bringing in a professional to run a coach’s clinic at your facility or program.

When coaches have the proper knowledge of skill development, not only will their athletes be more productive and successful, the entire program will benefit and be successful.

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I hope this article is helpful for those seeking training information.  I will soon be releasing a series of manuals and video’s that will be beneficial for many.  These will include skill development, safety and spotting, program development, training atmospheres, and many more subjects to enhance the development of coaches and athletes.

If you have concerns or need assistance with your training program, do not hesitate to contact me.  If you would like an on-line training session via Skype, please contact me for scheduling.

Email:   scottjohnsongymnastics@gmail.com

Benefits, Gymnastics, Skill Development

Benefits of Gymnastics

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For those of us who are familiar with the gymnastics as an activity or sport, we know that the teaching and learning curve can be very complex and complicated.  It takes strength, flexibility, coordination, and confidence to progress and advance through the various skill levels. Developing biomechanical skills is a slow process and it takes years of training for an athlete to reach the higher levels of gymnastics.  Over time it is truly amazing to see what these athletes are able to accomplish when they follow a designed plan.  In this discussion, I will reflect on how the sport of gymnastics can create great athleticism that will benefit an athlete in any sport.  This Post will benefit those parents who are contemplating what activities may be best for their children.

There are many different types of sports and each one has its own physical, technical, and mechanical demands necessary to achieve success in the sport.  Some sports are very aggressive and involve physical contact such as Football, Soccer, or Martial Arts. In contrast non-contact sports like Gymnastics, Track and Field, or Swimming and Diving are individual performance related with no physical contact. Both contact and non-contact sports can be just as physically, mentally, and technically demanding all requiring speed, strength, endurance, and most importantly total body control throughout the performance. Sports such as Golf, Archery, and Bowling may be less physically demanding, but still require a sharp mental focus and body control in training and competition.

 

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Without ever participating in a particular sport it’s difficult to fully comprehend what is required physically and mentally to compete at a high level. Good athletes make incredible feats look easy, great athletes do it without even breaking a sweat. Watching a great athlete perform on TV can be deceptive. For example, have you watched a Major League pitcher throw a 95 MPH fastball over home plate? Most people are lucky if they can just get the ball to home plate.

My own personal awakening was an eye opener for me. Sports always came easy to me, but to my disbelief when I first tried to Golf, I was not very good.  As a successful athlete in gymnastics I had always thought that the sport of golf was more of an activity and should not be considered a sport.  I always thought it required little physical effort and would be easy to play, until I tried it!!  In 1984 the Olympic Gymnastics Trials were held in Jacksonville, FL and we were housed at The Ravines Golf and Tennis Resort.  One day, the resorts golf pro invited us all to a free round of golf.  This was my first attempt at this sport and I was blown away – I whiffed more times than I hit the ball. Here I was a world-class athlete in arguably the most difficult individual performance sports in the Olympic Games and I couldn’t hit a golf ball, much less make it go in the right direction.  It was this experience that I gained a new appreciation for the sport of Golf – and a sport I vowed to learn to play.

The sport of gymnastics is such a complex sport that in order to be successful the athlete needs to acquire a very high level athleticism.  It requires total body control where the entire body must perform in unison in order to complete each individual skill effectively and safely through a series of connected skills called a routine. It is a sport that requires speed and patience at the same time to allow continuation of energy into the next skill.  It requires complete mental focus and spatial awareness to have the confidence to literally release a piece of apparatus at high-speed and know it will be there when you reach to re-grab it.

Gymnastics and acrobatic skill development provides an excellent base for almost any sport. It teaches students to run correctly (it is very common that many people run incorrectly with small strides and poor body position), learn body control and to move their bodies through many different positions. They will learn to jump correctly, and most importantly learn how to absorb shock on landings. Gymnastics teaches how to use flexibility and strength together for body control, and how to overcome fear by focusing on technique to safely complete the skill.

 

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It is these attributes that athletes acquire in gymnastics that will benefit them in almost any sport or activity they pursue.  As I discussed in my previous blog (The Coach: Creating the Successful Athlete), participation in gymnastics drops off as the skill level increases due to extreme competition requirements. Athletes who choose to pursue other sports or activities after gymnastics have a great foundation to build upon. It’s common to see these athletes rely on the strength and conditioning they learned in gymnastics to improve their performance in a new sport. I have seen former students of mine become great volleyball players, soccer players, softball or baseball players, and much more.  Sports like diving are very similar to the sport of gymnastics and many former gymnasts may find success in a short period of time.  One great example is 1988 Olympic Bronze Medalist, Phoebe Mills.  After her gymnastics career, she participated and became successful in the sport of diving. The athleticism she learned in the sport of gymnastics was certainly a benefit in her diving career.

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When a parent is exploring what activities their child should participate in, gymnastics should always be considered, especially for young children.  And it is not only for the girls, which seems to be a common perception.  Boys can benefit greatly from participating in the sport of gymnastics as it can enhance many attributes that almost every sport requires.  I often have parents enroll their child in our gymnastics program specifically for this reason.  Not only will the students acquire many physical skills, but the sport is fun and most that participate enjoy the experience.

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To be successful as a competitive athlete requires a certain type of person with certain physical and emotional traits. Thus, genetics play an important part on whether an athlete will have the ability to achieve success.  For example, when I was young, I played football.  I loved this sport and I was pretty good.  One problem, I was too small to pursue it for very long – if I wanted to live a little longer. My height eliminated the possibility of a career in the NBA, so that was out. Conversely the reverse is also true as it’s very rare to see a six-foot tall gymnast. Fortunately children tend to be short, so gymnastics is a great way to develop motor skills at a young age that will stay with them through their sports career, no matter the sport.

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The sport of gymnastics is a great sport and anyone and everyone can participate.  The skills they learn will certainly benefit them in any future activities they may pursue outside of gymnastics.  And who knows…  they may become an Olympic Champion!!

I would love to hear your comments. Also, if there are any subjects you would like me to cover, let me know and I will do my best to post my thoughts.  Please Like and Share to all you believe will benefit from the information.

For clinics, seminars, or special events, please contact me at: scottjohnsongymnastics@gmail.com                                         http://www.scottjohnsonstga.com

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