Is Gymnastics Considered a Sport?

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Is Gymnastics a Sport?

Diving back into the history of gymnastics, you will find it was an athletic competition in the early days of Greece. Shortly thereafter, the Romans used gymnastics as a way to train their military.

Later, the Germans developed and introduced equipment that would evolve into the modern equipment used by gymnasts today. There have been and will always be those who believe that gymnastics is not a sport. Well, those naysayers are incorrect.

Requirements to Become an Elite Gymnast

Gymnastics requires mental acuity, discipline, core strength, upper body strength, lower body strength, flexibility, and balance. The amount of time and dedication to become the best and make an Olympic team is equivalent to that of a full-time job with overtime. No other sport requires that much time.

Physical & Mental Strength

What seems impossible must become possible in order to succeed in gymnastics. The only two sports that are comparable to the types of twists and turns of the body that gymnasts must perform are snowboarding and diving. The only difference is that in gymnastics, your body is constantly undergoing pounding.

Gymnasts are forced to build their physical and mental strength in order to keep striving to be the best. On top of learning many different skills, intense physical training and conditioning involve repetition after repetition to create needed muscle memory. Just take a look at how sculpted and chiseled a gymnast’s body is and tell me they aren’t athletes and that gymnastics is not a sport.

Beyond physical strength is the mental fortitude required. There will be trials and tribulations along the way during training and competition. In order to reach your potential, you must build internal fortitude so that problems don’t wear you down. For instance, if you fall off the balance beam and fear it will happen again, you might not only fall again, you could injure yourself in the process.

Flexibility and Balance

Equally as significant as the strength that is required in gymnastics is the uncanny amount of flexibility and balance. While this is seen in nearly every event, this is seen most on the balance beam.

It’s difficult enough for the average person to even walk across a four-inch beam without losing some balance. Now try doing front flips, backflips, and other maneuvers in competition for a score from judges watching your every move.

Without proper balance, you can fall, and your chances of winning go down the tubes. The flexibility required in gymnastics is second to none. Not only is it needed on the beam, but adds in the vault, rings, floor exercise, and any other type of event seen in competition. Try pulling off a 180-degree split jump. Not so easy, is it?

Master a Variety of Events

A baseball player might not be the best defensive player but can help a team win with a power bat. Or maybe he is an automatic out but saves a team runs with a stellar glove. Other specialists are seen in basketball and football.

But in gymnastics, becoming an individual champion is difficult unless you are good at all events. Sure, some events may be your bread and butter, but to become a champion, you cannot be weak in any event. There are four different events for women, and for men, there are six different events.

Scoring in gymnastics starts with a 10.0 per event, and points are deducted for every mistake that is made. Gymnastics is the only sport that comes to mind where points are taken away.

It’s extremely difficult to score a perfect ten since every little move is scrutinized. In Olympic competitions, scores are always based on the difficulty of the routine, the types of skills required, and the execution of the routine.

Why Gymnastics is a Great Sport for Children

Children like to be active, and some of the first forms of physical activity for most children involve jumping and running. In a sense, they are little gymnasts in the making without knowing it.

Here are some of the main reasons why gymnastics is a great sport for children:

1. Teaches Persistence and Mental Fortitude

Kids tend to have little patience for mistakes and tend to get frustrated if they can’t master a task quickly. However, gymnastics is a sport where you will fall, fall, and fall again. The sport teaches you to believe that you “can do it,” maybe not right now, but in time you can do it.

The key is never to say that you “can’t do it”; instead, you can say that “I can’t do it now” or “I can’t do it yet,” which means someday you will be able to do it. Kids need to realize that they need persistence and that quitting is not an option.

2. Can Participate All Year Long

While many sports are seasonal, gymnastics is a sport where kids can participate all year long. During an offseason from other sports, gymnastics can be used as a way to keep in shape and build strength, coordination, and stamina.

Children will be surprised how this will help them improve in their other sports when the season begins. It doesn’t matter if there is rain, snow, sleet, hail, extreme heat, or cold; gymnastics takes place in a temperature-controlled gym. This provides a nice environment for children to get active, twist, flip, and have fun!

3. Foundation For Other Sports

While kids are having fun with gymnastics, it is also helping them develop other skills needed to play other sports, such as football, basketball, baseball, soccer, volleyball, hockey, track, and more.

The flexibility needed to split will help a soccer or hockey goalie. The power and speed used to perform a successful vault will assist in track sprints, basketball fast breaks, and football players going out for a deep pass.

The type of balance needed to stay on a beam is similar to that needed for a picture on a mound or even a golfer or bowler to keep form during a follow-through.

The upper body strength developed in gymnastics will aid in track events such as shot put and pole vaulting while adding power to push off a diving board.

4. Helps Develop Social Skills

Very young children can begin learning gymnastics, which is great for fine motor skills and is excellent for preparing children for school. After all, the children will be required to take turns, stand in line, and listen to a teacher.

He or she will also learn to trust what the teacher is saying and learn to accept constructive criticism. They will also learn to stay mentally focused, which is essential to remembering everything that needs to be done when performing a twist in the air or balancing a beam.

In essence, gymnastics teaches children dedication and commitment, as well as building self-esteem. These are qualities that can help children succeed now and all the way through their lives.

5. Helps Children in School

Gymnastics helps children develop strength in their arms and hands. This can help them gain the coordination necessary for proper penmanship. The types of movements performed in many gymnastic activities help improve audio and visual senses.

They also assist in learning spatial relations, which is essential in understanding different math concepts, particularly those in geometry. When young children learn to walk from left to right on a balance beam, it trains their eyes in the same way as the natural left-to-right movement used to read.

Is Gymnastics Really a Sport?

Gymnastics is one of the most popular sports during the Summer Olympics. It requires strength, stamina, balance, dedication, mental fortitude, and extraordinary ability to master. It’s one of the most challenging sports to reach the top since any weakness can prevent you from winning. Some of the best-conditioned athletes in the world are gymnasts.

If you don’t believe me, take a look at the men and women competing, and you’ll see one sculpted body after another. In addition to being a sport, it’s a great one for children. It helps them develop foundations for other sports, a love of fitness and staying active, and skills needed to succeed in school, socially, and throughout the rest of their lives.