Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tricks and Treats

There are many ways to "trick" kids into learning and "treat" them to some laugh out loud fun in the process. Let me reach into my goodie bag and show you some Tricks and Treats of learning at the gym.

Cartwheels. Often we'll use a piece of foam for kids to jump over or hold so they can kick while learning cartwheels. The strategy is they're focused on the foam more than the "I can't or I don't know how". This makes it fun and helps them learn to pop the hips and lift the legs.

Balance. Bean bags on the head while walking on the beam is crazy fun. Instead of them looking at the beam to walk, they have to focus on keeping their heads up and look only at the far end of the beam. Some kids will figure out how to place it so their ponytales hold it in place, while others hold it with their hands til they get the hang of it.

Rainbows. The rainbows hold endless fun. From helping learn how to hold the splits to learning how to spot backward skills. The kids just see it as something to climb on and rock in. They have no idea that they're learning gymnastics until the Coach helps them finish the skill. The surprised looks of "Oh wow. I did it!" always bring a smile to coaches, students, and parents.

So next time you see your child having way to much fun, remember they're being tricked into learning some pretty awesome skills, and the end result is rewarding :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The root of all sports

Gymnastics is the root of all sports. It involves the performance of exercises requiring physical strength, flexibility, agility, coordination, and balance.

In ancient times, exercises began with athletic feats performed by each individual according to his own notion. The youths were encouraged to combine amusement with exercise. In time, this kind of exercise was incorporated into a system that figured prominently in the state regulations for education. In fact, the period for exercise or gymnastics was equal to the time spent on art and music combined. All Greek cities had a gymnasium, a courtyard for jumping, running, and wrestling. The term included stretching exercises and warm-up preparations for athletes. These were based on military exercises.

 In the year 1569, Girolamo Mercuriale from Italy wrote Le Arte Gymnastica, that brought together his study of the attitudes of the ancients toward diet, exercise and hygiene, and the use of natural methods for the cure of disease. De Arte Gymnastica also explained the principles of physical therapy and is considered the first book on sports medicine.

In the late eighteenth century, three pioneer physical educators created exercises for boys and young men on specific apparatuses  that ultimately led to what is considered modern gymnastics Today, both men's and women's gymnastics now attract considerable international interest, and excellent gymnasts can be found on every continent.