I was an active gymnast from age 4 until I graduated High School at age 17. From that point on I have been coaching and judging gymnastics. I feel like I have experience with many aspects of the sport of gymnastics. Anyone who is looking into the sport of gymnastics needs to decide what their looking to accomplish with this great sport. There are a few directions you can go and it is important to know the differences so you can make a decision as to which route you would like to take.
A great starting point is a recreational program. Here you will be able to learn the basics of the sport and to see whether or not you enjoy gymnastics and want to continue on with it. I teach recreational gymnastics and my favorite part about it is that it allows kids to participate in multiple sports simultaneously. Doing a sport just for fun without having to fully commit allows students to stay involved in the other activities they enjoy without having to choose which one or the other. It is also very affordable. Many recreational programs also have beginner, intermediate & advanced classes so you can continue to improve your skills.
Competitive Club Program
The next step after a recreational gymnastics program is a competitive club program. Just like many other club sports, competitive gymnastics is very demanding and time consuming. It can also become very expensive to belong to a club team. I did club gymnastics from age 7-15. One thing that I loved about club gymnastics is that I made some amazing friends that were like my family. Club gymnastics teaches you discipline and how to work hard while overcoming your fears. Although the time you put in is a lot, it can really pay off. Having more practice time will allow you to perfect your skills and form as well as continue to improve and upgrade your routines. Through club gymnastics you will get the opportunity to place or even win competitions. If you are looking for more than just doing gymnastics for fun, you will want to look into a club gym near you.
A Fork in the Road
As gymnasts are entering High School, they will now have to make another tough decision. They can continue competing for their club team, compete for their High School team, or in some cases if a club allows it you can compete for both. Not all High Schools have a gymnastics team. If they don’t then that makes your decision easy. If your school does have a gymnastics team, you are presented with the opportunity to represent your school as a team and an individual. The High School season is much shorter and practices are usually shorter too. I did club gymnastics my Freshman and Sophomore years of high school. Because of this, I missed out on a lot of fun school activities. During my Junior and Senior year I competed for my school and I loved it! Without club, I would not have had the skills that I had but it was great to finish my competitive gymnastics years representing my school and making it to state as a team. I was able to enjoy life as a high school student with a little bit less pressure.
Some gymnasts will even get the opportunity to compete in college which is a great accomplishment. A small percentage of gymnasts will become Elite and have a chance to try out for the Olympic team.
Here at GymnasticsTracks.com, we wish you the best of luck with your gymnastics career whichever route you decide to take.