There is no sport that involves such talent, such balance, such coordination, and such grace as gymnastics. The things performed within this sport are often hard to believe or understand how people can contort their body in such a fashion. This is not a sport that everybody can take on because it requires great stamina, flexibility, and skill. Those who perform it are quite passionate about it and get the feeling of flying through the air depending on what they perform on. This sport is often the feature of the summer Olympics because people just love to watch as the gymnasts flip through the air and handle the equipment with such amazing ease. This has been around for centuries, but the tricks and the level of difficulty continue to get more and more amazing through time. Though you may have never tried a cartwheel, you can certainly have an appreciation for these gymnasts and all that they do. This is one sport that will be around for years and continue to amaze those of us who watch.
Different Types and Equipment
The various types of gymnastics have as much to do with the equipment used as the way in which it is performed. The essence of this sport is centered around the pieces of equipment utilized in it. These are not pieces of equipment that one would just purchase for their own use. These are pieces of equipment that one would find in a gymnasium where various routines can be performed. Understanding the different types of gymnastics can come with understanding the different types of equipment. Typically men compete six events: Floor Exercise, Pommel Horse, Still Rings, Vault, Parallel Bars, and High Bar, while women compete four: Vault, Uneven Bars, Balance Beam, and Floor Exercise.
There are also lesser known types of gymnastics that are still quite popular and involve just as much skill. Though much of what we know of gymnastics comes to us from the artistic types we’ve discussed, there are also different types as well. Rhythmic gymnastics is another form that we see in the Olympics. This type is performed with a ball or ribbon or some other similar type of apparatus and it is more focused on an aesthetic appeal than the other forms. Though it is still performed, it is nowhere near as popular as the other types.
There are also other types of gymnastics that are performed but perhaps don’t gain as much notarity as the other forms. Tumbling, trampolining, aerobic, and even acrobatic gymnastics are all types that are practiced but either aren’t part of competitions such as Olympics or don’t receive the same attention as the rest. People may train within one of these other types or learn them as part of their repertoire. Gymnastics is also involved in other sports that people may participate in such as diving or dance. You often see gymnastics incorporated into such activities, and therefore they are sort of offshoots of this beloved sport.
How and Where to Learn
This is a sport that can be dangerous so you really want to be sure that you learn it well. Many children get involved in gymnastics from an early age and perfect the sport as they get older. It’s sometimes easier to learn early on because you tend to have more flexibility in the body and are therefore less prone to injuries. There are plenty of opportunities for adults to learn as well, but it might be a bit tougher on the body than when you are young. Typically gymnastics happens in a class setting or as a private lesson. There are a variety of different places and ways that one can learn about this exciting and captivating sport.
- Gymnastics Center: In just about every city or community there is a gymnastics center. These are facilities that are focused solely on the sport and which offer some fantastic classes to the general public. The gym is usually set up with all of the different equipment such as balance beams, uneven bars, vault, and plenty of floor space for routines to be learned. This is a great place to learn, particularly if you are just starting out. The classes can be a bit pricey sometimes, but the direction comes from trained professionals who have often performed for years within the sport.
- Local Community Center or School: Though they are not entirely centered on gymnastics as the previous option, these can be a great way to learn about the sport. Many community centers or even schools are set up for competitions and for classes. They may offer the same equipment or perhaps a bit less than a gymnastics center, but can be great for younger children or those that want to focus on a certain aspect of gymnastics. This is great for learning the ropes and for getting involved in various niches of the sport such as balance beam for example. The classes can be a bit more affordable and are usually offered by somebody who has a certain level of experience.
- Private Lessons: These lessons can either happen at a facility or another destination such as an instructors home if they have the right equipment and room. This is usually for an individual that is more well versed at the sport or who is training for competitions, and who is taking the learning process very seriously. There is a rather substantial financial investment in this type of learning, but it can pay off if one hopes to compete within gymnastics at some point. It’s best to research the instructor to be certain that their credentials are in line with your expectations.
- Group Classes: These can be offered just about anywhere from a local community center to another facility that features all different types of classes. This is usually how young students start off because fundamental concepts are taught rather than focusing on certain specifics of the sport. This can be a great way to introduce the sport to somebody just starting out as it is far less intimidating than other methods of learning.
- Practicing at Home: Whether you do this in conjunction with other types of learning or simply want to try out new tricks on your own, many people learn how to perform in gymnastics by practicing at home. They may practice certain moves like headstands in their own home or perfect cartwheels in their own backyard. It’s not wise to try anything dangerous on your own in this capacity, but it can be a great way to really work on your comprehension of the sport.
No matter how or where you learn about gymnastics, it can be a very rewarding sport. There are a variety of ways in which an individual can learn about it and figure out which aspects are of the most interest to them. Take the time to look into options offered in your area and then decide which best fits your needs and your skill level. If you are just getting into it then you may find that certain methods such as group classes are more beneficial. If however you are training for competitions, you may find that private lessons are a must. There are so many great ways to learn the sport, you just have to find the one that best fits your needs.
Tips and Tricks
No matter what level you are at, injuries can happen at any time and they can be quite serious. The more you receive instruction and the more you practice, the better you will get. The more accurate you are in your performance, the less likely you are to get injured. There are some fundamental things to keep in mind as you approach the sport of gymnastics. These can keep you safe, free from injury, and able to perfect the skills that you are learning.
- Take your training seriously: There is a good reason why gymnastics involves so much training. This is a sport where you are flipping, spinning, and sometimes flying through the air. Without proper instruction you can really get hurt and therefore you need to take your training quite seriously. You want to be sure that you are in good shape to best handle the moves so train for this with running and any other activities that will get you fit and ready to handle this sport.
- Never push yourself too hard: If you feel overtired or as if you are having a bad day, then it’s best to take a break. If you work when too tired or when you just aren’t physically ready or up for it, you can get hurt. You also never want to push yourself through tricks that you aren’t ready for. Go at your own pace and know your limits as that’s an important part of this sport.
- Try one piece of equipment at a time: Though you may become well versed within the various pieces of equipment over time, don’t start off with too much. Each type of gymnastics requires certain skills and certain understanding. Therefore you want to be sure to slowly get the instruction that you need to get yourself up and running before you move to another piece of equipment.
- You can never practice too much: This like many other sports requires a great deal of practice. There is much to be learned here and therefore you want to take your time and practice often. The gymnasts that you see in serious competitions such as the Olympics have very stringent training schedules because this is an essential part of learning. If you take your time and practice often, you will get better faster.
- Don’t try stunts that you aren’t ready for: As part of the idea of never pushing yourself, you should never try out any skills that you haven’t learned properly. If you haven’t yet learned a back handspring, then don’t try it on your own. If you do just one move improperly, it can result in a very serious injury. You need to recognize where you are at in the learning process and never try to jump ahead as it can really hurt you in the long run.
- Never push through an injury: Though in some sports it can be essential to push through an injury, that is not something that you want to do in gymnastics. Pushing yourself when injured can put you out of the sport for even longer or forever in some instances. Though this may sound extreme, it can really happen and that’s why it’s crucial to nurse your injury rather than push through it. -
People from all over the world watch in amazement as their favorite gymnasts flip through the air. It’s mesmerizing and simply amazing that people can actually perform these tricks, and therefore we find ourselves in awe. This is a sport with great history and rich tradition, and it is what the Olympics have been centered on for centuries. There are many different types of gymnastics, all requiring special skills and learning for perfection. The equipment used in these various forms of gymnastics have as much to do with the sport as anything else. From the parallel bars in men’s gymnastics to the floor routines in women’s gymnastics, there is much to learn and work on if you are a gymnast. There is a reason that there are so many classes, so many competitions, and so many featured shows and pieces on gymnastics. It is not only a sport, but it is also an art form and it is here to stay for centuries more.