Many parents who enroll their children in a sport or fitness class think about the benefits in terms of health and activity. The reality is that children have the opportunity to gain so much more from participation in these programs. Gymnastics is one sport in particular that provides children with a variety of opportunities for success in school and the future.
How can learning to do flips, tumbling, and routines on the balance beam possibly help children to be successful in school?
There is much more to the sport of gymnastics than just learning how to master your back handspring. Gymnastics helps children develop important values and characteristics including determination, accountability, a strong work ethic, persistence, and more. These qualities are necessary for good academics and success in other areas of life.
- Determination: Through their training, all successful gymnasts will develop determination as a key skill. It can take thousands of attempts at a skill for a gymnasts to finally be able to say that they have truly mastered it. Determination also helps children succeed in school by helping them to keep trying, even when it seems impossible.
- Accountability: Typically, gymnasts practice multiple times a week in order to reach their full potential. It is up to them to show up to practices and competitions. Having a strong sense of accountability can also help gymnasts succeed in school. If they want to succeed, they will feel like they are responsible for getting things, like their homework and studying, done.
- Work Ethic: Gymnasts are taught to have a strong work ethic through their structured practices. Because gymnasts have to be very self-motivated to improve their skills, they must have a strong work ethic. This translates seamlessly into academics as well.
- Persistence: Try, try and try again! Gymnasts must have persistence, even in the face of failure. This is a trait that can be applied to any area in life, including schoolwork.
In addition to all of these skills that gymnastics helps children develop, there is also an opportunity for serious gymnasts to earn scholarships to college if they choose to continue competing. The NCAA has minimum academic qualifications that all gymnasts must meet to supplement their gymnastics skills. While these standards are in place, gymnasts must also have high enough academic standards to get accepted to the university they want to attend.
While the gymnastics college track may not be the best path for every child, skilled gymnasts who are dedicated to the sport can have amazing opportunities if this is something they truly want to pursue. Parents can talk to their coach about the options and how to best set their child up for success. No matter what the path your child takes, gymnastics has a lot to offer in terms of academics, future success, health, fitness, and most importantly fun!
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