Gymnastics goes beyond athleticism and sport. Gymnastics empowers the next generation of women. Gymnastics is a sport unlike any other. It combines grace, strength, flexibility, artistry, and athleticism into a display of dynamic power on four different apparatus.
- Gymnastics teaches girls to be in control of their own bodies.
Gymnastics does not come naturally to many. And even for those that are lucky enough to be graced with incredible talent, learning how to control your body in and out of skills is an art form. A series of drills and techniques are repeated until a gymnast can master not just how to move her body, but where it is at any point in time. She can feel her toes point, her arms straighten, her hands press into the beauty of the skill being performed. She is in control of her entire body.
- Gymnastics teaches girls to reach for their dreams.
Young girls frequently start gymnastics as a hobby. Maybe it is an after-school activity, maybe it is a part of an active lifestyle, but once the fever takes over, new skills are the new addiction. Gymnasts find themselves wanting to learn more, improve their form, move to the next level. They push themselves physically and mentally to overcome fears and reach for the next echelon of the sport. With each new accomplishment comes a new goal.
- Gymnastics teaches girls how to fail.
“That was a fabulous first try.” What a way to describe gymnastics! New skills are very rarely mastered on the first attempt. In fact, it can take hundreds (or more) attempts to truly master a skill. Even once a skill is mastered, a gymnast may still falter. Maybe it is stress at competition, maybe it is an ear infection that tips an athlete off balance, but a fall does not define a gymnast. A fall is a mere reality in the sport. And after each fall, a gymnast gets back up and tries again. There is no such thing as failure. In fact, you can only truly fail if you quit trying.
- Gymnastics teaches girls to lead.
Gymnastics practices are methodical. Most start with a warm up, then move to rotations on each apparatus and include conditioning and flexibility during or after each workout. Each step of the practice requires leadership. Being “the” leader is a rite of passage. Leadership is a privilege that is earned through showing respect, attention to detail, and the ability to communicate with teammates. Being “a” leader is necessary in each step of the workout. Gymnasts are taught that their actions are being watched by those younger or less experienced than themselves. The importance of leadership is emphasized through attention to detail by coaches and teammates alike.
- Gymnastics teaches girls to advocate.
Whether a gymnast gets stuck getting through the mental training required for a skill, wants extra practice time to work on a routine, or needs a new pair of grips, gymnasts learn to communicate with coaches, parents, and peers to advocate for themselves. Gymnastics is a sport of high expectations. Gymnasts compete in an effort to lose the fewest amount of point possible.
In conclusion, gymnastics is the perfect sport to prepare the future generation of women for the real world. The lessons taught in the gym carry far beyond vault, bars, beam, or floor. They turn girls into empowered women.