by Tim Seeger

Parents are frequently putting their children in youth sports, from soccer to tee-ball to basketball to develop their athletic ability, coordination and teamwork. While these activities have their benefits, children can obtain significant growth in these areas, and more, from gymnastics. As a result, parents should strongly consider placing their child in gymnastics when determining a youth sport.

Through various exercises and activities, gymnastics focuses on flexibility, balance, coordination and rapid movement. These skills translate to all sports. Whether it be eye-foot coordination used in soccer, getting into a defensive stance in basketball or running the perfect football route, gymnastics can provide a solid framework for any athletic career. Gymnastics requires foot-eye coordination, balance and quick thinking in multiple activities such as balance beam, floor exercises, tumbling and trampoline work. Further, unlike other sports, your child will experience various exercises as opposed to baseball, basketball, or soccer, which generally focus on one activity. As a result, your child will gain a well-rounded framework, therefore, improving their overall athletic ability.

It is important to note that the benefits of gymnastics go beyond just improving athletic skills. Like other sports, gymnastics requires teamwork, dedication and reliance on these skills. These are great skills for children to learn at a young age. These skills will make children better leaders in future athletic activities and the workplace.

Gymnastics also teach children discipline. When learning gymnastics, you must listen and follow directions. Gymnastics requires strict discipline to what your coach is telling you, and the willingness to listen in order to succeed. Furthermore, gymnastics requires inner discipline to trust the process and your ability. Unlike other sports, gymnastics is a game of centimeters. If you are one centimeter from the bar, you will slip; one centimeter off on the beam, you will fall; one centimeter too long on a tumble, you are off the mat. Gymnastics reinforces discipline and the concept that little mistakes can have grave consequences.

In short, gymnastics combines all the best features of team sports, combined with the discipline and self-reliance earned from individual activities. Your child will be able to obtain better coordination, balance and overall athletic skills that will translate to all activities. It is the perfect sport for a child. Plus, who doesn’t love dropping their child off for an hour of supervision where they run, jump, and play the whole time.