Boys’ gymnastics is a popular sport in both recreational and competitive spheres. While most people may consider gymnastics to be primarily a sport for females, it is far from the truth. Every child, irrespective of their gender, can participate in gymnastics. Boys’ gymnastics programs are designed specifically for boys as per the standards laid down by USA Gymnastics, the governing body for the sport in the US.
Why Should You Enroll Your Child in Boys’ Gymnastics?
Boys’ gymnastics is a professional sport that features in the Olympics. Many children pursue the sport professionally. Local competitions for boys’ gymnastics may be conducted by USA Gymnastics, gymnasiums, sports facilities, and independent organizations. However, boys’ gymnastics is not just for athletes or sportspersons who want to excel at the sport. It can be beneficial for all children irrespective of their interests. The programs improve the physical fitness and strength of the participants. However, the biggest advantage of boys’ gymnastics is that it develops the agility and flexibility of kids. Children learn how to coordinate their body movement and maintain their balance. While many programs are designed to improve kids’ strength and fitness, very few courses enhance their agility and flexibility as gymnastics. The younger a child, the easier it is to improve their body’s elasticity. As they get older, it may become harder for them to reach the same elasticity level as a child.
Gymnastics encourage the development of all muscle groups, be it arms, legs, back, chest, shoulders, or core (abdomen). As a result, muscle imbalances in gymnasts are lower than other sports athletes, such as soccer, that are heavily reliant on a particular muscle group. It focuses on the overall physical and mental development of the body and lays the foundation for other sports or at least a healthy lifestyle. Gymnastics also improve the athletic performance of participants in other spheres, be it baseball, soccer, swimming, or basketball. The risk of injury is minimized as preventive measures are a major part of gymnastics. It focuses on body mechanics, teaching children to land and fall safely.
Choosing a Boys’ Gymnastics Club or Coach
When choosing a club or coach for boys’ gymnastics, here are a couple of important considerations to keep in mind.
Boys’ gymnastics programs are offered for enrollees with different levels of experience. Some are more suitable for beginners, while others are catered towards participants with intermediate or advanced knowledge of the sport. There may be a minimum age and skill requirement for each level of boys’ gymnastics imposed by the clubs. Parents may consult the facility regarding the same.
USA Gymnastics has defined ten levels for gymnasts known as the Junior Olympic (JO) Program. Levels 1 to 3 are meant to prepare gymnasts for competition. Programs that take students from Level 1 to 3 are designed in a funfilled and safety-oriented manner. Levels 4 to 7 are considered intermediate, while levels 8 to 10 are in the advanced territory. Level 4 is the minimum requirement for competitions. Gymnasts must participate in a meet and get a passing score to progress onto the next level.
XCEL Program Divisions is an alternate gymnastics skill path from USA Gymnastics. It has five divisions, each with a specific minimum age requirement. They include Bronze (5+yrs), Silver (6+yrs), Gold (7+yrs), Platinum (8+yrs), and Diamond (9+yrs). The Bronze has similar skill requirements as JO Level 1 and 2, Silver as JO Level 3, Gold as JO Level 4, Bronze as JO Level 4-5, and Diamond as JO Levels 6-7.
A boys’ gymnastics program is only as good as its coach. Make sure that the facility has instructors who specialize in gymnastics. The coach must ideally have a background in gymnastics and know how to train children while minimizing injury risk. A coaching certificate from USA Gymnastics is preferred. It will determine the level of gymnasts that the instructor is certified to train. Coaches may have an Instructor Certification, Junior Olympic Development Coach Certification (required for Levels 1 to 3), Junior Olympic Team Coach Certification (Levels 4 to 7), or National Coach Certification (Levels 8 to 10).
How Soon Can You Enroll Your Kids in Boys’ Gymnastics
Many facilities and gyms offer gymnastics classes for children as young as two years. Most programs designed for 2 to 5-year-olds encourage children to climb, crawl, jump, and tumble. Balancing activities, cartwheels, backward rolls, and somersaults are taught once the child is 4 to 5 years old. Proper introductory boys’ gymnastics classes may be available for children that reach the age of 6 years.
Children who have reached their teenage years can also enroll in boys’ gymnastics. However, they may be sharing classes with kids who are younger than their age. Daiane dos Santos is a significant source of motivation for pre-teens or teens. The world champion from Brazil began learning gymnastics at the age of 12. It is vital that the boys’ gymnastics programs are fun and do not cause burnout. Overburdening children may affect their body’s recovery rate, even leading to a life-long injury.
Is Boys’ Gymnastics a Costly Sport?
Boys’ gymnastics is a low-cost sport that requires very little expenditure. Parents don’t have to worry about spending a lot on purchasing gear or equipment. They only need to buy sportswear or activewear, and the rest of the equipment required for boys’ gymnastics is available at the gym. Even if their children want to practice at home, mats would be sufficient for basic boys’ gymnastics routines. Parents won’t have to spend a significant amount on enrolling their kids in boys’ gymnastics. The expenditure incurred is reasonably low unless the child wants to pursue boys’ gymnastics professionally or compete at a higher level.
Gyms or facilities that want to start boys’ gymnastics programs need very little expenditure. They require some dedicated space, a few mats, and only basic equipment, all of which can be purchased cheaply. A majority of basic gymnastics skills and routines need inexpensive equipment for training. It allows the gyms or facilities to keep the cost of their boys’ gymnastics programs low. They can expand their programs and buy additional equipment as their clientele grows over time.