Sport of the Month: Gymnastics

This month’s featured sport is gymnastics! I was never very good at gymnastics at school, and during teacher training, I dreaded when the time would come that I would have to teach it.  However, one week and an excellent gymnastics training course later, I love to teach gym to children of all ages.

My lecturer was Barry Benn and he and his wife, Tansin, have written some of the most useful gymnastics teaching books around, I would highly recommend checking them out.

So why traditionally has there been so much emphasis placed on gymnastics across the key stages?

Develop flexibility, strength, technique, control and balance

This heading has been taken directly from the national curriculum.  Consequently, it can be implied that these areas are so important for a child’s general physical literacy.  Being able to control their body in time and space, to develop their natural flexibility and gain strength to apply to a range of sports and general tasks in life.  Furthermore, children can acquire all these aspects of fitness and skill through gymnastics.

Develop self-control

Gymnastics is primarily judged on its aesthetics and to achieve a beautiful performance, there must be self-control.  Pupils must follow, copy and repeat gymnastics actions, work within the confines of small areas, often in collaboration with others.  These things help children develop self-control and apply it to produce a better performance.

Learning to be safe

As with all physical activity, there is an inherent element of risk in gymnastics.  For children to progress and learn they must be trusted to carry equipment, perform at different levels, roll, climb, hang, jump and take weight on their head and hands.

When teachers are confident to teach gymnastics correctly, it can be extremely safe while teaching children how to reduce risk and keep themselves safe is an essential and transferable life skill. Find out more about managing risk in AfPE’s ‘Safe Practice in Physical Education and Sport’

What are your experiences of teaching gymnastics?  Share them with us on Twitter @thepehub or on our Facebook page.

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