Everybody has seen a gymnastics competition or exhibition. From floor exercises to the vault to the uneven bars, gymnastics have always been a source of inspiration and athletic accomplishment. Some of the most compelling stories in sports from Nadia Comanechi to the 2012 U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team have come from this storied and competitive field. But what exactly is team gymnastics and how is it different from what we’ve all seen on television and in the Olympics?
Types of Gymnastics Competition
There are many different kinds of gymnastics competition. The most well known and popular is called “artistic” gymnastics, which requires an athlete to perform a timed routine which is judged based on a point system. The competitive types of routines involve apparatus like the balance beam, the uneven bars and the pommel horse. There are other kinds of gymnastic competitions including rhythmic, aerobic and tumbling. Even cheerleading and some kinds of water ballet can be considered gymnastics as well.
Team vs. Individual
Team competition like the competitive gymnastics in Overland Park, organizes athletes into teams of six, each of whom must perform a compulsory and an optional routine on each apparatus. The results are a combined score for all the competitors as opposed to an individual score for each. Individual competition requires each athlete to perform their routine and have it scored separately from all the other competitors to see who has the highest score and the best routine.
One of the key benefits to any team competition is for each athlete to learn to function as part of a team. In gymnastics, this can be very different from individual competition, because a winning team is the same in any athletic event. Everyone must learn to do their part and to support and encourage all the other members. This is a valuable skill to learn, as it prepares athletes for bigger challenges in both their sport and in life.
Learning to Win
It has been famously said an athlete’s biggest opponent can be themselves. What sports like team or competitive gymnastics in Overland Park can teach children is the skill of winning. That skill often involves learning how to overcome limitations, both imagined and real. It involves learning how to set goals and how to meet them. It also involves discipline, and learning to do their best even if they don’t feel like it that day. Learning to win also involves learning how to deal with defeat. It is very easy to quit when faced with difficulties. But sportsmanship is more than that. It teaches us that sometimes more can be gained from loss than victory, and that learning from defeat is the key to consistent excellence in or out of the gym. Team gymnastics is a popular and effective way for kids to learn the value of sportsmanship, teamwork and discipline. Athletic competition is a part of education that should not be overlooked, because it has practical benefits throughout life even for those who may not pursue a career in sports. Team gymnastics is a good place to start.
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