11 Things Gymnastics Taught Me Growing Up

11 Things Gymnastics Taught Me Growing Up

The 11 things all gymnasts learn throughout their career.
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Many children do gymnastics for a variety of reasons. One of the most common reasons is that a child has too much energy and the parents want to tire the kids out, however, that is not how I started gymnastics. No matter how a person starts gymnastics, they learn the same things and hopefully the same life lessons. I do not know who I would be without the 11 things gymnastics taught me growing up.

1. Friendship
Gymnastics teaches kids how to be friends. In gymnastics, you need to cheer on your teammates and encourage them to get a skill. A gymnast also spends at least 12 hours a week in the gym so they are always around the same people, so naturally you become friends with the people you practice with.

2. Patience

A gymnast learns patience from a very young age. Gymnastics skills take time to learn and perfect so a gymnast learns that they have to wait to get the skill. Patience is also required so they do not get angry when they do not get the skill that they are trying to get.

3. Never Give Up

Gymnasts never give up on anything. Gymnasts are taught to keep trying no matter how tiring and frustrating the sport gets. No matter how many times a gymnast falls or does not complete a skill, they get back up and keep trying until they can complete it successfully over and over again, basically until it becomes second nature.



4. Trust

Trust is a major component of gymnastics. A gymnast needs to be able to trust their coach. This coach is responsible for ensuring the safety of the gymnast. If the gymnast cannot trust her coach, then she will not have productive practices and gymnastics then becomes more difficult.

5. The Love of the Olympics

Most sports have a major championship or what could be considered the "Super Bowl" of that sport every year. Baseball has the World Series every year, football has the Super Bowl every year, hockey has the Stanley Cup every year, etc. Gymnasts have their "Super Bowl" every four years: The Olympics. When the Olympics roll around, you can bet most gymnasts will be stationed in front of the TV to see who is going to win gold in every event, all around, and the team, whether it is men or women.

6. How to Handle Fear

Fear is one the biggest obstacles a gymnast will overcome. Fear is presented in every skill that is done. If a gymnast does not have fear they are doing something wrong. It is also normal to have fear as a gymnast because it is not normal or natural to be flying four to eight feet off the ground or to tumble on a four-inch piece of wood, like the balance beam.

7. How to be a Stronger Person
Gymnastics teaches a valuable life lesson by teaching a gymnast to become a stronger person. Not only does gymnastics teach physical strength, it also teaches mental strength. The mental strength a gymnast has in uncanny. Gymnasts get frustrated very easily but this frustration comes from wanting to be a perfectionist, so when gymnasts work through the frustrations they encounter it helps them to become a much stronger person. Gymnasts also work through sore muscles and injuries. No matter the amount of pain someone is in from gymnastics, that person is usually still working because those are the days that being a stronger person is taught.

8. Time Management
Gymnasts are some of the best at managing time. Gymnasts practice anywhere from two and half hours to six hours a day depending on the level. The average time a gymnast spends in the gym each day is four hours. Not only does a gymnast have practice, they also have school work to stay caught up on. Most gymnasts go to school for seven hours then go to the gym for four hours then they still have to do homework and eat dinner while also finding time to shower. Some gymnasts also do more than one sport or activity so they have to find time to do those activities as well. Also, do not forget about finding time to hang out with friends and family. Being a gymnast definitely involves some late nights and basically living in a car all the time, especially during the week.

9. Healthy Habits
Gymnast have some of the healthiest habits. They eat healthy and are working out three to six days a week. Gymnasts know that being healthy is the easiest way to be successful at gymnastics, besides practicing of course.

10. How to Deal with Disappointment
Disappointment is a big part of gymnastics. Whether it is having a bad meet or not finishing where a gymnast thinks they will or not getting a skill when the skill is wanted. Disappointment is something that gymnasts have to work through. Disappointment happens all the time in gymnastics.

11. RESPECT.
Gymnasts learn respect from the first day they enter the gym. Respect is very important in the sport of gymnastics. Not only do gymnasts need to respect their coaches and other athletes they also learn to respect the sport they learn to fall in love with. Whenever you come across another gymnast you automatically know what they are going through so you know to respect them, especially the elite gymnasts.

Cover Image Credit: SarrahDPhotography

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.
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It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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It's Been A Year And I Still Miss It

The memories with my teammates and coaches are remembered everyday.

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Never thought I'd say it but here I am. I am happy to say I am proud to be where I am today but the thoughts of never playing a sport again linger in my mind. Those emotions of anticipation and excitement when it comes to playing a sport are long gone. Sad to say I will never have butterflies before running a race, floor burns all over my knees and sweat mixed with softball dirt all over me.

The little aspects that I took for granted are what I remember the most. I am who I am today because of my coaches and teammates. Each and every sport came with a support system to fall back on and friendships that would last a lifetime. My coaches and teammates taught me life long skills that I will carry with me forever. They taught me the true meaning of dedication, teamwork, perseverance and respect. Yes, I love the game but the connections and memories I have built have impacted me. Especially, the times I have created with my teammates and coaches on the bus rides, practices and game days.

Those are the moments I will never get back. I will never forget the times my volleyball teammates and I would run over to Perkins after a win. We would eat junkie, greasy food till our tummies were full but during those moments we were all owning the moment while being young and careless. Even during track season my teammates and I found time to have fun while running rigorous workouts. I will never forget the mid-dance parties during track meets to keep our mind off of the stress of performing to our best ability. Softball season always seemed to be on the road, which meant plenty of bus rides with my teammates. Those hours of traveling were the best from the never have I ever games to singing along to great hits.

I will never get the chance again to compete in front of a crowd. The cheers and the roars of the fans is such a surreal feeling. Running on the blue oval was something I will never forget. As much as I hated the queasy, uneasy feelings before running, I would go back for it one more time. Stepping foot on the blue oval meant a great athlete once took those same steps I did. The moment my teammates, coaches and I clinched the win to go to State for the first time in school history was unbelievable. It was an accomplishment for us seniors, for our coaches, for our families and fans, for our school and for the past softball players. We did something that was never done before in school history and all I can say is I'm proud to have done it with the group of girls that I did.

Getting to state and playing with the best of the best is remarkable but what seemed to be even better was getting a victory against a city rival. Everyone came out for those games from grandparents to students to alumni. Our best performances were amongst us when competing against city rivals. Particularly, through volleyball, my teammates and I seemed to be hungrier for a win whenever it was a city rival. I guess, the best moments happened when we beat a cross-town rival. You could say we got bragging rights for the year.

To all the athletes out there competing in their last game, last match or last race, relish in those last seconds because before you know it you will never pick up a ball again, race in a relay or dance after a victory.

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