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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To The Coach Who Took Away My Confidence

You had me playing in fear.
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"The road to athletic greatness is not marked by perfection, but the ability to constantly overcome adversity and failure."

As a coach, you have a wide variety of players. You have your slow players, your fast players. You have the ones that are good at defense. You have the ones that are good at offense. You have the ones who would choose to drive and dish and you have the ones that would rather shoot the three. You have the people who set up the plays and you have the people who finish them. You are in charge of getting these types of players to work together and get the job done.

Sure, a coach can put together a pretty set of plays. A coach can scream their head off in a game and try and get their players motivated. A coach can make you run for punishment, or they can make you run to get more in shape. The most important role of a coach, however, is to make the players on their team better. To hopefully help them to reach their fullest potential. Players do make mistakes, but it is from those mistakes that you learn and grow.

To the coach the destroyed my confidence,

You wanted to win, and there was nothing wrong with that. I saw it in your eyes if I made a mistake, you were not too happy, which is normal for a coach. Turnovers happen. Players miss shots. Sometimes the girl you are defending gets past you. Sometimes your serve is not in bounds. Sometimes someone beats you in a race. Sometimes things happen. Players make mistakes. It is when you have players scared to move that more mistakes happen.

I came on to your team very confident in the way that I played the game. Confident, but not cocky. I knew my role on the team and I knew that there were things that I could improve on, but overall, I was an asset that could've been made into an extremely great player.

You paid attention to the weaknesses that I had as a player, and you let me know about them every time I stepped onto the court. You wanted to turn me into a player I was not. I am fast, so let me fly. You didn't want that. You wanted me to be slow. I knew my role wasn't to drain threes. My role on the team was to get steals. My role was to draw the defense and pass. You got mad when I drove instead of shot. You wanted me to walk instead of run. You wanted me to become a player that I simply wasn't. You took away my strengths and got mad at me when I wasn't always successful with my weaknesses.

You did a lot more than just take away my strengths and force me to focus on my weaknesses. You took away my love for the game. You took away the freedom of just playing and being confident. I went from being a player that would take risks. I went from being a player that was not afraid to fail. Suddenly, I turned into a player that questioned every single move that I made. I questioned everything that I did. Every practice and game was a battle between my heart and my head. My heart would tell me to go to for it. My heart before every game would tell me to just not listen and be the player that I used to be. Something in my head stopped me every time. I started wondering, "What if I mess up?" and that's when my confidence completely disappeared.

Because of you, I was afraid to fail.

You took away my freedom of playing a game that I once loved. You took away the relaxation of going out and playing hard. Instead, I played in fear. You took away me looking forward to go to my games. I was now scared of messing up. I was sad because I knew that I was not playing to my fullest potential. I felt as if I was going backward and instead of trying to help me, you seemed to just drag me down. I'd walk up to shoot, thinking in my head, "What happens if I miss?" I would have an open lane and know that you'd yell at me if I took it, so I just wouldn't do it.

SEE ALSO: The Coach That Killed My Passion

The fight to get my confidence back was a tough one. It was something I wish I never would've had to do. Instead of becoming the best player that I could've been, I now had to fight to become the player that I used to be. You took away my freedom of playing a game that I loved. You took away my good memories in a basketball uniform, which is something I can never get back. You can be the greatest athlete in the world, but without confidence, you won't go very far.

Cover Image Credit: Christina Silies

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Sorry MJ Fans, But LeBron James Is My G.O.A.T.

King James brings greatness to not only the sport of basketball and but much more than that.

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Everyone who follows sports knows about LeBron James. The iconic king from the city of Akron, Ohio. The first round pick for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2003 NBA draft. The transcendent was brought down from the basketball Gods and came soaring into the NBA out of St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. To some people, LeBron James is considered one of the greatest basketball players to ever live. Personally, I rank James as the greatest of all-time in my book.

LeBron James' career speaks for itself. Some of James' greatest accomplishments while playing basketball include nine NBA finals appearances, four NBA league MVP awards and three NBA championships. The 14-time NBA All-Star recently updated his resumé by moving into the fifth spot among the NBA's all-time scoring list. That was after James scored 44 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists on Nov. 14 against the Portland Trail Blazers. LeBron James replaces Wilt Chamberlain for the fifth spot and now joins an exclusive class with other great players such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, and Michael Jordan.

The chosen one has been so dominant ever since he entered the league. Throughout his career, James has averaged 27.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.2 assists while shooting 52 percent from the floor according to basketballreference.com. Now in his 16th year in the league, LeBron James has shown no signs of slowing down whatsoever. Sixteen games into the season James' numbers have been right around his career average. As stated by ESPN.com this year LeBron James has averaged 28.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 6.6 assists.

Keep in mind that James has achieved these sensational numbers while playing for three teams in the NBA (Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and now the Los Angeles Lakers). King James has put the league on notice that no matter where he goes he is a force to be reckoned with. Growing up watching basketball, I have seen no other player impact a team the way LeBron James does. According to Bleacher Report, it's projected if James remains healthy by retirement he could hold multiple records such as career player efficiency rating, career points, and most playoff points.

I think it's amazing to note that not only is James a sensational athlete but also a great person. James did something truly special when he opened up a public school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio for at-risk students back in July. LeBron James claimed it was one of the greatest moments of his life to open up the school. The project from the LeBron James Family Foundation grants students with free tuition, uniforms, food as well as access to pantries for families, transportation within two miles of the grounds, bicycles with helmets and guaranteed college tuition to graduates at the University of Akron. This is what it means to be more than an athlete.

It's odd to think that at first, I wasn't keen on being a LeBron James fan. For some weird reason, it was hard to pinpoint why I was neutral on James for so many years. When the king returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers back in 2014, something changed. Many people try to make a case and argue against James for being nowhere near the all-time greats in the NBA. I think they are being purely ignorant about what this man brings to basketball. I could never hate someone like James. What he does for the game of basketball is sensational, but what he does off the court is even more admirable.

Probably my favorite memory of LeBron James' career is when I watched him bring the city of Cleveland its first NBA title by overcoming a 3-1 lead against the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA finals. James captured his third championship as the Cleveland Cavaliers became the only team in NBA history to win a championship after being in a 3-1 deficit. This only adds to James' numerous accolades among the NBA record books.

I'm proud to say that LeBron James is one of my biggest idols and favorite athletes ever. I consider James the greatest of all-time based on both as a player and a person. Time will tell how much James has left in the tank before his glory days are over.

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