Gymnastics is a rapidly growing sport, at least at the private club level. It has been estimated that there are over 2 million children participating in gymnastics in this country. USA Gymnastics, the Olympic governing body for the sport of gymnastics, has seen a 37.5 percent increase in the number of private clubs over 5 years. There are as many as 4,000 gymnastics programs in the country.
Gymnasts are Better People
There are many reasons for the increase in the numbers participating in the sport. One of the primary reasons that parents can see the role gymnastics plays in the noticeable improvement in gymnasts as athletes, students and as people in general. Gym owners and coaches have found this personal growth of their gymnasts is one of their primary motivations in their continuing participation in the sport and their parents continued support of that participation.
A Confidence Builder
The confidence gymnastics builds in young gymnasts alone is reason enough to participate in the sport or enroll your child in the sport. The confidence and lessons learned from the sport transfer to every other area of a gymnastâ€™s life. Coaches see examples of this over and over in their careers at every level of the sport. Competence in one area leads to the building of confidence in gymnasts that they can do well in any area in which they choose to focus. Competence and confidence in one area – gymnastics – leads to confidence and competence in other areas like school.
Self-Discipline in Both the Gym and in School
Counter-intuitively, in spite of the number of hours gymnasts, including team gymnasts, spend training in the gym, they tend to do even better in school than before they started gymnastics. Apparently the lessons learned in the sport regarding discipline, dedication, time-management and commitment that gymnasts learned from their sport, translate into success in the classroom. It is not uncommon to see students with average grades before they make the team, improve to honor roll status while working out in gymnastics 20 â€“ 25 hours per week or more.
Higher Than Average Academics
On the whole, gymnasts get good grades throughout elementary, jr. high, high school and college. One study showed that more than 35 percent of NCAA gymnasts have achieved a 3.5 or better in school over the previous two years. Graduation rates for gymnasts exceed 90 percent in college, a much higher rate than average for either average students or athletes. More NCAA Women of the Year Finalist academic awards were awarded to gymnasts than any other sport and at a rate of two to three times of other sports. Gymnasts also received more NCAA post-graduate scholarships than any other female sport over the last 5 years.
More Training than Other Athletes
Gymnasts arrive at college with an average total of 12 years of gymnastics training and experience. Competitive team gymnasts who compete in gymnastics in college likely averaged 25 hours per week of year-round gymnastics practice for up to 50 weeks per year. Most other sports are seasonal and no other sport can claim that their athletes come to college with 5000 hours of training under their belts during their high school years.
Gymnasts Graduate From Both High School and College
Graduation rates for female gymnasts exceed 90 percent in college. We expect that the rate for high school gymnasts is near 100%, but there is no way to track that statistic since gymnasts usually compete for private clubs instead of high school programs.
The Force is with Them
Competitive team members and gymnasts tend to improve their academics while participating in the sport. Their confidence levels improve and this transfers to other areas of their life. Participation in the sport is a positive force in the life of gymnasts and their academic life and career. Parents should be made aware of this and understand exactly what progress in academics can occur if their child participates in gymnastics.