Gymnastics is a lot of things, but one of the things that it most certainly is not is just for girls. The myth is sometimes perpetrated by the fact that the media tends to concentrate on the more glamorous girls when they report on the sport combined with the fact that little girls do tend to be drawn towards the sport from an early age.
But not only are there plenty of boys and men in gymnastics, but some of them are even acknowledged to be some of the strongest athletes of all. In the most recent Men’s Health magazine list of the strongest athletes in the world, Japanese gymnast and five time gold medalist Kohei Uchimora was ranked third, ahead of LeBron James, Usain Bolt and even footballers like the imposing Ndamukong Suh.
So, should boys be encouraged to pursue gymnastics? The answer is a resounding yes and, oddly enough, becoming a competitive gymnast later on may not be the biggest reason to do so. In fact these five reasons for boys to take gym are, for many, even more important.
It’s the Perfect Foundational Introduction to Other Sports
When boys are very young, their motor and cognitive skills are rarely ready for ‘traditional’ school sports like football, baseball, soccer or even track. However, in a gymnastics class, boys as young as three or four will more rapidly develop those skills through running, jumping and balancing while also beginning to build strength and flexibility. In many cases this leads to boys simply being the better athletes when they do come to take an interest in the other sports at school.
It Creates Coachable Kids
In any sport the athlete must be able, and willing, to not only listen to a coach, manager or trainer but to accept criticism, follow instructions and be aware of how their actions affect others around them. And while young gymnasts are not drilled by their coaches they do begin to be introduced to all of these concepts which, again, may give a boy an edge over others if you decides to pursue another sport as well.
It’s a Great Cross Trainer
If a boy is already involved in another sport taking gymnastics as well will serve as a great cross training exercise. In gymnastics class he will gain strength, athleticism, stamina and discipline, all things that will benefit him that may not be a part of their training regime in his ‘primary’ sport.
It’s a Character Builder
Boys’ gymnastics calls for a great deal of discipline and perseverance. Getting the often complex moves just right can be frustrating and take a lot of work. The payoff however when things do come together is a big, character building confidence boost. And a confident, hardworking and disciplined athlete is someone a coach in any sport is always looking to add to their team.
They May Fall in Love
Although they don’t always receive as much attention as their female counterparts competitive male gymnasts of all ages tend to be some of the most dedicated and hardworking athletes of all and often just because they love it. And that may very well end up being the case for your child, as it has been for do many boys before him.