Important Life Lessons You Learn In Gymnastics
Gymnastics is a challenging sport, with a lot to offer. I was a gymnast for 14 years, I spent most of my time growing up in a gym. And I wouldn’t change that for the world. Sure sometimes the hours were long and grueling but the skills and experiences I gained were so worth it.
As a gymnast you learn to dedicate your life to gymnastics, you can spend anywhere from 2 to 8 hours every week day (sometimes extra training on the weekends) at the gym working on skill after skill. Routine after routine. And through all this time spent at the gym you’ll learn quite a few things about yourself and life in general:
Dedication: you learn how dedicating your time to improving your skills and it will benefit you in when it counts, AKA in competition. If you’re always working hard, and trying to get better, then when it’s time to compete you’ll find yourself hitting all your routines and getting those big scores.
You find that you would rather be at the gym then out partying, or going to the movies. It sounds crazy to some, but when you’re really, and I mean really dedicated to the sport you’ll do everything you can to be in the gym and improve.
Focus: My coach wouldn’t let me do a vault unless I thought about my form, and exactly how I was going to do the vault before it went. He had me visualize what I was going to do before I did it. If I just ran down the runway and threw myself over the vault he’d ask if I thought about what I was doing. If I didn’t think about it first, he’d send me back and make me focus and visualize my vault before I tried again. And I got so much better by doing this simple mind exercise.
As soon as you fall you have to get back up and try again (if you don’t, you end up with a mental block that takes longer to get over) You have to face your fears head on, “you have to be bigger than your fears if you want to succeed.”
You learn to B E L I E V E I N Y O U R S E L F. Your coaches and parents telling you good things about your gymnastics will only take you so far. You have to believe that you can hit that double full, or nail that back-hand-spring on the high beam every time. Or what ever skill it is, you have know that you are capable and able to do it. Even if you just fake it til you make it (you have to start somewhere after all).
The best quote I heard in regards to this was, “Weather you think you can or can’t, you’re right.”
Overall fitness and health. Gymnastics was better than any PE class I took in school. Gymnastics taught me to be fit for life. Working out everyday I would feel the benefits of eating right and working hard. I had a strong capable body, and I noticed that if I ate junk food before practice then I would feel tired and sluggish and I wasn’t able to do my best. Life after my gymnastics career is the same junk food=junk mood, healthy food=happy mood.
It taught me to respect my body and how amazing it is. Because I was able to do things that most people could only dream of. The conditioning we would do after class really pushed me, and I’m grateful for that. In fact to this day I can remember my coaches’ voice telling me to keep going, to do my push-ups with better form, or I can do 10 more before I rest. This honestly helps me when I’m working out today, I know that I was once able to push myself, so why not now?
Perfection doesn’t come right away. It takes repetition, confidence, and lots of hard work. Sometimes it comes after there have been tears and twisted ankles, but if you don’t give up you’ll get there. You’ll get that perfect trick or routine because you don’t stop when you’ve hit your limit, when you think that you’ve done all you can. Because it goes back to positive thinking. You have to decided that you can, and you will. You don’t stop when the tears start or when you want to give up. You keep going until you know you can nail that trick, and once you’ve done it you keep going. You do it again and again, until you know that you’re not going to do it wrong.
Perfection isn’t when you can do it perfect the one time, but when you can do it right every time.
Gymnastics Frees you from the “I can’t” notion. Can’t was considered a swear word in the gym, if someone said “I can’t” things got real quiet and real awkward real fast, because this word wasn’t allowed. It was frustrating at times to many of us. But in retrospect It makes you limitless because it frees you from negative thinking. I helps you realize, I can do this if I work hard enough, if I focus more, if I believe I can. Then I can.
In my adult life now, I can see how my training as a kid has helped me with my job and other aspects of my life it takes dedication and discipline to get to where you want to be. You cannot rely on anyone else to get those “scores” or that position, or even the life you dream of. You have to be the one to take action, you have to really focus and take control of what you want. You have to set goals, continually try to progress.