Artistic gymnastics is one of the most popular after-school activities, especially among girls. It’s a slightly different sport from rhythmic gymnastics and combines agility, strength and elegance with its exercises.
In addition to educating and developing the body, it’s also a very expressive discipline. Although it has always been considered a women’s sport, it’s highly recommended for both boys and girls.
Artistic gymnastics: when to start?
“The ideal age to start in rhythmic gymnastics is between three and five years”
Artistic gymnastics consists of combining different body movements to create a choreography. To do this you can also use different types of gym equipment.
There are a lot of different exercises that children can do in this sport, which has been considered an Olympic sport since the Athens Games of 1896. These are classified in degrees of complexity, so it’s important to learn the basics at a young age.
The most appropriate age to begin learning this discipline is between three and five years. At this stage of their lives, children can acquire good postural habits, as well as developing basic motor skills.
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t start to learn this sport later on, even in adolescence.
Types of exercises
The exercises that children practice in artistic gymnastics will depend on their stage of development. As they train and develop their skills, the difficulty and demands of the exercises will increase.
These activities are divided into three stages: basic, acrobatic and artistic.
1. The basic gymnastics aim to achieve a high level of physical preparation. Like other sports, it also strengthens children’s health and contributes to the development of their motor functions and physical abilities.
2. In the acrobatic phase, more complex exercises are introduced, which include balancing, turning, contact, aerial and semi-aerial practices. To do this, children will be introduced to different types of gym equipment, as well as mats and trampolines.
3. The artistic stage, in addition to increasing the complexity of the exercises, introduces different levels of competence into the modalities. For example, performing in teams, or individuals working on the gym equipment.
Artistic gymnastics for boys and girls, what differences are there?
Although artistic gymnastics is a sport for both boys and girls, it varies for each sex. Not only do they compete separately, as in other sports, but they also perform different exercises.
While the practices carried out on the ground are similar, boys and girls will have specific modalities and different activities in their acrobatic performances.
- Girls will participate in four modalities: the vaulting horse, balance beam, asymmetric bars and hands-free.
- On the other hand, boys will have six modalities: rings, parallel bars, fixed bar, hands-free, vaulting horse and floor work.
Benefits of artistic gymnastics for children
“With artistic gymnastics children will develop their physical abilities and improve their social and personal skills”
This sport is very demanding and requires a lot of willpower and training. However, it also brings great benefits to children who practice it. Artistic gymnastics will help them to:
- Increase their motor skills: strength, flexibility, coordination and speed, among others.
- Develop their balance and sense of rhythm.
- Correct any bad body postures.
- Gain confidence in themselves.
- Encourage concentration.
- Improve teamwork, socialization, companionship and respect for others.
In addition, if they like this demanding sport, practicing it will encourage your children to develop a sense of perseverance and responsibility.
They will also learn to take advantage of their free time much more efficiently, and acquire values such as tenacity, courage and help them to tolerate frustration.
As parents, we must take into account several aspects when it comes to signing up our children for this sport. Of course, it will be fundamental that they like it and feel motivated to practice it. It shouldn’t be an obligation and the physical needs should be adapted to their level of development.
To do this, we’ll have to carefully consider where we’re going to sign them up. We’ll need to make sure that the teacher or trainer has experience in artistic gymnastics, that the gym has the necessary equipment and, above all, that it has appropriate safety measures.
Artistic gymnastics is a sport that demands a lot of commitment and discipline. Children will often want to skip classes or even give them up altogether.
Therefore, the most important thing of all is that they have their parents’ support and encouragement, and that they find the right balance between training and their education.