Three reasons why gymnastics helps boys PLAY in other sports

Boys playing hockeyHockey, soccer and football seasons are now underway… but have you thought about gymnastics season?

Your son may live and breathe hockey – on the ice a few days a week, watching the games on TV whenever possible, and playing street hockey, or basement/living room hockey. And that love of a sport is great thing! But is he missing something?

Here are three reasons why gymnastics helps boys PLAY in other sports:

1. Improved motor skills, coordination and balance

Gymnastics is the perfect cross training activity for boys.  Why? Because all sports require a variety of movement skills and “gymnastics helps children build a range of motor and coordination skills, and assists in developing a good sense of body awareness.” (1)

Through gymnastics boys can improve these skills in a way that just practicing within their sport cannot.

According to Olympic gold-medalist Kyle Shewfelt, “every little boy should be put in gymnastics, regardless of size.” (2)

He adds that “it is the best place to teach kids what they need to exceed at other sports because they learn how their body works”. (3)

2. Keep the passion for “their sport”

Young athletes who participate in more than one sport may also have a greater passion training for their ‘favourite’ sport. They are less likely to feel burnt out and will come to practice with greater enthusiasm and motivation.

“I think it’s good for kids to participate in all sports.” says hockey great Wayne Gretzky. He adds that “too often, young hockey players can get burned out by the pressure and the time commitment.” (4)

It’s important for young athletes to try new things and experience excitement about the start of soccer or hockey season.

Gabby and Kootenay Ice Player hanging on bar3. Strength building

Gymnasts are known to have excellent strength-to-weight ratio. In fact when PLAY Gymnastics BC clubs challenge other sports such as junior hockey teams, the young gymnasts are often found to be stronger!

According to the International Gymnastics School, gymnasts get stronger through regular training, which aids in the development of lean, toned muscles, improved balance, and better posture.

And UFC champion Georges St. Pierre uses gymnastics extensively in his training. He has even stated that “gymnasts are the most athletic athletes in the world.” (5)

Gymnastics: not just for girls!

So if you are thinking about putting your son in an extra power skating class to improve his quickness and agility, or an extra soccer or football skills practice…you may want to consider a gymnastics class instead! It will give your son a break from a sport they always do, improve their strength, balance and more and ultimately help their performance in a renewed way!

Check out your local PLAY Gymnastics BC club for more on how gymnastics can help your son’s hockey (or soccer, or football, or basketball, etc.) skills!

References:

What Are the Benefits of Gymnastics for Kids?, Aug 20, 2013; Sarah Robertson
Why you should enrol your son in gymnastics, Jan 24, 2011; James S. Fell
Gretzky also recommends baseball for youth hockey players, September 26, 2008; Eric Duhatchek
UFC 129: GSP Talks Gymnastics & Training Olympic Sports

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