So, you’re signed up for a gymnastics class! You might even have used the Gymnastics Gym Directory to find your perfect gymnastics gym. Now you might be wondering how to get the most out of your gymnastics class. Gymnastics classes can be expensive, but there are ways to maximize your learning both in gymnastics class and outside of class. Here are 10 ways to get the most out of your gymnastics class.
Practice the Gymnastics Shapes at Home
One way to speed up your gymnastics learning is to practice the gymnastics shapes at home. For little ones parents can quiz them on the shapes, and see how fast they can get in them while sitting on the floor. For older gymnasts, they can practice holding the shapes with good form.
Basic Shapes: tuck, straddle, pike
More Advanced Shapes: wolf, straight-body position, arch, hollow, plank
Ask your Gymnastics Teacher or Coach for Feedback
Ask your gymnastics teacher or coach at the end of class for one thing you can improve on and one thing you did great. Then, during the next class you can be very focused on the one thing you can improve on, and feel good about continuing the one thing you did great. Asking for feedback will ensure that you are constantly improving.
Celebrate Getting New Skills
Celebrate whenever you learn new skills as a way to continually motivate yourself. The gym I used to coach at would let gymnasts ring a cowbell and the whole gym would stop what they were doing and watch the gymnast perform the new skill. (I doubt they still do that because now the gym is jammed with tons of gymnasts.) But, the point is to find ways to make getting a new skill a special event.
Buy or Create a Gymnastics Skill Checklist
You can buy a gymnastics skill checklist on GymnasticsHQ or come up with your own. But a progression checklist of the skills you need to learn for each gymnastics level is a great way to motivate yourself. It’s helpful because it makes learning the skills in class intentional. Also, it will be exciting every time you check off a new skill.
Go to any Open Gyms or Parents Night Out that Your Gym Offers
Going to any Open Gyms or Parents Night Out that your gym offers will help you get more time in the gym. They are usually much less expensive than signing up for an additional class for a whole session. So it’s a cheap way to get more practice time. And it’s a way for you to practice the skills you want to work on, or maybe skills from your checklist.
Set Goals for your Gymnastics Class
Setting goals will help you get the most out of your gymnastics class. These goals can be completely different from getting skills on your checklist. Is your goal to have fun? To exercise? To get a college gymnastics scholarship? To be an olympic gymnast? Or to make it to the next gymnastics level?
Have a Conversation with Your Parents
Have conversations with your parents about what skills you are working on in gymnastics class and what you are struggling with right now. They can help motivate and encourage you.
Spend Time on Strength Exercises at Home
Spending time improving your strength will never be a waste in terms of improving your gymnastics skills. Many times the difference between being able to do a skill and not being able to do the skill, is whether you have the strength.
Practice Improving your Flexibility at Home
I am frequently asked how to get your splits. One thing you can do is practice (learn more about flexibility in gymnastics here). You can practice your flexibility at home by practicing each of your splits- left, right and middle, by practicing bridges (try to get your legs straight and together in the bridge) and by practicing your pike stretch. Improving your flexibility will help you improve your gymnastics skills when you do them during gymnastics class.
Watch Gymnastics on TV and Youtube
My last tip for getting the most out of your gymnastics class is to watch gymnastics on TV or on YouTube during your spare time. When you are watching famous gymnasts on TV, notice their form. Pay attention to how straight their legs are and how they have them squeezed together. Notice their arms are straight and their tummies are pulled in. They are squeezing their abs and their bottom. Notice how great it makes their gymnastics look. Check out these videos of famous gymnastics coach Tammy Biggs , and some of these videos for practicing gymnastics.
If you are a more advanced gymnast, watch YouTube videos of gymnasts performing the skills you are trying to learn. Visualize yourself doing the skill the exact same way after the video is over. Visualization can be a key part of any gymnastics mental workout.
I hope these tips have helped you with ways to maximize your learning inside and outside of the gym. I hope it helps you feel like you have gotten more out of your gymnastics class! If you haven’t signed up for a gymnastics class yet, head over to the Gymnastics Gym Directory to find a gym near you.