Did you know gymnastics is built on many foundation skills?
If you think of gymnastics skills as building blocks, the blocks need to be physically sound and stable before building more on top. Our Gym Kids program is designed to ensure children are gaining all of the essential building blocks, necessary to develop more challenging skills down the track!
It is important to us to teach our Gym Kids and Aspire gymnasts the correct technique from the beginning! We want to make sure our blocks are stable, before moving on to tougher and more difficult skills. Because of this, we take lots of things into consideration when looking at moving gymnasts on to a more challenging skill or class.
It’s not always just about physical readiness… for confidence and safety we need to also consider children’s emotional readiness. Can they listen to the coaches feedback, follow their instructions and make changes?
When learning skills, we break our program down into Key Points. Our Gym Kids need to master the key points of a skill before moving on. We focus on 4 key points for every skill in our Steps to Success Program. The two most important key points being: 1. Start position and 2. Finish position. The 3rd and 4th key points involve ideal technique or safety.
Our Steps to Success Program commences with children in Gym Kids Prep performing Steps 3 (1st half of the year) and 4 (in the second half of the year). Our Beginner classes range in steps from Step 5 through to Step 8 and our Intermediate classes range from Step 8 through to Step 10.
Children will generally have the opportunity to progress a step every 6 months (and parents will receive feedback at our twice yearly Gym Kids Carnivals). However, it is important to keep in mind that just like at school, children will progress at different times and speeds with their gymnastics.
The four apparatus in gymnastics (vault, bars, beam and floor) are all very different and require different strengths! It is very common for a gymnast to be more physically prepared on 1-2 apparatus than the others.
To ensure all our gymnasts have the opportunity to be challenged at their own individual pace, our programs include ‘’ups and downs’’. These are skills or drills which can be chosen by the coach to either help a gymnast who may be struggling with a particular skill; or challenge a gymnast to the next level in their skill development if they have mastered the 4 key points.
For example, in a Gym Kids Beginner class we may have forward roll as one of the activities in the circuit. One child may be performing the roll downhill (getting used to tucking their head and having a round back). A child who needs further challenging may be asked to stand up out of their forward roll with no hands, or, to try the roll on a flat surface. If a child needs more encouragement and help with the forward roll down hill, the skill may be spotted by the coach or a different drill, like a ‘rock and roll’ might be performed instead.
Sometimes, when you’re watching your child do gymnastics, it may look as though all the children are doing the same thing. Rest assured the coaches are individualising the program just by knowing the key points and ups and downs of each skill in the circuit and helping your child to master the key points of that particular skill.
Here is an example of a two skills from our Gym Kids Programs. It shows the 4 key points of the skill we are helping the children achieve in their lesson.
|FWD Roll to stand flat||Gym Kids Beginner|
|Start in Rocket; then place hands flat||Key Point 1|
|Round shape||Key Point 2|
|Head in||Key Point 3|
|Stand up no hands; finish in rocket||Key Point 4|
|BWD Roll down slope – hands linked (assisted)||Gym Kids Prep|
|Link hands||Key Point 1|
|Round back||Key Point 2|
|Rolls with ease (not hesitant)||Key Point 3|
|Must land feet first||Key Point 4|
We can’t wait for our Gym Kids to show us how they have progressed their skills at our Gym Kids Carnival in June!
See what fun we have at Gym Kids Carnivals here!