Training for life through gymnastics

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BETTINA CARLOS

Well into the summer break, I learned that gymnastics is not just a physical conditioning for children—it can also serve as an early life training ground for them.

In the previous week, Gummy officially started her formal training for gymnastics. Although she managed to finish training for 3 hours—successfully and without any injury alongside a group of girls who have been doing the sport for at least 8 months up to 5 years—I decided to let her undergo one-on-one coaching with Coach Eva for safety reasons.

In doing so, I found out about some of my daughter’s traits. So, for the moms out there who are still hesitant to enroll their children to this activity, I am sharing with you what I discovered in my daughter after joining gymnastics:

Go-getter. Gummy is not easily intimidated by the kids who are so much more flexible than her. Instead of feeling insecure, she self-motivates and uses what she cannot do as a reason to try harder.


Children’s love for their new found sport can be an opportunity for parents to teach discipline and priorities

Strict follower. I learned that when my daughter wants to do something, even by just copying and without an actual step-by-step tutorial, she pushes herself to learn the routine. She manages to follow on her own, with very little guidance.

Competitive. She does not back down on a routine just because it’s her first time. She even refused to transfer to the lower beam.

Fearless. I learned that when in a group class or setting, children are more encouraged to give more than they think they could due to a healthy dose of pressure. I knew Gummy is good at balancing, but I also know for a fact that she has slight fear of heights.

For her to be able to cross a high beam meant refusing to be embarrassed for failing or backing out, or switching to the lower one for beginners and in the process of, overcoming her fear.

Without being very aware of it, when she wants to excel in something, she exerts all efforts needed to become better until she is great at it. Just like me, she is also innately an athlete.

Discipline, priorities
Seeing how Gummy just perfectly fit in gymnastics made me feel she was made for it. It might seem too early to tell, some of you would say, but I truly did not expect her athleticism to be so evident in this sport. Her upper body so strong to be hanging and tumbling on a bar; her legs so powerful to cross a beam docking; and her body so conditioned to finish a 3-hour training without passing out in the car. I just knew Gummy has found her sport (or one of) in gymnastics.

Witnessing how passionate my daughter is in this sport, I recognized the tendency for her to be so consumed by it.

However, instead of worrying, I chose to see her newfound love for this sport as an opportunity to teach her two pertinent values in life: discipline and priorities.

In her gymnastics class, I have observed that she was always attentive and never sluggish. She was very quick to sip water and go back to her coach, rushing from giving me kisses so as not to waste any time. Gummy was very prompt and I related her attitude about time in the gym to her time management at home, where she tends to slack off, especially on our morning routine.

I told Gummy that if she really wishes to continue doing gymnastics, she must observe the same attitudes of independence, initiative and discipline at home. I further reminded my daughter that her first priority is schooling, and the sport is just secondary, an extra curricular activity.

Therefore, she must not be late going to school just because she trained the day before. She must sleep and wake up early enough to dress herself up and eat on her own; manage to leave on time and arrive in class minutes before it starts.

If she can be prompt at the gym, she must be the same too at home and in preparation for school. Otherwise, she cannot attend her next gym class. So far she has not been late yet in school.

You see parents, having a sport is not just an avenue for our kids to be fit and active and learn sports-related discipline. It is not just to pass time or fill in their calendars while there’s no school. More importantly, it provides an opportunity to train our children and teach them disciplines about life, time, balance and priorities.

Keep in your heart Proverbs 22:6. “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” It is never too early to teach your child about priorities and right attitudes in life. Sports are a good training ground that is not just limited to physical well being.

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