Gymnastics is a sport that involves competitors using dexterity, agility, and balance in order to perform in various events. There are many different events within gymnastics and those events differ for men and women! Some of the most notable activities are parallel bars, high bar, and rings for the men and balance beam, uneven bars, and floor for the women. Competitors are given a certain point value for their routines, depending on how well they were executed and how difficult the moves performed were.
There are three major types of gymnastics: artistic, rhythmic, and trampoline. The most recognizable gymnastics events are part of artistic gymnastics (including the events listed earlier!). Gymnastic events are popular around the globe and have been included in the Olympic Games since 1896!
Like you learned earlier, there are three major branches of gymnastics (artistic, rhythmic, and trampoline) and each of these three branches contain their own events. Because there are so many different events within gymnastics, there are many different sets of rules, criteria, and overall 'basics' for each event. However, some basics apply to all aspects of the sport. A gymnast will perform a routine for their event, which will have a time limit and will be planned and practiced ahead of the competition. Each routine is judged by a panel of judges and gymnasts are competing to earn the highest score for their event.
All gymnasts begin with a starting score and points are deducted based on the execution and difficulty of their moves and skills. While all routines used to be based out of 10, elite gymnastics competitions now allow more points for stronger and more difficult routines. A more difficult move or routine will earn a gymnast more points and a poorly executed move or routine will force the judges to make deductions.
All gymnastics competitions are split into different levels based on age, gender, and skill level in order to keep all events competitive.
Because gymnastic events require a lot of flexibility and nimbleness, most gymnasts begin at a very young age. If you want to become a gymnast at a young age, try to find a gymnastics gym near where you live. They should offer training and teams for you to compete and grow with, which will help in your development.
Less resources exist for older gymnasts to get started, but some gyms may have classes for beginners of any age. Many resources also exist online for learning the skills and moves of gymnastics, but make sure you have a soft mat to practice on!
Any beginner should focus on mastering the basic skills of the sport, which we delve deeper into below.
Gymnastics is a sport that encompasses many different events, but some basic skills are true for every part of the sport. A gymnast must master their balance, posture, and movements so that they can complete their routines with as few deductions as possible. Without mastering these basic skills, a gymnast would not be successful in any of their competitions.
Along with those skills, there are a few basic moves that gymnasts should master early in their training. Cartwheels, forward/backward rolls, handstands, bridges, and back bends are some easier moves that can form a strong base for a gymnast to continue building on. All of these skills can be learned on your own, but having an instructor guide you through the learning process may be a safer and quicker way to learn.
Like we said earlier, some of the most important moves in gymnastics are the most basic ones, since they are the foundation that all other moves are based on! Moves will vary based on what gymnastic event you will be competing in, but we will go through some of the moves that are important for most events.
Though it is one of the most basic gymnastic moves, handstands are a major foundation of a gymnast's skills. They teach good balance and posture, and can help with learning more advanced skills. Splits will do the same and will also enhance your flexibility!
Casting is a skill required for bar events and leads to the development of other skills, requiring you to form a plank position while on the bar. Handsprings and back handsprings are vital for vaulting, floor, and beam routines. These lead to more intricate moves that are necessary for intricate routines.