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Fun

Fun is the essential element. If you are not having fun doing something, you should really consider if you wish to keep doing it. Gymnastics is wonderful for both mind and body – the feeling of soaring in the air, the rush of performing a complex routine well, the exhilaration of body control enabled by practice. There are 1,000 good feelings generated by body movement and exercise and if “fun” is part of the process, how great is that! Have fun moving your body. Have fun advancing your skills. Have fun with your teammates. Have fun and you will do well.

Discipline

If you chose to learn gymnastics, you confront real danger. Doing things without appropriate control of your body can result in injury: broken bones and other bad consequences. Discipline is essential, the key being self-discipline. The GU instructors are well trained and careful with their students; they never encourage one to go beyond a skill set they have not yet been trained in. They advance students when they are ready and not before. Watching the results: upper level gymnasts performing amazing feats of agility and walking away unhurt and happily is a testament to discipline of mind and body that came from long practice – the discipline required to be great.

Competition

Making the team is a great feeling and participating in formal competition is a wonderful experience. Practice pays off when you reach the “medal” stand and get recognized for achievement. In competition you get many rewards: courage to perform in front of judges and an audience, exhilaration when applause and reward happen, contentment when knowing you did your best. A hard lesson can also happen: failure. It is tough to experience but failure can teach you better than success. As many champions know, it is the ability to get up and continue after failing that makes them stronger and better the next time. Advice also to parents: if your son or daughter participates in competition and comes in last place, tell them this “don’t worry about finishing last; you are better than the 1,000 others who didn’t dare compete at all and sat on the sidelines… giving it a try is far better than not trying at all (then treat them to ice-cream or a healthy snack to make them feel better).