Your son seems to have the right abilities for gymnastics or has expressed a desire to go to gymnastics classes. Is gymnastics right for boys or is it purely a girls’ sport? This article explores the pros and cons of taking up gymnastics as a boy. Firstly, we will consider the pros.
- Gymnastics creates incredible core body strength. You only have to look at the physique of the men competing in the rings at any major gymnastics competition to see that male gymnasts have muscles that other men can only dream of!
- Doing gymnastics can enhance coordination and bodily control. This is useful for all sports, such that gymnastics can be a springboard for performing other sports to a high level.
- Urban street dance is one of the latest youth crazes and is seen regularly on our TV sets. Street dance groups are now becoming famous and street dance is performed around all the ‘in’ pop acts. It is therefore natural that boys should aspire to become street dancers. Gymnastics is an essential part of street dance with many moves requiring gymnastic abilities such as the planche which is a semi-horizontal handstand.
- With the boys-girls ratio likely to be far in the boys favour, gymnastics classes can be a great way of finding girlfriends with similar interests.
- Gymnastics is imperative for anyone thinking of becoming a stunt man. Doing stunts can be an exciting career, with involvement in TV and films in different locations across the world.
- Gymnastics is extremely important for anyone thinking of a career on the stage or in performing arts. Cirque de Soleil is filled with talented gymnasts who stretch the boundaries of gymnastics with their death-defying feats and artistic performances. The fame and success of the Cirque de Soleil shows just how popular gymnastics is, even outside of traditional competition-based training.
- The popularity of gymnastics acts in talent shows such as ‘America’s Got Talent’ and ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ shows how useful it is to practise the sport. Indeed, a gymnastics tumbling act called ‘Spellbound’ won the 2010 series of Britain’s Got Talent. Interestingly, the troupe has more boys than girls in it.
- In the US, some colleges offer gymnastics scholarships which could help immensely with the high costs of putting yourself through a college degree course. With less men doing gymnastics, men would have an advantage over women in securing one of these scholarships.
So what are the cons of signing your son up for gymnastics classes?
- Your son could be the only boy in the gym class. Do not assume that this is automatically going to be the case. You will only find this out by going along to one of the classes yourself to view it or contacting the gym coach by phone or email. You can request that your son does a free taster session to see how it likes it and whether he is comfortable if there are not many other boys. If your son is reticent about going along by himself, a gymnastics-related gift could encourage him, such as as hand guards, a keyring or some gymnastics jewellery. Gymnastics jewelry comes in different types of metals such as silver and gold. Be careful of gymnastics jewelry produced in base metals as it can cause skin allergies. Alternatively, your son could take a friend along with him, if he has someone suitable. Talk to the parents of your son’s friends to see if any of his friends might be interested in going along with him.
- Your son could be teased at school. However, once he demonstrates how he can do back flips and handsprings, his classmates will be filled with admiration instead! Alternatively, your son could take up street dance classes at the same time and argue that he does the gymnastics to improve his street dancing. Everyone knows that street dancers are cool and get respect!
- Your son may not have time for more traditional boys sports such as football and rugby. It is true that no one can do everything, so a choice always has to be made as regards to what pastimes to pursue. However, your son may well get to play the tradtional sports at school and so can use his free time for more specialised sports such as gymnastics.
- Some parents may worry that doing gymnastics could make their son too feminine. However, Mens gymnastics has different disciplines to womens gymnastics. The apparatus of mens gymnastics is Floor, Vault, Parallel Bars, Highbar, Rings and Pommel Horse. Women have 4 apparatus: Floor, Vault, Beam and Bars. However, even where the women and men cross over i.e in Floor and Vault, the disciplines are different. The womens floor routine is done to music and is usually performed in a balletic style. The mens floor routine is not performed to music and is done is a masculine style. The vault is also different in that the horse is placed horizontally for women and length-ways for men.
To conclude, the pros of boys doing gymnastics significantly outweigh any cons. Parents should not be put off from placing their sons in gymnastics classes, but instead should embrace their talents. Gymnastics is useful in a variety of different arenas and can actually make a boy stand out as ‘cool’.