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PARK CITY GYMNASTICS’ GOAL IS TO DEVELOP AND NURTURE ALL STUDENTS’

DESIRE FOR PHYSICAL FITNESS AND “A SOUND MIND IN A SOUND BODY”

THROUGH THE ART AND PLAY OF GYMNASTICS

Does Gymnastics make you short?

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Hello everybody,


This is a question that I get time and time again at by business:  "Will Gymnastics Make My Child Short?"  This question is as silly as asking, "Will Playing Basketball Make My Child Tall?"  When we watch gymnastics on T.V., we are being exposed to the best of the best in the world, i.e. Olympics.  These young athletes tend to be on the shorter side, and just like the NBA on the converse side, it makes it appear that gymnastics will make you short.  The real answer is that there are tons of gymnasts who grow up to be too tall to compete at this high level, i.e. Olympics.  Their height makes it almost impossible to compete against a shorter opponent at the Olympic level.  For Example, a short girl on the balance beam, which is 16' long, can do more skills in a row, picking up extra connection bonus points, than a taller gymnast.  Because of Olympic Gymnastics' Apparatus' fixed heights and lengths, the sport becomes unfair to the taller athlete.  The taller athlete will have to become creative with their techniques to be able to fit, whereas the shorter athlete can perform the skill with the correct biomechanics.  As a 6'1" tall gymnast myself, for example on the Parallel Bars, I had to lift my legs to my chest when performing a giant swing in order to avoid banging my knees into the ground, and subsequently halting all of my momentum.  The proper technique is to stretch down to the ground.  This was obviously impossible for me and I would lose most of the needed power to compete at a high level for this skill.


For all of you professionals who are reading this, the Parallel Bars set that my gym had growing up was an Old Nissen Set, which didn't allow the setting to go as high as the new Bars now can go.  However, the point is still the same.  For a 6' tall man to run into a Round-Off Back Handspring Triple Back Flip, I would not be afforded as many running steps to get the desired speed that a 5' tall man would be allowed figuring the finite amount of space on a 40'x40' Floor Exercise Apparatus that is used in the Olympics.


This was my first post, and I hope I did a good job explaining this false impression about gymnastics training.  In my humble opinion, Gymnastics is the greatest sport for all our children to physically exercise in.  Please don't get confused with the Olympics, gymnastics can be exceptional for your child even at the lower levels!!!

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