Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Expose, Expose, Expose!

I have been a gymnastics instructor for girls (and some boys but on the female apparatuses) ranging from ages 3- 14. I have coached at two different gyms, one is a competitive and recreational gym and the other is only a recreational facility. 
I first worked at the recreational facility, this will be my third year, and just recently was employed at the recreational and competitive facility. When I got to work the first  day at the competitive and recreational facility , I began to teach my group of girls skills which I would normally teach at my recreational facility. A lot of the skills were new to the girls, even though they were all more then capable of doing what I told them . For example, my 8-13 year old girls had not been taught to go from the low to high bar, not squat ons, just stepping up to the high bar, nor had they been taught any skills on the high bar itself. When asked why?, the manager responded that these girls were being taught to eventually be level 4 competitors and the level 4 routine does not call for any use of the high bar. The manager had not taught the girls  skills that they would not need to know for level 4, even though they were not yet on team and were doing gymnastics for fun. To me, teaching to a level is taking away the benefits of gymnastics which are (to list a few) creativity, individuality, and fun. To make girls fit a mold, especially those who do not need to yet, is to be depriving them of new experiences and variety.
Should girls be exposed to all different gymnastics moves, or be taught to a level? Is it worth it to teach girls moves they will not compete if they are going to eventually join a team? 

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