Girls and women have come a long way in overcoming stereotypes in sport. One need only look at the popularity of female hockey and the stunning success of Canada’s Olympic women’s hockey teams as examples. But boys and men are still working to overcome some old-fashioned stereotypes in sport. Despite the strength, power and muscle demonstrated by our male Olympic gymnasts, stereotypes for young boys in gymnastics still exist. The irony is that the very skills required for sports traditionally dominated by males, like hockey, baseball or football, are the basics of gymnastics. Boys learning gymnastics typically demonstrate greater strength, coordination and flexibility.
In a Chatelaine.com article, Olympic gold-medalist Kyle Shewfelt says, “Every little boy should be put in gymnastics…It’s the best place to teach kids what they need to excel at other sports because they learn how their body works.” Similarly, an anonymous hockey coach writes that, “Many hockey and soccer coaches can tell which players did gymnastics at an early age as they are usually more advanced.”
Gymnastics is not only a great way to acquire skills for other sports, but an excellent sport for boys in and of itself. Oakville Gymnastic Club’s Winter 2012 newsletter is filled with interviews with boys thriving in gymnastics and pursuing exciting athletic goals and careers.
Gymnastics builds confidence, self-esteem, work-ethic, advanced motor skills, balance, strong bones, muscles, concentration, greater spatial awareness, flexible joints and healthy hearts. Why should some outdated stereotypes keep your son from reaping these important benefits?
If you’re a male gymnast, or a parent of one, please post a comment below and share your experiences. To read about the success of boy gymnasts, or to register your child in a fun gymnastics program visit Oakville Gymnastics Club at www.oakvillegym.com. Registration is ongoing.