Coaches use a wide range of games and activities in gymnastics classes. A large proportion of preschool and baby gymnastics is made up of gymnastics-based games, providing an introduction to the sport. Games are often used in recreational and elite gymnastics as warmup or to provide down time for competitive gymnasts. You can develop your own games to suit your gymnasts, space and needs.
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Benefit of Gymnastics Games
Gymnastics games provide an introduction to the sport and can engage young children in a lesson. Running-based games increase the gymnast's heart rate and incorporate well as part of a warmup, preparing her body for the class. They also help improve strength and coordination in a fun environment without the gymnast realizing it.
The Shape Game
This game requires the gymnast to remember the various shapes used in her gymnastics class. The basic straight, tuck and star shape can be used with the youngest gymnasts. The class starts by performing the shapes the coach calls out. The last person to perform the shape is out until only one person remains. As the age range or ability of the class increases, the shapes included in the game become harder, incorporating pike, straddle, front support and bridge. This game helps younger gymnasts become familiar with shapes and body positions she will use in gymnastics.
Cartwheel and Handstand Races
Themed relay races are an ideal game to include in any gymnastics warm-up. Working up from basic running to skipping and running backward are good lead-ups to more challenging races. Adding team work and competition into a gymnastics game helps the gymnast learn to work as part of a team from a young age. Races can be carried out in a wide range of gymnastics exercises. Cartwheel and handstand walking races help develop coordination and tumbling skills. If gymnasts find one length of the mat easy to complete, add laps and harder skills.
The Add On Game
The Add On game is very popular in all gyms. It helps younger squad gymnasts become familiar with learning sequences of gymnastics elements. This helps with concentration and remembering the order of skills when learning routines in the future. The first gymnast performs a skill, for example a tuck jump. The next gymnast performs the first skill and immediately adds their own. The game keeps going until one gymnast forgets the order of skills. This game can also be played on a trampoline and the level of difficulty increased as required.
It is important that the same level of precaution is taken when taking part in gymnastics games as with the sport itself. All activities carried out in the gym should be completed with the full supervision of a qualified coach. Accidents and injuries can be caused if health and safety regulations are not followed at all times.