Advantages The feeling of competing!
Disadvantages gruelling hours, injuries...
At the age of four I started gymnastics and soon became very good. At it at the age of 8 I was club champion and was the Scottish under nines champion. I felt proud of what I had done.I moved house however when I was 10 and joined a new club who were much stricter and more disciplined. The summer holidays consisted of training for 10 hours a day and sleeping from exhaustion for the rest. When I broke my thumb (nothing to do with gymnastics) they still had me in training, doing sit ups the whole time instead. I finally got into the Scottish squad (training sessions) aged 11 which meant during school term I was still in 6 days a week after school with a Wednesday off, to get into these training sessions i had to go through a gruelling test of timed runs, sit ups, climbing ropes whilst keeping my legs straddled straight and above my waist and i had to hold onto a pole a dislocate my shoulders which hurt alot. At the same time however I was told by my doctor that I had damaged my ankle and it wouldn't get better until I took time off. When the club refused to let me take time out I quit.
Basically through my story i'm just trying to warn you. I burned out aged 11! I had good prospects for the future but the decision for me and my family was that my health and education were both suffering and that wasn't right. I do regret in some ways looking at the major competitions thinking there is a chance I could have been there. Parents please don't push your children, by all means encourage them but sometimes they just can't do anymore. I would have hated for my gymnastics career to never taken off competitively at a high level because for people like that what are they left with. No education because they had no time for homework or study, bad health including arthritis and joint pains etc.Gymnastics is a fun sport and winning feels amazing, it teaches kids to work towards something and keeps them healthy, just for the sake of your kid, no when to stop.
I, however don't regret a moment. Training hard made me set goals and showed me many skills which can never been taken away and its always good to say yeh i can backflip, can you?
and i suppose i should add its not always about competing its great for just having a bit of fun too and i had alot of fun!! and i do recommend all kids to give it a go!
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