Monday, March 3, 2008

Treating Rips Effectively

Almost every gymnast at some point in his or her career will experience a rip. Very few are able to engage in gymnastics for more than a few months at a time without having at least one possibly several rips. However, many people especially those new to gymnastics do not know what rips are, much less how to help prevent them or even how to treat them to reduce the time spent with healing.

The first and most important step to treating a rip is to always ensure that it is carefully washed with soap and warm water to remove any bacteria and prevent an infection from setting up. This is especially important because of the concerns that can occur with infections. Infections can create so much pain in a rip that a gymnast may be forced to take time off that they cannot afford to lose for some reason.

It is very important to never use either hydrogen peroxide or Betadine on any rips no matter how large or small. These products kill the skin cells that are healing and make it take much longer for the wound to heal. To avoid this problem it is best to stick to just keeping the rip very clean using soap and water and always keeping a clean bandage on it. Another product that many gymnasts have had great success with it called DuoDERM.

DuoDERM is created with idea of creating a moist environment for cell regrowth and produces a much faster healing time than a typical band-aid can provide. However, they are not always readily available. Due to this, it is important to understand other practices that you can use if you do not have access to DuoDERM such as using Neosporin and gauze bandages.

One method that is not always well known amongst the younger gymnasts is using a product such as Preparation H or any other type of hemorrhoid treatment. The best treatments to use are those that also contain a topical anesthetic, which helps to reduce the pain from the rip. This can help reduce the overall swelling and help promote faster healing.

Some methods that are used to help prevent rips are well known while others are less well known but equally effective. The first method is using neoprene rubber bands across the wrists and hands to help reduce the friction. This can help eliminate rips all together however is not completely effective.

Another option that you can explore is the use of a callus trimmer, which allows you to shave portions off to reduce the risks of rips. How effective this method is depends on the size of the callus and how long it has been there. Some gymnasts find this to be highly effective, while others have found little benefit to the method.

Another option that is available is to use is creating a tape grip to wrap tightly around the hands using either trainer’s tape or elastic tape. This is also effective in covering any rips or calluses that are already existent but have not actually created problems yet. This method is one of the best since it can be used both before rips and after without using any chemicals or ointments that can stunt cell regrowth.

It is important to note that using methods to treat rips such as dipping the hand into a mixture of bleach water, or even using products such as Tuff Skin, which is a taping base, is not advisable because of the pain and stinging sensation that are created without significant improvements. If you feel that a rip is especially bad, or has an infection then it is advisable to see the doctor to allow for medical treatment of the rip. If possible seeing a doctor before the infection sets in is the best choice, even if it is not always possible to do. Always consult with a doctor if you have any questions about treating your rips as well.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tips For Gymnastic Parents

If your child is engaged in gymnastics then you are in for an exciting ride. There are some great things that you can do to help encourage your child to have the best overall experience possible. Enjoy the ability to sit back and watch your child develop into a beautiful gymnast right before your eyes.

It is vital that you keep an open mind and allow your little gymnast to see that you are open-minded. If a child thinks that they are unable to do something then mentally that idea will hold them back. You should ensure that you help your child stay as open minded as possible too.

Ensure that your child is on time for meets and even practice. Nobody wants to always be late, especially when it is not their fault that they are late. Work with your child to ensure that they are always on time.

Push your child to think of gymnastics as fun first before anything else. Many parents get so lost in the idea of pushing a child into sports and competition that they forget sports are supposed to be fun. Your child should never feel that participating in gymnastics is a chore for them.

Make sure you give your little gymnasts plenty of attention and feedback. If they did a move that was impressive be sure to tell them! Especially at the lower levels, gymnasts do not always realize when they are doing well and cannot understand easily that the coach cannot always see everything they do. Without some encouragement, your child could be quickly discouraged.

Show your child that you are interested in their activities. This means watching a few practices, showing up, cheering your child on during the meets, and giving them general support. If they feel that, you hate their activities they are less likely to put a huge effort into it.

Learn and understand the terminology associated with gymnastics. This will show your child that you are committed to helping them achieve the best results and that you believe they can really do it. If you have no interest in them staying in gymnastics then this is usually unnecessary.

Make sure that you are communicating with your child’s coach so that you are aware of the progress they have made. This is a great way to know exactly how your child is doing, what they need additional help with, and how they are meeting the goals that the coach has set for them. In addition, this allows you to discuss how your child is doing in the goals that they have set for themselves.

Volunteer to help at meets for your child. This will allow you to see first hand what they do, as well as provide your child with ultimate support when they need it. Even if you cannot make each and every meet, helping your child at least occasionally is a great way to bond.

Ensure that you are working towards keeping your child firmly involved in activities other than simply gymnastics so that they do not experience burnout. While gymnastics is great, too much gymnastics can drag your child down if they never receive a break from it.

Work with your child to understand that only three medals are awarded for each event during meets. This means that no matter how many gymnasts are in attendance very few will receive medals. Many children and parents alike feel that a meet was a failure unless they win at least one medal. Avoid this attitude with your child, and work to discourage it so that your child has realistic expectations.

Keeping these ideals and suggestions in mind as the parent of a gymnast will allow you to work together with your child’s coach and ensure they are getting the most from their gymnastics experience possible. Without a conscious approach towards the behavior of parents, it is quite easy to sometimes allow gymnastics to dominate your life. Keeping your child focused on what is important is a good step towards the right direction to be successful in gymnastics.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Women’s Gymnastic Elements

The world of gymnastics offers several different elements for female athletes to participate in. While most meets or competitions combine a variety of styles together to determine an overall winner those who are simply interested in gymnastics as a hobby can study only those styles that they are interested in, and omit the others.

One of the most common styles or elements that comes to mind is the floor exercise. This is what most people think of when they consider gymnastics however; it is certainly not the only element. In the floor exercise, the gymnast performs a routine on a floor that is 12 meters square in size. The floor is specially created with carpet as well as foam layered onto the top of plywood that is suspended on springs to allow for a soft landing and extra force when doing flips and jumps.

Most floor routines are in the range of 70 to 90 seconds, with very few ever being longer because of the physical energy exerted during a routine. The routine is choreographed carefully to highlight the gymnasts’ specific abilities and skills. In a typical routine, the gymnast will perform several passes from one corner to the other while stringing tricks together.

The second element is the vault, which involves sprinting quickly down a runway that is approximately 82 feet long or 25 meters and landing on what is called a beat board. This then propels the gymnast up onto the vault horse with their hands holding them on upside down, before springing off and landing on a separate platform without wobbling, or losing their balance. While in idea this sounds like a very simple task, this is a skill that can take a very long time to master. Many gymnasts will even attempt tricks while mounted on the vault, though this is generally not a requirement.

One of the most popular elements to watch is the uneven bars. These are two bars that are horizontal to the floor and set at different heights. The level of the bars is fixed so that they cannot come off, and the gymnast is safe to perform spins, circles, and various other moves on the bars. In common practice gymnasts will use a springboard to jump to the lower bar and begin their routine from there. In order to protect the hands as much as possible, most gymnasts wear leather gloves that are called grips, which also help to maintain the grip of the bars. In addition to using grips, many also use water and chalk to help maintain a secure grip of the bars. Using just bare hands is quite uncommon as rips and tears in the skin are possible and the occurrence of blisters is also high as well. Considered as one of the most advanced elements, young gymnasts are usually not permitted to perform on the uneven bars.

The final element for women is the balance beam. This is a routine that is anywhere from 60 to 80 seconds long and is carefully choreographed just as the floor routine to highlight the gymnasts abilities. Using turns, leaps and acrobatic skills the gymnast carefully performs on the bar that is 125cm off of the floor, 500 cm long, and only 10cm wide. This tends to be a highly advanced element because of the skills in balance as well as strength that are required from the gymnast.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Tips For A Happy Gymnast

It is the responsibility of the parents in any sport to ensure that the child knows what to expect. Gymnastics is certainly no different; the only difference is the moves performed rather than running dozens of laps or swimming for hours. Ensuring that you teach your child a few things can be a great help to their overall success in gymnastics as well as your sanity as the parent.

You should teach your child immediately that they are going to make mistakes. It is how they handle these mistakes that will determine their success. If a child is determined, that each time they try a new routine it must be perfect without fail then they are going to ultimately harm their self-esteem. It is important to understand that mistakes are going to happen, but accepting that fact and moving along to learn from them is very important.

Additionally, it is a wise idea to help your child decide what is most important to them in their life. Set up a schedule for their activities that reflects this. Whether their goal is to become an Olympic athlete or even just use gymnastics as a simple hobby having some specific ideas in mind about what they want to do in the future is often helpful in keeping young gymnasts focuses on the major goals that they have.

Another important lesson for your child is teaching patience with the dozens if not hundreds of repetitions that are necessary in order to truly master a skill. Many gymnasts practice a skill as many as thousands of times before the movement feels completely natural and flowing to them. This is not unheard of however; most children really do not have the patience for this and need help in learning this skill. It is important to really give your child the help they need in ensuring they practice enough. You can never do too many repetitions of a new skill.

Help your child prepare for competitions by expecting the unexpected. This means packing a complete first aid kit that can handle everything from rips to scrapes. Additionally having an extra uniform and even spare change of clothes is helpful. You should also ensure that you child has an extra pair of grips, and plenty of chalk to ensure that they are fully prepared. In addition, working with your child to practice their routine with music stopping in the middle and other stressful situations can help them relax and fully prepare for the competition.

One last step that all parents should take that is often overlooked is setting up a schedule that includes time away from gymnastics and school. Your child needs plenty of time to practice gymnastics of course, but it is also very important that they have the opportunity to rest and enjoy themselves as well. Working and pushing too hard can result in your child burning out or injuring themselves, which is never advisable.

Working together with your child’s coach none of these things are difficult. Working towards your child’s success is well worth the small amount of time that is necessary to ensure that you are setting them up to be a success rather than a failure. While everyone has different ways of handling schedules and stress working with your child to help them plan and adjust quickly is one of the best things you can do for your child.

Never be afraid to ask your child’s coach for help. If you have a problem and you are unsure of how to handle it, such as helping your child calm down before meets your child’s coach can usually help. They have the knowledge and experience to make your job as a parent much easier. Use them to your benefit, rather than avoiding them. They are here to help you and your child attain the exact results that you desire rather than leaving you frustrated and confused.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Boys And Gymnastics

Many parents when they hear the term gymnastics automatically start thinking about wafer thin girls with hair pulled back in taunt ponytails or buns. This classic idea is strongly encouraged by the fact that most television programs that show gymnastics tend to focus on the girls as well. However, there are numerous boys and men who are actively involved in gymnastics and love it.

While the girls may well steal the spotlight in terms of international recognition, the work that males do accomplish in gymnastics is equally stunning. The ideas the men are less manly when they are involved in gymnastics is an ideal that has been slowly exiting the minds of people worldwide as the number of men has slowly increased. Now more than ever, boys and men are welcomed into gymnastics with open arms and the sport really has some great benefits to offer.

Whether young or old gymnastics has several great benefits including helping increase overall muscle strength, teaching correct body alignment, helping improve agility as well as coordination, and even helping dramatically improve endurance and flexibility. These benefits are just what is possible from the physical side of gymnastics. Most parents are able to see an improvement in their child rather quickly, especially if lessons are taken several times per week.

Additional benefits of gymnastics include helping develop a clear sense of how the body moves and works and also how it moves through space. During the course of gymnastics training all gymnasts are forced to listen to their bodies in order to tell if they are doing a move correctly. This is a skill that many people do not develop as sharply without the use of gymnastics. This is especially true for boys, who tend to play rougher sports, rather than the gentle space conscious sports that girls play.

Further benefits that boys are able to truly grasp include improving discipline, self-control, self-motivation, and even confidence. Many boys are able to learn huge amounts of self-discipline simply from taking basic beginning courses even if they never advance. Additionally, many boys are able to use gymnastics to help them burn extra energy and better control their urges to act out. Between the physical exertion of gymnastics and the increase in both self-control and discipline, differences in behavior should be noticeable quite rapidly.

Many boys discover upon taking gymnastics that it is actually quite fun. Due to the solitarily of most gymnastics events their abilities are able to shine through easier than if they were simply playing on a team with dozens of other boys. Many boys are much happier with their individual abilities being highlighted at matches and competitions, which results in even greater benefits.

While not all boys are going to find gymnastics a thrilling activity, most enjoy it immensely. Between the physical activity, as well as the ability to tumble and flip it quickly tends to win even the shyest boy over rather quickly. Finding a coach who has worked with boys specifically will usually help the process as well, since they are better able to help boys train towards the appropriate gymnastics events.

In the world of athletics, there are few sports that can compare to gymnastics regardless of whether you are looking for a daughter or a son. Finding the best coach is still one of the best moves you can make, and working closely with your child and their coach can help your son achieve the best results possible.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Flexibility Basics For All Gymnasts

If you are looking to improve your flexibility then you are looking to improve your overall performance as a gymnast. If you are looking for a way to dramatically improve your skills then improving your flexibility is the single most important thing you can do. This means that simply changing your stretching routine can have a huge impact on your overall abilities. If you are working towards improving your flexibility there are several things that you can do to improve quickly. One of the first is realize that if you improve your flexibility you are also able to improve how quickly your body learns new moves. This means improving your flexibility is a pressing need.

If you are looking at flexibility there are two ways to improve, the first is statically and the second is dynamically. Dynamic is also called active, and examples of that include split leaps and kicks. Examples of static flexibility include scales and other similar exercises. It is very important to mix up the type of exercises that you do to ensure that you are getting the maximum benefit possible.

If you are working on improving flexibility, the use of your natural body weight is a great way to help you improve as well. This allows you to carefully put controlled pressure on the muscles and ensure that you are capable of improving your flexibility slowly and without causing an injury. Using body weight to help improve your flexibility is a very simple method to use.

Additionally it is necessary to work on building your strength in each stretched position. This is important because many gymnastic positions require you to get in positions that are stretched and hold them for a few moments. This is a very difficult skill if you do not have the muscle strength necessary to hold the position. Slowly working to build this strength is best, and one of the best ways to do it is by continuously working and practicing the moves.

It is very important to understand that in addition to leg and back flexibility being very important it is also important to have flexible shoulders and arms so that acrobatic positions look proper and feel correct. If you do not have the flexibility necessary to move in required positions then it is very difficult to control movements and to perform a routine correctly.

One of the best ways to improve your flexibility easily is to carefully work out a plan to inject a bit of stretching into almost everything you do in normal life. This could be something as simple as doing a few stretches while you watch a couple of minutes of television, or even stretching while you are in the shower, or walking up stairs. Looking at each thing you do in a day as an opportunity to stretch will allow you to use some creative thinking and make the most of your flexibility while improving your levels slowly.

It is especially important to build good levels of flexibility so that the judges can clearly see the positions that you are trying to execute. In addition, judges do notice when someone has an exceptionally high flexibility level and do tend to award them higher marks than those who are not as flexible. While having flexibility of 180 degrees is all that is required, going a step further and above and beyond the minimum requirements is also looked upon favorably.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Tips To Avoid Gymnastics Injuries

Gymnastics always has the ability to leave people breathless and amazed at how simple the routines look, while being amazingly quick moving. Yet in the real world of the gymnasts performing, it is not easy to perform at all. Gymnastics is a skill that takes many, many years to master and many end up retiring their gymnastics careers before they ever master all of the skills.

During the course of a gymnastics career there are likely to be several injuries ranging from mild and easily healed to those that are major and can potentially end a career quite early. Sometimes the difference between a minor injury and a severe injury depends on the type of planning that is put into each routine and practice. For example, following some simple guidelines can help you avoid as many injuries as possible.

One of the first things that all gymnasts should be taught is how to properly fall. This is because falling is almost as much a part of gymnastics as the actual tricks and routines themselves. Having the knowledge and training to help control your fall can often mean the difference between finishing a routine or being carried off of the floor. Practice on occasion the falling techniques that you are initially taught to ensure you are still capable of helping yourself.

A gymnast should never attempt any trick that they do not fully understand first. Always watch several times and ensure that you understand the exact order that steps are performed before you try yourself. Once you have a general idea of what you are doing, always ensure someone is with you in case you are injured.

Ensure you always have a firm idea of how your body should feel, as well as look during a trick. You should immediately stop if something does not feel right. For example, if you feel that you foot is pointing in the wrong direction stop and find out why. Some gymnasts have discovered that they injured themselves and their leg was sprained or even broken as a result of feeling the position did not feel right. Never be afraid to stop and try again, rather than pressing ahead and making a potential injury worse.

Take some toning and conditioning classes. These will help you strengthen all of the muscles in the body to help reduce the damage that can occur from weak muscles. Taking two short classes each week is generally sufficient, however some gymnast prefer to take classes much more often. The choice of how often is ultimately up to you, but at least two a week is highly recommended.

You should always focus when performing tricks or practicing routines. While talking to others may seem like fun, being able to walk away at the end of the day is even more fun. Talk to your friends after doing the routine or trick, rather than while you are attempting the trick.

Never practice without the appropriate clothing. Gymnasts are required to wear leotards for several reasons. First, they allow coaches an unobstructed view of the body and how it is moving, and second because there is nothing to be accidently caught while in the middle of a trick. Wearing sweatpants, jackets, or other clothing can be an accident waiting to happen.

Finally, you should remove all jewelry before practice or competition. This is important because rings, bracelets, earrings, and even necklaces can cause serious injuries if they are hung on something while you are moving. Remove them and store them safely in your bag rather than risking an injury.