An online resource for parents provided by USA Gymnastics

Gymnastics is a great sport for a number of reasons. Check out some articles that can give you plenty of reasons why. Scroll down for different categories.

Gymnastics & Parenting
The Sport-Parent Paradox – Less is More

By David Benzel
In what way must the parents of athletically gifted children behave differently than the parents of average performing children?

Five Parenting Decisions that Reveal Your True Values (PDF)

By David Benzel
We all have a built-in “compass” that offers direction for decision-making. Just as a mechanical compass shows magnetic north, your internal compass reveals your True North Values. These values should be considered whenever you lead family choices. There are five crucial parenting choices observed by your children everyday. Are your choices in alignment with your True North Values?

Winning Connections Newsletter – February 2014

Passion is Caught More Than Taught
The Element – How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything
New GCFL Promotion
A Creative Spin to Growing Champions and Figure Skating Success

Ankle Injury – 0-72 Hours (PDF)

By Gymnast Care
The steps for dealing with an ankle injury in the first 72 hours. For an accompanying video, click here.

Winning Connections Newsletter – January 2014

Humility or Arrogance: Where is Your Child Headed?
12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School
New GCFL Promotion
David Benzel to Speak at US Figure Skating National Championships

Avoiding Defensive Conversations (PDF)

By David Benzel
Here are some tips about avoiding defense conversations with your athlete.

Why Gymnastics is Great For Kids (PDF)

Gymnastics provides a fun and safe activity that gets kids physically active. Not only does the sport provide a good, solid fitness foundation, gymnastics also provides many other benefits, from socialization skills to life skills to basics that can enhance performance in other

Gymnastics is the Answer! (PDF)

Gymnastics not only increases strength, grace and flexibility, but also encourages hard work, discipline and determination.

The Role of Gymnastics Parents

By Michael A. Taylor
Signing a child up for a Gymnastics class is a major first step toward a healthy lifestyle. What happens then? Research strongly suggests that parents play the largest role in influencing the development and healthy socialization of their children involved in sports.

Gym Dandy and the Flying Kazuki

By Mike Peal
I’m a gym dad. Been one for about seven years and I’m finally beginning to catch on to the “gym lingo.” I now hear real words instead of grunts and groans followed by hand signals and head shaking from the coach.

What’s So Great About Gymnastics?

By Nancy Marshall
A personal story about the effects of gymnastics.

Preschool / Recreational
My Kid Has Talent? So What, She’s Only 5! (PDF)

By Julie Cross, Recreational Gymnastics Program Director for the Champaign County YMCA

Wee Workouts

By Eleska Aubespin – Florida Today
You’re never too young to exercise. Yet, with a growing industry of gadgets and toys that can occupy baby’s time, parents might be missing that point.

Warming Up to Kids’ Fitness

By Samantha Critchell – Associated Press Writer
The importance of warming up before exercise. Even for children.

Get Moving, Baby!

By Hilary Shenfeld – Daily Herald Staff Writer
According to the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, babies, toddlers and preschoolers need to spend up to two hours every day in active pursuits.

Starting Gymnastics as a Preschooler

By Jeannie McCarthy
In general, a child will benefit by their involvement in gymnastics regardless of the age that they begin! The magic is that they experience challenges and new skills as they mature. A 3 year old student’s pride in being able to walk on a two foot high beam is as much a milestone as the 5 year old who learns a one-armed cartwheel.

Even Babies Need Exercise

By John Casey – WebMD Feature
Regular exercise causes the kind of development that may be critical for health in later life. Infancy and the toddler years are the time that the brain is developing pathways and connections to the muscles.

Competitive Gymnastics
Conquering the Fear of Failure (PDF)

By David Benzel
I was recently asked by a parent, “How can I help my child get past the fear of failure.” An athlete’s fear comes from disappointing experiences and exists on three different levels. So the question must be answered on several levels and I’ll use a swimming pool metaphor to expose the depth of this common challenge.

Taming the Beast within Your Child’s Coach (PDF)

By David Benzel

It’s NOT All About the Numbers…

By Dr. Alison Arnold
2013–2014 is an exciting time for USA Gymnastics! Every eight years USA Gymnastics Women’s Junior Olympic Program Committee creates new routines for the Junior Olympic levels. That means, new skills, dance, and the best part of all…new music! With all the changes this year, USA Gymnastics is also implementing a new numbering system for the levels.

Nutrition / Sports Psychology / Fitnesss
How to Recover Swagger (PDF)

By David Benzel
Confidence is a fragile commodity for young athletes, and it seems to be especially fragile for young female athletes. Recovering personal swagger requires that an athlete first identify the basis for the swagger that’s now lost.

Mentally Strong Tips for Pre-Meet and Practice

Mental toughness is especially important in sports like gymnastics – where there is time in between routines and rotations for the competitors to think about their actions. Here are some tips to build and maintain a mental edge from Dr. Chris Carr, sport and performance psychologist at St. Vincent Sports Performance.

Want to Become a Better Gymnast? Train Your Core (PDF)

By Joshua P. Eldridge –

Sedentary Behaviors in Youth Predict Inactivity Levels and Risk of Obesity in Later Life

Active kids are more likely to remain lean and healthy during their youth and inactive adolescents are more likely to become adults who do not exercise, according to new results on tracking of physical activity behaviors in children to help predict the physical activity and fitness levels of adults.

Healthy Nutrition (PDF)

Climbing the Pyramid or Just Hanging on the Plate? What’s the Difference?

Childhood Obesity: A Weighty Issue

Reproduced with permission from Dr. Andrew Weil’s Self Healing newsletter
With record numbers of us tipping the scales in the overweight range, problems previously seen in middle-age or beyond are now occurring in young people: There’s been nearly a tenfold increase in type 2 diabetes among children and teens since the 1980s, once so rare in youngsters the condition was called adult-onset diabetes.

Study: Gymnastics Strengthens Girls’ Bones

Supporting the notion that weight-bearing exercise throughout life can cut the risk of brittle bones later on, a small study shows that young female gymnasts build bone mass at a higher-than-average rate.

Challenges with your local gymnastics school…

Thousands of private gymnastics schools are operated throughout the United States, and the vast majority host happy parents and well-taught athletes. Unfortunately, some parents and/or their children are not satisfied with gymnastics school where they are enrolled.

The Great Myth of Fame

By David Benzel
Is it your aspiration that your child be famous? Do you have an athlete whose goal is fame – the kind we see on TV in professional sports? Perhaps it’s not too soon to teach a healthy perspective on the topic to avoid the overwhelming odds of misery down the road.

High School Gymnast Timeline for Pursuing a College Scholarship

Compiled by Bobbie Cesarek, Ed.D. – President, National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women

Girl Power! The Surprising Link Between Sports and Success

By Linda Marsa – Family Circle Magazine
Extensive research shows that girls who are involved in athletics boost their self-esteem; improve their physical fitness; do better academically; are less likely to drop out of school, do drugs, smoke or get pregnant; and are more able to weather the physical and emotional storms of adolescence.