I remember my first practice at C.A.T.S, the gym smelled of sweat and you could hear everyone bustling around working hard in the gym. Walking into an unknown setting with people I have never encountered is quite intimidating. I was the new girl on the team and the only thing going through my mind was I hoped I would fit in. The girls made me feel welcomed on the team after just a few practices and then realized I would grow to love this team. My teammates were more than just gymnasts I practiced with, they grew to be like sisters to me.
Gymnastics has taught me how to develop into a more cultivated person. Developing the life skills such as consistency, determination, dedication, balance throughout our life. I asked Carmen, who is one of my old teammates, how she thinks gymnastics has made her a more flexible person. She giggled to herself and said, “I am still not very flexible physically, but I have become more flexible in the way I find balance in my schedule.” Learning how to find balance in your life is very important, gymnastics has taught me how to prioritize in more efficient ways. If you know how to time manage yourself in an efficient way, it will make things a lot easier for you. Especially in high school learning how to make the most of everything is a valuable lesson.
Although gymnastics as times can be an individual sport, you learn great teamwork skills. Gymnasts often have a group of gymnasts that they train with and compete with to make up a team. “As professionals working in student-athlete development, it is our duty to help our student-athletes gain the knowledge and skills to prepare for life after sport. In the area of identity and life transitions, this is one of the most difficult and time-sensitive topics. There is a fine balance to helping student-athletes understand the importance of focusing on their current situation while also preparing them for the next stage. I believe that one of the most important steps in helping student-athletes successfully navigate this transition starts with establishing a strong baseline relationship with them. Programs and resources are important, but in my experience, they are most effective when delivered with what I like to call a human touch.” This is an excerpt from the Sport Science Institute’s guide to understanding and supporting student-athlete mental wellness by Penny Semaia. Navigating our way through adulthood is very complex and confusing at times. Gymnastics is a key sport that helps kids transition into adulthood with valuable skills they gained from the sport.