A young gymnast always has plenty of competition. In the short time since the 2012 Summer Olympics, interest and excitement about the sport has continued to escalate. Parents want to see their youngsters succeed but they are up against many other talented children. There are several key characteristics of a child that will mark her as a gifted gymnast -- parents can observe their child for signs of these attributes to help determine her future success.
The No. 1 indicator of success is the skill level of the child. How she compares to others in her age group, her strength and agility, and the moves and dismounts she is proficient in, will be major indicators of her talent and physical stamina. A quote from 2008 Olympic medalist Shawn Johnson supports this: "Everything is about your movements and precision and timing, which is what gymnastics is about." It takes years of training and practice to become proficient in this sport and sometimes a mediocre 9-year old will surprise everyone and pull ahead of the pack when she reaches her early teen years.
Another important indicator of whether a child is gifted is her level of self-discipline. Some children need to be pushed into practicing for the long periods of time necessary to gain proficiency. Others fail to give practice time the importance it demands. Being on time, ready to perform when called and organized as far as equipment and apparel all add up to a child who will go far. A self-disciplined child displays to others that she is serious about the sport and will do anything it takes to be a winner. Aly Raisman, 2012 Summer Olympic gold medalist, states that, "I just stay focused, and I always think about gymnastics. I am just doing what I always do... working really hard and pushing myself to the maximum and keeping myself motivated."
A young gymnast can have all the talent in the world but if she does not have an air of confidence, she will not be perceived as gifted. Being able to face thousands of people in an audience, hold a blazing smile after a dismount, recover herself after a minor blunder on the balance beams with aplomb -- all of these will display the grace and professionalism she has acquired. To be gifted, is to also act as a gifted gymnast -- even if she places second or third.
A star gymnast will not go far without the support and encouragement from her parents. In his book, "Developing Talent in Young People," author Benjamin Bloom is firm on the point that parental involvement is critical to the success of a young athlete. An article on his work by the USA Gym Club reverberates his beliefs, stating that parents have a tremendous influence on their child. The more support a child has, the higher the possibilities of a success in gymnastics.
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- Developing Talent in Young People; Benjamin Bloom