Where do we find good role models for young gymnasts in Australia? At the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games many Australians saw elite gymnastics for the first time. This inspired young people to try gymnastics out, to ‘have a go’ at it.
An elite level Australian gymnast can provide a good role model for young gymnasts. The hopeful junior gymnasts can watch the high achiever performing difficult skills and imagine themselves doing the same thing. This is very effective if seen in real time, at an event or in training. Don’t look away, or you will miss it!
Imagining performing a skill can be fun, learning how to do it is even better. A good, competent coach will assist the gymnast by directing him or her in appropriate physical activities. These help to develop the strength and flexibility needed to perform a new skill successfully. If a gymnast is properly prepared for the new skill then the risk of injury is minimal.
A Winning Attitude
The first challenge is for a young gymnast to want to be the best she or he can be. This can be encouraged by parents, coaches or teachers and friends.
The second challenge is to be rewarded for real achievements. Receiving an award simply for turning up directly undermines gymnasts who work hard and achieve higher level skills. If the reward for doing very little is the same as the reward for doing a lot, then there is no value in doing a lot.
Young Australian Gymnasts
Young gymnasts in Australia are looking for role models to inspire them to higher achievement. Unfortunately such people in the gymnastics community are very few. Our last taste of real success was at the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000, over 17 years ago. None of our young gymnasts were even born then.
Australian gymnastics will have to seek a new direction.