1. Usage of correct matting!
Appropriate mats are so, so important in gymnastics. Our entire practice area has been equipped with shock absorbing mats from professional companies out of the US. They cushion falls and lessen impact on joints like knees and ankles. Whenever practicing any gymnastics skill, make sure you are over a mat or gymnastics carpet.
2. Always have a teacher present!
Teachers and coaches are here to keep gymnasts safe when practicing gymnastics, not just to form and technique. Even when they are not spotting gymnasts directly, teachers have an eye out to make sure you are practicing skills safely.
3. Never try a new skill without supervision!
In addition to making sure gymnasts practice the skills they already know safely, teachers can tell them when it’s time to make a skill harder or work on a new skill. Gymnasts should never try a new skill by themselves without a teacher’s permission. If a gymnast attempts a skill that they are not yet prepared to do correctly, they risk hurting themselves or others.Trying new things is of course one of the biggest way’s gymnasts can improve their gymnastics abilities, but always make sure to do so with the A-Okay from their teacher!
4. Don’t run around the gym!
Obviously, a lot of gymnastics, especially tumbling requires running. But when gymnasts are not running for a skill or because a teacher told them, running around the gym (from event to event, for instance) can put gymnasts and your friends at risk. There are lots of obstacles in the gym, from mats to walls to bar supports. If you are not paying enough attention, it is easy to trip on things and fall or to run in the way of someone who is about to do a skill, causing a collision. Luckily, these are super avoidable issues that we can prevent by simply walking safely around the gym when going from one place to another.
5. Watch out for other gymnasts!
Always, always, always keep your eyes open and stay aware of your surroundings in the gym. There are people everywhere in the gym, and even the most careful of us can sometimes fail to notice someone about to tumble where we’re walking. The best way to prevent this is to be responsible for your own awareness. Always assume that other people do not notice you, so that you always notice them. This stops all sorts of accidents and collisions!
6. Listen to your teachers!
Teachers have already been mentioned twice, but it cannot be stated enough that listening to your teachers is one of the most important parts of your gymnastics education. Your teachers are experts in safety and proper technique and are always looking out for their gymnasts’safety. If they tell you not to jump up and down, it’s to protect you from accidentally jumping on someone. If they tell you to talk more quietly (or not at all), it is so that they (and you!) can pay better attention to their (and your!) surroundings. If they tell you to tuck your head in, it’s so that you do not rest all of your weight on your head.
7. Stay off your head!
Speaking of tucking your head in, this is an important safety rule all on its own! Going upside down is a key part of gymnastics,but if you support all your weight on your head, you are putting too much pressure on your neck, and neck injuries are no joke. Even if it is just abridge where you can’t quite push your head off the floor, it is important to ask a teacher for help. That little bit of pressure can make your neck surprisingly sore, which at the very least, is unpleasant and at the most can cause lasting damage. Whether it is bridges, handstands, or even headstands,always make sure you’re supporting the majority of your weight on your hands.
8. Stretch before practice, warm-up before stretching!
This seems like a minor one to a lot of people,especially because young children are often so active that they can just jump in like it’s nothing, but warming up and stretching are super important at the beginning of practice. Without proper stretching, the muscles may be too tight to perform certain skills, which can lead to strains or pulls, and without proper warm-up, the muscles may be too tight even to stretch. Getting our blood flowing through warm-ups allows us to stretch as effectively as possible, which enables us to perform our skills without hurting our muscles!
9. If something hurts, tell your coach!
One of the easiest ways to turn a minor injury into a major one is to ignore it. If something hurts a little doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Something, like an ankle, that hurts “just a little” is likely in a weakened state. Without realizing it, you could favor one ankle and end up putting too much weight on the other side and injure that one too. Or you could land something like you normally do, but your already-weakened ankle can’t take the pressure, and ends up in an even worse state. Using ankles as an example because this is particularly true for them (a previously-sprained ankle is much more likely to end up sprained in the future), but it’s true about all pain or discomfort. While often, something minor that hurts really isn’t a big deal and your teacher will tell you to work through it, sometimes it may warrant more attention or rest. To be safe, always make sure to inform your teacher
10. What do Gymnasts wear?
Leotards or Singlets:
Gymnasts usually use leotards or singlets. Leotards can be short-sleeved or long-sleeved and cut at the groin area much like a bikini. If you don’t like this cut, you can opt for a singlet, a leotard that is cut in the shape of shorts at the bottom instead of a bikini. Many gymnasts wear these in training, with or without tight-fitting shorts over top. However, gymnasts are required to wear leotards or singlets in competition. Ensure that your leotard or singlet doesn’t have any hanging adornments, such as frills, straps and strings because these can get caught and increase your risk of falling.
While shorts aren’t allowed in competition, you can wear them while training. Pair these shorts with a leotard or a T-shirt. Don’t wear shorts that have pockets, strings,buttons, snaps or zippers. These can get in your way when performing movements and cause injury. In addition, shorts should be tight-fitting so they don't get in the way of your movements, but loose enough for optimum comfort and to avoid restricting your movement.
T-shirts are not allowed in competition and must not have any adornments such as strings, pockets, snaps or buttons. T-shirts must be loose enough so that they provide maximum comfort and don’t restrict your range of movement; however, they must also be tight enough so they don't get in the way and cause injury. Your T-shirt must be tucked into your shorts or pants.
While most gymnasts prefer performing or practicing barefoot, some opt for slippers. This special footwear is permitted in competition and training, and prevents the gymnast from slipping or falling when running or when using the beam. Slippers should have nonslip soles, be in good condition and fit your feet well.
Most gymnasts don’t wear underwear when wearing a leotard because these outfits act much like a bathing suit does. However, if you’re wearing a leotard, you can still wear underwear. If you are female, this underwear should be skin-colored and cut just like a leotard so that pantie lines don't show. If you are male, the underwear should be tight fitting. You can also wear bras under your leotard or singlet as long as it isn't visible, including the straps. You can wear any underwear of your choosing in training.
11. Have fun!
This may seem like a silly rule for an article about safety, but a positive attitude is actually very critical to safe gymnastics. If you are feeling discouraged or unhappy, it is possible you will not put your whole energy into a skill, which could cause you to fall. While you certainly cannot be expected to be happy all the time, it is important to try to harness all the positivity you can muster when you are doing gymnastics.Having fun will help you to achieve your biggest goals even faster, because it will help you put everything you have into getting better and better!