The differences between Gymnastics and Tumbling

Many children often ask that their parents sign them up for gymnastics classes, and for a good reason. Gymnastics classes encourage a child to gain strength, stamina and determination. It is an excellent way for any child to work and develop both their mind and body.  Sometimes though, when a child is asking for gymnastics classes, what they really mean is that they want to sign up for tumbling classes. If your child comes home after the first day of classes and is not quite as thrilled about the experience as you thought that they would be, then you might consider shopping around for the different programs offered at your local gymnastics training center and see what other options are available.

A gymnastics center wants all of their children to enjoy and have fun while learning, that is why they have begun to diversify the different classes that are available. First, let’s take a look at the basic gymnastics classes.

Gymnastics are the process where the athlete performs a variety of acrobatic moves. The more well rounded their program, the better. They do things like leaps, turns, flips, and handstands in several different types of situations that show off their agility and coordination. You will see them working with a lot of different kinds of equipment, including the parallel bars, the uneven bars, high bars, still righs, the balance beam, and the vault. They will utilize different props while they perform such as ribbons, hoops and ropes to help add more complexity to their performance. Gymnastics have been around for a long time, but its popularity no doubt comes from the Olympics, where the best and most talented athletes in the world come together to compete.

You could almost look at tumbling as a subset of gymnastics. It is often called floor gymnastics and it is performed without the help of any additional props and without any special equipment.  The athlete is still performing many of the same complex moves, but it is just them and the mat.  This means that they often have more room for some more flashy moves, such as flips, tucks, handsprings, and handstands.  These complex moves are then linked together into a performance that is set to music. The overall effect is like a rhythmic dance performance with some spectacular athletic moves thrown in here and there. Many gymnastics training centers will have their own separate classes that focus on this; they are typically called Tumbling Training or Trampoline and Tumbling.  Many cheer teams or dance squads use a lot of the same moves that you will see in a tumbling routine in their performances. These moves work well in those situations because there is not any kind of special equipment like a pommel horse needed. They use their own body weight and the support of the bodies of their teammates.

If you are unsure about what kind of class your child would most enjoy, the best advice is to shop around a little. Check out the different classes available and ask if you can watch them to see the kinds of things that they learn.