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Backyard trampolines…safe or scary?

My how times have changed. I remember growing up we always had a trampoline in our backyard. It was one of the rectangular tramps with a webbed bed. No net. It was not as common then, but my dad was the owner of Badger Gymnastics so it seemd natural to me to have one.

As a gymnastics club owner, my dad made sure were very familiar with the rules. One person at a time, no double-bouncing, no flips, you needed “spotters” on all 4 sides, and an adult had to be supervising when we jumped. Those rules didn’t eliminate the risk, but they sure minimized it.

Today the tramps are much fancier. They have nets, pads, enclosures, zippers, and more depending on how much you spend. I have even seen pictures on Pinterest of people putting the trampolines in the ground!

Although they seem safer and even more of the risk has been minimized, it is still a dangerous piece of gymnastics equipment and there need to be rules in place in order for kids to stay safe and respect the equipment.

Here are a few rules I would suggest implementing if you choose to have a backyard trampoline:

  1. Only 1 bouncer at a time
  2. Don’t flip unless you have learned proper progressions
  3. The safest place to bounce is in the middle
  4. Be sure to inspect nets, springs and enclosures regularly
  5. Make sure neighbors and other kids understand the rules you have established

I believe everyone should enjoy the benefits of having a backyard trampoline. Jumping is such a great way to expend energy and gain body awareness. With the proper rules in place, kids and adults should be able to enjoy the fun that trampolines have to offer!



Gymnastics in P.E.

Let’s face it! We all had to do it at some point. Gymnastics in P.E. If you are not a natural born gymnast, this can be a daunting week or 2. Recently, I had the opportunity to act as a guest P.E. teacher in Waunakee during their gymnastics units. Let me telll you, the moans and groans from the non-gymnasts are still there!

If you are a gymnast, or can do a cartwheel, this is heaven for you! You get to show off to your friends and impress your teachers. It is finally acceptable to go upside-down during the day! You display your upper-boddy strength gymnastics conditions you to have by scaling the rope in record time.

If you are not a gymnast, the agony of throwing your body through space in effort to complete a forward roll seems impossible. And you can forget going backwards! The confusion a cartwheel causes is enough to make your brain hurt.

After helping in a middle school and an elementary school it has been confirmed(if not before) that gymnastics is HARD! But here is what I found…With a willingess to try, a little effort and understanding, students are able to walk away with an improved version of whatever skill they previously had.

I can’t tell you how many boys exclaimed “I DID IT!” after making just a few adjustments to their cartwheels. That statement never gets old. It means that a student came from a place of being unable. But with hard work, determination, a little encouragement and coaching, that student can now consider this improvment an accomplishment! What a great life lesson to carry on to adulthood.

How old do kids have to be to try gymnastics?

Often times I get asked, “How old do kids have to be to try gymnastics?” Parents are always suprised when they hear me say, “1 and walking”. Toddlers just over the age of 1 are ready to explore the world around them through touch, curiocity, climbing, stimulation and encouragement.

As parents we want our kids to have the best start on life. I belive one of our vital roles is to introduce our little ones to new experiences as they learn more about the world around them.

Gymnastics helps provide your little one with the opportunity to explore and develop their balance by walking on a balance beam. It can help build grip strength in their little hands by hanging on the bar. We will work on the coordination of 2 foot jumping on a trampoline. But more importantly, we want to celebrate every achievement our little ones experience.

Whether it’s learning our body parts, singing a song, counting to 10, or learning to forward roll, the sport of gymnastics helps build self esteem in kids and celebrate the “I DID IT!” moments!

By participating in gymnastics at an early age, parents are helping their child get a jump start on living an active and healthy life.