Childrens Book on gymnsatics
Childrens Book on gymnsatics

A Home Gymnastics Beam – should you give in and buy one?

Beam DilemmaMy Home Gymnastics Floor Beam a great combination with our Floor Beam Book

The question seemed innocent enough at the time. A few mornings ago, between mouthfuls of cereal, your daughter mentioned that she reckoned it would be a great idea to receive a Beam for her birthday. At the time you nodded, smiled, and told her to get a move on because she was going to be late for school. And now you haven’t slept for two days because, besides trying to figure out the exact way you go about wrapping a Beam, you’re not at all sure whether your daughter should be practicing her Beam routine without the safe arms of a coach lingering nearby.

Perhaps you’re the Thursday-night taxi-driver to and from classes, and an avid supporter at competitions. You caught yourself open-mouthed a few weeks ago when your daughter held a perfect handstand, and you’re convinced a Beam would be an ideal gift. However, your knowledge of the safety of gymnastics is still minimal, and the image of that handstand, on that Beam, in your front room, isn’t quite sitting right.

Or perhaps your daughter has never attended a single gymnastics class, but seems to have a natural talent at turning herself upside down, or inside out, or pulling off feats of flexibility you weren’t sure were possible. If you’re honest with yourself, your heart hasn’t been its calm and collected self ever since that first forward-roll. And if you’re more honest with yourself, a Beam would make your daughter’s year, which isn’t helping.

For anyone facing an eerily similar predicament, here’s our answer:

Yes! You should absolutely give in and get her the Beam on her birthday list. With the following advice, there’s no need to worry about anything (except perhaps figuring out different ways to say congratulations when your daughter shows you the tenth new skill she’s mastered).

Buy a Floor Beam

The first word in practising gymnastics at home is safety. In research for our book dedicated to Floor Beam exercises, we put a considerable amount of time into assessing the safety of the equipment. We ran tests for ourselves, as well as talking to a number of high-level, experienced coaches, and there was a unanimous agreement on the sure safety of the Floor Beams. In fact, within a home environment, we would recommend purchasing nothing else.

For beginners in gymnastics, and those new to the Floor Beam, use our book!

Beam is often perceived to be a daunting piece of equipment, especially if your child is not attending lessons. It may seem as though Head Over Heels About Gymnastics Floor Beam Bookthe Floor Beam is an impractical purchase until they have had at least a basic level of professional gymnastics tuition, but this is not the case. Our book has been specifically written with the intention of guiding entry-level gymnasts through the skills, without them having had any coaching. Its guide is a step-by-step walkthrough, beginning with basic skills, before progressing onto more challenging exercises as and when your child is ready. It’s an ideal companion for those gymnasts just starting out on the Beam, and will instil them with confidence on this challenging apparatus.

For more advanced Beam skills, only use those which have already been learnt in gymnastics classes

Your budding gymnast will be on a well-designed training programme, created to advance her skill-level gradually and safely. She should only be practicing moves which she has been taught, and has mastered, in her gymnastics lessons. If you are not sure what she is learning, it is recommended to ask her coach for advice: not only will potential injury from self-taught manoeuvres be avoided, but it will also eliminate the chance to pick up bad habits in form and execution.

The My Home Gymnastics Folding Beam

We were sent a Beam from My Home Gymnastics to trial and assess, and it easily sits as one of the many great beams out on the market. Our video below showcases the Folding Beam in this gymnast’s (Chloe’s) home:

The foam Beam from My Home Gymnastics is a great choice. It’s light and easy to move, and its capability to fold gives it plenty of storage options, which edges it ahead of its unbending counterparts (it slotted comfortably beneath Chloe’s bed). It’s long enough to do two skills in a single length, which, while not providing the space of full-length beams, is ideal for home use.

An additional recommended purchase is the folding panel mat. We found that the rug was not really sufficient! A softer landing  mat would have significantly bolstered Chloe’s confidence, which is paramount in gymnastics training. Although the two together add up to a more lavish birthday present, the multiple uses of the floor mat in other gymnastic fields cause it to be a worthwhile buy.

To purchase My Home Gymnastics Folding Beam visit their website; www.myhomegymnastics.com 

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Gymnastics Skill Builders Package from Tumbl Trak

As gymnastics enthusiasts, we are always looking for more training aids to develop gymnastics skills. We were thrilled, therefore, to be given the opportunity to experiment with Tumbl Trak’s Skill Builder Package, which has been designed to improve technique in a variety of areas. In this blog post, we’ll be discussing how we got on with the Package, and giving our analysis of the three pieces of equipment. So, without further ado:

The Skill Builders Package contains;

Two of the products were brand-new notions for us, these being the Shoulder Trainer and the Sticky Toes. Before we could put them through their paces, we needed some instruction on how best to use them: fortunately, Tumbl Trak have some great introductory videos on YouTube, which allowed us to confidently merge the products into our exercises in no time at all.

Tumbl Trak Sliders

£8.20 Sold as a pair – packages of multiples available

Tumbl Trak Sliders

Having previously incorporated Sliders into our training, we were particularly impressed with the quality of this offering from Tumbl Trak. In the past, we’ve known Sliders to be prone to damage after only a few uses: the very thin rubber sole has peeled away from the plastic, rendering the equipment inadequate for routine exercises. The Tumbl Trak Sliders, on the other hand, have been built to last. Even after a variety of tests, they look as if they could be fresh out of the box.

One of the best things about the Sliders was their versatility. In just a few minutes, we came up with multiple conditioning and stretching exercises, designed around using the Sliders to push gymnasts to their stretching limits. Here are some examples of the exercises we created:

We also took the sliders to a sister gym. After allowing them to experiment and come up with their own methods of utilising the Sliders, we asked what skills they had the most success with. Their unanimous response was that the Sliders were a benefit to ‘everything’. From strength training to stretching the gymnasts there were continually finding new uses for the Sliders, and were jumping at the bit to procure some of their own.

The only limitation we found, was that the Sliders weren’t functional on wooden or laminate flooring. Owing to this, while a great addition to the gymnastics hall, their use becomes limited in most other environments, especially in school gymnasiums where they could be a real asset to P.E. classes. If this factor were remedied, there would be nothing holding this product back.

 Tumbl Trak Sticky Toes

£11.35 one pair – bundles available

Tumbl Trak Sticky Toes

The kids immediately took to this product. The concept of having ‘sticky toes’ gave them the giggles, and they were all interested in giving them a go. We used them for swinging: our crucial battleground when it comes to keeping toes together. I was a little dubious about the adhesion of the Velcro at first, however the pads stuck fast. In fact, they worked exceptionally well: when equipped with the Sticky Toes, our gymnasts had no choice but to keep their feet glued together.

We did wonder whether if, over time, the effect of the Velcro would weaken owing to natural wear-and-tear. However, we rendered the point negligible: with the obvious quality, any depreciation wouldn’t occur for a significant amount of time, and at such an excellent value for money, they would absolutely be worth repurchasing in such an event.

After an outright success on the bars, we have already decided to integrate the Sticky Toes into many other skills, such as Headstands, Shoulderstands, Handstands, Levers and many of the Jumping skills and drills.

Tumbl Trak Open Shoulder Trainer

£25.20

Tumbl Trak Open Shoulders Trainer

In the past, we have settled on using a pole to create the effect of elevating the shoulders to an open position, and so we were thrilled to receive this new piece of kit. A pole pressing across the back of the neck is not at all comfortable, and this padded, curved bar is a vast improvement. The Open Shoulder Trainer has been designed with ergonomics as a priority. The product consists of a an aluminium bar, encased in a thick, foam padding, which curves around the neck. This allows the piece to be forgiving, as well as being tailored to rest comfortably on the shoulders.

To trial the Shoulder Trainer, we asked the gymnasts to use it during lunge prep skills for handstands. The idea that the product should instil a natural conviction in gymnasts to keep their arms level at all times was a real allure for us, and unfortunately, in this regard, the product could be further optimised: although certainly going some way to achieve this, we noticed that the angle of the shoulders wasn’t completely open during use, and we still had to remind the gymnasts to hold precisely the correct position. To establish itself as a perfect training aid, the Open Shoulder Trainer should create the exact position the coach is looking for, and in this respect, the product could be improved.

This is not to say, however, that the Open Shoulder Trainer isn’t a great product: the facilitation it offers is one-of-a-kind, and we still intend to make use of it for many of our skills. Coaches are constantly saying phrases such as ‘open your shoulders, ‘reach taller’, ‘head up’, ‘arms back’, especially to the more novice gymnasts. This bar comprises all of these phrases without a word having to be uttered, and we’ve been able to make a tremendous amount of use out of the Open Shoulder Trainer in relation to handstand training. It has already been added into our programme as a fun side-station.

To conclude, we feel that this trio of products is demonstrative of Tumbl Trak’s real dedication to gymnastics. The three pieces of equipment have evidently been designed with a keen, inside knowledge of gymnastics training, and act as excellent developmental aids. We extend our thanks to Tumbl Trak for providing us with the opportunity to try out these fantastic gymnastics products, and look forward to making the most of the equipment in future training sessions!

Coaches and gymnasts, grab your very own Skill Builders Package by visiting Tumbl Trak’s site at the following link – Tumbl Trak Skill Builders Package

 


Head Over Heels About Gymnastics Book Volume One Review

Head Over Heels About Gymnastics Book Volume One Review

This book is a phenomenal introduction to gymnastic floor skills. It covers a wide range of the entry-level basics, such as cartwheels, handstands, and forward-rolls, and as such, is an ideal complement for those children who are beginning to take an interest in gymnastics.

The most prominent feature, and strength, of the book is its accessibility. No prior knowledge of gymnastics is required, as several pages at the beginning are dedicated to appropriate warm-ups and stretches which are recommended before performing gymnastic skills, while also explaining why these are necessary. Each of the exercises and skills are broken down into simple, understandable terms, and each comes with a photographic example to show what each exercise should look like.

The language used is straightforward and concise, with a real emphasis being placed on clear, practical instructions. Dotted throughout the book are tips which are identified through a thumbs-up icon, which are included when an exercise may be difficult to understand, or to offer additional useful information. Many of them break the exercises down into relatable terms, and these are what makes the book stand out in its field. For example, in the ‘landing and finishing’ section of the book, the thumbs-up tip states ‘imagine you are sitting on a high stool with your arms outstretched’. This kind of conversion of gymnastics skills into relative terms are what makes the book an exceptional entry point to gymnastics: the exercises it details can be easily understood by parents and children alike.

To put the book to the test, I asked my ten-year-old sister to choose an exercise, read its instructions, and then proceed to perform the exercise, based solely from the information given in the book. Reading the page herself, and with no input at all from me, she was able to perform correct front and back supports within a minute of reading over the instructions and viewing the ‘correct procedure’ step-by-step photographs. To truly mark the success of an instructional book aimed at children, the children themselves should be able to view, understand, and execute the exercises. In this respect, the book passes with flying colours.

In all, this book is a bright, easy to follow introduction to gymnastics, which provides astute observations and helpful information about the world of gymnastics along the way. The ability to prop it up as a flip-chart, so that it is able to be viewed mid-exercise, is a well-designed added bonus. For any parents with children looking to get into gymnastics, or for any children looking to persuade their parents into letting them do forward-rolls around the house, you couldn’t do much better than this book. An excellent, top of the range guide to beginner gymnastic floor skills.

Will Gillingham

Gymnastics Book Review by Will Gillingham


8 Boredom Busting Gymnastics Activities for Beginners Using MHG’s Homework Block

In your quest to keep your gymnasts out of mischief and boredom around the house or in the garden, add this great little training aid to your gymnastic equipment;

The Homework Block from My Home Gymnastics 

The MHG Homework Block is a great training aid for all level of gymnasts. The features we really like are the hand prints on the block and how lightweight it is. The Homework Block has endless possibilities for your gymnasts enabling them to practice the skills that they are learning in their gymnastics classes safely at home.

Just like a puppy with a new ball these three gymnasts (Alexa, Chloe and Isabella) were bouncing around eager to get going before we had even got the new equipment out of the box. They had enormous amounts of fun in their back garden and with some coaching from our author Gemma they came up with lots of inspiring ideas for you to try yourselves;

1. Forward-Roll Off The Homework Block

Start with your knees placed at the end of the block and roll off. When you stand up out of the roll reach your arms forward. Don’t use your hands on the floor!

2. Cartwheel Over The Homework Block

Start and finish facing sideways in a star shape.  Placing your hands onto the hand marks swing your legs up and over the block in an arc. Remember to keep your legs straight and your toes pointed. Practice makes perfect!

3. Squat Onto the Homework Block Half Turn Jump Off

Squatting down use the hand shapes on the Homework Block to place your hands onto it. Squat feet onto the block and not knees. Immediately jump off springing upwards remembering to land with good posture.

4. Headstand Against The Homework Block

Partner to hold the Homework Block upright or alternatively position it against a wall. Headstand against it making a triangle shape with your head at the top of the triangle and your hands at the bottom so that you can see your fingers. Slowly lift your hips so that your back touches the block and then tuck your knees into your chest and your feet to your bottom.

5. Pike Lever On The Homework Block

Sit on the block with your legs in a pike position, raise your feet and bottom up from the block keeping your legs straight and toes pointed.

6. Handstand On The Homework Block

Take a big lunge into a handstand creating a straight shape on the top of the Homework Block. Stretch from your hands to the tips of your toes. Squeeze both your bottom and tummy creating a tight core.

7. Tricep Dips on the Homework Block

This is one of many conditioning exercises you can perform with this great versatile Homework Block. Sit with your back to the block and your hands placed onto it so that your elbows are bent up behind you. Lift your hips up as high as you can as you slowly bend and straighten your arms. Repeat for as many repetitions as you can manage or alternatively break down into sets of 5 or 10 repetitions. Challenge your child to see how many repetitions or sets they can do in a minute and then see if they can beat their highest scores.

8. Jumps and Hops On and Over the Homework Block

These Homework Block exercises are great for stability. Your little ones will have strong legs and good balance if they practice these exercises. Like with tricep dips set them a challenge of beating their top scores. When performing any hop or jump keep the body upright with chin and chest held high. Don’t allow the body to hunch over, posture is paramount throughout!

When we asked the children what they liked about the Homework Block their response was that they liked the colour and the hand prints. They said that they “loved rolling off the block” and that it was “really fun.” From a coach and parent perspective we like that it has many uses and is ideal for gymnastics outside of the gymnasium. It’s size enables it to be stored easily without taking up too much room. In addition as it is lightweight the gymnasts are able to move and position it themselves.

Thanks once again to My Home Gymnastics for letting us trial this exciting new piece of gymnastics equipment, as you can see from the videos our gymnasts had hours of fun!

Please visit My Home Gymnastics for more information about their wide range of gymnastics products.

http://www.myhomegymnastics.com/

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‘The Good The Bad and The Ugly.’ Feedback for Our Gymnastics Story Book.

Thank you so much Elia was so happy with her new book.

Whilst it is great to get feedback for any of our products, it is always a nerve-wracking process. We asked for honest, relevant critique for our gymnastics story book and therefore opened the flood gates for the good bad and the ugly. You would think that with time we would harden up to the criticism and I think that to some extent we have due to having received just as much positive reviews. However putting so much into each of our projects and products means that when the improvements are suggested we can feel frustrated that we hadn’t thought more in the designing process.

With our Jumping Jack and Bendy Wendy gymnastics story book almost reaching its half a year Birthday, it was a perfect time to celebrate by sending out some freebies and getting some of your feedback. This first edition is exactly that – it is our first venture (hopefully of many) into this completely new genre of gymnastics story books. It will therefore be re-edited when we do a new print run so your feedback is invaluable.

The ‘Good’

The response we have had on social media and Amazon has been phenomenal with the feedback being positive, negative and lots of suggestions for improvement. Below you can find examples of the positive responses with highlights being that children are finding the names of the characters endearing and that they are enjoying having a go at the movements.

Another #happygymnast

5.0 out of 5 stars Exercise & Confidence Booster

By A. Rose TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Dec. 2016

This book was loved by our shy little girl who actually liked the exercises but didn’t want to do them in front of other children. After a few sessions of stretching, balancing and bending, she was soon wanting to show us what she could do and is now much happier exercising with other children,
The book itself is a nice shiny square book with illustrations a little bit like the Charlie & Lola graphics. The words are simple to read yet accurate in use and context. It’s a good book to read and ‘show’ at the same time. The names are funny and the characters, Wendy and Jack, are endearing and like-able. The exercises shown are good warm up movements (stretching, bending etc.) and are a good all round exercise regime that youngsters should be doing and can easily do in the home, mostly, or get them ready for what to expect in the school gym. A good confidence booster.

By SonicQuack VINE VOICE on 1 Nov. 2016

Almost every child will have trepidation about starting a new class, be it school or a sports/social club. My two certainly did and although they are both now gymnasts, this book would have been an ideal ice-breaker. We have a close friend who’s youngest is considering joining the local gymnastics school and this will be a great aid in boosting her confidence prior to going.
It’s a cleverly worded and illustrated book. It will appeal to children of either gender (since it stars a boy and a girl). There is a stack of positive reinforcement inside. Every drawn child is always smiling, the language they use is simple but direct and positive, the use of bold and over-sized words ensure the salient points are very clear – but its all presented in a fun and exciting manner. The basics of gymnastics are all included as fun activities that are welcome at the gym: rolling, stretching, bending, jumping; none of that sounds difficult.
The size of the book is deceiving, the story is actually quite long for a book of this nature – go it’s very good value for money.
A brilliant approach from a writer that is clearly clued up. Recommended as a pre-start read for any young potential gymnast.

Thank you so much for your beautiful book….. Harriet has been reading it all afternoon…. “it’s a boy, a girl, jumping, aww I love it”

The ‘Bad’

You would expect that when you ask for critique some of the feedback is not so positive, criticisms regularly mention the advertising at the back of the book. So this advertisement will be removed or made smaller in the future edition. The graphics are mentioned quite a lot in the three star reviews. We are confident about the characters although they have been described as ‘stick people’ by some reviewers. When reading the gymnastics story book to children in school they have been very positive and liked the characters. However considering this we will look at the backgrounds in the next edition and see if we can make some big improvements. Below you can find some of the three star reviews;

3.0 out of 5 starsAdvertising Pamphlet Feel

TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 8 December 2016

This is an okay book that tells the story of a boy and a girl called Wendy and Jack who are starting gymnastics and feeling a little nervous about it.
The rest of the class are nice and welcoming and soon Jack and Wendy settle in and make lots of friends plus become Superstar Gymnasts.
The story is okay and would be good if your child was starting gymnastics but it has not captured my children’s attention each time we have sat down to read it. I also don’t like the advertising on the inside back pages for other products from the company and I feel that it gives the book a sort of advertising pamphlet feel.
The illustrations are simple but bright but the story just doesn’t seem to go anywhere and as I mentioned above I’m not a fan of the marketing and my children haven’t taken to the book so for me it’s just okay.

3.0 out of 5 starsWendy and Jack start gymnastics

VINE VOICEon 3 November 2016

Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What’s this? )

This is the tale of Wendy and Jack who start gymnastics classes and feel a bit unsure about it all. They soon learn that it’s great fun and not at all scary. They learn lots of new moves, meet some new friends and have fun along the way. The story itself is a fun, lighthearted introduction to gymnastics for little ones and I liked it, but I wasn’t a fan of the graphics which seemed a bit basic and simplistic, though still bright and clear.

The ‘Ugly’

Siena loves the book great reading!!

Now when we said that opening the flood gates to feedback leads to the good the bad and the ugly this is what we mean when it comes to the ‘ugly’;

TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 9 October 2016

Gemma Coles has turned her career teaching children gymnastics into a range of books, DVDs, sportswear and now an app, and I guess you don’t become that successful without having a great deal of self-confidence in your abilities.
Perhaps too much confidence in this case, however, as really this book is something that a more self-critical author might have thought twice about publishing . The illustrations are very basic indeed, barely more than stick figures, done I think on some primitive entry-level piece of graphics software along the lines of Paint, and the ‘story’ barely qualifies as a narrative, as stick figures Wendy and Jack are a bit nervous about starting gymnastics, enter some white space and meet some other stick figures doing gymnastics, among some ill-chosen fonts, then feel better about going to gymnastics. If you just want some quotidian book that will theoretically make your son or daughter less nervous about attending gymclass, I suppose this will do, but there’s been absolutely no creative effort of any kind put into it’s concept or execution. It looks like it was written in about ten minutes, by someone who can’t really write anyway, and then illustrated in an afternoon by someone who can’t draw.

This review initially left us feeling wounded, a bit like finally learning your back flip at gymnastics after months of hard graft to achieve it only to be told that it was rubbish. However as this review says we have a lot of confidence in what we do and like learning a back flip we will learn to make everything that we do better in the future. To propel this book forwards and make the improvements we will employ editors and adapt the graphics so watch this space for edition two.

Picture of school children using gymnastics story book
School children enjoying our book.

When receiving reviews we have talked about our gymnastics story book being designed for children but their adult parents being the ones leaving the reviews. We wonder what your little-ones would write if they were able to pen a detailed review. The children that we teach in the gymnastics regularly have great ideas for adapting things and help us improve as we teach them. So if your budding gymnast is a keen writer or makes a comment about our products that could really help us please send us their feedback.

We have loved receiving pictures from this giveaway, each and every one has been a pleasure to receive. We have posted them below for you to enjoy;

Thank you for all the support you have given us with this gymnastics story book.

Gemma and the team at Head Over Heels Gymnastics. x


8ft Folding Gymnastics Floor Beam and Brand New Beam Book

 

Colour

 

hoh-10-005web-min-18ft Black Floor Beam and Brand New Beam Book – £99.99

£99.99

What should you be looking for when you purchase a Gymnastics Floor Beam for your child?

With the launch of our new Gymnastics Book and the popularity of Floor Beams we thought it would be helpful to give you some advice and recommendations for buying a new floor beam.

What to look for:

  • Fire resistant materials
  • Professionally upholstered
  • The width of the beam to be larger at the bottom than the top as this minimises the risk of the beam tipping over, insuring the safety of the gymnast.
  • The hinge should be narrower than the beam to ensure the gymnast doesn’t catch their feet on the hinge.
  • Recommended 1/2 inch fire retardant foam on top of the beam
  • A light Beam which is less likely to snap together when folded and pinch fingers
  • Manufactured in the Uk (this may or may not matter to you)
  • Not a solid wood design that can quickly warp

 

With the introduction of apparatus into our books we have teamed up with Just4Gym to give you the ultimate gift package for your budding gymnast;

8ft Black Floor Beam and our BRAND NEW BOOK!

We have chosen Just4Gym because their beams meet all the above standards that we feel are vital for the perfect beam. We like their unique design, the quality of materials and the one years manufacturers guarantee. The beams are extremely stable and durable and we have tried and tested them in our club.

If you would like to purchase the beam and book use this button;




hoh-10-005web-min-18ft Black Floor Beam and Brand New Beam Book – £99.99

*https://youtu.be/3qw3ReU83S4

So after all the hard work and anticipation we are thrilled to now have this great addition to the series available for you to purchase.;

hoh-10-002web-min

DK Capture Photography in Poole Bournemouth www.dk-capture.com




Head Over Heels About Gymnastics Floor Beam £10.49


Creating Bendy Wendy and Jumping Jack join Gymnastics

 

 

Initial Idea for a Children’s Gymnastics Book…

Children's Gymnastics Books
Coaching Tool ‘Bendy Wendy’

Bendy Wendy is the a name of a coaching tool that many of us coaches use to demonstrate gymnastics skills. Bendy Wendy is a flat plastic gymnast with pins at every joint so that you can demonstrate to kids the shapes their bodies should be making. I am not sure where the name came from however it has always amused me.

Jumping Jack however took a long time to be agreed upon with many other names considered… Hans Stand – Roley Noley and Quick Nick to name a few. It was a bit like naming your child whilst you are pregnant the more people you asked the harder it became and eventually we settled on Jumping Jack!

The actual story and children’s book idea came from watching an episode of The Apprentice where the task was to create a book specifically for children. I sat there with my husband and was astounded at how hard they found it to think of a story that would work. I found myself wanting to shout at the screen and couldn’t believe how much they struggled. I do find this the case with every episode of the show though – I always think I could do a better job! However I did go to sleep that evening and think to myself I am sure I could do that…. This thought stayed with me and I kept returning to the idea that writing a children’s gymnastics books is something I must do.

Brand new Children's Gymnastics Book..
Brand new Children’s Gymnastics Book..

Changing Genre…

Having had success with our instructional books it felt daunting jumping into the new genre of Children’s Story Books. When one formula works you wonder if you should move away and create another. When the first story board was written and it started to come together there were lots of moments where it was nearly abandoned. I found  the best place to find courage was in other people, asking them for guidance and even sometimes motivation. I was very lucky to ask the right person to get me motivated initially and soon had produced a start that I knew I would eventually be proud of. This gave me the confidence to then trial it and share it with more people to obtain the feedback I needed to create a quality product.

 

The Story…

Gymnastics has been a huge part of my life, it was my childhood hobby and is now my business. Gymnastics taught me to be courageous, disciplined, persistent, patient, resilient, ambitious and most of all told me I could do things I never thought possible. This is the reason the sport is so amazing, how lucky was I to learn all of these things in such a fun way doing something I really love. I would never have been the person I am today if I hadn’t gone along to my first gymnastics class, enjoyed it and been nurtured by great coaches to ensure I persisted with the sport. This quickly became the story and is hopefully the first in a series of books that will provide encouragement and show you how much you can learn and grow from being involved in a sport.

 

Illustrations…

In my head I had a vision of how the book would look, I met with Anthony the illustrator and shared my initial thoughts with him. He helped to develop and finalise the names of all the characters prior to bringing them to life. After some time I returned to his office and was acquainted with all the characters except ‘Gemma Gym’. I guess this was always going to be the hardest one to please the client with! With a bit of tweaking we had six characters and a promise that Gemma Gym would be easy now that he was confident that I liked the style of the characters he had created. This left me to then finalise the story line and get him all the text he needed. Once he had been given a few weeks the book started to take shape and was ready to review and tweek.

During the creative process with Anthony we have often been distracted by my lovely four year old son. Himageis highlights of going to see Antony in his offices at Magic Box Media was the water dispenser, his R2-D2 and of course the swivel office chairs! He will be going to school this year and I keep 2015-04-08-22-38-37promising Anthony that I will be able to have meetings that aren’t either late in the evening or accompanied by a little pickle!

The finished Product…

Bendy Wendy and Jumping Jack Join Gymnastics took 5 months to create from start to finish and we are extremely proud to be releasing it.

Brand new Children's Gymnastics Book..
Brand new Children’s Gymnastics Book..

This book is inspired by real life class experiences to which we can all relate, adults and children alike. Two young, apprehensive gymnasts step foot into what would appear to be a daunting new experience; their first gymnastics lesson, only to find that all is not as overwhelming as it would first appear. In no time at all Bendy Wendy and Jumping Jack make new friendships, gain confidence and learn new skills leaving them excited to return again.

 

Sharing Knowledge

I am very grateful to everyone that has helped to create this book – thank you – you know who you are…. I would also like to say that as so many people have helped me along the way that if anyone reading this needs help and believes my experience in this journey may help them – please ask! I can’t promise to always be able to help but will most definitely try!

 

How can you help us?

Did you know that if there are 50 reviews on Amazon  it lists a book in its news letters and other promotions (Also Boughts). You can help us by writing us a reveiw (you dont have to have bought your copy from Amazon) it can be short, remember its the number of reviews that matters the most.

 





Fantastic response to our Beam Competition

 

 

We were sent some fantastic videos in response to our gymnastics beam competition and want to share them with you….

To be in with a chance to win a floor beam kindly donated by Just4gym and all the entrants had to do was send us a picture of routine 1 from inside our floor skills book.

These are some of the fantastic videos;

Beam Competition Video Clips…

 

 

 

Thank you very much to everyone that sent us a clip, were were really overwhelmed with the response.

 


Gymnastics PE lesson using our Pair and Trio Balance Book

In this blog I would like to show Teachers how you could easily use one of the balances from our book ‘Pair and Trio Balances’ to create a fun and engaging Gymnastics PE lesson.

When I am not writing and promoting books I teach Gymnastics in primary schools and run a busy gymnastics club. The time I spend in Schools is some of the most enjoyable of my week. The teachers are extremely enthusiastic to improve their teaching of gymnastics and always welcome new ideas. This week we trialed using one of the balances from our Pair and Trio Balance book and it resulted in a very successful Gymnastics PE lesson that could be developed further for future lessons.

I chose this exciting balance from the book for our Gymnastics PE lesson;

Gymnastics PE lesson
Gymnastics PE lesson ‘Car Transporter’

 

It is a Front Support balance performed on top of a Back Support, if you wanted to give it a name to engage the children I guess you could call it a ‘Car Transporter’ as I think it looks like one! The children quite often have better ideas than me though… so you could always ask them to name it. The two gymnastics shapes used to make this balance; Back and Front Support  require a strong core, stretched legs, pointed toes and head kept in a neutral position. The perfect shape should look just like the picture with a straight line from shoulders all the way to toes. If you have a child that struggles to hold a Front Support allow them to simplify it by positioning one knee/foot on the floor .

Gymnastics PE Lesson – Warm-Up

A few ideas for warm up games incorporating this balance into your Gymnastics PE Lesson;

  • Stuck in the mud – Choose 2 or 3 children to be your catchers, when they catch the remaining children those children perform a back or front support. To be freed a child must slide underneath the front or back support. Once freed a child can then run around again. A child can also jump over the feet to free their peers or go under and then over their feet.
  • Spot shapes – Place a number of colored spots around the hall and ask the children to travel safely around the room. When you clap your hands shout out a gymnastics shape (including Front and Back Support) the children must then find a spot on which to perform the shape.
  • Over and under – Half the class make a shape of your choice and the rest of the class are instructed to safely travel under or over the other children as many times as they can before you ask them to stop and swap over. For example slide under a Front Support or jump over the feet. To extend the game ask the children to go under and then over the same child.

I always finish the warm up games with a quick stretch, I keep the stretching dynamic and try not to do any static (still) stretches. I like arm swings, hip circles, lunging, ankle and wrist circles etc. If you would like ideas for further stretches there are sections in the front of both book 1&2 that you can include in your own Gymnastics PE lesson.

Application Activity

In the Gymnastics PE lesson pair up the children and teach the ‘Car Transporter’ balance ensuring all the children are capable of performing the shapes correctly first. Discuss with the children who should go on the bottom and who should go on the top. The general rule is that the stronger of the pair should go on the bottom but it may take some trial and error to work out who should go where! Give the children time to practice the balance and then ask the children to see if they can all hold it together as a class for 3 seconds.

 

Developing Activity

Ask the children to develop their own pair balance using a Front Support, insist that one child makes this shape and that the other partner can make any shape that they like to develop their own unique balance. Spend time looking at the balances that are created and again challenge the class to hold the balance as a class for 3 seconds. Challenge the children to perform someone else’s balance.

Repeat this activity requesting that one member of the team must perform a back support. The children’s ideas are endless and we found that they had much better ideas than both the coaches and teachers during our Gymnastics PE lessons!

 

Gymnatics PE Lesson Cool Down

  • Keeping the children in their pairs ask them to mirror each other. Demonstrate this activity with one of the children, keeping the activity slower than the rest of the pace of the class. When you are the leader choose gentle stretching moves to encourage a thorough cool down.
  • Ask the children to run and touch each of the four walls of the hall. When they return to where they started, ask the children to lie down and think about what is going on with their bodies. Discuss why their breathing and heart rate accelerated and why it is slowing, talk about why they might be sweating and feeling hot. Finish this activity by asking them to lie still for 20 seconds – allowing time for them to rest and think about what you have been discussing during the Gymnastics PE lesson.

 

Ideas For Followup Gymnastics PE Lessons

 

Once the children have two balances that they are able to hold for the 3 seconds required they have the key components for a quality pair gymnastic routine.  Discuss ideas of how to then create a routine using these balances in future Gymnastics PE lessons.

My suggestion would be to give two or three skills for the children to add into a routine (e.g. roll, travel, leap, Gymnastics shape and synchronization, mirroring). Once you have chosen these write them onto a whiteboard and provide the children ideas of how to link these skills to the balances they have created. Children are usually very good at the creative side of gymnastics and will quickly develop fantastic routines.

Use the pairs that are first to put together their routines to demonstrate good practice and discuss why their routines are successful. In addition ask the children what it is that they like about their routine and how they could look to improve it. Allow time for the children to generate these routines and perform them to another pair or half of the class during the Gymnastics PE lesson.

 

The Head Over Heels Pairs and Trio Balance book used in this Gymnastics PE lesson plan can be purchased from the following link;

Head Over Heels About Gymnastics Books

For more ideas please also have a look at our app, this has been created from our first book and contains full video tutorials of all fundamental gymnastics floor skills.

Head Over Heels About Gymnastics App

Below is a sample video tutorial from the app;


Brainwaves Reward Stickers and Charts

 

 

The budding young gymnasts in our classes love to receive stickers for their achievements so when we were asked by Brainwaves to review some of their Brainwaves stickers and charts we we thrilled at the idea.

When the package arrived in the post my own children were the first to see them, my sons are 4, 7 and 9 years old and love reward stickers! My initial response to their requests for the stickers was initially “no! these are for the gym club”. However on seeing how keen they were I had a re-think and came up with an idea inspired by my sister and her children. My sister had been awarding her children buttons for any jobs that they had done without being asked, she had suggested that this would be a good thing for me to do whilst my husband was going away with work. Her children had loved the concept and been extremely helpful.

I took this idea and placed each of the boys a chart on the fridge with their name written in the space provided;Brainwaves - Mini Sticker Chart

Rules were then debated and this is what we agreed;

  • Complete a household job without being asked (or one you are asked if you are aged 4!)
  • No moaning about the task you are doing.
  • Complete the whole task and put everything you use away.
  • Wait for mum or dad to notice don’t tell us and insist on the sticker immediately.
  • Once the chart is filled you will receive £5 – generous parents!The sticker charts on the fridge.

 The results were immediate one of my sons is fastidious in his approach to life, he is naturally tidy and meticulous. He was quick on the case desperate to get his first sticker – going about the task with planned precision. My other son on the other hand moves through life leaving what looks like a hurricane behind him. His clothes fall about him on the floor exactly where he was at the time they needed removing and jobs are something other people do without him noticing! However my washing was miraculously taken off the line, the table was laid without a hint of it needing to be done. My youngest was creative in keeping up with his brothers pulling out a stool to help with the washing line and inventing jobs like putting the toothpaste on the brushes at 3pm in the afternoon.

It was lovely to see and whilst my husband was away on business it was a fantastic tool to use to have some extra help. I was thrilled at the motivation it had given them and it made me realise that they are capable of helping more than I had ever thought to ask.

One of my closet friends also has three boys and she was intrigued with what we were doing and joined in. I gave her 3 charts and a couple of pages of the reward stickers and her boys got stuck in using the same rules;

 

They loved the charts but did have some feedback about the stickers I had selected;

We would like to see more stickers suitable for older kids – football ones please!”

I would agree with them on this point – I was extremely surprised with how much the older children enjoyed the activity and liked putting their stickers onto the charts. However the whole chart and the stickers that we had chosen were geared more for younger children and I think this is something that Brainwaves could branch out into. My friend has since kept up with the charts and will now become a regular customer!

Next was onto the real task; see what the gymnasts think about the stickers and charts. I started out by giving out the stickers at the end of class to all of the children. Here are a few pictures;

The younger children usually receive a hand stamp at the end of class and so the change to a sticker was warmly welcomed. The stickers are bright and have motivating words splashed all over them. The feedback was great and the children were really happy when they were brought out the following week.

I asked the parents what they thought about the stickers and the responses were great:

“My daughter loves to get something at the end of her class and the stickers are great”

“I prefer the sticker to a stamp as it doesn’t need to be washed off”

“Children will do anything for a reward I think it is a great idea”

I also gave out random stickers for things that I saw gymnasts do that I felt was deserving;

  • Achieving a skill for the first time
  • Being brave
  • Persevering on tasks
  • Trying something new
  • Having a good attitude
  • Showing kindness to other class members

This was for the slightly older children and I hadn’t decided on these set things until I saw the children doing one of these things. The children responded well and it was good for encouraging good behavior from all of the children. I think I did start off a little to generous though and so the second time I did this I was a bit less generous in giving out the stickers.

Brain 4

The charts were put into use with the children that I see first thing in the mornings, I really enjoy these classes as the children are fresh and keen to work really hard. We set a routine of body conditioning exercises and the children then knew what was expected for the stickers. The ideas for the exercises were a combination of their ideas and mine, I encouraged the children to think about their whole bodies and not just focus on one body part. The exercises included things like press-ups and burpees. It was agreed that once their sticker chart was filled up we would have fun session using the parachute.

The children were excellent at this and I noticed a great deal of independence being displayed. When we do body conditioning there is a lot of repetition and it is probably one of the least fun activities at gymnastics. With the motivation of receiving the stickers I was astounded at how hard they worked and how they stuck to the task. Over the course of the five weeks that we filled in the charts I was able to leave them to the activity so that it became a station that didn’t have any coach help. This enabled myself and the other coaches to work on other skills which was invaluable.  At the end of the five weeks we had a great session using the parachute this was a real treat as it is only really used for special occasions like Christmas.

The children that used the charts and reward stickers for the body conditioning also said that they would have liked a wider choice of stickers. However Brianwaves do have a huge selection of reward stickers and I should have thought a lot more about the activities I was going to undertake before I ordered our stock.

I would not hesitate to recommend Brainwaves and their product, they arrived promptly  and were well packaged. The products are eye-catching and well thought out. Please visit their website and get ordering!


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Gymnastics Learning Book

This book is a learning tool that helps children with the fundamental building blocks of gymnastics. This book teaches all of the basics for gymnastics, if you want a book that you can instantly pick up and have your child cartwheeling and getting active with then this is the book for you. The book is designed with all the correct techniques and endorsed by fully qualified gymnastics coaches currently teaching the sport.You will find this book helpful, easy to understand and fun.