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.