Teaching Gymnastics in School
Teaching gymnastics in school can seem daunting for teachers as this is not a subject everyone is familiar and there is very little focus on gymnastics during training. In this blog we will give you lots of hints and tips to direct you in the right direction to become more confident in teaching these lessons and give you lots of resources to help.
Where to start…
Fundamental gymnastics shapes form the basis of any great gymnastics lesson, therefore this is the perfect way to start a series of lessons. A Tuck is the shape created in a roll, a star is held during a cartwheel, a straddle is used for a jumps etc . Therefore if you use these shapes you can be assured you are teaching the foundations of gymnastics.
Below is a list of the core shapes with a link to a YouTube video for each skill, the videos show you all of the teaching points you need to correctly coach these skills. We recommend incorporating as many of these shapes into your lessons and particularly your warm ups as possible.
How would you incorporate these shapes into a warm up?
Think about all the games you already play with the children……. the first one that comes to mind for most people is Stuck in the Mud. This is easy to adapt, instead of going through the legs to free each other ask the children to perform one of these shapes and free players by mirroring the shape. Another example is Simon Says, you perform the skills and the children copy but only when you say “Simon Says”. There are lots of these games shown in our online course for teachers, however with a little bit of re-gigging
What kind of stretching is needed?
If you are warming up the children with a variety of movement between the shapes discussed above minimal stretching will be needed. Think about a head to toe general stretch trying to incorporate most of the major body parts. When stretching at the beginning of any exercise the stretches should be dynamic. Dynamic means working a limb and muscle through the range of movement, a leg swing is a good example.
Which skills should I start with and how do I teach them?
Rolls are a great place to start, this may seem like a daunting skill but that is only because you are thinking that the whole skill must be taught immediately. This is not the case each gymnastics skill can and should be simplified and taught in stages especially with younger years. We would recommend rocking and rolling in a ball, both forwards, backwards and side to side. Once the children are capable of doing this they should be encouraged to rock backwards and forwards then stand up without using their hands. Once they can do this they can start to think about the whole skill either on the floor mats or on a slope or off a bench to encourage their hips over their head. Full teaching points for this can be found in our rolling YouTube video and details of how to lay out the class can be found in our Teaching Gymnastics In PE Course.
Once you have mastered some of the stages of forward rolling with your children, there more types of rolls to explore;
You will find varying abilities within your classes, with some gymnasts that are extremely capable. These children may attend classes outside of school and therefore you will need to have some knowledge of how to challenge these children’s ability. These two videos will show you more challenging rolls however I would keep these rolls just for those children that have already learnt them in a club setting.
Having spent some time on rolling and developed confidence with your pupils I would recommend looking at all of the the fundamental gymnastics skills. We have teaching videos for these that can be found on our YouTube Chanel and in our Online Courses.
One of our personal favorite skills to teach is a cartwheel, again this can seem daunting however if you simplify it – much like the lessons you teach in the classroom the children will find it achievable;
All of our videos and resources can be found in our gymnastics App, having the skills available on tablets in class can hugely benefit the delivery of your lessons. We find that the children like to watch the videos more than once and even use them to correct each other.
How should the lesson plan look?
We have developed a series of downloadable worksheets to help teachers including lesson plans, please visit our downloadable a set of free plans.
Please feel free to get in touch with any questions you might have about teaching gymanstics in school, we are here to help and hugely passionate about sharing gymnastics knowledge.
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