Does Gymnastics Enhance Reading? Yes!

By Ralph R. Barrett
As a gymnastics professional, you probably have taken for granted the exceptional achievements your students experience in school. More than likely, as most of us have done, you realized that your gymnasts success in school is a result of their dedication, time management skills, organizational abilities, and other attributes which they have likely acquired through regular participation in your gymnastics program. No doubt, this is true.

However, has it ever occurred to you that there is another factor, perhaps far greater in its influence, which predisposes your gymnasts to success in school, particularly in their ability to read effectively? As a professional educator with over 20 years experience in public schools, as well as the former owner of Brown’s Gymnastics Osceola in Kissimmee, Florida, my recent research is continuing to validate the direct result that gymnastics-type instruction has in developing neurological pathways in students. This enables them to be more successful in school than pupils not involved in sensory motor developmental activities comparable to those you offer.

This article appears in the in the May 2000 issue of Technique, Vol. 20, No. 4.

Why Gymnastics?

Why Gymnastics?
By Wm A. Sands, Ph.D.
Motor Behavior Research Laboratory
Department of Exercise and Sport Science
University of Utah

…Gymnastics is a terrific sport for young people. Many people have grown up in and by gymnastics to become doctors, lawyers, teachers, business people, professors, police officers, nurses, scientists, and many others. Gymnastics provides an outstanding way for young people to test their mettle against themselves and others. Gymnastics can provide opportunities for physical development, character development, and education that are hard to find anywhere else.

…Drug abuse in gymnastics, while not unknown, is extremely limited. Drug abuse was common in the former Eastern Bloc, particularly East Germany . Drug use and abuse among gymnasts in the West has been extremely limited, and until recently almost unknown. Athletes in many sports have experimented with drugs. Perhaps fortunately, gymnasts do not enhance their performance by the typical anabolic steroids, stimulants, and other drugs that can assist other athletes for a short period. Gymnasts do not require an all-out endurance – but endurance under control. When a drug interferes with control (as most do), their benefit to gymnasts is highly questionable.

This article appears in the March 1999 issue of Technique, Vol. 19, No. 3.