Has your child come home from gymnastics practice begging for a cheese mat? Do you have any idea what that even is? Perhaps you know it by its scientific name: the incline mat. Or maybe you don’t – but here’s the thing: you should become very familiar with it because it should become a staple in your home arsenal of gymnastics equipment.
Obviously, cheese mats aren’t really made of cheese. Your house would smell awful and you’d have to keep buying new ones when they were too moldy to use. Just kidding. They’re called cheese mats because they’re the shape of a wedge. Someone just decided the wedge reminded them of a wedge of cheese, and the name stuck. So why would your child be interested in this piece of equipment? Well, it depends on their age and skill level. Little kids can’t resist an incline of any kind: hills, ramps, etc. They just sort of call to them. So the incline mat can be used by younger kids for play, but you know they’re really learning motor skill they’ll need for gymnastics: balance, concentration, even some tumbling moves.
If your child is older and has already learned some gymnastics skills, the incline mat comes in handy to extend skill practice learned at the gym. Walk-overs and handsprings become a little less scary to practice at home with the safety of a cheese mat. If your child is on a cheer team, you’ll find they will often use the wedge in practice, too.
Lest you begin to picture the cheese wedge or incline mat as something that’s going to take over your house, rest assured. The mats can fold in half and be put in the corner or anywhere else out of the way when they’re not in use. Though that may not be very often – fair warning.
Cheese mats are a great way to show your children that you value their choice of sport and want them to continue to learn and grow in their skills.