No, you won’t see young men on television competing on the balance beam, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t gymnasts. They actually compete in more areas than women (men six, women four), but we hear and see so much more about women’s gymnastics. It’s a wonderful situation to be in, as women are so often overlooked, but it can make it hard if you have a little guy who wants to be a gymnast. While men’s events are televised, women gymnasts seem to get the limelight in media coverage. Men’s events are just as powerful, graceful, artistic, and awe-inspiring, so it’s worth the effort to find some role models in the male gymnastics field for your son or grandson to follow.
If your little dude is already enrolled in a tumbling class or gymnastics class, it might be time to consider acquiring some apparatus for his use at home, like a simple tumbling mat. He can do just about anything he learns in class on a well-made tumbling mat at home. Be honest, he’s always wanting to show you what he learned, and it’s best if he does that on a tumbling mat rather than the tile kitchen floor or his bed. With a tumbling mat, he’ll have the support of a solid yet padded floor beneath him that isn’t quite as forgiving as his mattress, but should offer enough protection to prevent injury. You can go to classes all you want and shout your encouragement from the sidelines, but nothing says encouragement than his very own set of tumbling mats. When he sees you investing in his interest, attending his classes and competitions, and maybe even getting on the tumbling mat with him, there will be no doubt in his mind of your support.
It can be hard for a young boy, with or without a tumbling mat and supportive parents, to stick to gymnastics as his friends are all playing soccer, football, and baseball, so extra measures of encouragement can mean the difference between a one-time after school activity and a sport in which he can thrive for years. Just imagine him fifteen years from now doing an Iron Cross for his college gymnastics team. You’ll be proud you supported and encouraged him through those years of forward rolls.