It’s true, for a summer during high school, I worked as a spotter for a gymnastics camp, parked on the tumbling mats with all the toddlers. When a forward roll became an almost-head stand, I was there. When a wild bounce off the mount trainer launched two unsuspecting pig tails into the crash pads, I was there. I wasn’t the one doing the gymnastics, but I got to participate in a very important role in gymnastics: safety patrol.
Of course any sport comes with injury risks, but things like tumbling mats can mitigate those risks, often times just as effectively as a spotter. Now, imagine your toddler practicing his cool new forward roll moves at home to impress you: “Dad! Watch this!” as he proceeds to flop from a vertical position to a horizontal one on the hard kitchen tile. Yeah – tears and maybe some bruises. Instead, imagine a safe place at home where he can do those things and not snap a bone in the process. Tumbling mats are inexpensive – peanuts – when compared to the cost of a trip to the ER. So aside from hiring a personal spotter for your child when he’s practicing at home, tumbling mats are a wise investment.
It’s ironic that as a high schooler in P.E. class, I had both crash pads and a so-called spotter, yet still ended up with a back injury because my “spotter” thought it would be a good idea to give me a gentle nudge when I was stuck in a head spring on the vault. One herniated disc and weeks of muscle relaxants later, I was a no-more-gymnastics-for-me kinda gal. Don’t let that happen to your tumbler or aspiring gymnast. Make sure instruction is top-notch and equipment is of the highest quality available. You can’t protect them from everything, but when you bring tumbling home, you can make sure you provide as much protection as possible with tumbling mats and crash pads.