A good gymnastics program is a treasure to find, but how do you bring it home so the kids can keep practicing? Some good tumbling mats, cartwheel mats, and maybe even a crash pad can be just what you need to keep the young gymnast practicing safely even at home.
Tumbling mats should be just thick enough to provide a little cushioning between the gymnast and the hard floor. Too thick and you lose your balance, too hard, and well…what’s the point? At least a 2” thickness is a good starting place for most at-home tumbling needs, though a slightly thinner mat will work well for the experienced gymnast. Tumbling mats in good gyms will have fasteners on the sides so that the mats can actually “grow” as the gymnast needs more room. They fold and store easily, and with dozens of gymnasts practicing on them, they need to be cleaned daily. The mats you buy for your home should be just as easily cared for and stored.
Some cartwheel mats have stamped hand prints on the mats to show placement of hands for accuracy. Others have a simple stripe down the middle of the mat, enabling the gymnast to find his or her own hand placement while maintaining overall accuracy. A supportive foam core is a must and a washable exterior is ideal. Look for mats at least six feet long so your gymnast has plenty of room to complete the skill.
For the advanced gymnast (and for kids who just want to have fun), crash pads are essential. Never sacrifice safety in at-home practice; crash pads ensure cushioning in case of a fall, so you can get up and keep trying. They’re just a little peace of mind as the routines and skills become more difficult. And peace of mind is a good thing.
Bring the gym home with some good quality mats and keep up the good work!