Floor skills in Gymnastics
I'll give anything a go and my kiddies are much the same, although it has to be said that when I confronted my 6 year old with the idea of reading a book about gymnastics he was already half way up the curtains, upside down with toes pointed so this is a field of expertise that he is familiar with. Me and my daughter however are both made of soft plump limbs, little muscle tone and struggle to stand upright without losing balance so the challenge was on with this new book. So I got my best long skirt on (I know, not ideal, but I was just going to be the narrator), my son got his Tae Kwon-do outfit on and my daughter, who is 3 years old, got dressed in pink leggings with a fetching pink tutu and a vest. I put a few old mats down left from the good old days of callanetics and we were good to go. Now, as normal with me, I am always a little sceptical at the ability an author has to motivate the reader into anything other than rigid boredom but am constantly and pleasantly surprised by children's utter enthusiasm for almost anything other than homework or housework. Firstly, can I say something brilliant about this book - hot diggerty - it stands up on its own! So the kiddies can prop it up on the table on its own little stand and see it properly to practise their gymnastic moves without having to keep stopping to pick the book up. What a marvellous idea! So, we worked our way through the book page by page, starting with the warm up exercises and then onto stretching with particular success and hilarity trying to do a stretch called the 'feet to head' stretch where you 'simply' lie on your tummy and try and push your head back towards your feet and touch them together. The kiddies puffed and panted and Delilah, the 3 year old, rolled out of the stretch several times finding herself under the coffee table giggling and I gave it a go to find I was approximately 3 foot short of my feet being anywhere close to my head.(I'm sure I could do this 30 years ago. Has someone implanted a steel rod down my spine rendering me utterly inflexible whilst I wasn't looking?) My son however was so good at it he could practically plait his hair with his toes (should he want to). The illustrations on each page are superb, showing very clearly how to create the move or stretch in colourful glossy pictures and with very useful hints and tips attached to help give you a better idea how to achieve them and also showing you how NOT to do them, to avoid strains or injury (or long skirts falling over your face). We practised the pike headstand (I say we, this was done by my willing colleagues), the cartwheel, the bridge, the circle roll, easy ones, difficult ones and I must say I joined in and we all had a brilliant afternoon. My son took the book to bed with him to study in more detail and my daughter and I had a donut afterwards to celebrate the joy of exercise. This is an excellent book to use to encourage your children into gymnastics, it's easy to follow, beautifully written and an awful lot of fun, so roll up your rug, push the toys out of the way, turn the telly off and have a laugh whilst learning something new! -Hayley Thornton
About the Author
I was one of the kids you occasionally see tumbling Head Over Heels along the road why walk on your feet when you can walk on your hands? This enthusiasm never left me, leading to a career teaching gymnastics where, along the way, I have learnt a great number of hints and tips that I use every day teaching the sport. I hope to share this knowledge with as many people as possible through this book. I hope you get as much enjoyment from this book as I have had writing it.