I love USA Gymnastics slogan, “Begin Here, Go Anywhere.”
Whether it be graduation, injury, finances, or other commitments, there comes a time in a gymnast’s life when she will retire the leotard (or at least the competitive one – check out Johanna Quass).
The goal? To find an activity that will challenge, motivate, and apply the tools and skills so passionately earned in the gym. Below is a list of sports that are particularly appealing to former gymnasts, along with obstacles they might find when transitioning to each new sport.
Of course these are just a few . . . Do you have your own favorite post-gymnastics activity? Comment below, I’d love to hear about it!!!
DIVING | DANCE | CHEERLEADING | EQUESTRIAN VAULTING | SNOWBOARDING & SKIING | ACRO, T&T, TEAM GYM | CROSS-FIT
Years of flipping, twisting, tramp time and either innate or trained air awareness make gymnasts prime candidates for the sport of diving! If your gymnast’s body is in need of less impact, the sport of diving might be the right “after-gymnastics” fit. Another bonus? It’s an NCAA and Olympic sport!Greatest obstacle for gymnasts: getting use to head first entry – quite contrary to gymnastics training.
Learn more about diving and where you can train from USA Diving‘s website.
Interested in an activity that will make good use of your child’s acro skills, flexibility and knack for performance? If the floor exercise or balance beam were your gymnast’s favorite events, dance may be an obvious pick. There are many genres of dance to experiment with . . . lyrical, modern, jazz, ballet, ballroom, hip hop, and don’t forget break dancing!!! Dance is also an activity that can offer collegiate opportunities.Greatest obstacle for gymnasts: changing gymnastics artistry to fit the dancer mold.
Your gymnast may have an old teammate or two that has made the switch from gymnastics to cheerleading. As far as “after-gym” options, cheer is a popular pick. Gymnasts boast strength, flexibility, and an array of tumbling passes; all useful in the world of cheerleading! If your gymnast is fearless, the competitive sport of cheerleading (incorporating daredevil stunting) might be right up her alley.Greatest obstacle for gymnasts: trusting a peer to throw them into the air and catch them again.
Guts and coordination are helpful when you’re heading down the mountain and gymnast’s aerial training preps them for death-defying feats on the slopes. If cold weather is a deterrent, have your child experiment with water skiing or wake boarding! Read about former gymnasts turned World Cup aerial skiers here: Gymnastics Victoria.Greatest obstacle for gymnasts: having their feet strapped to something! This is definitely not a barefoot sport.
5. Acro/T&T/Team Gym, etc.
Technically your child remains in the world of gymnastics with this option, just transitions to another facet of the diverse sport. If bars is not your gymnast’s thing, try T&T. If strong, agile, trusting & controlled are adjectives you’d use to describe your athlete, let her try acro. If you’re looking for something less costly, time-consuming, or more team-oriented, try Gymnastics-For-All’s group gym! The main benefit to this approach is that your child keeps their gymnast status.Greatest obstacle for gymnasts: finding a local gym that offers the program they want to try.
Learn more about these sports on the USA Gymnastics website.
6. Equestrian Vaulting
If your child is an animal lover (especially fond of horses), this is a sport to look into. Equestrian vaulting, much like gymnastics, combines artistry and acrobatics but atop a moving horse. Although this sport is more popular in Europe, there are teams across the United States. Equestrian vaulting began as a training technique for Roman Soldiers, but modern day vaulters compete locally, nationally, and world-wide as individuals, pairs, and teams with up to three vaulters on the horse at a time. Intrigued? Watch the YouTube video posted below or look up more videos HERE.Greatest obstacle for gymnasts: understanding the variables that accompany competition with an animal.
Learn more or find a local club on the American Vaulting Association website.
This fairly new and fast-growing phenomenon is an ideal sport for the 18 and older retired gymnast, although some boxes (individual clubs) now offer training for youth. Why so great? Because crossfit incorporates gymnastics conditioning and skills into it’s training; demanding physical strength, coordination, and endurance. Gymnasts usually excel in the rope-climb, pull-up, handstand push-up, and muscle-up exercises. Don’t be fooled though . . . to survive in crossfit, gymnasts need to diversify their strength training. But what gymnast isn’t up for a challenge? Especially a challenge that allows them to keep those hard earned muscles!Greatest obstacle for gymnasts: withstanding continued wear and tear on the body.
Learn more on the CrossFit Games website.