Recently I read an article that Wilson High School in Long Beach California will be converting their gymnastics gym so the school can install a new weight training facility. As per the article, the reason for the change is that they need to accommodate more students for their general physical education classes. Read the Article here
Perhaps I'm a bit of old school, or maybe too close to gymnastics, but I really don't understand how a weight room opens physical education to more students. Sure weight training is necessary for students that wish to pursue sports that require aggressive muscle development, (i.e. football, wrestling, etc,) where building bulk may be necessary. But not every student participates in these sports, in fact only a very small percentage of any schools population does. And of course weight training programs can be a positive physical activity that students can benefit from. But to muscle out gymnastics I don't feel is moving in the right direction.
I feel for the gymnastic students, parents, and coaches in this case, however as a gym owner myself, I understand that gymnastics is not for everyone. In fact only a select few show long term interest in the sport. However no sport can offer a greater all around physical development than gymnastics.
Football, baseball, and basketball are still the powerhouse sports in any high school, all other sports take a back seat to their needs. All the major cities in this country have a professional team in one or all of these sports, So interest is obviously higher. But does this define what physical education programs our schools should adapt.
These are team sports in which in order for them to succeed they need the cooperation and coordination of every member to do their individual part in order to win. So each player develops a specific training program that will enhance their responsibility for the team. How many tackles practice throwing a football, and how many quarterbacks are trying to bulk up so they can tackle. This is my point. The focus is on only one area of personal physical development. Obesity
is a the real problem with our children today. Most of this is due to a poor diet, and inactive lifestyle. For this reason, the state has been putting pressure on school districts to require greater participation in physical education. Perhaps because our current governor is a former body builder that schools may look into increase their weight rooms. Adding a weight room so that students can learn how to bulk up and increase protein intake, somehow doesn't add up. I'm not saying that weight room is a bad idea, Just is it the right choice for a school?
If the high school is that concerned about the health and well being of the student, then perhaps they should develop an all around health and exercise program for their students.
Gymnastics has always focused strength development by using ones own body weight, Perhaps the school system should require that students take a semester of gymnastics, not a semester of weight training.
Its time for gymnastics coaches to start educating the public about the benefits of the sport beyond the actual events. The benefits of gymnastics can be transferred to all sports so therefore as a sport is more suitable for general physical education.
Just look at what a student gains in gymnastics. Strength, Agility, Balance, coordination. Self esteem and acrobatics, just to name a few of the benefits. So I suggest that Wilson High School should require all of its students to take one semester of gymnastics. Who knows maybe with some of them gymnastics may Stick!!
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