Wednesday, December 30, 2020

College Gymnastics — A Unique And Challenging Environment

 

College Gymnastics—A Unique And Challenging Environment

Gymnastics is one of the most ancient sporting fields. Its origins lie in early Greek sporting culture in which bodily movement was promoted as being virtuous and stabilizing. Today, gymnastics is a highly developed group of sports practiced at the modern Olympic games and worldwide competitions. 


In the United States, many top gymnasts cut their teeth in college NCAA sporting competitions. NCAA students often receive sporting scholarships in order to help fund their dreams. Sporting scholarships are a big deal in the United States—roughly 460,000 students study with the benefit of an NCAA-linked scholarship. For gymnasts, there are far fewer places.


A Highly Competitive World

There are precious few gymnastics scholarships that institutions can offer. Entry into this privileged world is extremely competitive. Take women’s gymnastic scholarships as an example. Each year, there are only around 246 gymnastics scholarships available to be distributed nationwide across all divisions. 


This is because each institution is only allowed to offer a certain amount of gymnastic scholarship places per year so as to ensure equality in collegiate competition. 


Most successful gymnasts start training in preparation for the sport at an extremely young age. It is not unusual for 2–3-year-old children to train in gymnastics. When applying for a sports scholarship, keep in mind that you’ll essentially be preparing to compete against veteran sportspeople. 


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Flying The Flag

Entering into the world of competitive college sport means that you’ll be expected to be a role model and an ambassador for your organization and your team. It can be a rather daunting prospect, but also a highly rewarding one. You’ll be on the bus to a nationwide competition one day and sitting an exam the next. Your schedule might seem a little more hectic than that of your non-athletic peers, but you do have the opportunity to squeeze the most out of your education. 


Universities in the United States are highly competitive. This competitive culture has bred some amazingly unique atmospheres in student athlete cohorts. 


Pressure And Pain

Gymnastics at any level is a hard old slog. You need to be absolutely assured in your passion before embarking on a college gym career. 


Gymnastics schedules and coaches are notorious for being overbearing. There is a huge amount of pressure put on talented young stars and their coaching teams. Coaches often work individually with athletes, which can lead to situations where the level of agency is not adequately shared and a bullying culture can arise. 


When you get onto the floor at a competition, however, it can feel very lonely. There is a great deal of weight on a talented solo athlete’s shoulders.


Despite this, the high-pressure environment can truly bring the best out in some people. Passion, pride, and competitive spirit are all highly rewarded in the gymnastic field. You’ll find yourself in some situations in which you are forced to push your body and brain to its limits, but you’ll also feel amazing comradery and a wild sense of achievement. 


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