Defining Non-Traditional Gymnastics

Feeling confused or overwhelmed as to what non-traditional gymnastics is? You're not alone. Some of the leading professionals in the field were polled and asked the meaning of the following terms :

Traditional Gymnastics :

" A series of stunts that are presented to students in a more formal, and developmentally appropriate manner."

"Stunt gymnastics that is judged in some manner by official judges, audiences or teachers."

" Focus is placed on skills and sequences performed on the major, traditional pieces of equipment (e.g. beam, bars, floor, etc.). All students, regardless of body type or skill level, are judged and held to the same standards."

" Olympic gymnastics "

Developmental Gymnastics :

" A sequential list of skills having common neuromuscular elements and representing an ever more complex form of the same general type of movement. "

" Gymnastics aimed at developing reasonable and modest skills of a gymnastic nature suitable for the kind of body one has."

" Traditional skills, mainly on the floor, taught in a sequence based in part upon skill difficulty and lead-ups to more difficult skills."

" Body management and body awareness abilities that are gymnastic in nature."

Educational Gymnastics :

" Educational gymnastics are movement problems that students are given, and they work to resolve them according to their own abilities."

" Refers to a setting where the instructor issues challenges that require children to respond in their own way."

" Educational gymnastics is basically teaching gymnastics concepts and letting children choose the level and skill they apply it in."

"Taught in a non-competitive manner, with emphasis placed upon the success and skills achievable by each individual student."

Creative Gymnastics :

"Creative gymnastics are basically activities which ask students to combine skills or stunts into a new creative sequence."

" It is creative in that children have many choices to create movement at their own level. "

"Use of gymnastics-related skills in a non-traditional manner; many times involve non-traditional equipment."

" Mainly for students who have some success and some experience, they are allowed to make up creative sequences that complement and enhance the gymnastics skills they have used. "

You can see how hard it is to come up with a definitive answer as to what non-traditional gymnastics really is, even for seasoned pro's. So, if we as Professional Physical Educators cannot completely agree among ourselves, then how is a new teacher going to be able to approach it without being confused ? Through education. Read, take workshops, ask questions and make a determination through experience, assessments, knowledge of yourself and knowledge of the children you teach.

" I'm not just a "gym" teacher--I'm a Mike and Sarah and Derrick teacher, too ! "

( Christine Hopple, Physical Educator, Crystal Spring Elementary School )