Gym games, do you use them? As a coach with many years of experience in teaching competitive groups, I find it a challenge to keep my classes challenging and divers every year. The fact of the matter is that these girls (often) need to train extremely hard and many times a week to reach and keep their desired level. In gymnastics, you have relatively way more training hours than in any other sports to get to the same competition level. So, why not do a fun and educational game in your classes every now and then so that the gymnasts have some fun but also learn a lot! In this blog, I will explain some fun gymnastics games and hopefully offer you some inspiration for your own practice!
Gym games type: Dices
Think of 12 exercises (exercises for strength, flexibility or positions) and give them a number from 1 to 12. Write down or type out every exercise on a card and place them around the gym. In the middle, put two dices.
Make pairs and let the children roll the dices. Then, they have to do the exercise that goes along with the number of eyes they got on the dices. Have the pairs do 10 exercises for example. You can even add an extra game element by letting the fastest pair win.
Gym games type: bingo
Make a card with 25 gymnastics skills on it (for example: cartwheel on beam, hip circle, front split, giant on high bars, etc.) Each gymnast gets a card with these skills. During practice, gymnasts practise three or four elements on the card in a more free way. In the final 15 minutes of practice, the gymnasts can show achieved skills to coaches or assistant coaches. If an element is executed well, the gymnast can stick a sticker on that skill. The aim is to get a bingo for one row and eventually fill the whole card with stickers!
Gym games type: Four in a row
Gymnasts perform an element in pairs or groups at the same time. Take a front roll on beam for example. If the whole group executes the roll correctly 10 times in a row, then they get to hang a ribbon in the wall bars. The group or person that has four in a row first, will win.
If you don’t have wall bars, you can also create squares on the floor in which ribbons or other materials can be dropped.
Gym games type: Pair practice
In a pair practice, you make pairs at the start of practice. Preferably, pairs that differ in age and level so that some teamwork is necessary to execute the exercises. Then, give 2 assignments per apparatus/situation for which each pair can decide who is doing which assignment. Of course, you will look at your gymnasts’ levels beforehand and will think of suitable assignments.
A competitive element can be added by recording the number of well-executed assignments for each pair. The pair with the most points will win!
Gym games type: Memory
This game requires some creativity and arts and crafts work beforehand! Open a Word document and create squares using the table function. Insert an image of a gymnastics exercise in each squares. Think about a front split, a handstand, a cartwheel on beam etc. Make sure each image is in the table twice.
Print on firm paper or cut the images and glue them on cardboard.
After this, you will have a nice set of gymnastics memory!
The game: Put all cards in the middle of the gym and have the gymnasts (individually or in groups) play memory against each other. When they find a pair, have them do the exercise on the card a certain number of times. If they succeed, they can keep the cards. The winners are the ones with the most memory cards in the end.
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