You can help your gymnasts in lots of ways. An important way you can help them is to do something really simple to help them to feel comfortable at practice. Regardless of their skills or capabilities, all gymnasts can reach a certain level of comfort if they have everything they need to do their workouts.
Being comfortable at practice, helps gymnasts to do their best. They can relax and have confidence in learning. They can concentrate on their skills instead of what items they’re missing. So something as simple as a bag list can come in handy and can help your gymnasts be comfortable in a couple of ways:
1 – They will simply have everything they need to work through practice.
2 – Each gymnast will have what the other gymnasts have in their bags.
We know why the first of the two statements above is important. But what about the second? When one girl doesn’t have what the others do, she begins to feel left out, inferior, uncomfortable, out of place. By somewhat standardizing the items that they bring into the gym in their practice bags, you’re helping to level the playing field and make sure all your gymnasts have the same tools to work with as they learn and hone skills in your gym.
Just think of being that girl in the class who doesn’t have all the supplies that the other girls have. Wouldn’t you feel left out, inferior, uncomfortable, out of place? Wouldn’t you feel better if you felt like the other girls?
By somewhat standardizing the items that they bring into the gym in their practice bags, you’re helping to level the playing field and make sure all your gymnasts have the same tools to work with as they learn and hone skills in your gym.
Enough about why, let’s get to what should you have on your gymnasts’ “bag” list?
We’ve broken this down into 5 easy-to-remember categories.
- Grips & Accessories
Of course, your gymnasts should bring their grips to practice. But it’s also a good idea to bring a spare pair. A backup pair may be one being broken in (which is a good way to do it) or it’s simply the “just in case” pair, every gymnast should have 2 pairs on hand at any given time so that they can continue to practice – even if something happens to their primary pair of grips.
Wire Brush & Sand Paper
If these items are used by your gymnasts to care for their grips, they should also be in the bag.
Often gymnasts use rubber bands to keep their fingers on their grips or the Velcro of their grips fastened to their wrists so extras in the bag could come in handy.
- Apparel & Accessories
If your gymnasts change at the gym, they should remember to bring their leotard and shorts if they’re used. Even if your gymnasts don’t change at the gym, it’s a good idea to bring an extra leo – just in case. This seems like a no-brainer but ask any gym owner, coach or gym parents and you’ll find that forgetting their leo happens to gymnasts more often than you’d think!
Hairspray, Clips, Brush, Hair Elastics
Don’t think this is just about vanity! It’s a safety issue for gymnasts to keep their hair neatly pulled back out of their face and eyes. Long hair should be secured so that it doesn’t get caught in any apparatus. Besides that, most girls just like to keep their hair neat. If it falls out of place, they want to be able to put it back.
Change of Clothes
Without packing a change of clothes, gymnasts won’t be able to get out of their sweaty gym clothes after practice. And changing from their leo and shorts into regular clothes is a good practice because it helps to keep salty sweat away from their skin. Changing also provides the perfect opportunity to apply the lotions and lip balms they should be using to battle dryness.
- Personal Items
Lip Balm & Lotion
There is a distinct need for gymnasts to have moisturizer in the forms of lotion and lip balm to apply at the end of practice to combat the effects of the gym on hands and lips. Gyms are dry places but these remedies would cause dangerous slipping if used during practice. As soon as practice is complete, lotion and lip balm is in order to replenish the moisture such a dry environment has sapped from skin.
When your gymnasts are working hard – especially on a hot day – they may need to reapply their deodorant. They won’t be able to if they don’t have an extra stick or can in their bags, so this is a must.
- Refueling & Hydration
It’s not just a good idea for gymnasts to have snacks in their bags, it’s a necessity. If your gymnasts feel that they’ve depleted their energy part-way through practice or on the way home, they need to have a healthy remedy for it within reach. These snacks should pack lots of energy, be easily digestible and be easily kept in a gym bag. Trail mix and granola bars are good examples.
Water & Sports Drink
Gymnasts should always, always, always bring water and/or sports drinks. If they so choose, they can use their own tightly closing bottle filled with water or a sports drink. Any of these choices is fine, it’s just critical that they have at least one of them for hydration.
- Adhesive Tape
Adhesive tape is, no doubt, something that you keep in your gym, but an extra role in each of your gymnast’s bags couldn’t hurt. It’s better safe than sorry!
That’s it! It may be a simple list, but it’s one that will help your gymnasts have a smooth and productive practice.