Most of our Recreational Classes are Coed. We accept Boys & Girls in our Mom n Tot / Preschool / Kinder / Beginner / Intermediate & even Advanced Classes. If you don't see what you are looking for in this section, please check our other listings.
Although the basics in gymnastics for Boys & Girls are very much the same, as gymnasts progress, Men's Artistic & Women's Artistic Gymnastics are slightly different as they approach the competitive level.
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ESPN and the National Sports Institute concluded in a recent study that Gymnasts by far are the best overall athletes in the world and Gymnastics is the hardest sport in the world. We've always known that here at EGC. But somewhere along the line, Men's Gymnastics got a 'negative image'. It was considered by many to be a "sissy" or "girly" sport. We suspect that title was given to Male Gymnasts by inferior athletes who wished they could do what the gymnasts could do.
A few years ago, I had a father come into the gym with his 2 children (a Boy & a Girl). He wanted to sign up his Daughter for Gymnastics Class. I had mentioned that we offered family discounts if both children signed up for class. He sarcastically declined this offer stating his Boy did other sports. I've seen this (masculine ego response) hundreds of times over my career. Over the next several months, he - like many parents - would come in early to peek in and watch his daughter do gymnastics. His Boy (about age 12) would always come in with him. I watched the boy watching the gymnasts perform their flips, especially on the trampoline. He had that look on his face (like most do) of a little kid staring in the window of a Candy Store. This look wasn't unusual to me in that most kids love this place. We have rope swings, trampolines, bouncy spring-boards... what's not to like for a kid.
So I approached the father at the door and mentioned again that we do have Boys Classes. "It looks like your son would love this" I added. He again said "NO!", and in a chauvinistic way stated that his Boy did "Manly Sports". He boasted for a bit about how his son was best player on his football team and also the star of the Baseball Team. He didn't want his boy in a 'girly' sport like gymnastics.
I smiled politely as asked if his son was strong? He went on to brag about how his son was the strongest on the team. So, I offered him a little challenge. I asked him to come out to the gym and see if he was stronger than the girls. He smirked.
I allowed him to choose the contests... Push-ups, Chin-ups, Sit-ups, Rope Climb.... He challenged me to all of them. I would allow the boy to go first. He wasn't bad, but not good by our standards. I would pick the youngest girls to beat him at each contest. So, I had 7 & 8 Year old girls beating his sons best Push-up, Chin-ups, Rope Climb... efforts by a large margin. I didn't have to look too far through the gym to find young girls who could destroy his son's best effort. Most of our 2nd Year & up students easily made short work of the boy.
Now, I didn't do this to by any means embarrass the young boy. I did it to prove a point to the chauvinistic father. I also explained to him that many of the boys attending really didn't have any dreams of being an Olympic Gymnast. Their parents did have aspirations of them being good at sports, and thus signed them up to get a good background on Strength, Flexibility, Coordination, Stamina... and all the basics we teach in our program. Many signed their boys up to enhance their abilities.
Every year we get students who want to be a better Baseball Player, and need to improve their flexibility for 1st Base and Short Stop. We get Hockey goalies who need the flexibility to split and block the shot, or Hockey players who want better speed and coordination on the ice. We get wrestlers who need the strength & flexibility in their back to bridge off opponents. We get numerous Soccer Players who would like to do a 'front handspring' throw in.
Gymnastics is and has always been the 'prerequisite' for all sports. At its very roots, gymnastics is Strength, Agility, Flexibility, and demonstrations of athletic feats. At one time in the US, every Physical Education program at every school had Gymnastics as part of its curriculum. If you go to any school, you will STILL find Units of Gymnastics within the Physical Education Curriculums. At one point in our recent history as a Nation, almost every High School had a Gymnastics Team, and every child in school had to climb the ropes, and learn skills on the Rings and Beams.
The shame of it is that in the 1970's we became a very litigious society. It started with the woman who spilled McDonalds coffee on her lap while driving, and sued McD's for 3 Million Dollars. After that, we sort of fell apart. Insurance premiums started going up as lawsuits started to mass. Often these lawsuits were petty or unfounded, but was an easy way for people (mostly lawyers) to get rich quick. Slip & Fall Lawyer ads popped up all over the place. There were a few isolated incidents concerning Gymnastics injuries. Most were a result of the Football Team Players walking though the gym to the lockers after practice. One jumped on the Trampoline without supervision to 'show off', and there was several Million Dollar lawsuit to the school districts. The schools started dropping Gymnastics quickly - trying to fend off lawsuits and lower insurance premiums.
The damage done was that now, we face an epidemic of Childhood Obesity in this country. We get students on a daily basis who never learned to skip, can't jump rope, can't do a single push-up. We are excellent at fixing that, however our average students lack any basic preparation what-so-ever in the basics and foundations of all sports.
As a result, these lawsuits never decreased the popularity of gymnastics. If anything, gymnastics is one of the most popular sports in the world, and Olympic Gymnastics is the most watched sport - surpassing even the Superbowl. The gymnastics industry has grown significantly in the US, especially with the recent successes of the US Teams.
*** The father signed up his son that night. He got the point, and was good spirited about it. His boy loved the class, and his father noticed a big change in his physical prowess at his chosen sports.
Boys Ages 4-7
1 Hour Classes
Fun! Fitness! Emphasis on Strength, Flexibility, Coordination, and all the FUN-damentals of Gymnastics.
Boys Ages 7+
1 Hour Classes
The ABC's of Gymnastics presented in a fun & energetic class. Strength, Coordination, & Flexibility while exploring all the Men's Gymnastics apparatus.
Boys Ages 7+
1 1/2 Hour Classes
A continuation of the basics and adding more complex skills emphasizing more Strength, Agility, and Flexibility.
1 1/2 Hour Class - 2X/week
This is our 'Official Training Team' for our Men's Competitive Programs. Boys here will learn the skills to prepare them for Team Lightning Mens Competition Gymnastics.
Erie Gymnastics Centers Home Team - Team Lightning! Offering Level 4 thru 10 Men's Competitive Gymnastics.
See schedule below!
Most of our 'entry level' classes (Mom n Tot / Preschool / Kinder / Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced) are Coed. The "Basics" for gymnastics skills are very similiar for both Boys & Girls. The following classes however are strictly all Boys, and typically taught by one of our Men's Competitive Coaching Staff Members. These classes do vary slightly from our 'Coed' classes in that the Boy's do get a head start and focus a little more on the 6 Men's apparatus. Also, Boys tend to be a little more 'rambunctious' and the classes are more tailored to their specific needs.
(Student / Teacher Ratio 1:6) The Boys Kinder class is FUN for Boys and rather than damper their endless amounts of energy, we just try to channel it toward development of skills. This class is fast, fun, and furious. The boys learn the basics on all of the Gymnastics apparatus (Vault / Rings / P-Bars...) as well as Trampoline, Ropes, Pits.... Here we follow the boys natural inclination to climb, run, jump, roll... in a safe, constructive, and fun way!
(Student / Teacher Ration 1:8) Boys Beginner Classes are a great way to get your start in gymnastics. Our Boys Beginner Program is designed to increase Strength, Flexibility, Coordination, as well as learn basic gymnastics skills. The Boys use all of the Gymnastics Apparatus - Floor / Rings / Pommel Horse / Parallel Bars / High Bar / & Vault. As well, they use the Trampolines, Mushrooms, Rope swings.... Our focus is on developing a love and passion for Gymnastics and Physical Fitness.
(Student / Teacher Ratio 8:1) Boys Intermediate is the next step on the ladder of Gymnastics. Since most skills in gymnastics revolve around Strength & Flexibility, more time is allotted to increase their Strength, Flexibility, Coordination, Air Sense, and Stamina. Basic skills are perfected as well as introduction to more difficult and complex skills. The Boys use all of the Gymnastics Apparatus and training equipment. Gymnastics is a "Show Me" sport, so some emphasis is on 'parlor skills' like Cartwheels, Head Stands, Walking on Hands, Round-offs, Back Bends & Hand springs.
(Student / Teacher Ration 8:1) Hot Shots is partially our Boys version of Advanced Class and our Preparatory Squad or 'Training Team' for our Competitive Programs. Boys here will continue to grow and develop extreme strength & flexibility. The boys will start to learn the Level 4 (entry competitive level for Men's Gymnastics) skills. Successful completion of these skills will earn an invitation to our Team Lightning Men's Team. Still the class is presented in a Fun and Challenging manner.
These are the 'Tough Guy's' of Erie Gymnastics Center. Men's Competitive Gymnastics starts at Level 4. As athletes compete, qualify, and attain skills they advance levels - just like belts in Karate or grades in school. The ultimate goal is Men's National Level 10 - which Erie Gymnastics Offers
Team Lightning Men's Teams have earned State, Regional, and National recognition for nearly 30 years. Numberous members have gone on to compete NCAA Gymnastics. ESPN Rated Gymnastics the most difficult sport in the world, and the athletes the'best overall athletes' in the world. We've known that for years!
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