The Gymnastics Book: The Young Performer's Guide to Gymnastics

( 5 )

Overview

An excellent book in every way ... Best of all, the book is accessible to early readers. Superb coverage of a popular sport.
--School library Journal (starred review)

This indispensable guide is simply the best book for beginners to the sport of artistic gymnastics. Illustrated with stunning full-color photographs of gymnasts balancing, tumbling and jumping, The Gymnastics ...

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The Gymnastics Book: The Young Performer's Guide to Gymnastics

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Overview

An excellent book in every way ... Best of all, the book is accessible to early readers. Superb coverage of a popular sport.
--School library Journal (starred review)

This indispensable guide is simply the best book for beginners to the sport of artistic gymnastics. Illustrated with stunning full-color photographs of gymnasts balancing, tumbling and jumping, The Gymnastics Book features skilled guidance from a medal-winning, record-breaking gymnast who is now a noted instructor.

The topics covered in detail include:

  • Finding a good gymnastics club
  • Qualities to look for in a coach
  • Warm-up and cool-down exercises
  • Entering competitive gymnastics
  • Managing victories and losses
  • The importance of family and friends
  • Nutrition and apparel
  • Financial aspects
  • A typical day of training for competition.

The book is also filled with anecdotes and advice from Olympic stars, taking beginners behind the scenes and offering a no-holds-barred account of life as a competitive gymnast. New gymnasts featured include:

  • Shallon Olsen: At just 11 years old she ranked first overall in her age category. She now has the 2016 Olympics games in her sights.
  • Kyle Shewfelt: To date, Kyle is the only Olympic Gold Medalist (2004, Athens) from Canada.
  • Emily Boycott: A Special Olympics athlete and 27 years old, her team took home five gold medals from the 2007 Beijing Olympics.
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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
[Review for previous edition] Colorful photos and pleasing layout ... very eye catching. But there is also plenty of information to go along with the clean design ... An excellent introduction to the sport.

— Denise Wilms

Trenton Times
[Review for previous edition] Goes beyond basics... proper techniques for basic moves on the balance beam, vault and uneven bars are illustrated with color photographs.

— Jenna Galley

GoodReads.com
A wonderful way for those interested in the sport to get started. provides a solid beginning to this popular sport.
Booklist - Denise Wilms
[Review for previous edition] Colorful photos and pleasing layout ... very eye catching. But there is also plenty of information to go along with the clean design ... An excellent introduction to the sport.
Books for Growing Minds
[Review for previous edition] An indispensable guide to the beginner's world of artistic gymnastics.
Trenton Times - Jenna Galley
[Review for previous edition] Goes beyond basics... proper techniques for basic moves on the balance beam, vault and uneven bars are illustrated with color photographs.
Canadian Materials - Michelle Brian
An informative, visually appealing guide for any child who is interested in this popular sport. Highly recommended.
GoodReads
This timely book certainly provides children with a nice, positive introduction to a sport they can enjoy.
North Shore News - Terry Peters
Getting a child started in a gymnastics program can be confusing for the parent. Terminology, exercises and safety are all concerns and so it is nice to start off with a well-written guide book to familiarize yourself... With colour photographs throughout, the book provides a step-by-step guide to getting started. Accompanying the photographs are descriptions of the warm-up exercises, basic skills, and cool down stretches. Schlegel also discusses competition training and profiles a number of important gymnasts.
Books for Growing Minds
An indispensable guide to the beginner's world of artistic gymnastics.
Children's Literature
This is mostly a how-to book, with explanations of proper form for vaults, hurdles, balance beam and the like. Schlegel, a former Olympian, stresses the value of hard work, family support, good health and, thankfully, both winning AND losing. In this era of fame at all costs, it is refreshing to read lines like, "Enjoying the sports of gymnastics is not about how many trophies line your mantel. It's about improving the quality of your life with a sport that you love." The book is illustrated with numerous color pictures of girls and boys demonstrating gymnastics moves. Coaches and gym teachers will find this a useful reference work; parents of kids interested in the sport might want to buy it to reinforce what the kids learn in class. 2001, Firefly Books, $24.95 and $15.95. Ages 6 up. Reviewer: Donna Freedman
School Library Journal
Gr 2-6-An excellent book in every way. The early chapters cover reasons to choose this sport and emphasize how its development of strength, flexibility, basics, and fitness will help readers excel in all other athletic pursuits and activities. There is a good section about getting started, choosing a club, and finding an instructor. The skills section is the biggest portion of the book, covering almost 60 pages and including lots of full-color photos. The pages on competition feature Olga Korbut, Nadia Comaneci, Mary Lou Retton, and Vitaly Scherbo. Information on the importance of family and friends, the financial aspects, a typical day in the life of a competitive gymnast (Kim Zmeskal-Burdette), and two pages from a journal showing an average competitive training schedule are evidence of how complete this book is. Men's events are covered, too, with a glimpse at one of the few African-American males in the sport, Curtis Hibbert. Schlegel, an Olympic medalist, mentions what it's like to win and lose and the signs of real success. Best of all, the book is accessible to early readers. Superb coverage of a popular sport.-Kate Kohlbeck, Randall School, Waukesha, WI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781770851337
  • Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 8/30/2012
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 288,485
  • Age range: 7 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Elfi Schlegel was a member of the Canadian National Team from 1976 to 1985, won two gold medals at the 1978 Commonwealth Games and in 1979 won a team gold and individual bronze medal at the Pan Am Games. Elfi won Canada's only World Cup gymnastics medal, a bronze in the vault, in 1980. As a scholarship athlete at the University of Florida, she was a six-time All-American.

Elfi got her start as a gymnastics commentator at the age of 17 and worked for CTV and CBC. For the past 20 years, she has been a sports commentator for NBC Sports, covering 11 Olympics, as well as countless other gymnastics meets, and the sport of curling. She will be covering the Games for NBC again in 2012. Elfi lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Claire Ross Dunn is a journalist and writer for television.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1:

Choosing Gymnastics

There are so many great reasons to choose gymnastics — and if you're reading this, you probably don't need much convincing.

Let's discuss some of the benefits that gymnastics has to offer.

A Sport of All Sports

If you are involved in sports like diving and skating, your coach may encourage you to learn gymnastics to build your strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, agility and self-confidence.

But gymnastics doesn't just improve strength and flexibility — it also has positive effects on other aspects of your life.

A Sport for All Ages

People of all ages can benefit from gymnastics. Whether you are 2 years old attending Kindergym with a caregiver, or an adult learning gymnastics for the first time, gymnastics will help improve your flexibility and strength. It would be ideal to start learning gymnastics early in life, but it's never too late to start.

A Sport with No Gender Bias

One of the best things about gymnastics is that it's open to everyone. The apparatus doesn't discriminate — from rings to uneven bars, girls and boys are equally capable and welcome to try. At the Olympic level, however, only women compete on the balance beam and men compete on the pommel horse, though anyone can enjoy these events at a recreational level. Balance, coordination and strength are qualities that should be pursued by everyone.

And Speaking of the Apparatus...

Don't worry about having to leap over an Olympic-sized vault. Recreational facilities typically offer scaled-down, recreational-sized equipment. You can always progress to competition-sized apparatus later.

The Gymnastics Family

The gymnastics family has several branches: artistic and rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and exciting new alternatives such as sport aerobics, sport acrobatics and tumbling. In artistic gymnastics various skills are performed on an apparatus. Women perform on the vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor. Men perform on the floor, pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel bars and horizontal bar. In rhythmic gymnastics skills are performed with an apparatus such as a rope, hoop, bar, ribbon and clubs. This book will focus on artistic gymnastics and trampoline, since they are typically what you'll encounter at the beginner recreational level. Once you've mastered these disciplines, however, you can explore other exciting options.

Overall...
the sport of gymnastics is all about fun, fitness and fundamentals:

FUN because it's fun to jump, tumble and swing;

FITNESS because you'll gain flexibility, strength, power, muscular and cardiovascular endurance, balance, agility, coordination, body awareness and spatial orientation; and above all,

FUNDAMENTALS because the moves you learn — landings, static positions, locomotions, swings, rotations and springs — can be applied to almost any sport.

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Table of Contents

Preface 5

Chapter 1 Choosing Gymnastics 7

Chapter 2 Knowing What to Look For 11

Chapter 3 Getting Started 15

Chapter 4 The Healthy Gymnast 17

Chapter 5 Warming Up 21

Chapter 6 Skills 25

Chapter 7 Cooling Down 89

Chapter 8 Adding Rhythm and Bounce to Your Program 93

Chapter 9 Gymnastics' Greats from Yesterday to Today 113

Chapter 10 Competition: Raising the Bar 129

Chapter 11 Where Gymnastics Can Take You 139

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First Chapter

Chapter 1: Choosing Gymnastics

There are so many great reasons to choose gymnastics — and if you're reading this, you probably don't need much convincing.

Let's discuss some of the benefits that gymnastics has to offer.

A Sport of All Sports

If you are involved in sports like diving and skating, your coach may encourage you to learn gymnastics to build your strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, agility and self-confidence.

But gymnastics doesn't just improve strength and flexibility — it also has positive effects on other aspects of your life.

A Sport for All Ages

People of all ages can benefit from gymnastics. Whether you are 2 years old attending Kindergym with a caregiver, or an adult learning gymnastics for the first time, gymnastics will help improve your flexibility and strength. It would be ideal to start learning gymnastics early in life, but it's never too late to start.

A Sport with No Gender Bias

One of the best things about gymnastics is that it's open to everyone. The apparatus doesn't discriminate — from rings to uneven bars, girls and boys are equally capable and welcome to try. At the Olympic level, however, only women compete on the balance beam and men compete on the pommel horse, though anyone can enjoy these events at a recreational level. Balance, coordination and strength are qualities that should be pursued by everyone.

And Speaking of the Apparatus...

Don't worry about having to leap over an Olympic-sized vault. Recreational facilities typically offer scaled-down, recreational-sized equipment. You can always progress to competition-sized apparatus later.

The Gymnastics Family

The gymnastics family has several branches: artistic and rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and exciting new alternatives such as sport aerobics, sport acrobatics and tumbling. In artistic gymnastics various skills are performed on an apparatus. Women perform on the vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor. Men perform on the floor, pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel bars and horizontal bar. In rhythmic gymnastics skills are performed with an apparatus such as a rope, hoop, bar, ribbon and clubs. This book will focus on artistic gymnastics and trampoline, since they are typically what you'll encounter at the beginner recreational level. Once you've mastered these disciplines, however, you can explore other exciting options.

Overall...
the sport of gymnastics is all about fun, fitness and fundamentals:

FUN because it's fun to jump, tumble and swing;

FITNESS because you'll gain flexibility, strength, power, muscular and cardiovascular endurance, balance, agility, coordination, body awareness and spatial orientation; and above all,

FUNDAMENTALS because the moves you learn — landings, static positions, locomotions, swings, rotations and springs — can be applied to almost any sport.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2002

    A Book For Beginners

    I just started gymanstics in September, but I already am going on to Level Three. This book helped me learn and improve the basic skills I learned. It even had a section about competitive gymnastics, and qoutes and tips from other famous gymnasts. But the hardest move in the book is a cartwheel, which is a pretty simple move. I wouldn't reccomend the book to a intermediate level gymnast, but it is a great book for beginners.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2014

    Gymnasticsgal

    This book looks stupid maybe for two year olds

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2014

    Ok

    Probs mine.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2014

    LEVEL THREES DORM

    ~crayla

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2013

    GYMNASTICS

    Great book!

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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