I think we all know that exercise is good for you, but why specifically tumbling? Here are five good reasons:
1. Body Awareness: From forward rolls... to back handspring fulls, your child is learning where their body is in relation to the ground... the ceiling... the mat they just flipped off of... basically anywhere and everywhere they go in the gym they're training their mind and their body. Even those little side stations you think are slightly weird may be for learning a new body awareness trick that you didn't know about.
2. Fine Motor Control: This might sound like the same thing as Body Awareness, but really they go hand in hand. Body Awareness is knowing where your body is in the space it inhabits, Fine Motor Control is what is needed to make small corrections in the middle of tumbling passes, handstands, and any skill they do in the gym. It takes finesse and a fair bit of talent to be able to complete a skill and add in the necessary corrections, I'll admit as a former tumbler myself that sometimes the corrections take awhile to implement, sometimes they're just scary or feel weird, and sometimes it takes a number of days to get yourself to do the correction multiple times without error. It's all about being able to pick out that one muscle (out of all your muscles!) that you need to use in the middle of rotating head over heels while tumbling.
3. Perseverance and Patience: Not all skills come at once, you have to put forth the effort to get the reward. You don't always have instant gratification in tumbling, and you don't always leave class learning a completely new skill. Sometimes you learn the steps to complete the skill, and the next practice start the basics of the skill, and several weeks later start working on the skill. Sometimes you learn parts of skills you won't need until much later on, and sometimes you learn a new technique for an old skill you've been doing for awhile. Good things come to those who wait and work hard for them.
4. Controlling their Fears: Your child is going to learn how to control their body so well that at some point they will become fearless, they will KNOW they can do the skill, and they will overcome their fears and they will perform it. It's really remarkable when you think about it! Where else are you going to learn to overcome yourself and your fears so spectacularly?
5. Spatial Awareness: This one is the last on the list, because it is one of the hardest senses to learn. Young kids just aren't aware of where they are in relation to other people, mats, walls, fences, the list could go on. We train them to walk around the white line, to keep their eyes and ears open, to make sure they don't walk in front of that tumbler or stand directly behind someone who is about to take their turn. It's all so they don't get hurt by someone tumbling into them, kicking them, or accidentally knocking them over. It's a great life skill to have for a lot of different reasons, if you've watched any of our coaches for any length of time you may have noticed that we use spatial awareness while coaching, it's what enables us to spot or watch one kid and suddenly point to another and say, 'Good job! Now get that leg a little straighter!' without even looking at them. (Though I'll admit we sometimes cheat and use the mirrors too!)
There is more to it then meets the eye, for sure!