The benefits of gymnastics go beyond sports

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I recently attended an event for the Peter Westbrook Foundation in New York. Although the foundation was established around the sport of fencing, the focus goes beyond the promoting sports for athleticism’s sake. It’s a vehicle for developing life skills in youth.

This is why I started the Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation, nearly 20 years ago. It is not just about gymnastics, to which my sons, who participate in other sports besides gymnastics, can attest. Sports participation prepares youths for success far beyond their last workout in our gym (or the track or the soccer field) and in whichever life path one chooses. We hope our gymnasts and their parents remember this as the year’s classes get set to begun!

Celebrate National Gymnastics Day with WHGF this Saturday!

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We’re celebrating National Gymnastics Day on Saturday. NGD is celebrated around the country every September, and this is a fun time for our gymnasts as they get ready for the season ahead. In honor of the day, we’ve listed some of our favorite reasons to do gymnastics:
1. Gymnastics Is a Lifestyle
Gymnasts learn early the importance of nutrition and regular fitness. Working out from a young age makes healthy living a habit that lasts a lifetime, well beyond the gym floor.
2. Discipline
Balancing a sport and academics requires dedication and effective time management. Committing to a sport, whether recreational or competitive, can set a child up for future success.
3. Gymnasts Learn to Set Goals
Gymnastics is a rare sport in which athletes compete as a team as well as individually. There’s no better way to learn how to work with a team while also focusing on your own goals.
Come join WHGF on Saturday at Riverbank State Park from 10am to noon!
– Share photos Instagram and Twitter with hashtags #NGD2015 and #WHGF
– Tell us what you love most about the sport!

Back to School Tips, part II: Getting ready for a busy fall schedule

Getting ready for a new school year can take some adjusting, especially as activities and sports practices begin in full force. Here are 3 tips to keep in mind during this time.

1. Maintain proper hydration and nutrition
Make sure your child is prepared to stay hydrated and nourished from the end of the school day through the end of practice sessions. Cooler weather doesn’t mean he/she should be drinking less water.

2. Start new activities off on the right foot
The first few practices will be very busy. Let your child start his/her new activity before meeting with coaches and instructors. This will allow coaches to know your child and get the program underway. In the meantime, just ask your child how practices are going.

3. Be prepared and seek resources
If your child is very active, look into a physician who specializes in children’s sports, so that if your child gets injured, you’ll be able to contact someone with the right expertise.

How to Prepare for Fall Activities

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As the mom of 2 boys, ages 10 and 12, I know that the coming of the school year is an adjustment, with additional sports and activities, on top of new school subjects to learn. Here are my tips on how to prepare for the year ahead.

  1. For new and ongoing activities: Ask your child if he or she is truly willing to commit to the entire season of classes. Make sure they understand that it’s a commitment for the whole family. Start teaching them the value of understanding and making commitments.
  2. Make sure you AND your child are fully prepared for the activities in terms of gear or equipment needed, practice times, etc. Your child should understand that preparing is now his/her responsibility too.
  1. Do as much as you can (filling out paperwork, keeping track of numbers and addresses) online and on your phone.
  1. Get used to a new routine, which includes getting enough rest and good nutrition. (You too!)
  1. Be patient and supportive to those administering the new activities. It’s a stressful time for them, too, and you will be a wonderful example for your child.

    – Wendy