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What's in that Gym Bag? Many gymnasts carry gigantic gym bags.  Why? We don’t know.  That’s just the way it is.  What the deal with the mongo bags, anyway? How could such tiny athletes need gym bags the size of a Volkswagen? Maybe it is because gymnasts need lots of stuff. Just like a golfer, file bigger the bag, the better the player, fight?. Well, that is not exactly true. We know plenty of hackers who carry tour bags that really look foolish. But the whole idea in golf is to wear really tacky clothes, carry huge "ego bags" and lie about your scores. Well, you can't cheat on your gym scores, but you can intimidate your opponents by carrying the most outrageous bag you can find. Just think how your competitors will melt in envy when you wheel in your monster gym bag and park it in the comer of the gym. By the time they recover, you will have the meet half won. Anyway, we must admit that we also used to carry humongous gym bags because it gave us an incredible feeling of power. Which was good. Seriously, though, it is true that there are several things a top-notch gymnast should carry to ensure that he/she is not caught off guard at practice or a meet.  We know that many of you have team bags and those are very cool. You probably stuff them pretty full when you head out for the gym. Here are a few ideas about what to keep in your bag to help you be the best-prepared gymnast possible. HARDWARE Grips: Keep these in a separate smaller bag inside the larger bag. Always have spare grips, already broken in, in case you need new ones in a hurry. ·Stiff wire brush: A good idea, so you can rough up the leather on your grips if they get too smooth.  ·Sandpaper: May come in handy if you find the bars at a meet are a little slippery. ·Water bottle (squirt): Use a small bottle with a squirt top to make the bars or your grips a little stickier.  ·Extra wrist bands: These will save you if you lose one of yours or if they get so nasty with sweat that they just get up and walk often their own. CLOTHING ·Extra t-shirt, socks, leotard: Always bring these along - you never know when you're going to spill a Slurpee or nachos on them between events.  ·Sweatshirt: You will probably have your team warm-up suit, but for cold gyms, or if you get cold between events, this will help.  ·Towel: A medium-sized towel can come in handy if you get a little sweaty during the meet. You may not care, but your friends will appreciate it if you dry off a little. FOOD Bring a little food for an energy break during practice or a long meet. If you like any particular snack (like a granola bar) to keep your energy up, throw that in. Water bottle (drinking): Keep this in your bag to keep yourself properly hydrated during practice or a meet. Fruit: An orange or a banana is good for a snack but don't forget to take it out of your bag before it decomposes! MISCELLANY Hair brush/hair spray: You might want to spruce up a little.   Good luck charm: If you like to carry one, put it in a safe place in your bag. The rest is up to you.   Nadia's special tip: Carry a little zip-lock bag with a small sewing kit, safety pin, scissors and a nail file for repair jobs that you might need. The sewing kit will also come in handy if you need to sew on a number at the meet. Good luck! Taken from International Gymnast Magazine with Additions and Editing by the Webmaster
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Question: Why should I (my children) participate in Gymnastics? Answer: Gymnastics provides an all around base for all other sports and activities. Tumbling builds leg strength and flexibility, Balance Beam builds foot-eye coordination, Bars build upper body strength, Vault builds speed and power, Rings and Pommel Horse also build strength and upper body coordination.     Gymnastics also improves self-control, concentration, perseverance, self- discipline and courage.  Gymnastics has also been related to increased academic performance and cognitive reasoning.
Question: Gymnastics is just a sport like any other my child is already involved in, right? Answer: No.  Gymnastics trains children in many ways that most other sports can't even begin to touch.  Because gymnastics is a step-by-step (part to whole) rather than gross (whole to part) learning process, children gain a greater sense of logic and problem solving abilities.  Preschool Gymnastics has even been directly linked to with increased ability to read*.  Gymnastics goes far beyond being just another sport in a child's life. *Barrett, Does Gymnastics Enhance Reading? Yes!, Technique, June 2001, pp. 8 - 11
Question: Will gymnastics affect how tall my child will be? Answer: No.  According to a research done by Rasmus Damsgaard at the University of Copenhagen (in Denmark), gymnastics has no negative effect on height.  Damsgaard stated that growth in infancy depends on nutrition and pregnancy factors, but from age 2 on, it is constant (excluding adverse events).  The size difference seen in the sport of gymnastics is by choice and not by affect. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, Vol. 32, No. 10, page 1698
Question: Isn't gymnastics hard on the bones? Answer:  No.  In fact, gymnastics encourages healthy bone growth and increased bone density.  This increased bone density is suspected to help prevent osteoporosis.  There is no cure for osteoporosis and the only prevention is increasing bone density in adolescence or younger.
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What to do about RIPS Before You Rip:  1.      After every workout wash your hands with soap and water, then rub hand lotion into the front and back of your hands. 2.      Prevent excess callous from building up by rubbing the affected areas with a  pumice stone.  To find the areas of excess callous, soak the hands in water for about 10 minutes and you will be able to notice areas on the palm that retain a whitish color while the rest of the skin stays pink.   Use the pumice stone only as necessary.  Excessive use will cause the hands to be constantly sore during workouts. 3.      Rub hand lotion into your hands at night before going to sleep, and if necessary when you get up in the morning.  Always keep you hands moist. When You Rip: 1.      Remove the excess skin carefully. A sterilized pair of nail clippers (to prevent infection) should work nicely, then wash with soap and water. 2.      Don’t put hand lotion on a fresh rip.  Cover the rip with some antibiotic ointment or “New Skin” (an over the counter liquid patch) 3.      Before going to sleep that night, put some antibiotic ointment on the rip and cover your hand with a sock (with finger holes cut out) or a glove to keep the ointment on your hand and not on your sheets.  This treatment should continue until the rip has been covered by new skin. After You Rip: 1.      Once the new skin has covered the rip, continue using the hand lotion as described above.  If the rip is allowed to dry up, the skin will crack and you will continue to rip in the same spot.  Sometimes rubbing Chapstick over a drying rip can also prevent cracking. 2.      If you must workout again after ripping, have your coach tape your hand to protect the injured area. Additional Ideas: 1.      On nights when you have a particularly hard workout on bars and your hands are hot and throbbing, soak them in cool water or hold ice cubes in your hands until they melt. 2.      Just prior to competition you can deaden the pain of a rip by applying Ambesol or other topical pain reliever.  Also keeping an ice pack on it for ten minutes can do this.  However, the hands must return to normal temperature before actually competing. Taken from USA Gymnastics