South Peace News
High Prairie Gymnastics Club offers plenty of exercise for children to stretch themselves and be flexible.
A new season starts as the club holds registration from Feb. 12-16.
Programs are available for children as young as two years old in what coach George Baranyai says is the most versatile sport.
“They participate in gymnastics because it is fun with lots of running and jumping and our goal is to give them education and develop balance and co-ordination,” says Baranyai, who has coached the club for four years.
“In gymnastics, you use every single muscle, unlike most other sports.”
He has a coaching career that stretches back about 35 years including national teams in his home country of Hungary and in Switzerland.
About 90 per cent of the club’s programs are for fun and fitness. The remaining 10 per cent is to train skilled and experienced gymnasts for competition, he says.
Upcoming, five intermediate girls, who train year-round, will participate in a warm-up competition Feb. 24 in Fairview before other events in Peace River and Edmonton.
Jenny Ayles has coached for three years in the beginner programs that help the children develop.
“Another great thing about gymnastics is that it helps the children strengthen their little muscles and it is also great for their mental health,” Ayles says.
“It shows them athleticism and determination.”
Parents value the opportunity their children gain from gymnastics.
“It builds self confidence, especially for the younger children starting out,” Amber McLeod says.
“It helps develop motor skills,” Jennifer James adds.
“My kids love Jenny, she is a good coach.”
Older gymnasts appreciate the benefits of gymnastics.
“It teaches me how to be confident,” says Brielle Kit, who is also active in the High Prairie Zirka Dancers.
“I like to show what I can do when I go to competitions,” says Taylor Saitz, who has been in gymnastics for three years.
Ayles says the young children get excited when they gain and achieve skills.
“They get so thrilled when they have accomplished a back roll or a front flip, all my students love to show off.” Ayles says.
“They join because they like gymnastics and are eager to learn how to do all kinds of cool tricks like, back flips, front flips, cartwheels, round-offs, walkovers, handstands and so much more.”
Both coaches encourage more boys to participate in gymnastics.
“We encourage boys to join because gymnastics helps them strengthen their muscles, also staying flexible and fit,” Ayles says.
“Plus girls think it’s cool when boys can do front and back flips.”
Baranyai says gymnastics helps the young gymnasts who are involved in many other sports and dance activities.