Essay on The Stress of Childhood Gymnastics

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The Stress of Childhood Gymnastics


For years gymnastics has been a sport that many children participate in. But as the years have gone by it has turned into something other than a place for kids to grow and learn. Its overwhelming commitment has continued to replace kids’ childhoods with stress, mental and physical pain and eating disorders. Many results have come from this change in the gymnastics society. Gymnasts have come to a point where they have been told and directed to understand that winning is the only important factor in gymnastics. “ It’s about the elite child athlete and the American obsession with winning that has produced a training environment wherein results are bought in at any cost, no matter how
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The idea of always having to win is not the only concern in which I find to be true. Anorexia, as well as poor dieting is another one of my main concerns. Something must be done about these two issues which hold very true within the gymnastics world today. But there are “ no comprehensive frameworks that represent the complex reality within which coaches work.”(cote pg. 2)

Coaches today have trained their gymnasts to maintain the so called “proper weight” that they feel is right for their athletes. Christy Henrich’s coach “claims that gymnastics and its emphasis on slimness are not responsible for Christy’s illness and death. He claims her intense drive to win contributed to her eating disorder. The gymnastic training system encourages young female athletes to keep their weight down, and many gymnasts live on diets of fruits, laxatives, and painkillers” (93). This coach’s statement is not unusual. Many gymnasts go through this kind of training throughout their gymnastics career. We have the ability to change what goes on in gyms like this one. As a lot of psychologists suggest, we as a society have to “inform” our athletes and coaches about the dangers of eating disorders. I don’t think that coaches ever talk to the athletes about the importance of healthy dieting. Most of the time they encourage them to cut down on eating, not to just reconstruct their…

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