I'm going to ask you to reflect upon your primary school years for a moment. Do you recall your school teachers having these strange 3 sided pencils? Or what about the rubber grips that went around a pencil instead? Did you have a teacher who always seemed to correct you on how to hold your pencils? Or maybe that wasn't a focus at all when you were in school.
The Pincer Grip is a developmental milestone in all children, that is highly encouraged by educational figures in there lives. It also should be encouraged and trained at home!
So why is it so important? Your child will be learning/developing these skills in primary school or kindergarten as you did, right? Incorrect! They will be learning how to refine this skill every day. Regardless of who is teaching them.
I have the suspicion that a majority of people are under the impression that the Pincer Grip is a skill for writing and drawing - and as we head further into the digital age the need for the ability will decrease. I would like to take the time to really discuss the significance of finger dexterity as we age and develop!
As teeny tiny babies, we don't really know we have fingers. We keep them curled up into our palms and occasionally give them a stretch. We start to discover these important digits when we start chewing on them, and sticking them into our mouths. As we grow and our brain develops, we start to process new sensory information. This means we start to understand how touch works.
Babies use touch & taste all the time to get an understanding of the world. If you give them a chance, they will place just about anything into their mouths to give it a chew... including pool noodles! We have all seen that before.
As they begin to grasp the idea of the world, they have a better understanding on how to get things they want. For example, that super shiny set of house keys on the floor! If they want to play with them, and you aren't going to hand it to them... they need to learn to be independent. During this developmental stage your infant will start to develop neural pathways on how to grasp, hold and move objects with their hands. For the first few months of this stage they will use their palm to drag an item to themselves. However, as they grow they will begin to use their thumb & forefinger to retrieve items. This is the first stages of Pincer Grip development!
As the child grows they will use this new finger dexterity to feed themselves, learn to hold utensils or how to pick up their drinking cups. They will need this ability to pick up toys, to scratch themselves or to touch sensory objects. It will also be used in every day life such as brushing teeth, buttoning shirts, doing up zips and even developing into touch typing abilities.
The Pincer Grip is a fine motor developmental skill as it requires finesse and control of a small range of motion. There are lots of activities you can use to help them master this skill! We use a lot of them ourselves in our Playskills programs - including our Wombats & Geckos!
Do you know a little one in your life that could benefit from one of our classes? Don't forget to tag them!
Signing off for now,
(Soviet Gymnast from 1956 - 1964)
Larisa holds the record for most Olympic gold medals for any female in the history of the Olympic Games, only recently surpassed for all round competitor by Michael Phelps as a male competitor.
Larisa has a whopping 18 Olympic medals to her name! She held this record for 48 years. After retiring from gymnastics in 1966, she went on to coach the Soviet National Gymnastics Team for 11 years. Under her coaching, the Soviet team won gold in 1968, 1972 and 1976 Olympics. She also played a large roll in organizing the gymnastics competition in the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow.
(Japanese P- Bars Gymnast from 1976 Olympics)
Sawao Kato was a valued team member of the Japanese Gymnastics team in the late 70's. Throughout these Olympics games, Kato won 12 medals, 8 of which where gold! He specialized in the Parallel Bars. He went on to win the Individual Men's Gymnastics Event. In Japan, Kato is highly respected as the top gymnast with the most wins held for Japan.
Currently, Kato is a professor at the University of Tsukuba.
(Romanian Gymnast 1976-1984)
Nadia is the first female gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of 10.00. She is was one of the youngest and one of the original gymnasts in the history of modern gymnastics. Nadia is a three time gold medalist with a total of 9 medals to her name! After her very successful gymnastics career Nadia went on to coach, and commentate in gymnastics competitions.
(USA Gymnast 1976-1984)
Nasia is a former Russian American gymnast. She was the 2008 Olympic all-around champion, with 5 Olympic medals. Liukin was a key team member of the U.S. senior team. She represented the United stated at three World Championships & one Olympic games. Liukin comes from a family of champions, with her father being an Olympic athlete, along with her brother. She retired from gymnastics in 2012. She went on to join NBC Sports as a gymnastics analyst. Nastia also went on to launch her own app called 'Grander' that is aimed at connecting aspiring gymnasts with inspiration, and empowerment.
Have you ever wondered where gymnastics skills get there names from? I'm sure you know that a few skills are named after particular gymnasts... but do you know when the skill was first competed? Or why it was so special?
The world of gymnastics is ever changing, developing and growing. It is one of the few sports in the world that is guaranteed to evolve over time. In 30 years time, the competing world of gymnastics will not be what it is today. You will likely see current day skills removed, and new skills included.
If youtube and video sharing is still relevant in 30 years, there is bound to be a new collection of "BANNED" gymnastics moves from the 2010's.
To have the honor of having a skill named after you, it needs to be competed at a high level eg. World Championships & Olympics. Each skill is rated from category A (easiest) to category I (hardest).
Victoria Moors: Floor Skill
The Moors is a backwards double-twisting double layout. The hardest category rating of "I" was created by FIG (Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique) especially for this skill. This skill is so challenging because the gymnast is landing completely blind.
Olga Korbut: Balance Beam
In the 1972 Olympics Soviet Gymnast Olga Korbut first performed her signature beam skill. It involved a backward somersault that ends with her straddling the beam. It was the first time this skill was performed and it changed the way competing gymnasts flowed on the beam.
The skill can be seen at 0:40 seconds.
Eberhard Gienger: Bars
A Gienger is a backflip into a half turn - where a gymnast begins their swing facing outwards and ends with them facing inwards. This skill was first performed by German gymnast Eberhard Gienger. This skill can be competed in a piked position or in a layout position.
It was a challange to find a video of him competing this skill from the 1970's. Here is a video of gymnast demonstrating the skill and a video of Gienger competing in the 1972 Olympics.
Elena Shushunova: Floor
Soviet gymnast Elena Shushunova first competed this skill in the 1986 World Cup. It is now a skill that is competed by numerous gymnasts due to its versatility to connect it to other skills. Lisa Skinner is an Australian gymnast who competed the shushunova skill 3 times in her routine in the 2000 Olympics routine.
Skill can be seen at 1:30 min of the video.
What did you think about all these elite gymnast and their trademark skills?
It would be great to do some more blog posts like this in the future. So we can learn a little bit of history behind some gymnastic skills.
Signing off for now,
In recent times we have observed an influx of recreational fitness programs marketed and programmed directly for the senior citizens of the world. In the global sporting world, we are noticing that more fitness centers are considering the importance of supporting and nurturing our elders.
"This Program has boosted their confidence and they now believe they can do activities they never thought they could do before."
- Chanelle Gunderson, Recreation Coordinator for Waterford. Delta Gymnastics
As children, we are often told "respect your elders". Yet it seems as soon as we become adults ourselves, we seem to forget this a bit. It is no longer a larger priority of ours as we become consumed with the personal matters in our own lives.
"Aging isn't just a biological process - it's also very much a cultural one."
In an article by huffpost they mention their observations of cultural constructs regarding the elderly from Eastern and European, compared to Western countries. "While many cultures celebrate the aging process and venerate their elders, in Western Cultures - where youth is [idolized] and the elderly are commonly removed from the community - to hospitals and nursing homes -- aging has become a shameful experience." The article goes on state that "People themselves, when they're aging feel that there's something wrong with them and they're losing value."
This is why it is so fantastic to see programs and companies showing their support in changing these ideas!
In the past year a gymnastics club, Delta Gymnastics, has launched a program by the name of "Seniors Can Move". The program was a pet project of sorts for Chanelle Gunderson who envisioned the program as a game changer. Chanelle notes each week her gymnasts making progress with their confidence, balance and flexibility.
In a previous blog post, I discussed how movement is crucial for the health and well being of our older citizens. It greatly reduces risk of falling, broken bones and mentally stimulates those who lack the social opportunities in their communities. Movement programs also reduce the chances of developing Dementia. You can read that blog post here.
Chanelle also notes how her senior gymnasts met the program with reservation and a little fear initially. However, Coach Chanelle invited anyone who fit the bill to check out the facility and the program, even walk on the sprung floor before joining the program. "They took a leap of faith and decided it was good for them."
At FCGC we wholeheartedly support the rise of senior gymnastics programs. Alongside our own Fitter For Life Program, we hope to transform the day to day lives of all those who participate. We intend to strengthen our gymnasts so they can be independent and function well into their later years.
Do you know of anyone that could benefit from such a program? We would LOVE to have them be involved in one of our classes!
Signing off for now,
I would like to touch on a topic that should be held highly in the hearts of all parents/carers/teachers etc. It's the importance of idols and leaders that our youths look up to. Those who inspire, teach and help our children grow into focused and driven adults.
Our children are going to admire several people of importance through out their childhood. Each member of their inspirational chart will be selected for a specific reason, that is instrumental to a chapter of their growth.
I would like to mention an article from August 19th of 2016, from ABC News.
The article is about a 6 year old gymnast named Nyla Miller, who had only been partaking in Gymnastics classes for a year at this point; who dreamed of being just like Simone Biles & Gabby Douglas. Young Nyla first witnessed the strength and grace of both Olympic Athletes during a live broadcast of the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Nyla saw herself in these elite gymnasts and aspired to be just like them. They represented something for Nyla, which is irreplaceable in a child's life. Nyla's dad Miller was quoted reporting on the importance of these idols for his daughter.
"She's been able to look at them and see that anything is possible. I am possible."
A photo of Nyla sporting a Blue, Red & White leotard similar to Simone Bile's leotard was posted on her dad's social media. When unsuspectingly Simone Biles saw the photo she had been "tagged" in and shared it to her own personal social media for all her fans to see. Nyla's family was so surprised to see their daughters idol had shared her appreciation for Nyla on her social media to her 3.3million followers.
This story is just one story out of millions. Each person, each child will have somebody they once or still do look up to. As adult's it can sometimes be difficult for us to relate to those our children look up to. We may not see what they see. However there is something in them, that they can connect with.
It seems quite common for young children to idolize their Primary School teachers for example. This maybe for a variety reasons. It may be the case that they are consistently exposed to a familiar leader in their day to day life. It may be that they see their teacher as confident & kind and they wish to be like this also. It might even be that they see their teacher as an intellectual representation of themselves.
It is fair to say that young people will after a period of time come to realize that their idols are just "ordinary people" just like they are. Flaws & faults included!
Listen as best you can to the children in your life. Help them find people to support them, to inspire them, to build them up.
We won't all have our idols reply to us on twitter or Instagram, as lovely as that would be. However helping to expose our children to positive representations will only help to encourage our kids to reach their full potential.
Do your children have somebody they idolize? Are you unsure? Now is the perfect time to ask them!
Signing off for now,