When your new gymnasts can check the items off the list, not only will they feel successful from the start, but they’ll also arrive at their first practice well-prepared with what they’ll need in order to be comfortable during their workout. An added perk may seem merely social, but it will be a major factor in helping them arrive at a comfort level, especially for those who struggle with neophobia: instead of standing out as the “new kid,” they’ll have everything the other gymnasts already know to bring, helping them fit in from day 1.
Gymnasts will need two changes of clothing in their gym bags: clothes for practice and clothes to change into afterward. Of course, it may seem like a no-brainer, but new gymnasts may not realize that leotards and shorts should be worn. Keeping an extra leo in the bag is a good idea, too.
A new gymnast may not realize how sweaty she’ll get during practice — and how much she’ll be glad she brought a full change of clothes! In addition to personal comfort, changing clothes will help keep salty sweat away from skin that’s likely already dealing with dryness from the gym atmosphere. Cleaning off will offer an extra opportunity to apply those lotions she’s already packed in her gym bag, ready to re-hydrate the skin.
Gymnasts should bring more than one good set of grips to practice; a spare set is always a good idea. There’s always a chance that something could happen to a gymnast’s primary pair of grips, and she’ll be unable to continue practicing if she doesn’t have extras on hand. For established gymnasts, the spare pare may be a broken-in one, but for new gymnasts, it may simply be an extra set. On your list, you may want to list a few of your favorite brands or sources for grips, for those who have never purchased them before.
Grip accessories should also be included. For instance, some gymnasts use sand paper or a wire brush to care for their grips. Some also use rubber bands to keep their grips fastened to their wrists or fingers.
Even though you have plenty at your gym, it’s a good idea to have each of your gymnasts get used to keeping a role of adhesive tape in their gym bags, too. Also referred to as “prewrap tape,” you can inform new gymnasts about its importance in injury prevention and treatment.
In summary, here are the items we recommend including in your “Bag List” for new gymnasts:
• Hygiene Items: Deodorant, Lip Balm, & Lotion
• Hair Care Items: Brush, Bands, Clips, Spray
• Hydration and Fuel: Water Bottle and Snack
• Appropriate Apparel: Extra Pair of Shorts and Leotard
• Added Grips: Spare Set & Accessories
• Adhesive Tape: One Roll
If you haven’t yet, check out Part 1 of this series to get started on building your own “Bag List” to help new gymnasts arrive at their first practice, well-prepared and ready for success.