Saturday, January 14, 2012

What is Leaves Practice in Gymnastics?

Gymnastics demands maximum effort to succeed in the sport. It's not just a matter of executing a move on a piece of apparatus like the high bar for women or still rings for men and then moving on to the next event. It's about practicing each event with as much effort as you can and leaving everything you have on the floor. Gymnasts who practice with maximum effort and don't hold anything back have the best chance of being successful.
Practice "Leaves"
When a gymnast is involved with the sport at a team level -- high school, college or Olympics -- several hours of practice are needed every day. Male gymnasts work on events including the floor exercise, parallel bars, pommel horse, rings and vault, while female gymnasts practice the floor exercise, balance beam, uneven bars and vault. Once the gymnast knows the technique for each event, it's a matter of working hard enough and leaving everything on the floor in practice and not holding anything back. That's known as a "leave" in gymnastics.
Shannon Miller
U.S. Olympian Shannon Miller won two gold medals at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Miller prepared for her gymnastics career by enduring difficult practice sessions and giving a maximum effort at all times. "There were many times I didn't feel like practicing," Miller said. "There were times I wanted to quit early. But I knew if I didn't leave everything I had out there, someone else would be willing to outwork me. I knew I could not allow that to happen. I had to leave it out there every time."
Many of the moves in gymnastics can be quite challenging, and some can be dangerous. The vault events require the gymnast to fly through the air at top speed before coming to a sudden stop. The possibility of serious injury is real and it takes courage. If there's an event where a gymnast is not going to leave it all on the floor, this can be one. A competitive gymnast must summon up courage every day, according to Miller.
Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State University awards Buckeye leaves to its athletes who perform at an outstanding level. While the Buckeye leaf decals are most commonly associated with football, they are also given in other sports. The leaves are about giving maximum effort at all times and producing well in competition. It's an award that shows an athlete that coaches recognize how hard he is working.

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