Baton: Kids Sports; Think Outside the Box (Part 3)
Baton Twirling: What is it? It’s become more popular over the years, and I am spotlighting this sport today in part 3 of my blog series, “Kids Sports; Think Outside the Box”. Baton is a sport young kids can get involved in as young as 2 years old. Also, yesterday, 4/10, was “World Baton Twirling Day”.
Origins of Baton (Twirling)
Baton twirling is a sport involving the manipulation of a metal rod with the hands and body to a co-coordinated routine, similar to rhythmic gymnastics.
The distinguishing fundamental characteristics are:
- Handling of the baton instrument to create visual images, pictures and patterns, executed with dexterity, smoothness, fluidity, and speed, both close in and around the body and by releasing the baton into the air.
- Expression of the body through dance and movement to create a demonstration of strength, flexibility, physical fitness, beauty, aesthetics, and harmony in coordination with the manipulation of the baton.
- The incorporation of gymnastic movements adapted to baton twirling to create additional elements of risk and excitement.
The discipline requires the simultaneous blending of these fundamental characteristics all set to music, utilizing time and space to display both technical merit and artistic expression in creating a total package for the viewer’s eye.
Analysis of the Sport
IT IS PHYSICAL – Baton Twirling requires fantastic coordination of fingers, hands, arms, feet and legs; in addition to extraordinary control of the back, stomach and torso, all of which are called to respond instantly to the sound the ear hears and the sight the eye sees. It requires endurance, agility, strength, and balance.
IT IS PSYCHOLOGICAL – Baton Twirling allows athletes to learn more about confidence and fear, self-esteem and self-image; it gives the chance to realize that attitude is what makes or breaks the competitive spirit, not anyone or anything else. It is a type of mind set with an increased awareness, which challenges an athlete to realize the potential she/he may possess. It requires self-discipline.
IT IS EMOTIONAL – Baton Twirling provides guided social interaction with other athletes. It offers the opportunity to participate and have fun in a healthy, wholesome activity and to develop lasting friendships. It provides the chance to recognize excellence and beauty, to be sensitive, to develop good character, and to have great youthful memories that last a lifetime.
IT IS A SCIENCE – Baton Twirling is exact, and demands precise execution. The baton is always pushing the laws of physics with force and speed, action and reaction, velocity and relativity.
IT IS AN ARTISTIC SPORT – Baton Twirling requires the courage of a hockey player (without the padding), the concentration of a sprinter, the quick reactions of a boxer, and the stage presence and grace of a figure skater.
IT IS EDUCATIONAL – Baton Twirling allows our youth to learn how to take all of these elements, some dry and technically tiresome, some difficult and challenging, and create emotion, feeling, passion, develop a good work ethic, understand their own inner strengths and weaknesses, learn how to work with others and find a reason to stay focused on a quality life.
(sourced from http://www.wbtf.org/About/History)
(Caylyn’s cousin, Hollis, who twirls with Forte Atlanta)
How to get involved:
There are many baton schools and classes, kids can twirl in competitions, in participating schools, college, and much more!
- Look up local baton schools in your area for class schedules
- Find locations here at US Twirling website
- Learn more about National Baton Twirling Association – here
- Volusia County locals can check out Encore Baton
High School Team (Mainland Majorettes) earned STRAIGHT SUPERIORS at FBA State Solo & Ensemble a few weeks ago:
(Picture courtesy of Shelly Mahaffey)
Steve Harvey’s show, Little Big Shots, featured a local twirler last week, check out her video below. She did great!
(Twirler Clip from “Little Big Shots”)
I don’t want to do all the writing about this sport, so, here’s some information from other moms who have kids in this sport:
Baton Twirling is a SPORT! It takes incredible strength, endurance, hand-eye coordination – but more than anything, perseverance, self discipline, and dedication. Competition baton twirlers spend upwards of 12-15 hours each week training with coaches in both formal and “open gym” settings – not to mention everyday practice at home and cross training in both ballet and gymnastics. What I love the most about baton is that it is something she can also practice at home, on her own time (in the backyard, at the grocery store, even during recess at school). It is also a team sport that has taught her respect, leadership, accountability, and confidence! The relationships she has built through baton have been priceless. These are really kind and supportive young girls whose positive attitudes come straight from the top. Their coaches and parents set the tone, and we are truly grateful for what they – and Baton Twirling have done to shape our sweet girl’s life. Hollis started twirling at 6 years old, and is almost 9. – Rebecca Holmes, Atlanta, GA
(photo credit: Isabel Coto)
Baton twirling teaches dedication, discipline, determination and life lessons. Watching my daughter’s face light up when she has achieved something that she has been working very hard for is priceless. The Baton twirling world is competitive but most importantly they are a huge family. Friendships are also made that will last a lifetime and usually people that were in baton turn around and introduce their children into the sport. Jaiden started when she was 5 years old, and is now 9. She twirls with Encore Baton and Dance Studio. – Michelle Harvey, Ormond Beach, FL (pictured below, Jaiden, 9)
FSU’s majorettes in action at a football game this past season.
(photo credit- FSU Auxiliary Facebook Page)
Thanks for reading, and I hope I helped you learn something about this sport and who knows, your child could be the next World Champion Twirler!
I am just a busy mom of a 6 year old, trying to make healthier choices for my family, and to instill healthy habits early on. If any of this was useful to you, please “share” below, it just takes a couple minutes. Thank you! – Michelle