One of the characteristics of man is movement or locomotion. For example, you can move from your house to the school by walking or running. But that is not the only type of locomotion, which you or any other person is capable of. It is equally possible for you and I to move from one place to another by leaping, hopping, jumping, swinging, crawling, rolling or tumbling. There is a sport, which combines all these skills and it is called Gymnastics.

As an ingredient of physical education, gymnastics has undergone many changes these in turn have reflected attitudes towards the education of children, from the instrumental model to the child-centered idea. The very change in terminology “physical training” has become “physical education” or even “movement education” and “Gymnastics” has become “Educational gymnastics” signifies not only growth and development of ideas about “what” Gymnastic is about but also “How” it should be taught.

The movement system of gymnastics reflects an era when the emphasis was place in instructing children, with an imposed discipline and consequently a formal relationship between the teacher and what is to be taught. While this undoubtedly aided the less competent teacher, it implied a way of teaching and type of lesson, which suited every class and every child. The basis of this work was anatomical with a certain remedial emphasis concerned with the systematic training of the muscles and joints in addition to the development of strength, endurance and a quick response to command being given.


It is not possible to establish the exact origin of gymnastics, as the systematic practice of physical exercise. There are however references dating back to 3,000 B.C. In India and China, as being the first to develop a few activities that resembled gymnastics although such activities were used for medical purpose. Much later the Greek developed gymnastics far beyond the realm of physical discipline and competitive sports. The Greek also regarded gymnastics as Arts and Music as the most important forms of education to give to the child. All Greek boys and girls participated in rigorous gymnastic exercise such as movements. It was discovered to be a weakling was executed. (Ochu, 1990).

It might interest you that “GYMNASTIC” means naked arts since the ancient Greeks usually performed exercises without any clothes on. The Greeks recognized the importance of activities to the good health and all round development of the young and they therefore associated this practice with education. Greek boys performed in the Gymnasium which means a place for performing exercise in Greek word. However, a Gymnasium could be used for other sports, apart from gymnastics. The Greeks also used the gymnasium as centers where they went for intellectual discussion just as Romans used the bath famous philosophers such as Plato Aristotle used the Academy, the Lyceum and cynosures which were the three great gymnasia of Athens as their teaching establishment. As the peak of Hellenic culture, the practice of gymnastic exercise in the preparation of their armies where as the Greek used gymnastics to develop a beautiful and healthy body.

During the Renaissance, interest in systematic physical exercise was revived and the French philosopher Rousseau was an advocate of gymnastic for the promotion of good health.

In 1770’s, a German called Johann Basedow added gymnastic to the programme of instruction in his private school and that was the first time that gymnastics made part of the school curriculum.

According to Johann (1770), his idea is that gymnastic has a significant contribution to make towards the general education of the child was further promoted by John Guts Muths who wrote the first book of Gymnastics “Gymnastics for youth”. He also introduced gymnastics into all school in his country, Russia. Gut Muths who lived between 1759 -1839 was regarded as the “great-grand father of gymnastics” while the actual “father of gymnastics” was a German called Fredrick John.

During the period from 1810 to 1852, John used gymnastics training to make the German youth proud of their country as well as to build up material strength of Germany. He was the founder of Gymnastic Society called the Turnverein was held at John’s center in St. John’s church, Berlin.

Today, Gymnastics is an essential part of training the armed forces especially with recruits and are included in the activities of voluntary organization such as Boys Brigade, Boys Scout and Man ‘O’ War, e.t.c.

Gymnastic featured in the first modern Olympic Games held in Athens in 1896 but women’s events were introduced in the 1928 Olympics.

The international body is called Federation is the governing body for the amateur gymnastic competitions in the United States founded in 1964. it performed a remarkable service to the sport of Gymnastics by fostering international recognition for the United States role in the sports by developing a training programme of national magnitude and by serving as a communications and resources center for distributing materials, registering athletes, providing insurance coverage, conducting national championships and selecting members for international competitions.


Nigeria came in contact training with the western education about 1842, the physical training as it was then called came along with that education. It is proper and important to state that acrobatic displays and tumbling to the Nigeria cultural festivals from time immemorial. Therefore there is a slight relationship between culture and gymnastic in Nigeria.

Nigeria started producing her own school, syllabus in gymnastic after her independence in 1960. All along Nigeria operated with the British syllabus or modification of it. In 1933, P.T Syllabus on Green syllabus came along without educations. The few Nigerians who were interested in this area studied in Britain.

The Nigerian college of Art, Science and Technology Zaria, now with physical education department, which has a gymnasium and enough equipment for practice, but unfortunately the department was closed down in June 1965. Later on, University of Nsukka offered physical education as a degree course, as the first universities followed the steps of university of Nsukka.

Since the independence of Nigeria, gymnastic as form a recreation, entertainment, fitness programme has been part of the Nigeria public and private schools. All the universities, diploma and degree programmes in physical education have always included educational gymnastics as part of their teachers’ educational curriculum.

The Nigeria armed forces has also made notable contributions to the growth of gymnastic in Nigeria with their encouragement and inclusion of the activity in their gymnastics in schools of physical education Zaria in Kaduna State.

In Nigeria, the sport is organized by the Gymanstic Association of Nigeria (G.A.N) which was founded in 1975.


A pre survey conducted by the author of this study revealed that some selected primary schools in Okrika local government area of River State have poor performance in gymnastic activities.

Most of the primary schools did not have coaches and specialist to train or teach gymnastics, so that to perform well. These primary schools time table does gymnastic as part of their curriculum and there is no availability of enough equipment and facilities to perform very well.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the problems of poor performance of gymnastic activities in some selected primary schools of Okrika local government area of River State. This study was also identify the problems facing gymnastics activities in these primary schools. It was also intended to examine the cause of these problems and suggest ways of improvement.


  • Is there enough specialist teachers in gymnastic.
  • Are there enough periods for teaching physical education.
  • Do you have Gymnasium to practice gymnastic activities in the school chosen?
  • Is there any improvement in teaching gymnastic activities in the selected schools?


  1. The provision of equipment will not significantly affect performance of gymnastic activities.
  2. The provision of facilities will not significantly affect the performance of gymnastics.
  • The Individual interest of pupil will not significantly affect performance of gymnastics
  1. The provision of adequate, trained and qualified personnel will not affect performance in those selected primary schools in Okrika Local Government Area of Rivers State.


As prospective physical educator, it is worth while to carry out this study in order to identify the types of problems and their causes so that suggestions for improvement can be made.

Invariably, this would help teachers of physical education as well as students (pupils) to improve their performance in gymnastics activities.


This study is delimited to the five primary schools in Okrika Local Government Area Rivers State. The schools include

  1. State School 1, Oba Ama
  2. State School 1, Ogoloma
  • State School 1, Kalio – ama
  1. State School 1, Ojiriba – ama
  2. Peter’s State School Okrika.


Some of the constraints encountered by the researcher during the research include;

  1. Insufficient time.
  2. Problems of interpreting the questionnaire to the students.
  • Refusal to pay proper attention to my interview by some of the respondents.
  1. Questionnaires were not properly completed.


Amateur – This is a person who takes part in sport or other activities for enjoyment or any interest, not as a job. The tournament is open to both amateur and professionals.

Gymnasium – This is a place where gymnastic takes place.

The specific dimensions of the gymnasium should be provided for basket court of 42 by 72 feet around the perimeter. The space should be adequate enough for proper activities to take place.

Anatomic – The scientific department of structure of human and animal body.

Surface – The best floor surface to use may depend upon the number of different teaching areas. The main gymnastic area should have either a hard wood or synthetic surface.

Educational Gymnastics – Transferring ideas to the student, making them know how physical activities helps to develop and show the body’s strength and ability to move freely and bend easily without any dislocation.

Gymnastics – Is a sport in which each contestant performs aerobic exercises on various gymnastics equipment. It takes place in gymnasium. It helps to develop balance endurance, flexibility and strength.


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Balch, Ernest B. Amateur Circus Life. New York: Macmillan Co., 1916.

Bolin, J. Gymnastic Problems. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1917.

Bukh, Niels E. Fundamental Gymnastics. New York: E. P. Dutton and Company, Inc., 1928.

Cotteral, Bonnie and Donnie. Tumbling~ Pyramid Building. New York: A.S. Barnes and Company, 1926.

CramIet, T., and H. R. Physical Education Activities. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company.! 1932.

Cromie, W. J. Gymnastics in Education. Philadelphia: Lea and Febiger, 1925.

Drew, L. C. Adapted Group Gymnastics. Philadelphia: Lea and Febiger, 1927.