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Source: The Book Of Sports

All boys, and girls too, ought to train themselves to habits of agility,
and nothing is more calculated to do this than Gymnastics, which may be
rendered a source of health and amusement.

In all playgrounds, a piece of ground should be laid out; and there
should be erected thereon, a couple of posts, about twenty feet apart,
and sixteen feet high, which should support a plank, about a foot wide,
and six inches thick; on the underside of this might be affixed a hook,
from which a triangle might be swung,--this is capable of being used in
a variety of ways. Two more hooks, about a foot apart, might be used for
two ropes, so that the more advanced pupils could climb to the top by
means of grasping a rope in each hand, and without the assistance of the
feet. A pole may rise from the ground to the cross piece about midway:
the pupils will be able to climb up this without the assistance of the
feet. A wood ladder and rope ladder may occasionally be fastened to the
beam, but may, when necessary, be taken down. A board about a foot broad
may also be set up against the beam, inclining four feet from the
perpendicular: the climber will grasp the sides with his hands, and
placing his feet almost flat against the board, will proceed to the top:
this is an advanced exercise. Another board may be set up which should
be three feet broad, at least, and should slant more than the other: the
pupil will run up this to the top of the beam easily, and down again.
The middle of this, up to the top, should be perforated with holes about
four inches apart, in which a peg may be placed: this may be in the
first hole to begin with. The pupil will run up and bring this down, and
then run up and put it in the second, and so on, till he has arrived at
the top: then two or more pegs may be used, and it may be varied in many
ways. A pole, twenty-five or thirty feet high should be erected, rather
thin towards the top: at distant intervals of this, three or four pegs,
as resting places, should be fastened; another pole, thicker, from about
sixteen to twenty feet high, should be erected; on the top of which
should be placed four projecting hooks turning on a pivot: to these
hooks four ropes should be attached, reaching to within two feet from
the ground. This is called the "Flying Course," from an individual
taking hold of the peg at the end of each rope.

One person may cross a rope under the one in possession of another, and
by pulling round hard, make the other fly over his head. Care should be
taken to make the hooks at the top quite secure, for otherwise many
dangerous accidents might ensue. A cross pole might also be set up, but
most of the exercises for which this is used, may be performed by the
triangle. On the parallel bars, several beneficial exercises may be
done, and also on the bridge. This is a pole thick at one end, thin at
the other, and supported at three or four feet from the ground by a post
at one end and another in the middle, so that the thin end vibrates with
the least touch. This, it will be evident, is an exercise for the organ
of equilibrium, and exercises the muscles of the calf, of the neck, and
anterior part of the neck, and those of the back, very gently. On this
bridge a sort of combat may be instituted,--two persons meeting each
other, giving and parrying strokes with the open hands. The string for
leaping is also another very pleasing exercise. It is supported by a
couple of pegs on two posts fastened in the ground. The string may be
heightened and lowered at pleasure,--it may be raised as high as the
leaper's head when a leaping-pole is used. Besides these arrangements, a
trench about a foot and a half deep should be dug, and widening
gradually from one foot to seven, for the purpose of exercising the long
leap either with or without the aid of the pole. Such are the general
arrangements of a gymnasium, but before the youth enters upon regular
exercises, he may commence with a few preliminary ones.

Next: First Course

Previous: Buck Buck

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