coaching, everyday gymnast, goals, Gymnastics, High School, Life Lessons

To Any Athlete

There are little eyes upon you

And they’re watching night and day:

There are little ears that quickly

Take in every word you say:

There are little hands,

All eager to do anything you do!

And a little child who’s dreaming

Of that day they’ll be like you.

You’re the little child’s idol:

You’re the wisest of the wise.

In their little minds about you

no suspicions ever rise:

they believe in you fervently,

hold all you say and do,

they’ll say and do it your way

when they’re grown up like you.

There’s a wide-eyed little child,

Who believes you’re always right,

And their ears are always open,

And they watch you day and night.

You are setting an example

everyday in all you do,

for the little child who’s

waiting to grow up to be like you.

–Anonymous

coaching, competition, everyday gymnast, goals, Gymnastics, High School, Life Lessons, parents, season, USAG, USAIGC

Life Lesson #2 – There is more than one way to get somewhere

USAIGC’s “About” page states that “An Optional Only ‘College Bound’ Competitive Program was put into place,” paired with “Our highest Competitive Level uses NCAA Competitive (Premier) Rules.”

Contrary to popular belief in the gymnastics world, if a gymnast is not a USAG level 10, college gymnastics is off the table. What’s more, USAIGC has actually created their program around the NCAA rules, mirroring the NCAA rules in their highest level of competition.

College coaches would be very happy to see that a gymnast, following the same rules that she would follow in college, is successful at this USAIGC level. College coaches recruit in many ways. One very important way is by watching videos of prospective gymnasts. If they like what they see, and the gymnast fits their program, then the gymnast will be recruited.

Many gymnasts, parents, and coaches are stuck in a rut believing that there is a perfect formula to develop a collegiate athlete. One of the greatest detriments is believing that if a gymnast isn’t a successful level 10 by the time she’s in 8th or 9th grade, then there is no chance for her to compete in college. It is true that the very top schools in the NCAA recruit and sign kids early. However, there are many more schools out there that wait until 10th and 11th grades to recruit and make offers as late as 11th and 12th grade. Like so many other things in life, there is more than one way to get to where you are going.

The USAIGC’s basing its highest level of competition on NCAA rules grooms athletes to peak at the right time in high school in order to develop their skill level, maintain a healthy and injury-free body, and also leave room for improvement over the next four to six years that the gymnast has left in the sport.

When it comes to college athletics, gymnasts must think outside the box. If a gymnast wants to compete gymnastics in college, she must look for a college that reflects her skill level and love of the sport. The competitive structure from which she comes is not at issue; her skill level, health, and passion for the sport are what will drive the process.

Life lesson #2 – there is more than one road to lead to where you are going!

coaching, competition, everyday gymnast, Gymnastics, High School, season, USAIGC

2020 High School Meet Recap

My four high school gymnasts and I just returned from our trip to New York for the USAIGC High School Invitational. We had a great trip!

“The Big Apple” Tradition

Again, we were able to see some of the sights like Central Park and the Guggenheim. It turns out that each year we do something just a little bit different with our time in the city, which is a great thing for an annual trip.

This year, I included some more leadership objectives. I relayed to my girls that whether they see themselves as leaders or not does not matter; the little girls who look up to them see them as leaders and role models anyway. This is a role that they must take seriously.

This much is true: we don’t get to choose who looks up to us. We don’t get to choose who we inspire. The only thing that we can do is control how we handle ourselves through adversity, and how we carry ourselves in any given situation. This may be difficult for teenage girls. They are on display everyday in the gym, and they are working through their own difficulties, fears, mental blocks, etc. The kiddos who look up to them look to them for guidance on how they should act and handle adversity.

Contrary to the unattainable societal standard, gymnasts are not perfect. The youngsters know that the older gymnasts will falter, stumble, fall. It’s in how the high schoolers handle themselves, pick themselves up, dust themselves off, work through problems, and keep moving forward that will really show the little ones looking up to them what it is to be a leader.

I am proud of all of my high school gymnasts. They push themselves, problem solve, and try to be their very best in and out of the gym. It’s very hard to be on display when you yourself are learning. My girls do a good job of it, and prove that a perfect result is not what we are necessarily striving for; we are striving for a perfect effort to make oneself better. Good job, girls. I’m proud to be your coach.

Central Park
competition, Event Specialist, everyday gymnast, goals, Gymnastics, High School, USAIGC

High School Invitational 2020

This weekend, I am on my way to New York City to celebrate my high school-aged gymnasts. We will spend a long weekend bonding, celebrating their leadership in and out of the gym, and thinking about what they can bring back to their younger teammates to help guide them on their gymnastics journeys.

This will be the third year we compete in this special meet held by USAIGC. The gymnasts compete their highest level on each event. There are no individual awards, just team awards. It truly is a meet that highlights what it means to be members of a team, and what it means to be a part of an exclusive group of high school gymnasts.

It is HARD to hang in there in a sport like gymnastics throughout high school. Ask any one of my high school gymnasts, and she will tell you her story about what she has gone through, the storm she weathered, and how and why she is still in the gym. These girls have histories. They have injuries. They have heart. They have grit.

High school gymnasts should be celebrated as veterans of the sport, and I am thankful that our gym found a governing body (USAIGC) that recognizes their value and celebrates the leadership they have to offer.

coaching, Gymnastics, High School, USAIGC

USAIGC High School Meet 2019

I was fortunate, once again, to take five of my high school-aged gymnasts on a trip to New York City for the annual USAIGC High School Invitational. This is the second year that we have offered this meet to our high school gymnasts, and we had a great time!

We spent all day on Saturday in New York City, taking in the sights, and meeting Paul Spadaro, the President of USAIGC, for a fabulous lunch. Because we were traveling with older kids, we could do some more mature New York City sight-seeing, like visiting the 911 Memorial Museum. The girls, all of whom were not yet born on 9/11 except one, were touched and awestruck.

This year, we had five gymnasts and three adult chaperones, plus myself, so we decided to rent a house in Queens for the weekend. The girls were able to all stay in the same room together and bond. Because the high school meet is about celebrating age and years in the sport, and not level, not all of my girls work out in the same group in our gym. Therefore, they were able to get to know one another a little better. We gave them the freedom to cut loose (within reason) and really get comfortable with each other. They also stayed up late, watched movies, and talked, like teenagers like to do. They even bought matching socks for themselves (and me – thanks, girls!) so they could make the weekend even more special.

Much like last year, I gave my five high school girls the opportunity to (somewhat) dictate how their practices would look in the gym leading up to the meet, so they could have input on how they could best prepare themselves.

It turns out that my five girls have truly taken their roles as leaders and role models in the gym seriously. I am proud to say that they took the initiative to bring home an idea of the “Positivity Board” from the host gym. They came to me with the idea, and I thought it was a good one, so we decided to implement it. I bought a white board and markers, and it was the high schoolers’ job to explain the purpose of the board to their teammates. Reading over what their teammates write on the Positivity Board is now one of the highlights of the week for many of my gymnasts, all because of the initiative taken by my team leaders – my high schoolers. One of my greatest goals in coaching is teaching kids how to take initiative and lead. When I watch them begin to do it on their own is very rewarding.

This meet served as a great opportunity for my high school-aged gymnasts to know that they are special, important, and valued members of my competitive team. I am thrilled to offer this meet on our schedule each year, spend a long weekend in New York City with the girls, and reward them for many years well spent in our great sport.