~The First Competition~
“Hellooooo” my good people. In this blog, I am going to talk about my daughter’s first competition with the new gym and under new coaches. If you haven’t read the blog called the Transition you should because it will get you up to speed with what’s been going on with my daughter’s gymnastic “career.” Here are the cliff notes, our old gym home of 7.5 years closed its door abruptly and we ended up moving to a gym in the same area. Losing our gym home of 7+ years pretty much sucked but we seemed to have landed on solid ground with our new gym Stick It.
So, we have been at our new gym Stick It for the last couple of months, and although there are similarities in training to our old gym, there are differences also. You can tell strength training is a large part of Russian methodology in athletic development because we always do a lot of strength training, which is similar to our old gym. Being a coach, I can appreciate programs that emphasize strength conditioning because I feel focusing on strength conditioning in youth sports creates a more holistic approach to the development of the athlete which is sorely missed in youth sports today. I cringe when I hear parents talk about their kids working on “up skills” but at the expense of strength training.
One of the big things I like about our new gym is there seems to be a focus on athletes taking responsibility for their success and doing things on their own. The kids document their practice in a notebook. I am not exactly sure what they are writing because my daughter is terrible at explaining things, but it looks pretty cool watching them do a skill, and then run over and write something down in a notebook. From what I can piece together from my daughter’s incoherent gibberish is that they document how many reps of a given skill they successfully completed. Some parents don’t like the fact that athletes have to learn how to be focused and work independently, but I love it! Coaches coach, if your child needs constant oversight to stay on task, a team may not be for you.
The training setup if similar to our old gym where the male coaches primarily work the vault and the bars and the female coaches work on the floor and the beam. Our new coach, Coach Marina loves the beam, and I mean she loves the beam, did I say she loves the beam. She told us as much so at our level meeting. Literally, her words were, and I paraphrase “I love the beam, and your girls will learn to love it too,” well damn, okay! Our girls work the beam “err-day.” Getting better at the beam was right up my daughter’s alley because it is one of Triniti’s weakest events score-wise.
~First Meet ~
Our first meet was a competition called Jack Frost. Even at our old gym we always did the Jack Frost competition for our first meet of the year of which I have no idea why. Now, don’t get me wrong it is not a bad meet at all, I mean, parking sucks, but beyond that, it is a pretty good meet we just do it every year. There was some urban legend that at one time the judges at the competition would give each gymnast an index card with a list detailing the deductions they had, but that perk was either “fake news”, or ended a while ago. Jack Frost was smaller this year than years past, and I think that had a lot to do with another competition popped up on the scene this year. I honestly think we do this meet every year because they must have a helluva coach’s reception. Although the meet was small competition was still pretty solid. Honestly, going into this competition my expectations were pretty high. I wanted to win. Heck, I always want to win. I can’t understand why parents go into sports without an expectation of winning. As a coach, I have a saying “People who say winning isn’t everything hasn’t ever won anything.” Winning is addictive. It makes the ride home smoother and at the After-A-Competition team meal the sweet tea taste just a tad sweeter with a win.
The warm-up with our new team was pretty standard. I always joke that a gymnast warm-up is most other sports practice. Gymnastics is the only sport I know of where the athletes do crunches as a warm-up. Our first event was the floor. Although, it is one of the more exciting events I am not a big fan of the floor because I think it is a pretty forgiving event. Her score was pretty solid at a 9.275. Not a high score but as long as we got in the nines, we lived to fight another day. The vault and bars are traditionally Trininit’s money maker, so if we just “hold serve” on floor and beam we should be in pretty good shape. So far so good!
Our next event was the uneven bars. Triniti came out swinging on this event and turned in a pretty solid score of 9.325. Man, we were sitting pretty at least I thought. Solid score on Floor and Bars and the vault was next and traditionally Triniti’s strongest event. That coupled with the fact that Coach Marina was the self-proclaimed beam whisperer I could already taste the extra sweet, sweet tea with “a lotta” ice. Next event vault.
At the vault, the squad was dancing to another gymnast’s floor music. They were acting like it was the fourth quarter of a football game with two minutes left, they were up by two touchdowns, the opposing team was out of time outs and had to march the whole field to score. I guess they forgot about the new requirement for the Level 7 vault, the Yurchenko. Remember the football analogy I used a few sentences ago, let’s just say by the time we left the vault we were the football equivalent to the team that got marched down the field, scored on, two-point conversion on, onside kicked on, scored on again, and then they hit the two-point conversion(again). Just like that, we were down by a point with 30 seconds left. Why did you have to take the blindfold off(bird box)! Up next, the beam.
At this point, I was just hoping to get a snow globe(1st through 3rd place). I was already preparing to ask for extra sugar with my sweet tea. I was pleasantly surprised with the beam routine. Her score wasn’t the greatest, but I could see her confidence growing on beam. She completed where back-walkover to back-handspring connection and based off her 70% success rate at practice that in itself was an accomplishment.
~36.300 All Around~
Overall, the first meet went well. Triniti scored a 36.3 which earned her fourth place. That score is on par with what she typically scores at the first meet. The only “hmmm..” moment I had was on vault because I hadn’t seen a score like that since her first meet ever, but I had to factor in that the Yurchenko is a new vault for Level 7 so it will take some time to get a solid grasp of it. What we did learn is in Level 7 presentation matters. Doing a skill is not enough, a gymnast has to do the skill well and look graceful and confident doing it. I know that gracefulness and confidence will come with age and maturity. With the first meet down with new gym, so-far-so-good, but that was only the first meet. We don’t compete again until February at Atlanta Centennial, so in the meantime, I will be blogging about other stuff related to gymnastics, and youth sports in general
Overall the team aka “Tha Squad” did very well earning second place team.
I want to send a special shout out to my girl Kelly Bryd for supplying me with the vids for this blog. She has always been a huge supporter of my blog and an even bigger supporter of the “Tha Squad”
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Until next time, peace and soul….