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Kevin G Hare

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Flipping Out on Fun

I am quite sure it will become an addiction.  When I walked into the FLIPZ gymnastics club as a coach and not just the guy who painted the walls and saw it alive with so much activity and so much energy, well, I quivered.

It had been a few years since I last coached a class but it was a moment of renewal.  A resuscitating and refreshing recollection of retrospect, if you will.  Like the first date, the first day on a new job or the realization that you’ve done either with your zipper down, it was exciting and intimidating at the same time.

Janice Valstar’s tireless efforts and endless devotion to improve the gymnastics agenda has recently evolved to include a new tumble and tramp (trampoline) program for the older kids.  Headed up by myself with the energetic assistance of Nicole Fehr, the program offers the kids the benefit of honing their basic skills while giving them the opportunity to reach further into a competitive atmosphere.  As they master the programs and grow in their skills and abilities, they then have the chance to take on assistant coach responsibilities and pass on what they know to the younger kids.  And we always focus on what kids do best – have fun!

While bouncing around on the trampoline, our gymnasts learn control in their jumps they rehearse basic techniques before stepping things up into more advanced routines and flips.  Some of the kids have made this task far too easy though.  Their skills are already quite advanced and I’m working harder just keeping up!  But then I have a key; I can go in on weekends and sneak in a quick workout.

Their floor routines are centred to improve flexibility and equilibrium.  The kids are guided through exercises and allowed the freedom to explore their own potential and expand their abilities.  We run, we jump and when we pull out the mini-tramp – we grab some serious hang time, dude!  There is no question that when we ask them to reach for the stars, they really do!  We are hoping to attain a second-hand double mini-tramp at the cost of $1800.  We are looking for sponsors to help us accomplish this, if anyone is interested in helping, they can call the club at 844-8487 or Janice at 844-4369.

It goes without saying that if kids aren’t interested or having fun in what they are being taught, then the mindset for learning is far from optimal.  When they are at an age where energy is high but attention span is low (unless they’re focused on the X-Box), it’s comforting to know that you can put your child in an atmosphere conducive to creative expression.  Attention is placed on balance, strength, stamina, health and forgotten qualities such as motivation, perseverance and a habit that I’m quite attached to – breathing!  The most important function that we coaches strive to maintain is a safe, responsible environment full of enthusiasm and positive reinforcement.

That is what makes it worthwhile when you see the kids having fun, you see them learning something and you see the biggest smiles imaginable when they nail that landing and you cheer their success!  For that alone, I’d coach for free!

Just don’t tell Janice that!