Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Altius Staff Member Profile: Jill Schrimpf

Coach Jill Schrimpf started gymnastics at age 2-1/2 when Altius Owner Mike Robb was coaching out of Franklin High School and she’s been involved in the sport ever since. Jill started coaching at Altius in 1995 when she was in high school. While attending UW-Madison where she majored in History and Marketing, Jill worked at a local gym. She came back to Altius after graduating from college and a brief stint working for Wells Fargo.

“My favorite events as a gymnast were vault and beam, but by the end of my career I could pick out skills on each event that I really enjoyed practicing and performing,” Jill says. “I currently coach mostly beam and floor. I can't choose a top event--it would be like picking your favorite child. I like them equally for different reasons!”

Over the years, Jill has had an opportunity to see some exciting gymnastics competitions and see some star national gymnasts achieve glory. “I went to the 1991 World Championships in Indianapolis with my family and a friend when I was 10 years old,” Jill reports. “I will always remember seeing Kim Zemeskal win the all-around gold medal with her signature 3 whip back to double back tumbling pass.” This Altius Director also attended the 1994 National Championships in Nashville where Dominique Dawes swept the gold medals on every event and the all-around.

Her most memorable gymnastics competition moment was the 1996 Atlanta Olympics gymnastics team final. Her seats were in the last row of the Georgia Dome. “Kerri Strug's final gold medal winning vault was amazing,” Jill recalls. “The energy in that building was indescribable!”

At home, Coach Jill hangs out with her cat, named Jack Nicholson. She considers herself an avid, but slow, runner, as well as an avid, but inconsistent, golfer. “I also like to water ski, wakeboard, and downhill ski when I get the chance,” she adds. “I have also been skydiving and surfing.” Jill enjoys eating raspberries, Kopp's turtle sundaes and Ricardo's cheeseburger pizza. Her pet peeve is narrowmindedness.

Says Jill, “After hearing that I was a gymnast, many people are surprised to discover that I cannot touch my toes. That’s my 2012 New Year’s Resolution.” At last check, she was still working on that goal...just 3 months to go!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Gymnastics 101 - By Coach Jill

The Relationship Between Gymnastics and Academics

Many activities in gymnastics classes prepare children for early success in the classroom. Listed below are just a few of the relationships between gym activities and behaviors in school.

Activities requiring deep pressure to the joints as in mat and bar work provide joint sensation adequate for correct pencil grip, and the pencil tension needed to form letters properly.

Listening to a coach and processing multi-step directions for gymnastics skills including sequences and complex motor patterns gives children practice in listening to a teachers instructions, following multi-step directions in school assignments and understanding complex math patterns.

Gymnastics students that enjoy warm-up routines with music and keep a steady beat/rhythm with ease are better at understanding the rhythmic nature of reading and speech, leading to strong fluency skills.

Students that learn directional terms at the gym including over, under, next to, and between are better at distinguishing between the letters b/d/p/q and writing with no reversals.