Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Altius Staff Member Profile: Missy Juleen

Missy Juleen is a coach for the Altius Training Squad and has also been involved in the Level 5 and 6 Team program. She’s been in gymnastics in some form for almost 22 years. She says she started taking classes at Altius when she was 7. “I was a baton-twirler and my instructor encouraged me to sign up for gymnastics,” Missy shares. She’s coached at Altius for almost 15 years. “When I was a gymnast, beam my was my favorite event to work on, but now I love coaching my students on the bars,” she says.

When Missy was a gymnast, she admired Ukrainian gymnast Lilia Podkopayeva. “I had posters of her everywhere in my room,” Missy reveals. “But I would say Mary Lou Retton is the best gymnast of all time.”

Missy is a busy first-time mom. Her daughter, Aria, will be 1 in a few months. “I can’t wait to put her in a leotard!” Missy says. She adds that when she has some free time, she enjoys reading Nicholas Sparks books and also looking up recipes for new things she can cook for Aria. Another activity Missy likes is trying to grow different crops in her garden. “I absolutely love pickles,” Missy admits, “especially ones made from home-grown cucumbers.”

Missy is fond of getting away on vacation in warm locations, but even when she’s at the gym, she’s never far from family. Her mom, Nancy Swiderski works in the office at Altius and Missy’s sister, Shelly Schwab, coaches Girls Level 3 Team here, as well. With all that Missy has going on, it’s a good thing her motto in life is, “Never give up!”

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Gymnastics 101 - By Coach Jill

What's the Point?
A relatively small number of children in gymnastics actually compete, and only a tiny percentage of those progress to the top levels of the sport. So...what's the point of being in recreational gymnastics classes? I think most kids would simply respond that it's FUN. I hope even Olympians would respond that they do gymnastics because it's fun to defy gravity and push the limits of the human body. From a professional point of view, I feel very strongly that not only is gymnastics fun, but it teaches kids the joy of movement and how to use their bodies--benefits that can last a lifetime.

For example, the gymnast learning to ski for the first time is more comfortable than her peers because of time on the balance beam. Rock climbing instructors have reported that they can always pick out the gymnasts because of their great upper-body strength. Kindergym students learning to swim can be more willing to jump into the pool because of their experience jumping into the foam pit. Gymnasts in many cases are able to pick up golf easier than others because they have learned body awareness and mental focus from their gymnastics training. Another benefit that comes from this sport is knowing how to fall safely, which comes in handy in team sports when you’re sliding into home base or being tackled on the football field.