Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Altius Staff Member Profile: Bryttnie Tarczewski

Bryttnie Tarczewski is a KinderGym Coach and Event Instructor at Altius. She has been involved with gymnastics since she was 6 years old and has worked at Altius for a year and a half. Her favorite gymnastics event to participate in is balance beam but she enjoys coaching floor skills the most. Bryttnie thinks Shawn Johnson is the best Olympic Gymnast of all time. In her spare time she could be found watching the movie Bridesmaids or her favorite TV show, Vampire Diaries. She is also proud to say she can sing like Shakira.The foods she likes best are crepes and cheese curds. Funny people, NYC and food make her smile but people who breathe loudly and people who constantly complain tend bring her down. When it comes to interesting facts about Bryttnie, she reveals, “I’m in love with New York City and speaking Spanish.” It makes sense then that her favorite quote is: “Pura vida y cero estrĂ©s” (“Pure life and zero stress”).

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Altius Staff Member Profile: Kali Anderson

Coach Kali Anderson has been involved with gymnastics most of her life. She started taking classes when she was 6 years old and ended up competing as part of an Altius Compulsory Team from from ages 8 to 14. Heading to college this fall with a plan to become an elementary teacher, Kali is an Altius kindergym and girls coach and is also one of the Xcel Team coaches. She relates that Shawn Johnson is her all-time favorite Olympic gymnast. Kali enjoys teaching balance beam skills the most but the dance skills of floor routines are also an interest since she loves to dance and choreograph dances.

“I love many things involved with singing and performing, like choir, show choir, solo and ensemble and opera,” Kali reports. “As you can imagine, my favorite TV shows are Dancing with the Stars and Smash.” If you offered Kali any food in the world, she’d pick chocolate-covered strawberries! Her pet peeves are people with hoods turned inside out, unsolved math equations and unpointed toes in gymnastics. A sunny day and seeing her family makes her smile. “I love to be around happy people,” Kali adds. She’s still holding onto her childhood dream of one day becoming a professional singer, so it makes sense that Kali’s favorite quote is this one from Walt Disney: “All of our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Altius Staff Member Profile: Ann Kanelos

Coach Ann Kanelos is an Altius kindergym and girls team coach. She has been with Altius over 20 years but she has been involved in sports most of her life and was even interested in coaching early on. Ann starting taking gymnastics classes as a young child. She relates that some of her earliest memories of gymnastics were seeing Olga Korbut compete on television. She was sidelined for a 9-month stretch in grade school when a fall at Girl Scout camp fractured her arm and it took almost a year for it to heal properly. She bounced back to go to the Junior Olympics in synchronized swimming as a middle schooler and compete as a high school gymnast. Ann took a  job as a teen coaching rec department gymnastics and swimming classes. She has always liked balance beam best, when it comes to participating in the sport and also when teaching her students.

In college, Ann used some of her gymnastics skills to compete in diving. These days, Ann is a busy mom who likes to relax by watching episodes of her favorite TV show, “Grey’s Anatomy”. She especially enjoys Italian food and reports that her son and daughter make her smile. She relates that one of her pet peeves is clutter. “Anyone who knows me knows that I like things structured and organized,” Ann says.

Even as a young person, Ann was not afraid to jump through some hoops...she filled out essays and interviewed to land a  job as a ball girl for the Milwaukee Does professional women’s basketball team and was even a  finalist in a competition to become “Bonnie Brewer”.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Gymnastics 101 - By Coach Jill

What happened to the "Perfect 10?"
If you catch gymnastics on TV, you will notice athletes getting scores like 14.65 & 12.7 - what happened to the "Perfect 10?" You can find a long explanation at the USA-Gymnastics website, but here's the short story:
1. The total score is the sum of two parts: a difficulty score and an execution score.
2. Difficulty score is calculated by adding the difficulty value (set by international rules) of the ten most difficult skills in the routine.
3. Execution score is calculated by subtracting points for errors such as bent knees, steps on landings, and falls. Judges start from a 10.0 and subtract for each error.
4. In theory, the new system rewards gymnasts for both risky skills and perfection. However, many critics say it puts too much emphasis on risky skills and doesn't reward beautiful gymnastics.
5. Only Olympic-level athletes use the new system; collegiate and Junior Olympics use the 10.0 system. Hope that helps de-mystify the scoring system!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Altius Staff Member Profile: Jane Schrimpf
Jane Schrimpf, the Team and Meet Director at Altius, didn’t know what a big part of her life gymnastics would be when she took her 3-year-old daughter to her first gymnastics class years ago. Her daughter thrived in her classes, spent years excelling in the sport and is now Coach Jill at Altius. Jane started working at Altius in 1989. “I love gymnastics because it’s a wonderful combination of athleticism and artistry,” Jane says. She served as the Women's Coordinator for the 2003 USA Gymnastics National Championships held in Milwaukee. She is currently the Competition Chairperson for the USAG (USA Gymnastics) Wisconsin State Board.

“I was thrilled to  attend the 1991 World Championship, where I first saw my favorite gymnast of all time -- Kim Zmeskal,” Jane shares. “I was also at the 1996 Olympics, where I saw Kerri Strug’s history-making vault in person, and the 2003 World Championships.”

Those that know Jane understand that when it comes to participating in a sport, tennis is her top choice. “I play year-round and on two teams in the summer,” she explains. But that’s not the end of her interest in sports. Jane adds, “Most people would be surprised to hear that I can saddle a horse and ride one.”

Monday, February 11, 2013

Gymnastics 101 - By Coach Jill

Moving Up

Here is a valid and common question our coaches hear from time to time: "My daughter/son has been in Level X for X months, how close is she/he to moving up?" Being promoted to the next level is very tangible validation for all the time and tuition spent on gymnastics classes. From a coaching perspective, this is how we evaluate a child for the next level:
1. Is she/he emotionally and mentally ready for the challenge? Does the child listen to directions and cooperate with the students in his/her current class? If not, then the child will probably
struggle with the more complex directions at the next level.
2. What is this gymnast's personal skill strengths? Is she exceptionally good at bars, but a bit afraid on beam? Generally, bar skill and floor skills are considered first when deciding level promotions because they are more complex.
3. Will the gymnast's physical abilities - strength, flexibility, speed, balance, coordination - allow them to be successful at the next level? Relative strength (ability to lift one's own body) becomes more and more important at higher levels. A gymnast lacking relative strength will struggle to learn new skills, especially on bars.
It is extremely important to remember that every child learns at her or his own rate and that the benefits of gymnastics cannot be measured in level promotions alone.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Gymnastics 101 - By Coach Jill

Advanced Body Shapes - Hollow, Arch and Straight
In Kindergym and classes 1 - 4, we spend a good amount of time teaching students the correct terms and technique for different body shapes - tuck, pike, straddle, etc. A child's ability to change shapes in a technically correct manner often determines how quickly he or she can learn new skills. The shapes that are most important in high-level gymnastics are hollow, arch, and straight. Experienced gymnasts can hold these shapes laying down, standing up, hanging, and in a handstand!
Hollow: Shoulders rounded, abs contracted in, and pelvis tucked under; the back should look rounded and the body forms a "scoop." It takes a lot of ab strength to hold a hollow on the ground!
Arch: The opposite of a hollow, also called a “superman/supergirl” or “banana”; requires lower back and shoulder strength.
Straight: With arms overhead, standing in a straight line from fingertips to toes, with no curve in the shoulders or back. I tell kids to make the seam on the side of their leotard as straight as possible.
Advanced skills like back handsprings and giant swings on bars require gymnasts to quickly change between these three shapes!