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.