The Cave

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Archive for November, 2013

I Am Thankful

Friday, November 29th, 2013
Aaron L. doing a standing back tuck

Aaron L. doing a standing back tuck

I am thankful for the family that I have. I have an amazing wife who is on this life journey with me in a way I just couldn’t see with anyone else. We are so similar in key important ways, but she has abilities and traits that I lack. This combination of similarities and differences makes us a fantastic team. I have two great kids that provide us joy (and a little frustration at times). I have an extended family that, for the most part, lives close. I am thankful that my kids’ primary babysitters have been their grandparents from both sides. We have aunts, uncles and cousins all in the same town and my kids get to grow up with this large family.

I am thankful for the staff at The Cave. This amazing group of people has come together to help facilitate a community providing opportunity in health, fitness and sport. I am thankful that they truly care about our students and work diligently to help make sure that The Cave is a great place to be.

Finally I am thankful for our students. This place couldn’t exist without all of you. I am humbled by the diligence of our students. Day after day you all come in to the gym to sweat, work hard and improve yourselves. I get to see people overcome limitations, fear and discomfort every day. I get to watch people improve their health and lives. Over the years I have seen people make changes that fundamentally change the course of their lives for the better. These changes impact families, and potentially generations. I can’t express how great it is to be a part of all of your lives. Thank you!

Level 4 State Championships Complete

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

Level 4 state championships is now complete. This concludes our compulsory season. Anna B. did great. She drew vault first so it was Olympic order (Vault, Bars, Beam, Floor). Anna had some trouble getting her steps due to a misplaced tape measure (which we didn’t detect until after she competed) and wasn’t able to vault as well as she is capable. She scored an 8.3 and moved on to bars. Bars was fantastic. She has been clean on bars for the last several meets, but needed to work on amplitude. She was able to swing significantly bigger this routine and kept it clean. Score for bars was 8.85 which put her in 6th place. Beam and floor were the last two events. Anna finished with the best floor routine she’s done all season to score an 8.8. Her final all around score was 34.3.

We are very proud of all of our competitors. As coaches we all enjoyed the season and watching all of the gymnasts work and improve their routines. We have already gotten to work in the gym on new skills and routines for most competitors and Anna gets to join them now. She was a trooper this last week being the only gymnast left on our team with a competition remaining.

The Kip Challenge Was Completed

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

A while back we had a group of level 3 gymnasts that were all really close to getting a glide kip on uneven bars. Since these would be the first Cave grown gymnasts to get their kip we decided to make a little challenge out of it. Amanda offered up a batch of cookies (paleo of course) to the first one to make their kip. After much work and progress a couple weeks ago the challenge was completed. Adeline T. got her kip (this was very quickly followed by Meghan R.). And now we have a whole new batch of gymnasts ready to make their kip.

The kip on uneven bars brings much frustration to younger gymnasts. It is an all but essential skill for uneven bars, but requires quite a bit of strength and technique. For most it takes a LOT of work to get. Many hours are spent working on glides, developing strength and getting frustrated. Getting a kip is a significant achievement and we celebrate it every time.

Level 5 Gymnastics State Championships Results For The Cave

Sunday, November 10th, 2013
Olivia N. 3rd on bars in the state

Olivia N. 3rd on bars in the state

Level 5 state championships is now complete. Olivia N. and Mia B. competed this weekend. Their sessions were on different days being that they are in different age groups. Both of our level 5 gymnasts competed well, and we are very proud of all of our level 5s this year. It was a great way to start off the competitive history of The Cave. All of the level 5 gymnasts that competed qualified to state championships.

Judging at state championships is generally a little more stringent than at invitational level meets. This is to help differentiate the tighter field of gymnasts. This can be tough on our younger gymnasts as they don’t understand when the perform a better routine and get scored lower, but it is the nature of the sport and something they must learn.

Olivia N. started out on floor. She completed her routine with no major errors for a score of 8.75. Her highlight was bars with a score of 8.375 (note paragraph above about more stringent judging). This 8.375 was sufficient for a 3rd place on bars. We are now home of a 3rd place state champion on bars. Olivia’s all around score was 33.525 which was almost her best all around of the season. Scaling for the judging at states this was her best meet of the season. Good time to do well.

Mia B. 7th on bars in the state

Mia B. 7th on bars in the state

Mia B. started on beam (previously blogged pros and cons to this) and scored an 8.375. Her high score was an 8.9 on vault. Mia has been consistently vaulting well for the past month. Her final all around score was 34.3. Another solid score. She kept a pretty consistent 7th place on most events.

We have one more meet this year with Anna B. competing at level 4 state championships next weekend. The focus in the gym will shift from routine perfection to skill development and improvement. While we are always working on new skills, it will be nice to be able to spend more time playing with new things. Unfortunately for the girls this is also time for conditioning to step up to prepare for next season.

And Even More Backhandsprings

Friday, November 8th, 2013

We had a fantastic floor day on Tuesday with the level 3 girls. Mina and Annesley both got their round off backhandsprings. Things keep happening at The Cave. New skills all the time.

I Am Not A Natural Athlete

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

I am fortunate to have been exposed to a lot of different activities when I was younger. I was very involved in music, science, sports, etc. Music and science came naturally and I did well without a huge amount of effort. Sports were a different story. I did ok, but was in the lower 25% as far as “talent”. I did baseball, soccer and my brother and I spent a lot of time riding our bikes, doing jumps and the like in the hills around our house. In school games I was often one of the last picked to be on teams. A clear indicator of my lack of ability. It wasn’t that I didn’t practice or wasn’t exposed. My brother and I continuously played catch and played basketball using our own driveway court. I did get pretty good at long shots because that was about the only way I could score on my brother. Otherwise I was mediocre at best at most athletic pursuits.

I have had this discussion with several people at the gym and felt it was time to post about it. I am not a natural athlete. When I tell people this now, I generally get met with disbelief or scoffing. Yes, now I can pick up sports and perform pretty well even with little practice, though I am still not superb at learning new movements. I can fake it pretty well. Ask Russ sometime about how naturally coordinated I am. He’ll tell you I have trouble with things on a regular basis. When I was younger it took me a long time to learn new things and I had to work at any new sports a long time before I had any ability at all. I am pretty disciplined, but that may be a result of my lack of natural ability. If I wasn’t diligent I wouldn’t have gotten good at any physical pursuits.

The primary reason that I bring this up is that I now often get “accused” of being a natural athlete. This ability is a direct result of a lot of years of work. I attribute it entirely to having done gymnastics for the last couple of decades and forcing myself to work very difficult movements nearly every day. Drilling difficult movement patterns makes you better at learning new movements. This is all about developing your kinesthetic awareness. Learn how to move well and everything gets easier.

There is also a large strength component to being able to pick up and learn new sports quickly. Due to the strength I developed through gymnastics, and now have maintained and improved (in some areas) through CrossFit and continued gymnastics, it is easier for me to replicate movements that I see. Even if I can not mimic the movements perfectly and/or efficiently, I can often work it out through strength, or other familiar movement patterns.

This is not to say that being naturally gifted at sports is not an advantage, it certainly is. The point is that you can turn yourself into a “natural” athlete through work. Given the same training conditions and diligence a gifted athlete will still excell over someone that is not, however the athlete that puts in the time and work will generally prevail over the athlete that does not regardless of giftings.

Do the work to turn yourself into a natural athlete. The benefits are well worth the effort. Do not let anything convince you that you are simply unable to do anything. Keep working at it, and enjoy the process.