February 2021

Fountain-Fort Carson athlete nominated for McDonald’s 2021 All American Games

El Paso County Advisor and Fountain Valley News

Torie Bass, a basketball player at Fountain-Fort Carson High School, has been nominated for McDonald’s 2021 All American Games. Bass was one of seven Colorado athletes who made the nominated players list released on Feb. 18. McDonald’s will announce its final roster of 48 players by the end of this month. McDonald’s has held All-State Games for 44 years, and while this year’s game has been canceled due to COVID-19, the company will still hold a virtual celebration to honor the players.

“Being named a McDonald’s All American is about so much more than the game,” McDonald’s said in its nomination announcement. “It is a once in a lifetime achievement for high school seniors. McDonald’s is committed to giving the incredible student-athletes who are named to the final team the recognition they deserve for their accomplishments and dedication to the game of basketball. Despite the state of the 2021 Games, they are legends and will be All Americans for life.”

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Competitive or Recreational? Choosing which gymnastics path suits your child

Gym With Me

So, your child has been doing gymnastics for some time – maybe once or twice a week recreationally – and has also taken part in some of our holiday camp programmes. Now, he or she (or you) is thinking they’d like to see if they could take the next step towards competitive gymnastics.

Some of the questions you might be asking yourself as a parent could include: Where do I begin? How experienced does my child need to be? How many hours are involved in competitive training? Does he or she even have the capability to compete?

At Gym With Me, we have a robust process to establish the capability of children who express an interest in taking up gymnastics competitively, before deciding whether they can join our Pre-Competitive, Junior Competitive, Senior Competitive or High Performance programmes.

On the whole, gymnastics promotes numerous fitness and health benefits, but deciding what’s best for your children isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly.

Competitive gymnastics differs drastically to simply doing gymnastics ‘for fun’. We’ve outlined a few considerations to help give you a better idea of what could work for your budding gymnast.

What’s the difference?

Recreational gymnastics, as its name suggests, caters to anyone from your little or big ones who are just starting out in the sport, to seasoned gymnasts who’d like to train without the pressure of competitions. After all, it’s never too late to start, and this sport caters to anyone looking to enjoy its benefits!

In short, recreational gymnasts get to cement the fundamentals of the sport through classes, and can transfer the techniques and skills they’ve picked up to plenty of other sports later in life.

Competitive gymnastics requires a much higher level of commitment – in terms of time, money and pressure and expectation. Places on a competitive squad are limited and are made by selection, so as much as you might have expectations as a parent or gymnast, there is also a level of expectation from your coaches and team members. Some competitive gymnasts start training at a young age, but we also see numerous children come into the sport later on and progressing well, because they are naturally athletic – and because they work very hard. There is a dedicated training programme they must adhere to, working closely with their coaches to hit certain milestones.

Training hours

Recreational classes might take place once or twice a week at most, for an hour to two hours at a time. The programmes are focused on fun and the overall experience. They are typically less intensive, but all programmes are still based around technical skill progression. We always ensure children are constantly learning new things and reaching their own goals at their own pace.

Gymnasts training competitively have a stricter schedule – anywhere from eight hours to 20 hours a week (or more), depending on their level. This might pick up even more in the lead-up to big competitions. Skipping trainings usually isn’t an option unless there is a very valid reason, and coaches will be expecting intense dedication and progression to take place during training.

It can be gruelling – albeit fun, of course – and it’s not suited to everyone, no matter what sport you’re in!

Commitment level

I’m not going to lie, being in the competitive squad will mean spending a lot more time in the gym – in between school and during term breaks. Being able to juggle training sessions and activities outside of the gym (not to mention homework and studying for exams) becomes crucial. Sacrifices often have to be made, and depending on their competitive level, things like social lives can take a bit of a beating!

On the other hand, recreational trainings have less of a commitment expectation. We want to see children staying active and keeping fit, and despite the smaller commitment your children will still reap all the physical, mental and emotional benefit the sport has to offer.

Health and fitness

Recreational gymnastics is an excellent addition to any child’s healthy lifestyle. It’s a high intensity sport, burning calories and helping to gain muscle tone, flexibility and balance. Health wise, there is almost no better sport for a developing child to take part in. The skills and developmental advances gained from doing gymnastics – even recreationally – will benefit them in any other sports they take part in, as well as in social situations and with discipline around schoolwork, etc.

This is simply ramped up a notch for competitive gymnasts. A healthy and robust diet is needed to help keep their energy up for longer training sessions, and we advise plenty of rest in between to give their bodies time to relax. Keeping their young bodies in top form is important, and we promote and all-around healthy and balanced lifestyle.

Support

As much as 80% of what your child will achieve is based on their hard work and dedication in the gym with their coaches. The other very important 20% is the support they have to help them achieve their goals, and this primarily come from their parents (although as they progress, this will also come from teachers, friends, etc.)

As a parent, are you able to commit to the training schedules of competitive gymnastics, the financial commitment of increased hours and give up your own time on the weekends to support your kids at competitions? Are you able to help your child make the hard choices when the time comes?

The support structure for a gymnast is so important and is something coaches consider when offering a child a place on a team.

So, which programme is most suitable for my child?

At Gym With Me, we offer both recreational and competitive gymnastic programmes at various levels. If you’re considering enrolling your child into the sport, you might want to assess their interest first putting them in the recreational class or our seasonal gym camps, before diving into the commitment that comes with joining the team.

It is also not uncommon for children to move from recreational to competitive gymnastics over the course of their training when their coaches feel they’re ready for a greater level of commitment.

However, it is still essential to know that the decision ultimately falls on the shoulders of the child, and we as parents should never rush into placing them into more intense programmes.

Coaches are constantly looking at the progression of their gymnast. If they feel a child is excelling and ready for the next step, they will be the first to let you know. They are always working in the best interest of each individual and will recommend competitive programmes if they feel a child is 100% ready for the demands in conjunction with all the above. In short, listen to your coaches recommendations!

At the end of the day, no matter which programe your child takes part in, it is important that they enjoy it.

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There’s a huge misconception about how Olympic gymnasts like Simone Biles get their bodies

Business Insider

If you caught any of the insanely impressive moves at the women’s gymnastics round during last night’s Olympics, you probably wondered to yourself at least once: How did they get those tiny, sculpted bodies?

There’s a pretty big misconception about how gymnasts do it. It’s not simply a matter of shorter women gravitating towards the sport, but it’s also not exclusively about the rigorous training of gymnastics “stunting your growth.” Instead, it’s a delicate balance of both.

‘If only I’d been shorter’

I’ll admit it: Last night’s gymnastics round wasn’t the first Olympic Games during which I’ve tried to convince myself: Oh sure, I could have done what these women are doing, if only I’d just been shorter. And yes, at my 5’6″ height, I’d tower over every single one of the current members of the USA team. Simone Biles, our star athlete, is just 4’8″.

Lucky for me, there’s no research that directly challenges my prideful excuse. It could be that small people do tend to seek out careers in gymnastics. From a physics standpoint, people with shorter arms and legs are better suited for the tricky rotations (like Biles’ now-infamous “helicopter legs,” which involves balancing on one foot, knee bent, with her other leg fully extended, and spinning around it) that gymnasts often use to wow the judges. A small study published in the journal Sports Biomechanics suggested that smaller gymnasts were better equipped for moves involving forward and backward whole-body rotations and twisting.

simone biles

But self-selection isn’t entirely to blame for the gymnasts’ short stature. Research suggests gymnasts’ intense training plays a role, too.

Does gymnastics ‘stunt your growth’?

If you’ve ever played a competitive sport, you’re probably familiar with the impact that daily, intense training can have on your body. All those hours at the gym (or around the track, or in the pool) add up. The muscles in your arms and legs start to pop; you have an easier time with stairs; your reflexes seem quicker. So it’s not crazy to assume that the rigorous training regimens that gymnasts undergo have some dramatic effects on their bodies — especially since they’re so young.

us womens gymnastics

But fortunately for the Final Five and the rest of the athletes competing in Rio, there’s little evidence to suggest that any of the changes this training may cause are permanent.

A 2013 study from kinesiologists at the University of Texas at Austin, for example, concluded that gymnastics training, however intensive, did not appear to have any effect on gymnasts’ heights as adults or on the growth spurts that accompany puberty. Other studies suggest that while gymnasts’ growth might be affected by training during their active years, they seem to “make it up” by the time they reach adulthood. A 2000 study in the Journal of Pediatrics found that while active gymnasts did tend to have shorter legs and sitting heights, they made up for these deficits once they retired from the sport.

So next time you stare, mouth-agape, as Simone Biles performs a classic helicopter, know this: Her amazing talent can’t simply be chalked up to either natural ability or intense hard work. Instead, it’s a delicate mix of both.

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THE BENEFITS OF CHEERLEADING

CheerTD

CHEERLEADING BENEFITS FOR PARTICIPANTS

Cheerleading is an incredible sport in-and-of itself. Cheer is full of self-discovery,  excitement and passion, it offers numerous benefits to American cheerleaders of all ages. Athletes from youth cheerleading to high school cheerleaders and beyond as they train over the years. Is it wise wait until your child is all grown up in order for them to begin experiencing the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of cheerleading? Youth who get involved in cheerleading are poised to grow up with many advantages, including:

  • Community Building. 

Through our youth cheerleading and cheer camps, even the youngest participants can begin to understand the importance of being connected to a larger community. Not only is there the cheer team component (collaboration), but they also discover how being a cheerleader can make them representatives of the school, other sports teams, and the whole surrounding community of students, parents, and faculty. Not to mention giving back by volunteering and teaching kiddie camps. Teaching them to pay it forward. Being in the workplace I can tell you with certainty, that’s the most sought-after qualities in Corporate America, for building effective and quality teams!

  • Energy Levels.

We believe that young children should have high levels of energy. Fortunately, youth cheerleading is one of the highest energy sport there is. It offers a marvelous way for children to exercise in a fun manner, get and stay in shape, and improve their overall health. All this happens in some of their most physically formative years too and can include summer programs for kids too! Classes start for ages as early as 2 years old (mommy and me classes).

  • Emotional Resiliency.

Young kids are often developing their emotional foundations that will guide them through the rest of their lives. When young athletes form strong relationships with their cheer teams and cheer coaches, it can give them an emotional base they can rely on for years. As well as, imbue them with a confidence that can come to strengthen their overall personality.

  • Interpersonal Communication Skills.

In cheerleading, learning to communicate is critical. As young kids are developing their speaking skills and ability to interpret body language and other signals from those around them, cheerleading encourages this through the art of performance. The better the child learns to communicate, the more they’re able to achieve peak performance alongside their cheer team peers.

Have you seen how youth participants benefit from cheerleading activities on multiple levels? Since your child has begun participating in cheerleading, have you noticed an increase not only in their physical capability but also their mental and emotional development? As a CheerTD staff member, I have personally seen the positive impact that cheer has left in the staff and me from my adolescent years of cheering and competing in the sport.

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