Episode 158| GymCastic

Great podcast. And NOT just because I am interviewed!

Source: Episode 158 | GymCastic


This Week’s Interview
Ariana Berlin is happy, goofy, surprising, unique, beautiful and partially made of steel. She made her mark on college gymnastics by bringing her professional hip hop dance background onto the competition floor. Her floor routines were something totally new and sometimes controversial but always entertaining. But the road to NCAA finals almost went through the grave. “Ari” went from a being a promising level 10 gymnast, about to test for elite, to a girl in a coma, told when she woke up that she would never do gymnastics again. Though a car accident almost killed her and her mother, losing gymnastics was heartbreaking. She found solace in dance with the world famous hip hop troupe Culture Shock. A dance performance in front of UCLA head coach, Valorie Kondos-Field led her back to gymnastics. After years away from the sport, with a rod holding her femur together, Ari walked onto the UCLA gymnastics team, earned a scholarship and became one of their most consistent gymnasts of all time. While at UCLA she hit 175 of her 182 career routines (96%) without a fall, never missed a competition in 57 consecutive meets. In the final competition of her career, the former walk-on, placed fourth all-around at the 2009 NCAA Championships. We talk about the movie based on her life called, Full Out, staring Flashdance star, Jennifer Beals. We discuss:

GymMyth Busters Full Out edition; we separate fact from fiction and talk about the liberties taken with her story in order to deliver a dramatic message of inspiration.
Being star struck and all of the cameos: Alicia Sacramone, Jordyn Weiber, Victoria Moors, Samantha Peszek and Elfie Schlegel are all in the movie!
Ariana’s advice for walk-on (non-scholarship) athletes, how to get onto your dream team and what to do even if finances won’t make it easy.
How she became so consistent and her mental game.
Dealing with the haters who claimed her ground breaking hip-hop floor choreography was cultural appropriation or racially inappropriate.

In the News

In the news this week, Evan Heiter and Jessica chat about:

Simone Biles going pro: Is it too soon or the perfect time to turn pro? If this will affect her preparation for Rio and which brands we want her to endorse!
The first ever all adult gymnastics camp took place in July at Atlantic Gymnastics in New Hampshire. We talked to the camp director Gina Paulhus, gym owner Tony Retrosi and two campers to find out what made this weekend such a sucess.
The clinics by the pool that made this camp unique: dealing with fear and mental blocks, physical therapy sessions, and a class on nutrition for the adult gymnast with tips on balancing snacks and meals between work and family on the way to the gym.
Why Tony Retrosi, gym owner and coach, supports adult gymnastics and the adult camp.
Campers Ryan and Stefane explain how the camp accommodated:
different gymnastics and fitness levels
people who didn’t do every event
made the schedule reasonable for all levels
helped everyone feel welcome by hosting everything from dinners to beach trips
The fun awards Gina created to make each camper feel special.
Tony’s advice on the best student to coach ratio for adult gymnastics classes.
How to identify the right coach for an adult gymnastics class.
Afraid to try adult gymnastics? Stefane and Ryan explain how adult gymnastics has helped them find their community and why they recommend it to others.
Related Links

Find out how to watch P&G Championships (the US National Gymnastics Championships) and hear Samantha Peszek and Evan Heiter do reprise last year’s commentary fabulousness on the official website pgchamps.com
Find out more about Adult Gymnastics Camp Director, competitive adult gymnast and personal trainer, Gina Paulhus here.
Tony Retrosi’s website is gymmomentum.com
Here is Gina’s article with details on the schedule, costs, demographics, staffing and photos of adult gymnastics camp!

Adult Training Camp Review

10 Things Parents Want Coaches to Know | JAG GYM Blog

Source: 10 Things Parents Want Coaches to Know | JAG GYM Blog

1. I love my child so much it hurts. It makes me a little irrational. Please bare with me. Be gentle. My heart is walking around outside of me, and I entrust it to you. I am not asking for a free pass, just a little empathy.
2. And of course, I want you to love my child too. I realize you have many kids to love, but let’s admit it…mine is really awesome.
3. Despite what my actions might suggest, I want to be a good parent. I really do. So much so that I am prone to making mistakes because I over think things. I need your help in guiding me on how to be the best support for my child-athlete. If you think I am doing something that isn’t good for my child (like watching every practice or constantly bailing her out when she leaves her gym bag at home), communicate that with me. I am all for help from the village.
4. I need more information. I don’t understand things and that make me anxious. I need to understand how kids move up. I need to understand how to explain to my child what she needs to do to move on with her friends or to know that she won’t be so I can explain that to her. When I don’t have information from you, I rely on other parents, the internet or I make things up myself. We both know that this is hardly a good thing…
5. Because remember: I don’t speak gymnastics. To me a giant is a character in a fairy tale. Kip is a guy with top siders and a country club membership. And don’t get me started on Tsukahara or Yurchenko… Then, once I think I have the hang of what the levels all mean, things change, and I am confused again. Is level 6 easier than level 5 or is that just my imagination?
6. Just because I ask you a question, does not mean I am questioning your competence. I genuinely don’t understand things and need clarification. Please try not to be defensive. I am working hard to assume good faith and hope you will assume the same in me.
7. Big surprises freak me out. They freak everyone out. If my child isn’t going to move up or is missing a major skill she needs for competition, please tell me in time for me to prepare her or better yet help her achieve her goal. I know that delivering bad news is not fun for you, but if you tell me in advance I can maybe do something about it. And if bad news is unavoidable, be sensitive in how you deliver bad news but tell me the truth. In private, please.
8. Please understand we are juggling a variety of commitments and that means sometimes we might be late or even miss practice. I understand that gymnastics is your career and it makes it harder for you to do your job if my child isn’t in the gym. But occasionally a sibling’s first communion or grandma’s 90th birthday will fall on a day of practice or even a meet. And, once a year we travel to visit family and once another time we will actually scape enough cash together to go on a vacation. Sometimes the carpool falls through and I cannot get her little brother from soccer at 5pm and be on the other side of town to drop her at practice at the same exact time. We accept any logical consequences that arise because of her absence from the gym and will do our best to notify you in advance, but please do not take your anger or disappointment out on her.
9. You are the expert on the sport and my child as an athlete, but I am the expert on my child. Please know that I will always defer to you on what to teach my child, but I can provide insight to you on who she is. For instance, if one of my children says she’s not feeling well, I might take it with a grain of salt. If my other who has never missed a day of school in her life and never gets sick says that, I am certain its true. Let’s work together to share what we know so we can best understand her.
10. If you have a chance, can you encourage my kid to read, straighten our her room and be nice to her parents and siblings? You see, you have a magical influence over my child. She worships you and wants you to be proud of her. You are her role model. And I am grateful for that and am happy to bring you Starbucks whenever you need a caffeine boost.

Functional Path Training: Coach John Wooden – A Twitter Coach

Source: Functional Path Training: Coach John Wooden – A Twitter Coach

John Wooden died June 4, 2010 at age 99. Twitter was founded in 2006. He retired in 1975 thirty-one years before Twitter yet he was a twitter coach. Why? How? We know that Coach Wooden is acknowledged as one of the greatest coaches of all time in any sport. Fortunately during his last season coaching in 1974-75 two psychologists Roland Tharp & Ronald Gallimore studied his methods and reported on his coaching style. (Tharp, R. G. and Gallimore, R. (1976). Basketballs John Wooden: What a coach can teach a teacher. Psychology Today, 9 (8), 74-78. (Tharp & Gallimore, 1976)) In their observations of 2,326 discrete acts of teaching during thirty hours of practice they observed the following:

6.9% were compliments

6.6% were expressions of discipline


They were short, punctuated, numerous and seldom longer that twenty seconds! There were no lectures or long drawn out harangues. There was minimal use of praise and reproofs. What does this have to with Twitter, not much directly until you think about what Twitter is intended to do – Get you message across in 140 Characters. That is what John Wooden did and he was doing it years before Twitter was invented. He was a Twitter coach before there was Twitter. There is a powerful lesson here for all of us to be Twitter coaches, know your message and convey that message in 20 seconds or less (140 Characters). If it is longer than that forget it, because the athlete is not going to get it. Be a Twitter coach and improve your effectiveness as a teacher.

If you want to learn more Wooden’s teaching methods I suggest you read Yo Haven’t Taught Until They Have Learnedby Swen Nater & Gallimore and a 2004 follow-up to Gallimore & Tharp’s original study in the Sport Psychologist journal (Gallimore & Tharp, 2004). For additional insights into his growth as a coach I suggest you read: Wooden: A Coaches Life by Seth Davis. His success did not happen by chance. It was an unbeatable combination of impeccable preparation and sound teaching.

Adult Training Camp Review


Adult Gymnastics Training Camp Portsmouth–Review
by Gina Paulhus

July 17-19 the first ever all-adult gymnastics training camp took place in Portsmouth, NH. The camp was born out of the idea that it would nice for adult gymnasts to have a judgement free zone to learn drills and technique while also having the opportunity to socialize outside of the gym. Plus, it’s a great excuse to take a trip to the Seacoast in the summer!

Our slogan was ‘Proud to Hang Around Bars All Night.’ Which didn’t exactly happen–because most of the athletes turned in early to keep up with the rigorous schedule of the training camp. There was 14 hours of gymnastics planned over two and a half days. The athletes ranged in age from 23 to 61.

The camp attracted gymnasts from Across the USA in addition to a couple of athletes from Canada and the UK.

The camp was able to accommodate the needs of the beginner gymnast all the way up through USAG/AAU/NAIGC competitive level 9.  To keep a positive atmosphere we listened to a variety of 90s music (a huge request!). NEXT YEAR- WE MAY GET A DJ!

Friday night after warm-ups we split into groups (the athletes were divided by level into 3 separate groups). These groups were called ‘Stone Age,’ ‘Paleolithic Age’ and ‘Ice Age.’ Everyone was full of excitement and eager to get on the equipment. Friday night we focused on physical preparation for warm-up purposes, floor basics, bar basics, and beam. We met for a quick dinner at Chipotle’s and a few ambitious campers hit up downtown Portsmouth.

Saturday included two training sessions. In addition to the four women’s artistic events, we offered a dance warmup, a men’s event warmup, and individual and group sessions with Dave Burchuk from Lighthouse Physical Therapy. There was an option for choreography critique as well. Sandwiched between the two trainings we had Mental Training and Nutrition for Gymnastics clinics by the pool. Everyone enjoyed a dinner out together Saturday night, and some even snuck in a trip for ice cream.

Sunday started bright and early–8am. We had a morning training and then an afternoon training. Morning training included a conditioning option, which many of the adults were interested in. This impressed me since people were getting pretty sore by now! The presence of a TV camera filming for the NH Chronicle perked everyone up for the afternoon training. We also had an optional show in the afternoon where the groups presented what they had worked on at camp. We presented 12 awards, including an award for:
Good Samaritan–For always looking out for the safety of other campers–Abbie Green of Cambridge MA

Most Last Minute–for emailing me at 1am on Friday night asking if she could come to camp on Saturday morning–Jill Lacedonia of CT

Best Dancer–for her spontaneous outburst of dancing to ‘Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy’–Traci from PA
Gym Nerd—for his disturbing recount of fluff pieces shown in 1996—Stefane Tiki Victor from DC

After awards we hit up Wallis Sands Beach in Rye, and ended camp with a lovely seafood dinner up in Kittery.

Congratulations to all the friendly, hardworking athletes who came to our first camp. The athletes did a tremendous job pacing themselves and also listening and incorporating the corrections given by the staff. We used a white board to list the skills that were learned or improved at camp and it was an amazing accomplishment for this seasoned group of adult gymnasts. Camp was abuzz with discussions about ‘next year…’ which means that this camp will have to be an annual event!

The Adult Gymnastics Staff for 2015 were:
Lara Weed, Allison Brisson, Ryleigh Osborn, Alexis Nault, Eileen Palazzolo, Cori Cunningham, Andrea Pye, Gina Paulhus and Dave Burchuk (physical therapy).
Our Host:
Atlantic Gymnastics, Portsmouth NH
Our Mentor and Inspiration for camp:
Tony Retrosi
I am in the process of choosing video and photos to share. Look for a future post with more photos and video! And if you are interested in coming to next year’s camp, please contact me:

gina @ homeexercisecoach.com.

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