In this guest post, Gena Abong shares the story of her daughter's introduction to gymnastics at a birthday party, falling in the love with the sport, and finding a gym that meets her training needs and wants right where they are.
Thank you for sharing your story, Gena!
Love at First Flip
Jennalyn is a 9-year-old gymnast living in California. This is the story of how her gymnastic journey began.
It all started after she once got invited to a birthday party at our local gymnastics gym. At the end of the party, she got to spin a prize wheel and she won a free month trial of gymnastics. I was on the fence about having her do gymnastics because of how hard it is on the body and the potential for injuries. However, she wowed the instructors her very first class and got asked to join their invitational training level 2 team. I could sense the love she had for this sport and it was only her second time stepping into a gym.
She would train at home trying to do the stretches and skills she learned in class. My couch would become a balance beam and the door jams were dirty from her climbing up them. We knew we were in trouble because she absolutely fell in love with this sport. She competed level two and three at this gym.
Thanks to YouTube she was watching young gymnasts train for TOPS. She was amazed of the conditioning, and skills these girls were doing. She wanted to do the same thing. We searched for new a gym that was able to offer this. That is when we found Rodina Elite Gymnastics Academy. We did a couple different tryouts just to make sure that this is what she wanted to do because it was more intense than what she was used to doing. It was taking gymnastics to a whole other level for her and the family. This would mean we would be traveling close to 2 hours round trip from home to gym, and longer hours in the gym. It is a huge commitment that she would really have to commit on top of her school work. It has been a year in a half at our new gym and she loves it.
Determination, Discipline, and Gym Sisterhood
The life skills gymnastics teaches these girls is incredible. I am floored by the determination being in the gym 16-plus hours a week and still wanting to go back. It teaches her discipline, courage, respect, perseverance and basically to be her best self. Jennalyn’s favorite part about her gymnastics career is the relationship and bonds she has formed with her gym sisters. They cheer each other on and help their gym sisters conquer any mental blocks. A wise coach told me gymnastics is like a marathon not a race. Everyone will be at different levels and go at their own pace. I think it is important to talk to your gymnast about why they fell in love with this sport and what are their goals. Even though this is a competitive sport they should also be having fun and love what they are doing.
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