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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Re-learned trick of the day!

Today I was all

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Your Daily Dose of Gymnastics: Kristie Phillips

One time my dad came home with this awesome magazine for me:

which I later cut up to use on a gymnastics-themed mobile for a school project.

Kristie Phillips is probably the only gymnast ever to appear on Sports Illustrated in a non-Olympic issue. I was a superfan!

In what's probably her first television appearance at only 12 years old, she already has a really creative, unique routine. (Creativity--remember that?) Notable in the commentary is that a) at first they think she's falling on her signature mount, and b) when you don't know anything about gymnastics but are serving as a commentator, all you can think to remark on is the size of a girl's feet.

Here she is at her best:

Unfortunately, gymnastics being gymnastics--pressure, hype, growth spurts, injuries, bad days-- she just missed making the 1988 Olympic team.

But what's great about Kristie Phillips is that she didn't let that disappointment define her gymnastics legacy or the rest of her life. After checking college cheerleading and stunt work off her list, and starring in a completely fabulous straight-to-video low budget action flick which I will someday sit down and watch in its entirety, she reappeared in 1999 at age 27 with enough difficulty to compete at Nationals.

These days she owns a gym, and while I'm busting my butt just trying to kip (and granted, she's a child prodigy and I'm just a regular gal), she can do this at 39:

Jordan Jovtchev, Oksana Chusovitina, and Kristie Phillips too-- proof positive that, given the right conditions--encouraging event specialists, competing teams of 6 or 7 instead of 4 or 5-- gymnasts could absolutely extend their elite careers well into adulthood. And maybe even us regular gals could still have a little fun in the gym, three kids later, at thirtysomething years old. All for the love of the sport.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Kips and Kitties

Guess who did a kip today! ME!

Back in March, considering the possibilities of relearning a kip at 35--er, 36 now-- I asked, "Will it take a month? Six months? A year?" (Read about that here).

I realize now that labeling one post "KipQuest 2012" was pretty optimistic. After all, we're nearly into 2013.

After a bit of a slacker summer (it's hard to haul three kids to the nursery at the Y three or four times a week), I've been sticking to a good weekly workout schedule: usually one day of cross train class, one day of random treadmill/machines/stretching in the gym, and one day of kickbox/hiphop class. I feel great, but I still hadn't tried a kip since my failed attempt in December.

For a couple of months now, I've been teaching a preschool gymnastics class twice a week. Actually, I should probably consider that part of my workout schedule, because a class of 2, 3, and 4 year olds will keep you on your toes! It's been such a fun challenge to come up with new ideas and creative ways to teach gymnastics-type skills to tiny little toddlers. The kids seem to have a great time, and teaching this class now, as a mother of three, brings a whole new perspective and understanding that I didn't grasp as a teenage beginning coach. It's also a bit like herding cats. Very cute little cats in leotards that ask to go to the potty a lot.

Anyway, not wanting a bunch of sweet little tots to find a twisted pile of decrepit old broken limbs upon their arrival, I hadn't actually tried to use any of the gymnastics equipment myself. Usually I get there and start setting up equipment in preparation for the class. But today--I felt strong! I felt flexible! I felt uninspired trying to come up with a creative preschool obstacle course. So I figured, might as well have a swing while my brain reboots.

First attempt--strike one! Immediately I felt strained all over. There aren't many common exercises that can adequately compare to the full-body assault that is a gymnastics skill. Maybe burpees? But not exactly. Maybe 10 tight-body perfect-form burpees with a clap in the pushup would be equal to a kip. CrossFitters are like, "what? I'm superstrong!" Yes. That's what gymnastics skills are like. Don't believe me? Try it.

So I decided to go set up a little springboard with a block for the kiddies to jump to. Then an incline mat to roll down, then, I thought, just one more try. So I abandoned my preschool circuit and one more time--jump! Grab! Swing! Toes up, roll the hands, and OOOF--right to the ribs! But yes! I was on top of the bar.

Here's what it looked like.

So, not the flying, floating sensation of my youth. But, that's just the first one.

After class, I tried two more. Falls, both of them. But to my credit, that was AFTER frog jumps and bunny hops horsey gallops and snowball rolls and wall walks and tumble track and swingy swings. Preschoolers--if I can handle them, I can handle a kip.