The nine gymnasts from the Ormond Beach gymnastics program are heading to Perry for a gymnastics meet they have no reason to stress about.
BY MATT MENCARINI | STAFF WRITER
Just days before a gymnastics meet, after having worked for months to prepare, coach George Postell emphasizes the same thing he has all along.
“I let the kids have fun,” he said. “Even during the competition. You get coaches that think the way to get through to the kids is to yell, yell, yell. And I don’t think that’s the best way.”
Postell’s nine gymnasts will compete Feb. 23 and 24, in Perry, during the Amateur Athletic Union 2nd State Qualifier. It’s the second of three qualifiers before the state meet, in April. But all nine of the gymnasts, including six competing for the first time, qualified in their first qualifying round.
To train first-time gymnasts, Postell said he starts with the basics and progresses as they learn the skills.
“Everything is progressional,” he said. “So by the time they're ready to compete, they’ve pretty much done all the skills they need to do. They just need to know the order in which to do them now.”
Among the three returning gymnasts is Allison Strauser, who goes to Seabreeze and is the gymnast from which Postell expects the most.
“She hasn’t competed in two years,” he said. “And so she’s pretty much coming out of retirement, so to speak, for her last hurrah. ... So I expect big things out of her because she’s been in the gym since she was, I’m going to say, 6 (years old).”
Strauser competes at Level 7 Modified Optional. There are 10 levels, but after Level 7, there’s an in-between level, Modified Optional, which allows gymnasts to add a little creativity to the Level 7 routines before making the jump to Level 8.
Gymnastics competitions are governed by USA Gymnastics, even though the competitions are AAU, and as a result, Postell and the other coaches are given a training book each year, which lays out the routines for each level.
“We train our Level 2s at least four months prior to the competition,” Postell said. “And as you go up in levels, the skill requirements are higher, so you focus on them a little longer.”
With his entire team already qualified after just the first round, which Postell says hasn’t happen the past few years, the remaining meets can be used as low-stress training.
“Now they can relax a little bit,” he said, “and enjoy it and go out there and have fun.”