Original Article By Sarah Blazonis – Wednesday, February 18, 2015
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NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. — Learning never really stops at Gleason’s Gymnastics, but experienced gymnasts like Madison Beuchet, who began practicing about five years ago, say that working toward that next level is part of the fun.
“Pushing yourself until you can’t anymore and learning new things and meeting new people,” Madison said.
“When I first started, I wasn’t very good at vault or bars, but now I think that I’m pretty good at bars and I’m getting better at vault,” said Annalisa Page.
What keeps them going?
“The coaches push me, and I just want to get better at gymnastics,” Annalisa said.
“A lot of the skills don’t come very easily, so they have to be willing to go through a series of progressions to get them,” said Patrick Goldsmith, gymnastics coach. “It really teaches them to work for what they’re trying to achieve.”
At practice, the gymnasts start out with stretching and strength exercises, then alternate among different stations to hone their skills. Even if these young athletes decide down the road that gymnastics isn’t for them and they want to pursue a different sport, instructors say these lessons will still come in handy.
“The balance beam really helps develop motor skills for younger girls. The bars are very strength-heavy. You developing running skills for vaulting and tumbling,” Goldsmith said.
They’re also developing confidence. Gleason’s students regularly put their moves to the test in competitions, and with help from coaches and that inner drive to succeed, they say taking that next step is more fun than nerve-wracking.