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  • Writer's pictureThe Mamas

A Gymnast in Quarantine by Avery Rappaport

Gymnastics is not an easy sport. We train almost 20 hours a week or more and never get a break. Sometimes a break is nice from a sport, but as gymnasts would not know what to do with themselves because we are constantly training. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to cease our normal training regimens and abruptly realize a new normal. I know for me personally, this situation is all unknown. We don’t know when we are going back to the gym or even how our teammates and coaches are doing. We are fortunate that there is a lot of technology to see friends through Zoom or other platforms, but it isn’t the same as in person. It leaves an empty void in all of us.

The hardest part for me is trying to find activities around my house that will help me stay in shape to return to the gym. I have been working out physically and mentally to get my body in shape for when the time comes to start gymnastics again. Unlike soccer or basketball where you can train outdoors with drills, gymnastics is hard if you don’t have the equipment. Furthermore, it isn’t safe to train without proper equipment and instruction. I have been running daily and doing other abdominal and arm exercises to keep me in shape. I just completed my first 5K virtually as part of the Flippin’ 5K gymnastics event! This accomplishment helped me keep my mind focused as well. Setting small goals to maintain a sense of success is also important during this time away from the gym. As gymnasts, we do this in the gym everyday and don’t even realize it. Learning a new skill, finishing a beam assignment, or just having a real good practice…these type of goals help us stay focused and hungry for our sport. I’m enjoying trying something new and training my mind outside the gym.

Just remember, we are all in the same boat. This is not easy for any of us during such an unsettling time. But there are also some good things that come from our time being home. Maybe you get to spend more time with family members you haven’t been as close with, or just more family time in general. Have you been on a long bike ride? Taken a hike as a family? I have explored the outdoors way more than ever before, and I have definitely had more sit-down weekly family meals in the last 4 weeks than I have since I started gymnastics. I know it’s hard not to see the people you normally hang out with on a daily basis, but everything happens for a reason. It is an ideal time to find a new hobby or read a book. I just finished a diamond art painting and truly enjoyed quiet time concentrating on a project outside of distance learning at school.

We should also use this time to heal our injuries and sore muscles that developed during season. The season is very taxing on our bodies. We overwork our routines on each event to be perfect for the upcoming meets. While it is very upsetting that our seasons were cut short, we can’t think negatively. Through this upsetting time, we all need to stay positive. Positivity is one thing at my gym that we have been working on. I am using this positivity as the days in quarantine go by, to tell myself that when gymnastics happens again, I will come back better than ever.. Having a positive outlook can truly impact our mood and results.

Everyone in the gymnastics world is uniting as one during this quarantine to show that we can get through this together. Between online gym school by Sam Peszek and Cory Tomlinson and Gotham gymnastics live workouts daily, it is proof that the gymnastics world is joining together to help every one of us gymnasts maintain our strength, flexibility, and mental gymnastics in order to come back stronger than ever. Gyms are the not the same without happy gymnasts around, and they are anxiously waiting for the ability to open back up. All the coaches are missing every single athlete and are just as eager as we are to get back in the gym. The most important thing to remember during this time is that we are all in the same boat. None of the gyms are open, all of our seasons came to an end at the same time, and everything is unknown. During this challenging period, focus on your body, stay healthy and enjoy the family time. The gyms will open before we know it, and we will be back in our happy place soon!

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