A day in the life of: A Gymnast

This article is part of the CCA Previews for 2016.

by Callie Yap (16S06A), Rachael Lim (16S06H) and Nicole Neo (16A01C)

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It is 6pm, and the sun is setting. Students are leaving the school grounds, probably making their way to a good meal to end the long school day. Meanwhile, some students remain in the gymnasium. Having changed into training attire, they are warming up with some stretching. For them, this is when the day begins. This is a day in the life of a gymnast.

Gymnastic routines may look effortless at competitions, but a lot of hard work lies beneath the showy appearance. Gymnasts are only given a few minutes on the mat/trampoline, but hours, days and for some, even years have been spent on training for that short amount of time.

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Trainings are 3 hours long, and begin with warm-ups, then physical training (PT). PT ranges from jumps and core workouts to rope skipping, and maybe even self-designed circuit training. It may be tough, but it is an essential part of helping gymnasts complete their demanding routines.

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We then proceed to cool down with some even cooler stretching, which is done according to our individual flexibility for optimum results. The back bends and oversplits may seem daunting at first, but with personal determination and lots of motivation from batch mates, you’ll eventually achieve those feats with more ease and gain a sense of accomplishment!

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For rhythmic gymnasts, the rest of training is spent on fundamental skills such as leg kicks, leaps, balances and pirouettes. Mastering the basics takes endless drilling and hard work, but will go a long way in helping us execute our moves with accuracy, grace and poise on the gymnastics floor!

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This exciting buildup leads to the last (and most fulfilling and enjoyable) part of training – apparatus time! As we execute various moves with the apparatus, colourful ribbons, shimmery hoops, glitzy balls and handy clubs start to decorate the gymnastics mat. This is also the time when we get to unleash our inner creative genius as we choreograph and practise our competition routines, as well as learn new skills (that can be shared with friends and showcased on Instagram). :-)

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As trampoline gymnasts, we spend the majority of training doing what most students are not allowed to – jumping on the trampoline! If you’re looking for a CCA that gives you an adrenaline rush every training, look no further. This is definitely a sport that challenges you both physically and mentally, but with the help of our experienced, caring, and (mostly) humorous coach, and the support and encouragement from your batchmates, your fear will instantly become excitement.

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Trampolining is the closest we can possibly get to the feeling of flying; being able to flip and twist mid-air is always something we look forward to.

We begin with warm-up jumping to perfect our form and increase our jumping height, and if we’re in luck, sometimes while wearing weights!

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The rest of training is spent working on our competition routine (the full 10 points routine for experienced gymnasts, or the 8.5 points option for beginners) from learning the basics, to mastering the individual skills, then slowly linking them together, to finally being able to perform the full routine on the trampoline.

(Fun fact!: Many of our current members had no prior experience in gymnastics at all before joining Raffles Gym, and they haven’t looked back ever since.)

If you are new to this sport and concerned about not being able to handle it, that is something you don’t have to worry about! Training might seem tough in the beginning, but with the willingness and courage to try new things, a lot of practice and the help of our amazing coaches, once you’ve mastered the basics you’ll be ready to flip and twirl with us in no time.

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At the end of the day, we can’t promise that you will find Olympic-standard gymnasts, neither can we guarantee gold medals. Rather, what you will find in Raffles Gymnastics are gymnasts who are passionate about what they do. You will find a lot of fun and laughter even through the pain. You will find a family that is warm, encouraging, and supportive.

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