Video: Week of practices help prepare gymnasts for weekend meets

Tyler Goddard

KentWired Video

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The No.19 Kent State gymnastics team competes in weekend meets, which gives the team a full week of preparation.

The NCAA allows for 20 hours of practice time per week with a limit of four hours per day.

The biggest difference in a gymnastics practice, compared to other sports, is the laid-back atmosphere of the practices.

The routines are individualized; therefore, not as much coaching interaction is needed compared to team sports where the coach directs something at the entire team.

Sharon Sabin, Kent State assistant coach, said the first thing the team does is stretches for about a half hour.

“Gymnastics is really about flexibility and body shapes and alignments to do certain skills,” Sabin said.

After a team meeting, the girls move on to practice their assigned routines.

Sabin said most of the girls usually practice three different events per day.

Sophomore Lauren Wozniak trains for three different events, which include floor exercise, balance beam and vault. Wozniak said sometimes the girls will alternate events and perform them on different days to keep their legs fresh for the competition.

Junior Rachel Goldenberg competes in the floor exercise and vault for the Golden Flashes. She said after all the sets and drills are finished, some of the girls will go through mental sets to simulate a pressure situation.

“We put ourselves in the pressure situation in our heads so we can really prepare for what’s going to be in the meet ahead,” Goldenberg said.

Music is also a big part of the team’s practice as well.

Wozniak and Goldenberg said they prefer a more up-tempo genre of music, like rap or hip-hop. Music helps the team practice routines that involve songs like the floor exercise.

Sabin said jokingly that the girls have different tastes in music than the coaches, but they try to be flexible. When it comes to a meet, the coaches make the final choice on what song suits a specific girl the best.

The Flashes (8-2-1, 2-1 MAC) return home to host Western Michigan on Feb. 27 at 1 p.m., where the team will host the annual “Flip For The Cure” to benefit cancer research.

Contact Tyler Goddard at [email protected].