Coaches target team’s improvement on beam

Katie Corbut

The Kent State gymnastics team aims to regain confidence in their performances on beam, an event that has seen falls that have lowered the team’s overall score.

After last Friday’s win, the coaches sat down with the gymnasts to reiterate their confidence in the team as a whole but reinforced the need for more toughness on beam.

“We’re not going to have any new people start training beam, so we’re going to have to work with what we have,” assistant coach Sharon Sabin said. “We’ve been setting our goals too high, looking at the whole season was a little much for some of these kids. Sometimes you have to take a couple steps back.”

The coaches told the gymnasts the new goal is to make five out of six routines on each event because the team counts the top five scores. The gymnasts were asked to set personal goals practice by practice, day by day. This new mindset, junior Danielle Durbin said, is the result of the added pressure on beam.

“It’s obviously hard to see the beam team fall, especially how consistent most of them are in practice,” Durbin said. “Each meet is a new meet and we are all trying to improve the team score.”

Last week’s victory against Northern Illinois and Rutgers at the ‘Flip for the Cure’ meet showcased the Flashes’ strength on the bars and floor. Durbin, along with senior Lydia Barrett and junior Christine Abou-Mitri recorded season-best scores at the meet.

Sabin was particularly impressed with Durbin’s routine, and was glad to see her finally get to show what she’s capable of doing.

“It was fun to see Danielle finally come through,” Sabin said. “She’s been working really hard and that’s the thing with your depth in the team. You have to have your kids ready because you never know what’s going to happen.”

Sabin said the coaches stress that the gymnasts cannot simply be competitors.

“You can’t just say, ‘oh I’ll do it on meet day,’” Sabin said. “I wouldn’t be a very good coach if I trusted that. I want to see it every day. I don’t want to go into a meet wondering what’s going to happen.”

Sabin said she believes that when a gymnast can make nine out of 10 routines in practice every day, in the meet she will become more comfortable and confident.

Sunday, the Flashes will face Ball State in conference action. The Cardinals are not traditionally one of the most competitive teams in the MAC, but, Sabin said, “This year, they’ve been having one of their better years.”

Contact sports reporter Katie Corbut at [email protected].