An athlete’s guide on how to succeed in sports

Andrew Adelhardt, Lauren Rudman, and Contributing Writers

When the team first started this season, there was a slight feeling of discouragement when only 11 girls showed up to tryouts.

However, as the season progressed, our initial feelings were proven wrong after we won our first meet.  As a team, we have learned the importance of working together in order to achieve not only our team goals, but our individual goals as well.

Gymnastics is a sport that requires discipline and dedication for improvement.  While it is very much an individual sport, it also takes encouragement and advice from teammates to help the individual excel.

Our practices begin at 3:30 and end at 6, starting with setting up the four events: beam, bars, floor and vault and finishing with breaking them down.  After running laps and stretching on the floor, as a team, we do line drills.  These drills ranging from the most basic skills (jumps, leaps, and turns) to our tumbling passes (back-handsprings, whip-backs, and other saltoes.)  After line drills, we split to our individual events and work on our routines and new skills.

Meets are scored based on individual routines on each of the four events.  Judges pay attention to every aspect of the routine.  From pointed toes to steps after dismounts, everything can affect your score out of 10.  Each event requires a certain number of A, B, and C skills (A being the easiest and C being the most difficult).  On vault, most girls perform a front handspring or a half-on.

The uneven bars require more thought and strength to make routines flow in a way the judges will enjoy.  Beam and floor are similar in that they both require a great deal of endurance.  Beam routines must be between a minute and a minute and a half.

It requires balance and focus to perform while the gym is silent and all eyes are on you.  Finally, floor is often the most exciting but also the most challenging event.

Floor requires an extreme amount of  stamina due to the three intensive tumbling passes and leap, jump, and dance sequences.  It is all about impressing the judges, from smiling, slicking your hair back, to not wearing nail polish, every girl must present herself in a way that is appropriate in the judges eyes.

Captains Lauren Rudman, Olivia Ressa, and Sam Hoffman, anticipate a great end of the season to come and are proud of the team’s achievements thus far.

 

~ Lauren Rudman, Gymnastics

 

As sports journalist Christopher McDougall once said, “If you don’t think you were born to run you’re not only denying history.  You’re denying who you are.”

The great thing about running is how people of all ages, skill levels and genders can find their niche.  Whether it’s a Sunday afternoon run or the New York City Marathon, running is a sport for everyone.

In seventh grade, I went out for the Cross Country team with hopes of staying in shape for my next season of basketball.  It wasn’t until my first race that I stopped treating it like a never-ending workout.

I then experienced the exhilarating, competitive yet supportive atmosphere of running a race.  I learned that the sport that initially looks like a grueling, masochistic venture for the strong-minded is really a group movement with a goal of mutual success.

Unlike other sports when the competitive edge can get the best of people, running a great time or winning a race is a success for the whole sport.

The sport that began as a workout has progressed to a lifestyle.  Running dictates the decisions I make, the food I eat, and the effort I put in.  It has taught me the true relationship between hard work and success, and the discipline needed to achieve a goal.

Due to the individuality of the sport, starting is the easiest part.  An easy way to get started is jogging a loop around the block.

For the first week I would recommend adding an eighth to a quarter of mile every other day until your lungs, legs and mind warm up to taking a run around town. You might be sore at first, but you’ll eventually get used to it. As we all know, people are “born to run.”

~ Andrew Adelhardt, Boys Winter Track