Members of the Smithers Saltos gymnastics club and their coach Marcel Dubroy wallow in their new foam pit. Dubroy says that this equipment is vital in the development of gymnastic athletes.Tom Best photo

Members of the Smithers Saltos gymnastics club and their coach Marcel Dubroy wallow in their new foam pit. Dubroy says that this equipment is vital in the development of gymnastic athletes.Tom Best photo

Equipped to flip

New equipment helps Saltos gymnasts learn and have fun

When most of us hear the word “gymnastics” we instantly think about high flying flips and amazing movements on equipment that we remember and fear from our long past youth.

That’s not exactly the reality of the sport. The introductory and developmental phases of the sport are all about learning how to control the body through balance and body movement. It is not something that the vast majority learns very quickly. It takes practice and dedication.

It also takes good coaching and the proper equipment. What we see when we watch at the Olympic level (and that is all that most of us ever see) is the end result of thousands of hours of practice with good coaches.

We see those pieces of equipment that some of us had more than a hard time doing the most basic of maneuvers on, such as the rings and the balance beam.

What about the learning stages of the sport? No one can just walk in the door of the gym and jump up onto the parallel bars and start performing those amazing actions without a little learning and increasingly difficult moves.

Recently the Smithers Saltos gymnastics club has acquired some new equipment that will help make that learning a little, maybe a lot, easier and certainly a lot more fun.

Saltos head coach Marcel Dubroy is a very experienced leader who is always on the lookout for new talent. He’s been with the program for a while now and has had considerable success. Recently the club has been able to add two specific and very useful pieces of equipment that are vital in the development of his young athletes.

The foam pit is not really new but over the course of time, it wears out to a point where it no longer gives the cushion necessary when gymnasts go flying into its cubes. Over and over. Again and again. Lots and lots.

It is not only a piece of equipment for learning, it also is a safe way to learn.

Not only that, it’s fun.

The portable balance beams are not raised from the floor in the same manner as the regular pieces of equipment so falling off is not the same danger. They are only raised from the floor very slightly and they are cushioned. The potential risks involved when performing those amazing movements are reduced considerably and this also means that when trying those movements for the first time, those gymnasts are less likely to become tense and more likely to try.

While there is some sponsorship for the club, this new equipment was purchased through fundraising within the club. All monies raised came from club activities.

Those interested in the program can contact smitherssaltosgymnastics@gmail.com or call 250-847-3547.

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