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Archive for January, 2009

As a coach I know the power of rewards for achieving a big goal and I am know for giving out prizes for big milestones in my gymnasts’ learning. For example, a press handstand is a really big deal skill – especially for the girls in the TOPS program, and since they are trying to do multiple presses, like 5 or 10, a new leotard is the perfect reward for months of work towards this goal.

Destira leotards for gymnastics

My girls have been working hard and have cleared out my stash of leos I picked up at USAG Congress this summer. Since we love Destira leotards, that was the first place I checked. Destira has a great deal on their grab bag leotards – they are $13 each. You don’t get to pick your grab bag leotard, it’s a surprise, but as you can see from the picture above, all six of the grab bag leotards I ordered are adorable!

Grab bag leos are great for prizes, camp, practice and really just about anything!  And to make a great deal even better, you can use Sports Girls Play’s exclusive coupon code and save 10% off your entire order. Enter GEARUP10 at checkout and the discount will automatically be applied.

Categories : Deals, Gymnastics, Videos
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I tuned in to the US Figure Skating Championships over the weekend. With the 2010 Olympic Games right around the corner I wanted to see some of the faces to watch for myself.

Alissa Czisny was just the most gorgeous performer on the ice. Her costume was one of the most stunning outfits I have seen in ice skating in ages and I can’t help but think she looks a bit like Nancy Kerrigan with her long lines and huge smile. While she made a mistake in the long program, Alissa was clearly the winner in my eyes – others are not so sure.

Rachael Flatt may be very consistent and technically clean, but as far as I am concerned, her performances are a little bit… flat.  I have seen her skate a few times now and I just never get captivated by her performances. She definitely needs to learn to sell her routine to the judges and the crowd a bit more before taking to the ice in Vancouver.

Mirai Nagasu reminds me of so many upper level athletes in their teens. She has invested so much time in her sport and is now fighting her body (injuries, puberty, growing). Mirai was almost in tears as she took to the ice – seriously looking like she dreaded the moment. However, as she completed each move and landed each jump you could see her confidence and enjoyment return slowly. By the end of the performance she was smiling and truly happy with herself. I really like her skating and hope this was a the beginning of her return to the top.

caroline-zhangCaroline Zhang is definitely one to watch! The 15 year old knows how to sell her skating and captivates you with her gorgeous dance, big jumps, and you can tell she is really into it.

Ashley Wagner was the winner of the long program and unfortunately I did not see her performance.

Top skaters Kimmie Meissner and Emily Hughes were out with injuries – hopefully they will be back in competition soon.

It will be interesting to see which of these seven women will be representing the United States in the 2010 Olympic Games. Who do you think will make it? Or is it too soon to predict?

Caroline Zhang photo Flickr

Categories : Ice Skating, Olympics
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stretchingThe other day I was training a client and as we were walking a cool down lap I heard some ladies discussing stretching. Should they or shouldn’t they? Should their athletic kids stretch or shouldn’t they? Well the answer is Yes and No for both groups with different application and rationale depending on what you are trying to accomplish.

Without getting to technical, but giving you a basic overview the stretching before activity camp of fans say that stretching before beginning the official workout help the muscles not only warm but elongate to improve the performance of the activity and prevent injury. Okay, most of us moms that were active in our younger days did this type of warm up and we are still here to tell the story, basically injury free.

The dynamic stretching camp says that the muscles become somewhat  sedated after you sit, and chat and stretch the muscles, therefore a dynamic stretch such as drills etc. get your muscles just as warm and elongated  in preparation for the workout as a static stretch as well, as getting them better prepared for ballistic , fast movements.  Static stretching has its place, but only at the end of a workout and end of a day as a pre-sleep stretch routine to help flexibility.  Which is very important for any athlete’s. If you e-mail me at [email protected], I will send you a copy of this pre-sleep routine.

Here’s my personal take on it. YES and NO.

An athlete is an individual and needs to be viewed as such. I believe that for the sake of time a dynamic stretch is a better use of the time and it keeps the kids head in the game or in this case the workout as a routine to become better at their chosen sport of interest. My husband, Coach Henry incorporates a nice static stretch of the large muscle groups within the dynamic stretching part of his warm- up (my idea). We both feel it serves the kids the best before they begin the training phase of the workout.

We do the same dynamic stretches and static stretches every work out. The rationale is to informing the body and the brain what is about to occur through repetition. Either a workout or rest.

I believe there is some truth to the fact of a sedated muscle (although stretched muscle) with a static stretch. Why sit or stand quietly when you need to begin the mental and physical pump up in practice or a sporting activity such as racing, jumping throwing or swimming to name a few.  I also believe that as an athlete comes to know her body and the way it should feel to perform properly.

Perhaps they need a bit of static, perhaps they need none, perhaps parents and coaches should be more open to new information at the same time not willing to throw all  the old.

No one has  the definitive on this very important part of the work out so that is where the coaching and parenting come in use your best informed judgment and your parent intuition. That’s what I always do in the end. It hasn’t failed me yet.

Get more great insight on injury prevention, nutrition, youth sports and of course track, at Dr. Lorraine Williams’ web site,


Categories : Injuries
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