Behind the scene at Big Rock

Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to tell you a few things that are happening at the gym that you might not know about.

1.  We got some new equipment!!  We now have a tramp spring board that will help greatly with vaulting.  We also got a Forester bar that helps with bar skills and back extension rolls and what I call a torture bar that is supposed to help with posture.  It’s not really torture, just a way to get there arms above there head without us coaches having to say it a million times.  I’ve been looking forward to getting these items all year!


Forester Bar


Torture Bar


Vault Tramp Board






2.  A fun coach game.  We always play games for the kids.  Now it’s the coaches turn.  The kids get to vote for the next three weeks for which coach they preferred on four different coaching subjects. Example – who was the most positive.  The coach with the highest percentage of votes wins 50.00 per category and the runner up gets 25.00.  Just another way we train our coaches to be better.  Let the kids give us feedback.

3.  A clinic for our team kids.  Each year we try to invite guest coaches to come in and SUU_birdmark_logohelp evaluate how we are doing and give us new ideas on how to coach.  This is so beneficial.  We know we don’t know everything and we love to be critiqued too.  It helps us to grow.  The kids love getting a new perspective on tricks they are learning.  This year we’ve been fortunate enough to have these coaches come twice.  They are from SUU and coach the collegiate and Junior Olympic gymnasts.

5663c277241e4991a90223e74d1c429dWe’ll keep pushing forward to grow right a long with your kids.  If you stop learning, you stop growing.  If you stop growing you might as well be dead.

Competition Time! Epic’s Invitational at the Expo Center

Dear Big Rock Enthusiasts,

We just love gymnastics.  Epic Gymnastics hosted a great meet this weekend, January 24th – 25th 2014.  Our girls held it together very well.  I’m so impressed with how they conduct themselves at competitions.  It takes a lot of guts to get out there and do what they do.  They love it but it’s not easy. We have a great Xcel team this year.  I love how the girls support each other. They all get a long famously.  They also have a lot of heart.  Some are learning how to concur their fears, some are learning how tough gymnastics really is.  All in all they are learning and growing.  That is so important to us coaches.  Some successes we had at this meet are the following….

Bronze Level Team took 2nd Place!

Epic Invitational 2nd Place 2014

Bronze Level Girls:

Hanna Kailey took 5th place on Vault with a 9.15 (she flew high!)

Jamie Holt took 1st Place on Bars with a 9.675 (highest bar score so far for a Bronze at our gym)

Sophie Palmer took 3rd place on Bars with a 9.450 (super clean)

Kambree Roberts took 1st place on Bars with a 9.5IMG_0985 (all smiles)

Silver Level Girls:

Ashley Talbot got an 8.7 on Beam and did her back walkover by herself!

Anna Tanner got an 8.050 on Floor and really showed it off!

Kaitlyn Jackman got an 8.750 on Vault and took 1st place (blocked higher than I’ve ever seen her do before)

Marisa Franks got a 9.0 on bars and took 5th place (nice to see a 9.0 on bars in the Silver level, way to go Marisa!)

Alysen Talbot got an 8.45 on beam and also did her back walkover beautifully

Kimmie Christensen go a 9.1 on bars and took 2nd place (can’t wait to see what this girls does next!)


I think our girls do great with the time they are given in the gym.  Our Bronze and Silver level gymnasts spend on average 6 hours a week in the gym.  Most of our competitors for the same levels spend about 9.  I think we do alright for the time we have.  I of course wish we could do more but we have to find a balance for the kids and families involved with gymnastics as well as our coaching schedule.  We love what we do and most importantly we look for success in many different ways, not just how we place on the podium.

How we get trained to train your little ones…

Gymnastics is an extremely complicated and technical sport.  I don’t know of any other 20130814-SLP_4969sport where you have to master so many things.  Let’s think about it… soccer….run, kick a ball…Basketball…run, grab a ball and throw it….Tennis….run, hit a ball with a racket…. My husband would argue that Wrestling/Martial Arts are the hardest.  I just thought about that for a second and yes, I could see how wrestling compares greatly to gymnastics.  So for Dad’s out there reading this, I would say that if you want your daughters as mentally tough and gifted as your wrestling sons, put them in gymnastics.  I guess that is why my husband and I are so perfectly matched.  (for those of you who don’t know, my husband is an incredibly gifted martial artist and wrestler as well as a talented coach)


I got a little side tracked already from my topic so I’ll get back on it.  Coach training for us is an ongoing process.  We spend our entire careers always progressing and learning.  For myself, I started with reading gymnastics training books and looking on in the internet for coaching ideas (there are thousands) so it’s a great source.  I’ve also been certified as a Professional Coach through USA Gymnastics.  USA Gymnastics is our governing body over gymnastics.  They are extremely detailed about how to coach safely and what the best practices are for our industry.  I’ve learned a lot from them.  They do background checks and require two classes to take before you may become a member and then offer many classes to add on so you may progress your education.  I have personally attended many  coaching clinics in the state as well as last years National USA Gymnastics Congress, in Los Angeles.  If you’re wondering where I am this coming week, I’ll be in Park City learning our new Junior Olympic routines.  It’s a four day clinic with the master himself, Tom Knoll.  He’s the one that sets the standards for gymnastics in the US and creates the routines with his partners.  We are so lucky to have this wealth of knowledge coming to this state.  It really helps prepare us for how to compete well.

I also learn a lot just by trial and error.  I suppose that is unfortunate to the kids that learned  my error coaching technique but eh it builds character, right

?!  Of course I would never try a new spotting technique on an untrained student.  I go to clinics that show me how to spot properly.  We’ve also invited several amazing guest coaches to visit us and help us with our technique.

It’s not just me who coaches however.  We have six other amazing coaches, who have all been gymnasts or cheerleaders themselves.  A lot of training comes from just being an athlete yourself.  I’m so lucky to have every single coach at our gym have that background.  Especially in a small town.  They too, look online for coaching techniques, learn from my own coaching clinics I have for them and can occasionally attend a clinic given by other facilities.  We were all recently CPR certified except for our new boys coach Ronnie.  He just started but he will get certified soon.  We also have a coach, Kelly, who is an ER Nurse and has so many certifications that I can’t remember them all.

So as you can see, we take our training seriously and are always looking for exciting new ways to coach.  We strive to be our best.  That is important to us.  I don’t look at these kids and say, it’s ok to be mediocre because we live a small town.  I say these kids should have every opportunity to go for it all the way.  Having an untrained coach will hold you back and I never want to be that coach.  I didn’t grow up here so I don’t understand it when people are ok with just being so so at everything.  But I do love it here because I can be my whole self.  Mostly because I have time to share, learn, create and give.  In a big city I feel rushed and unappreciated because there are so many people fighting for the same thing.  I love this small town and the people in it.  You all contribute to my life’s pursuit of happiness and that’s teaching your kids.  ~Coach Carrie


A Coaching Story

By Coach Carrie

Today I was teaching a child how to get through a fear of a trick on bars.  The trick entailed jumping from the low bar to the high bar.  This girl was pretty tiny in stature so she was very fearful and has been for many months of this skill.  Every time she came to bars she would ask, “Are we jumping to the high bar?”, with this look of agony on her face.  I finally had an extra coach helping me today and not too many kids showed up for class so it allowed me to spend some extra time with her.  Well, I learned so much.

So I started setting up the bars.  First I pulled them close together and ask her, “are you scared?”  She said yes, then I put a mat under the bar to make it seem not so high and asked the same thing.  Still the same response.  Then I put another mat there and finally she said she wasn’t scared to try from that point.  I knew always to start a trick from a place of not having fear.  She responded ok to this but was still scared once she got up there.  I had to spot her and she still jumped to the mat before catching the bar.  So I took her down to the floor and put a bar on the floor for her to jump from to a low bar.  I made sure to put it ridiculously close so she couldn’t say she was scared.  She jumped just fine.  Then I pulled the bar on the ground farther away from the bar she was going to catch and immediately she started to get scared again.  I was stumped!  It wasn’t very far but she just wasn’t trying and still terrified.

I decided to give her control.  She knew the direction I wanted to head with progress but I then let her move the bar when she was ready and comfortable.  I was amazed!!! She moved the bar faster and farther away from the bar on her own than I did trying to push her into it.

Now here is the reason why this coaching method works so well….Kids want to learn and progress.  They know that in there DNA they need to reach out and try.  But that crazy response happens when I try “setting the bar” for them.  They instantly think the opposite thoughts of “this is scary, I’m not ready, I can’t do what she’s asking.”  Even though I think I’m being encouraging by saying, “no you can do it, just try, you’ll see it’s easy.” But only opposite thoughts race through her brain because children also want to naturally resist authority.  But when I handed over the power of making the decision on her own when to jump and how far to jump and even how many times to jump before she moved the bar she forgot all about resisting me and fear.  Now all she saw was a goal to move it farther back.  At the end of it all she was jumping to the high bar without mats underneath her and a complete look of satisfaction on her face along with a giant smile.

I’ve used this coaching method before but never saw in such concrete detail enough to say, “I’ve got it figured out.” It changed her world to be able to push her self with my expectationless support.  Once I gave her the freedom to push her self she set the goal higher than I had and progressed farther and faster.

Moral to the story is…trust your kids.  Let go of the need to have perfection right away.  If they are meant to be perfect at it, they’ll get there.  And if not, they sure did learn a lot trying and actually reap the same benefits, if not more, as the child who did get it perfect.

Our goal is not to make your child perfect at gymnastics but set goals and reach for them whatever there ability is.  Yes, some kids are destined to get great scores and take first place all the time but it’s always the kid that struggles and fights for what they have who appreciate it more.  As long as we see progress and a desire to move forward, they receive immense praise and affection from us.

Think of it like this.  When your child is a baby, is it better to give them the toy they are crawling for or have them work to crawl to it and get it themselves?

Thanks everyone for reading my blogs.  Always grateful.

~Coach Carrie




Fall Sign Ups Begin!!

Hey Everyone!!  It’s a great time to sign your child up for gymnastics.  We begin our new 20130406-SLP_6392season August 26th, 2013.  Here are some key points you’ll want to know about signing up…

1.  Registration is 25.00 per child or 50.00 per family (all current students will need to re-register as well) Please go to our website and download the registration form.  Fill out and bring back to us.

2.  Monthly tuition is due the last week of the month to pay for the new month forward.  If you pay within this time frame you get the EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT.  If after the 1st of the month please add 5.00 to your payment

3.  Please have your child dressed ready to workout.  This means Leotard, tight shorts (skirts get tied up in the bars and coaches hands so we do not prefer them), hair pulled back and jewelry off.  Street clothes are not allowed as zippers, buttons and lose fitting clothing are safety hazards.  Shorts and t-shirt for boys.


POLICIES in our gym (very important)

4.  Please do not leave an unattended child to watch their friend.  We do not allow children to stay and watch for liability reasons

5.  Parents are recommend to come watch once a month but we prefer not more than that.    The reason is it makes children less focused on learning and they feel the pressure of parents watching.  But we do want you to see what we are all about, so visit occasionally.

6.  Parents are encouraged to not coach from the bench.  It makes the child feel embarrassed, the coach feels like they aren’t doing a good enough job and it puts added pressure on everyone.  Gymnastics skills and form come when the child’s body is ready.  Muscles have to be built, stamina has to be gained, and confidence has to be earned.  These take time.  We promise to do our very best in coaching your child.  Your child will respond better knowing that you love them no matter how they perform.  Always let us know if we can do more though, just tell us after class on the side.

These policies come to us from USA Gymnastics.  They are in place to help ensure quality and safety along with the right emotional support from everyone.  We want the best for your child, so help us make everyone’s experience better.

Summer Schedule

Hi Big Rock Parents,

Here is the Summer Schedule for our 2013 season.  Just in case you were wondering gymnastics, tumbling and cheer is a year around sport.  It is because there is so much to learn and experience. 
TUITION prices will not be changing until the fall season
Registration will happen again in the fall
Here are a couple of things that you might not have known:
1.  Level one’s can come two days a week for 60.00
2.  I run a summer discount special for people when they go on vacation.  Some people think that because you have a one week summer vacation planned in the middle of summer that you should take the whole summer off of gymnastics.  Well you don’t need to.  Let me know when you are going on vacation and I will take a week’s worth of tuition off for the month.  No excuses now 😉  Just make sure you tell me before you go on vacation and pay your tuition.
3.  5 week gymnastics course will run July 8th through August 9th for 40.00 
4.  Back Handspring clinic will be on Wednesday from 2:00 – 3:00 Every 2ND WEEK of the month
5.  Age you can start gymnastics – TWO
I have restructured the tumbling classes to have a beg, intermediate, and adv. class.  Here’s how you know what class you’re in.
If you’re new or don’t have a back handspring (BEG tumbling)
If you have a 1 back handspring (Intermediate tumbling)
If you have more than one back handspring and are working tucks, layouts or fulls (Advanced Tumbling)
The drill class will be mixed with the beginning tumbling class but any level can take it.  
When will you know if your child moves up a level?  It will be announced to you through email sometime after the Parents day/Competition.  
What needs to happen before your child does move up?  She/he needs to have completed the skills necessary to perform at the level they are in without a spot.  This is to ensure that kids don’t move too fast.  Most kids need a full year in each level before they advance to the next except for team (usually two years).  That is the Fall, Spring, and summer sessions.  However some kids will move earlier and some will move later than that.  It just depends on what skills they have.  Scores from the competition are taken into account as well.  
If you are in the gymnastics program and feel that you are not able to make it to the new schedule but still want to keep up with something you may opt to do our tumbling classes during the summer.  That will allow for progression but not a full commitment until the fall season comes again.  Many times if kids take the whole summer off and come back in the fall, they feel out of place and passed up by the group they worked with before.  If you can avoid this, I highly recommend it.  
This schedule may be subject to change as we work out the coaching staff availability.  
Occasionally Some classes may be at a different time once during the week as we have coaches that go on trips and summer camps and have fewer coaches on staff.  Please always check your emails.
Xcel Gold level and JO level 6 and higher are required to come on Optionals day.  Level 6 & 7 is also required to come on there extra day.  
Go to our website if you cannot read this
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Xcel Barefoot Gymnastics Competition

January 19th 2013

Marisa on floor

Marisa on floor

Some surprising events happened at this years Barefoot competition.  Casey, our newest member to the team, did very well at her first competition.  She took first on Vault with a 9.15!  Alysen took 2nd place All around and first place on beam with a 8.85.  Kimmi took 4th all around and got a 9.1 on Bars!  Anna took 7th all around and her highest score was vault with an 8.6.  Ashley took 8th place all around and got a 9.1 on bars!  Marisa took 2nd all around and got an 8.5 on bars and Kaitlyn was 3rd all around with an 8.6 on beam.  All in all, I think we had a good time.  I’m so blessed to be around such positive girls and parents.  Each time we go to a competition we learn and grow from the experience.  Thank you all for your participation.

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I’ve decided to change the day and time for the inner squad competition for Level 1, 2, 3, and Tops. Below are the new days and times

Wednesday May, 23rd
Level 3 and Tops
Starting at 4:00 pm

Thursday, May 24th
Level 1 & 2
Starting at 4:00 pm

XCEL, JO and POWER TUMBLING will be CANCELED those days and we’ll also be CLOSED FRIDAY MAY 25TH. I figure everyone would like to get an early start on there vacation and it’s the last day of school.
Jiu Jitsu class is NOT canceled.

NEW Summer schedule will begin on May 29th.

I hope this works better for everyone schedule. Thank you for your input!