GANDER, NL – A larger space for Gander’s Airials Gymnastics Club is a welcome change for students and coaches.
The new facility is now housed in the Goodyear building in the town centre. A generous amount of floor space has brought many benefits to members.
“A full-floor, 40 by 40 in size, is a big deal and a positive addition,” said head coach Sharon Gareau.
She said the expanded floor space allows gymnasts to practice full routines, a luxury not available at the previous location.
Installation of a full-vault runway is another improvement, allowing athletes additional distance to reach full momentum and better prepare them for competition.
With additional floor space, less time is spent setting up and tearing down equipment during training sessions, and more time is concentrated on coaching.
“We did not have the space for the beam (at the old location), so it was either beam or vault. We get more time doing gymnastics, and less lining up,” said Gareau.
While moving to this rental location has alleviated frustrations and provided better opportunities to the members, the physical layout still restricts some training sessions.
Some of the higher skills can’t be practiced for safety reasons, according to Gareau.
“We need high-level foam kits and they need to be at least six feet deep, and the ceiling is a bit too low. The older girls can’t train at the beam – they need the height to (do that).”
The competitive gymnasts often travel to St. John’s to practice more advanced routines. Gareau said there is an open invitation from the St. John’s club to train there anytime.
“We are still looking for a facility, and we’ll see how it pans out,” said Gareau, “but right now, it’s fine.”