The Elk Valley Gymnastics Club (EVGC) is heading into the new year with high hopes that current COVID-19 restrictions will loosen up as they await guidance from the province expected for Jan. 7.
”We are very much looking forward to returning the gym back to a more free-flowing training environment where we can welcome back all our members, daycares, and the community,” said manager Cristina Gillrie.
“(We look forward to) bringing back our drop-in and circus classes, returning to being a place where the kids can run and play with each other, bringing back the parachute, building forts, and challenging the kids to try new skills where we can be right there to spot.”
Having to modify their practices in light of ViaSport’s transition into Phase Two of Return to Play on Dec. 7, EVGC athletes have been maintaining a nine-foot distance between participants and coaches, which according to Gillrie has made coaching very challenging, resulting in lower class sizes and affecting the club’s income.
“We have returned to the basics and many skills have been broken down to drills where we can supplement equipment to make sure the skills are being executed as safely as possible without a coach standing there,” said Gillrie, mentioning their competitive teams and advanced parkour classes have been the ones to feel the effects of the distance the most.
“This has been fantastic for cleaning up shapes and building strength properly, however without being able to spot it had delayed some of the bigger skills which the kids have felt discouraged by.”
According to Gillrie, the club has made the best out of the situation but focusing on strength and flexibility rather than skills, setting up challenges and contest around the gym to keep kids excited about their small wins.
“The physical distance between the athletes has limited their ability for chatting and camaraderie but it has really brought out the strength in self-reliance, confidence, and discipline in their training,” said Gillrie.
Other changes the club has faced include mandating masks, heightening cleaning protocols, splitting the gym up into socially distant stations, and cancelling a variety of classes for young children.
Though EVGC is still waiting to see if their athletes will be able to compete this year – which will likely be carried out virtually, if at all – the club is continuing their aged four to 16 recreational, parkour and competitive classes, as well as their adult gymnastics program.
”We want to welcome the community back in with events and specialty classes,” added Gillrie.
“We want to continue to be a happy, fun, safe and clean space for the Elk Valley Community.”
To stay up to date with the EVGC, visit their Facebook page or hear to elkvalleygymnastics.com.