Gymnastics is something that is natural. We are all born gymnasts.
Take any baby and allow them to tumble and swing and they’ll be in heaven. Barb Bilsborrow, the Women’s coordinator at Exelta Gymnastics, has enjoyed coaching gymnastics for 21 years so she would know.
“It’s easy satisfaction. It’s daily satisfaction. With the kids learning, they’re excited. It’s lots of fun.”
Exelta starts with four-year-olds and goes all the way to adults. Of course the adults are the ones that can truly appreciate what it takes to be a competitive gymnast.
“It just uses every fundamental that you have. You have to have balance. You have to have strength. You have to have flexibility.
“We have fantastic rec programs,” she said. “Add fantastic rec coaches and that’s a good introduction to gymnastics.” And that introduction to gymnastics doesn’t have to start at the age of three. Bilsborrow says a retiree at the Alberta gymnastics banquet told of her story.
“She didn’t start ‘til she was 13 years old. So you know it doesn’t matter when you start. If you have that enthusiasm and ability, that’s all it takes.”
Of course many will watch gymnasts on TV and think that these athletes are unreal.
The diet or starve themselves. But that’s not the goal at Exelta. Diet is never even mentioned.
“For us it’s the journey of our gymnastics. That’s not our goal to go to the Olympics. If we went we’d love it but that’s not our goal,” explained Bilsborrow. “The biggest thing for us is drive. If they’ve got the drive (they) can do it!”
Exelta Gymnastics is hosting the Exelta Cup, which is fast approaching in February.
“We invite clubs from all over the province. There’s usually about 300 or 400 athletes that show up.”
All these girls are competing from provincial level 1 (which includes forward rolls and cartwheels as well as one to three hours of training a week) to the national level which includes Olympic training at 25-40 hours a week. That’s right, total commitment.
If you want to get involved in gymnastics at Exelta Gymnastics at any level, including adult recreation, which you’re never too old to start; registration opens on Nov. 9th for the public.
Call 403-342-4940 for more information.