• Pamela Tiner

Abigail Yaws: Small but Mighty

Watching Abigail find her place in our team has been really fun and interesting. When Abi started she was easily one of the youngest kids on the team. She was small, and full of personality, and if I’m being honest- at that time, easily distracted. But she loved being in the gym, she loved her team mates and she wanted to be there. She showed up everyday just happy to flip and ready to have fun which provided a really nice rif in the team for some of the overly serious athletes. She brought a lightness to practice that was really invaluable and her role was perfectly carved out in the aspect of where she fit and the joy she brought everyone else.

As Abi grew, so did her gymnastics. Her skills started to come, she started focusing more, and then all the sudden she started getting a competive edge that really suprised all of us. The gymnast who was there for fun started to balance that fun with focus and she really begin to step into who she was as an athlete. As this continued and she improved more and more, she also had moments in practice she felt discouraged like all athletes do. She was physically little but because of her talent and hard work we as coaches put her in a higher training group. We knew she was ready and we wanted to help her reach her potential. With that, came the shock to her of having to fill the gap between her and where the rest of her group was at. At 7, that’s a hard pill to swallow and its not something she could fully wrap her head around. She had moments she would come to her coaches or her mom and voice her frustrations with not being where she wanted or comparing herself to others. Lucky for Abi, she has some of the most supportive parents in the world and her mom and we as coaches openly communicated to one another exactly what abi needed emotional and mentally to continue to love the sport and get through this slump.

The last 6 months Abi had flourished. She has become a perfect balance at only 7 of that fun (and super cuteness) the team desperately needs, and using her talent to the best of her ability. As coaches, we cant help but see a kid like Abi and want to push so hard because we see so much promise in her. It was an easy choice for us to move Abi up, to push harder skills, and to expect greatness out of her. What was a little more complicated but also more important was teaching her to compare to her best not the best of the people around her, to teach her to push herself, and to recognize no matter how small she is, she is mighty.

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