November 2018 features Tyler Green, founder of the NAIGC club team at Kennesaw State University.
My name is Gina Paulhus, and I am the creator and director of the first official Adult Gymnastics Camp. Our 9th camp is coming up soon. In fact, the last day to Register is May. 26 so check it out ASAP if you’re interested!! I have been an adult gymnast for more years than I can count and have made it a personal mission to spread the word about adult gymnastics and to expand the opportunities available for adult gymnasts. Recently I had the chance to interview Tyler Green, a gymnastics coach and athlete who is also tremendously passionate about adult gymnastics. Here is what he had to say!
Tell us about what you do.
I am sales/marketing associate at Inside Gymnastics. I coach a boys’ team at Roswell Gymnastics in Georgia. I have a few side hustles as well! I’m an FIG Certified Men’s Judge. I’m also a Judge for MyGymJudge.com, which is a forum where you can submit routines for evaluation. I am a Board member at NAIGC and also social media director and scholarship coordinator there. I’m the President of the Georgia Judges Association. I am also the reigning NAIGC open division national champion!
What led you to start an adult class? How long have you taught one?
When I graduated high school and was looking at options to continue gymnastics in college, I was not willing to move and pay for any of the options that were available to me. I knew I wasn’t done with the sport so I was thrilled when I found the NAIGC and decided to start my own team at Kennesaw State in 2011!
What makes coaching an adult different than coaching a child?
One of my favorite things about coaching adults is they tend to be so much more thankful for the opportunity to be there learning gymnastics. Sometimes you get kids who feel forced to go to practice or take it for granted. Adult gymnasts are so appreciative of the chance to learn the sport. Their enthusiasm and genuine excitement is always refreshing.
What is your favorite thing about adult gymnasts?
It really makes you appreciate how difficult the sport is. Sometimes gymnasts who have done it forever consider something like a back tuck to be as easy as walking. However, by watching full grown adults attempting something as basic as a backward roll for the first time, you really appreciate how difficult the sport actually is!
What is the hardest thing about coaching adults?
The variance in skill level is always difficult. I find myself teaching double backs at the same time as backward rolls depending on the gymnast. Many individuals come to our club with some sort of background in acrobatics or dance, but there is a huge diversity of skills sets, age group and physical capabilities from folks coming in. It is a difficult yet fun challenge that makes coaching this group unique.
Another challenge of coaching adults is the stigma of adult gymnastics in other gyms. Some gyms refuse to allow adult gymnastics as they are afraid of it getting too wild and out of control. They think it’s going to be a bunch of adults running around chucking things out of their skill level but when they actually come in and see a practice, they find that it can be just as safe as a traditional class.
How do you deal with a class of all different levels?
Having stations is super helpful. If you have 2 pommel horses and 2 mushrooms for example, provide an assignment for each piece of equipment. The groups can rotate around. A beginner will be asked to do a basic skill while a more advanced gymnast can work on what they need to do. Once I take the time to explain the options at each station the gymnasts can get to work and I’m free to supervise or spot if needed.
Do you feel that adult gymnastics is dangerous?
I do not. I think if anything many adults are more reserved than kids because they know how much medical bills cost! It cracks me up to see 20+ year-old men scared of doing basic skills but it’s because adults have a better concept of the consequences of something going wrong. If you teach them basics and follow progressions then age has nothing to do with the level of danger.
What is a good length of time for an adult class?
Our workout has to be at the end of the day after the kids have left the gym. We practice about 2 hours at a time. That allows for a warmup and 2 events or so. There may be a little time at the end to do extra work on something if people need that. As primarily a men’s gymnastics coach, it can be a challenge to get time in on all the events consistently. I used to be adamant about making everyone train and compete all 6 events but I have found that we get more results out of having them stick to the 3-4 events that they actually want to train!
What are three benefits someone can gain from coming to adult gymnastics class?
- It will improve your reflexes and coordination like nothing else.
- You’ll attain incredible physical fitness. Most of our gymnasts get into the best shape of life while working out with our club.
- Meeting friends and the social side. I have met so many of my best friends through gymnastics. It’s a great community and a great group of people.
“There are not enough adult sports league opportunities, but it’s trending toward more and more of that as adults are looking for something else to do besides watch TV or sit around at a bar.”
Do you have mostly “regulars” in your class?
At the beginning of semester, we spend a lot of effort recruiting and getting people to come try it out. Some end up joining the team and from there it’s mostly the same regulars for the rest of the semester. Right now, we have 15-25 members — a mixture of men and women. The camaraderie between the men and women is great.
If an adult who used to do gymnastics is thinking about trying a class for the first time, any words of advice?
My biggest advice is for do it for the love of it because it’s fun! I remember there was one guy who joined our club at 21. He had very little experience in the sport. He was committed to making the Olympics…It’s such a lofty goal even when you are a child. I love having goals and a vision. I just know how defeating it can be to not reach your goal. My suggestion is to focus on keeping it fun as the priority. Don’t train for any professional reason or to become an Olympian. If you’re in it just for the goal and you don’t reach it, you won’t want to continue. It’s important that, even if the goal doesn’t happen, you still enjoyed it along the way.
If a coach is thinking about starting an adult class, what piece of advice might you have for that person?
If you’re at a university and want to start a club, email email@example.com. We have a full task force that is dedicated to helping people start teams. Visit our website: NAIGC.net for more info on local competitions and to find teams in your area!
How do I find out more about joining your club?
Message us on Instagram @theflippinowls. You can check out club sports at Kennesaw State. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org. For anyone who doesn’t live nearby, the NAIGC lists out every club team in the country. We take new members year-round. Visit Naigc.net.
Tell us a bit more about NAIGC.
The NAIGC is a collegiate gymnastics division that also caters to adult gymnasts! We pride ourselves on being a division that has a place for everyone! We accept gymnasts of all skill levels because our motto is “for the love of the sport!” For women’s we offer level 7, 8 and 9 as well as a developmental level that is meant for beginners. For the Men we have a modified level 9, modified NCAA as well as a developmental division. We have over 1,500 members from over 115 clubs nationwide! We have a huge National Championships each year, this year it is in Daytona Beach, Florida on April 11-13. Be sure to follow us on social media @naigcgymnastics!
Thank you, Tyler, for taking the time to share your experience about being an adult gymnast, coaching adult gymnastics, and starting an NAIGC team. Your can-do-ism is inspiring to us all! For more awesome adult gymnastics content, follow us @adultgymnastics