Gold Medal Coach: Kittia Carpenter
Coaches are much more than trainers. They are mentors, legacy builders, and athletes’ biggest cheerleader. GK wants to honor these cornerstones in the sport of gymnastics by featuring them in our Gold Medal Coaches Series. We have reached out to different coaches and gym owners to share their insights and successes on how to train the next Olympic Champion.
Kittia Carpenter of Buckeye Gymnastics is one that stands out because of her incredible dedication to her athletes and inspiring training techniques. Below she shares some tips on how to organize a hectic traveling schedule and some up-and-coming athletes to keep an eye on.
GK: You are very dedicated to your athletes and are often on the road traveling. How do you juggle the hectic schedule between traveling and coaching at Buckeye?
KC: Planning is the key. I prepare schedules for the gymnasts traveling as well as the gymnasts that are still home so that they have everything they need to stay on track. I also stay in contact with the gym when I am away so that I can handle any questions that may need immediate attention. However, when I am traveling I focus first on the gymnast(s) that I am with.
GK: How do you adjust your training techniques between each level?
KC: I wouldn’t say I change technique between levels. Instead, I try to provide all levels with the strong foundation of great basics so they can go as far as their talent, dreams and determination can take them. Though I have high expectations for all levels, I am a little more patient with our younger gymnasts. I offer disciplined training, but with a positive energy.
GK: What does a typical day at the gym look like?
KC: I usually arrive around 7:30 am to get a few administrative items done before workout begins. Then workout for the elite group is from 8:00am-12:00pm. We have a few other groups that workout 9:00 – 12:00pm Our day time group (not elites) takes a break until 1:30 pm. The elite gymnasts have a break until 2:00 pm. When these groups finish at 4:15 pm, we have more team groups that arrive at 3:30 pm and workout until 9:00 pm. Break time for the gymnasts includes lunch and schoolwork. Break for the coaches includes more administrative time. We have very full days!
GK: What has been a highlight of your coaching career?
KC: In the past, coaching at Pac Rim was a great highlight, but currently it would be having had three gymnasts compete at USA Championships with Gabby Douglas being one of them! Another one would be coaching Gabby Douglas to a World Championships team gold medal and AA silver medal!
GK: Who are some the up-and-coming athletes we should keep an eye on?
KC: Definitely need to keep an eye on Shilese Jones and Shania Adams who not only had very successful championships, but continue to add to their start values daily. Marissa Saunders, a 10 year old TOPs national qualifier, is another one to keep an eye on. She exhibits amazing quickness, flexibility and skills at such a young age!
Thank you, Kittia for all your hard work and dedication to the sport of gymnastics. Your exceptional contributions to your athletes shows through their success. We look forward to seeing your athletes continue to rise to the top.
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