• Tumbles & Triumphs: Best Gymnastics Programs

    Coaches, Directors, And Owners At The City’s Top Gymnastics Programs Tell Us How They Got Started With The Sport And Why They Love It

    By Eric Messinger

    We asked coaches, directors, and owners at the city’s top gymnastics programs to tell us how they got started with the sport and why they love it! Click through the slideshow below to get the scoop!

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    • 92Y

      The Coach: Katera Noviello, Director of Gymnastics and Children’s PE

      How She Started: “I have participated in the sport of gymnastics since the age of 4. As a competitive gymnast, I was not only interested in accomplishing my own skills, but I was also trying to coach other gymnasts!”

      What She Loves: “It’s so rewarding to see the life lessons that I have taken away from the sport—such as dedication, determination, time management, focus, and confidence—now shine through in the gymnasts that take classes or compete on teams in our facility. Our gymnasts are constantly growing, overcoming fears, gaining strength, and building friendships, and it’s extremely gratifying to help promote the development of these qualities in young athletes.”

      Photo by Stylish & Hip Kids.

    • Chelsea Piers
      Chelsea Piers

      The Coach: Chris McClain, Head Coach of Girls Gymnastics

      How She Started: “I’ve been coaching at Chelsea Piers since 2001 and have been head coach of the girls’ competitive gymnastics team since 2007. I grew up doing gymnastics since age 3 and competing since age 6, and have loved the sport ever since I began.”

      What She Loves: “One of my favorite parts of my job is how I get to see the athletes mature and grow into such amazing people. It takes a great deal of determination and discipline to succeed in gymnastics, and those who stick with it show such exceptional life skills that it makes me feel so proud to be a part of it.” 

      Photo by Karen Haberberg

    • Columbus Gym
      Columbus Gym

      The Coach: Michele Ball, Gymnastics Instructor

      How She Started: “My parents enrolled me in gymnastics to help with my clumsiness at age 3, and it grew into one of my greatest passions. I have used my gymnastics training in countless aspects of my life and thank my parents for fueling this passion that has brought me so much joy and so many opportunities.”

      What She Loves: “I love being able to teach children that they can succeed at something they may have seen as impossible. It brings me great happiness to be a part of so many children’s lives in a positive way. Gymnastics is fun, and providing children with the tools and knowledge to learn more about it is so rewarding.”

      Photo by Marcus Photography

    • Discovery Programs
      Discovery Programs

      The Coach: Mary Cain, Team Coach

      How She Started: “My mother first introduced me to the sport—she taught tumbling classes out of a local fitness center in my hometown [in northern Michigan]… When I started competing around age 7, I had to commute over an hour every day to a gym. My mother sacrificed a lot so I could be a gymnast.”

      What She Loves: “What I love most about my job is the fact that I get to share my passion with future generations. Every day I have the opportunity to make a positive impact on someone’s life through the sport of gymnastics. For me, that’s the most rewarding thing in my life.”

      Photo by Marcus Photography

    • Gymtime Rhythm & Glues
      Gymtime Rhythm & Glues

      The Coach: Haley Blair, Director of Gymtime NYC Gymnastics Team

      How She Started: “I have been involved with gymnastics my whole life, first as a gymnast in Boston and now as the Director of the Gymtime NYC Team. I created the competitive team here at Gymtime five years ago with 10-15 children, and it has since grown to more than 100 gymnasts!”

      What She Loves: “I love seeing the effort and determination from my gymnasts. There is nothing like watching a child exceed even their own expectations. Gymtime NYC took home first place last season in the NY State Championship. It’s not only due to our wonderful coaching staff, but also because of our gymnasts’ focus and commitment.”

      Photo by Karilyn Sanders Photography

    • Jodi's Gym
      Jodi's Gym

      The Coach: Jodi Levine, Founder of Jodi’s Gym

      How She Started: “Gymnastics has been a part of my life since 6th grade—it was love at my first cartwheel! My training continued throughout my childhood and into early adulthood… When I graduated from college, I came back to New York and received a master’s degree in psych-ology. I soon realized that the sport I knew and loved was actually the best way for me to make a positive difference in the lives of children.”

      What She Loves: “I love knowing that we’re making a positive difference in the well-being of so many children. Knowing that we give children a happy, healthy, fun start to a lifetime of movement and fitness brings me joy!”

      Photo by Karilyn Sanders Photography

    • MAGIC Activity Center
      MAGIC Activity Center

      The Teacher: Danielle Vornkahl, Staff Development Coordinator

      What She Loves: “First and I suppose foremost, [I love] watching my little ones learn, develop, and master new skills. I also particularly enjoy building my own bonds with both little ones and grown-ups, and earning their confidence and trust. I take so much joy in each of their successes. Getting to share in amazing milestones with my families is such an amazing perk of my job.”

      The Benefits of Gymnastics: “Movement is such an integral part of learning. MAGIC’s noncompetitive gymnastics classes foster social, cognitive, and developmental growth in a warm and supportive environment.”

      Photo by Karen Haberberg

    • NYC Elite
      NYC Elite

      The Coach: Victoria Cohn, Team Director

      How She Started: “Gymnastics has been a major part of my life since I was 4. For 13 years I competed on a USAG team, with Level 10 being the height of my career... The 13 years after that have been dedicated to coaching gymnasts ranging from mommy & me classes (11 months) up to state champions.”

      What She Loves: “As both a parent of a young gymnast (18-month-old Henry) and a coach to children of all ages, there’s nothing I love more than being present when a goal is reached. Whether it be a 1-year-old feeling the joy of bouncing of the trampoline for the first time, the pride on a 4-year-old’s face after walking across the balance beam without faltering, or the moment shared when one of our competitive gymnasts’ names is called as the state champion—I am honored to be a part of it all.”

      Photo by Stylish & Hip Kids

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