Advice to Grads from Your Wise Friends: Vault, Bars, Beam and Floor

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It’s that time of year when graduation advice from celebrities, world leaders or just well meaning folk flood the Internet.

But what if the four events that female gymnasts toil over were able to get up and give their sage advice to the kids who are moving on from our sport. What would they say?

Here’s what I think the counsel each event has to offer our graduates.

Vault: “Run hard and fast toward obstacles. Your objective: to jump over them with precision and grace. Make sure you are prepared for hard landings, including knowing how to roll out. And when you stick it, which I know you will, thrust those hands in the air, smile and salute like the champion you are.”

Bars: “Hard work builds the toughness that your hands need to get through the workout. Sure, you will rip and bleed sometimes, but it is all in the process of getting yourself stronger and prepared to take on the hard work in front of you. Also, remember what I taught you: you can only muscle through so much. Take advantage of the swings and glides to get momentum. Finally, always know that o much of your success is in the prep work–the conditioning–than even in the repetition of skills. Do the prep work; the rest will follow.”

Beam: “Life is as scary as you make it. Most of the skills that are actually performed on me are not that hard for you to do. It is reminding us that it is 4 feet in the air and 4 inches wide that makes it so.  We psych ourselves out because of that. Remember: you are in control of your brain. Also, keep your balance. Your balance is in your core (aka your heart). Stay strong there and you will be fine.”

Floor: “The combination of strength and power with grace and presentation is my gift to you. Remember: the dance passes are not just rests between the big events; they are an integral part of your routine. And always, let your personality shine through.”

Congratulations to all of the members of the Class of 2016!