By Dave Pedersen
Crow River News Sports
North Shore Gymnastics Association is one of the ventures impacted by the virus crisis.
“Currently, we have completely shut down the gym,” said Ryan Rohloff, assistant director at NSGA. “On any given day we run approximately 200 students through our doors ranging from 2-year-old preschool classes all the way to 18-year-old competitive team athletes. It is 30,000 square feet of equipment not being used.”
In total the non-profit club has about 30 staff members serving about 700 athletes. Some are only there for an hours. Some go five days a week for 20 hours. It depends on their skill levels.
In the last 12 months North Shore gymnastics based in Maple Plain, serving several western suburban school districts, has maintained its highest membership in the 44-year history of the organization.
“While closed the staff is providing content on-line for the recreational families,” said Rohloff, who has been with the club for 20 years. “Material will be anywhere from different activities that can be done at home to coloring sheets. We want to try to help educate our students while they are out of school.”
Rohloff adds how the team programs have begun at home training programs through different media platforms like Zoom, YouTube and Face book. The athletes are doing daily conditioning, flexibility, mental training and physical therapy.
It was March 16 when USA gymnastics ended up putting a freeze on all competition. That eliminated all state championships. Later last week they ended up canceling the whole season, including the seven-state region meets, followed by the national championships.
Locally, when school’s first were told they were going to be closed, we were still open,” said Rohloff. “I was in communication with the Minnesota Department of Health to figure out where we lie. We are not a school and it was to plan for a prolonged closure.”
Rohloff said the club followed the guidelines for child care. When restaurants were closing March 16 the club could have probably made a case that it could have stayed open under the child care avenue.
“We felt it was a gray area and we needed to do our part,” notes Rohloff. “We are waiting it out these 14 days to see if we can open April 1, or if that gets extended to a stay in place order. We will continue to provide on-line activates as long as we can to provide help for our parents. We are not used to being at home with kids all day.”
Gymnastics is a year around sport, adds Rohloff. He says if you are not constantly training you lose the strength and flexibility, plus the mental aspect of doing the skills.
“We don’t encourage our gymnasts to do physical skills at home because it is a risky sport,” said Rohloff. “The materials we give for use at home are strength flexibility exercises and then mental training, visualization and goal setting.”
Visualization is done in three different ways. They do as if they are watching themselves on TV, seeing themselves perform. They visualize as if they are watching their favorite gymnast do their routines. The third way is we have students visualize they are actually doing it. The body knows what to do physically because mentally it has done it a hundred times.
The strength work primarily uses body weight such as sit ups and push ups and not much is done with machines. Students can go for a run to improve cardio condition.
“Our staff is doing lesson plans and going above and beyond by cleaning and disinfecting the facility,” said Rohloff. “They take on maintenance and fix up jobs. Normally we take a week between spring and summer for maintenance. But we are taking it now rather than later.”
North Shore has four seniors graduating who didn’t have proper closure to their final season. They are Alexis Halvorson, Katherine Busch, Ethan Gonzales and Charlie Kramer.
“That does not change the huge impact and mark these athletes will leave at North Shore,” adds Rohloff. “We hope people remember that once we are able to open our doors that we were there for them and their kids.”
Information: northshoregym.org or 763-479-3189.