From Sept. 9 – 13 the girls traveled to Texas for the September Developmental Camp.
Everyone woke up early to catch our 6:45am flight. Once the plane landed it was a rush to grab the rental car and get on the road. After about an hour drive everyone makes a quick stop at Krogers (the last sign of civilization before you hit the ranch) to grab supplies and snacks. This time we were advised to bring bug spray to avoid West Nile Virus!
After another 30-40 minutes of driving through the country and forest, we arrived at camp. The girls found their room assignments and unpack. There are very strict rules about coaches not being allowed in the girls cabins. They must be very independent – setting alarms so they are on time to all training sessions and meals, doing their own hair, eating properly, etc. There is no time to relax once the girls arrived as there is physical abilities testing and a short workout the very first night. Before and after each workout the girls line up tallest to shortest. At then end of each workout Valeri speaks to the athletes about his impressions and goals. He thanks the girls for working hard – they reply in unison with “Thank You Valeri, Coaches and National Staff Goodbye!”
Physical abilities testing was a little like TOPs on steroids. It includes rope climb (higher than TOPs), vertical jump, cast handstands (10 instead of 5), levers, press handstands, handstand holds, front tuck sticks, back tuck sticks, full twist sticks, kip cast handstands and flexibility. Each section is scored out of ten. It’s definitely a good way to keep tabs on where your conditioning is strong or weak.
Starting the next morning the girls had 2 – a -day trainings. The went from 8:30 – 12:00ish and then again from 4-7:00ish. This included optional training in the morning on vault, bars, beam, floor and dance. In the afternoon they focused more on compulsory and basic skills once again doing bars, beam, floor and dance, but substituting trampoline for vault. Each day the girls verified one event. They had to show their skills in a pressure situation to the National Staff, Valeri Liukin and Brevet Judge Kristy Phillips. In between training sessions the girls hung out with the other athletes, watched movies, played outside, tried to find cell phone reception and napped.
The coaches spent breaks and evenings receiving valuable coaching advice from the National Staff. There were tumbling clinics by Valeri Liukin and Ivan Ivanov, beam clinics by Tammy Biggs, bars with Valeri, Tom Forrester and Neil Resnick and an informative session on the code of points with Kristy Phillips.
The athletes were sent home with goals and suggestions on what to work on. So far, training back at PEG has been going well! Amari and Izzy are heading back the last weekend in September for National TOPs Testing
Random Tid Bits:
The food is SO much better at Developmental Camp vs. TOPs camp.
Kids love goats – ask them what pictures they took and all they will talk about it the goats!
Kids say the funniest things.