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Huge life changes... again!

Aero

Coach
Coach
Fan
Jan 1, 2014
839
31
Michigan, Region 5
Country
USA
Hello ChalkBucket friends!

Life has been nuts lately, hasn't it? 2020 has been an insane year for everyone so far, and I really hope it gets better from here on out. I hope all of you are doing well, staying healthy, and keeping your spirits up. Optimism is a strong weapon right now.

I'd like to tell a story about the last year of my life.

Last May, I got hired at ENA, a nationally recognized, high quality program in NJ. I worked alongside some of the very best coaches, and got to work with some amazing athletes. I picked up numerous new skills, and I got to see first hand what the atmosphere can be like within high performance programs. Unfortunately, for a few different reasons, my employment ended in October. My experience was overall very positive, and I gained a ton of valuable knowledge during my time there. I still remain in contact with the coaches at ENA, and I consider them industry professionals and valued colleagues.

I then began working with John Min within his MAGMA program. A nascent program with small numbers, and very few coaches, renting out space at an established gym's facility. It reminded me heavily of my roots; I started off running a small Xcel team on my own, working in a facility that was not ideal. John's ambitions are huge, and his knowledge and experience equally so. He and I quickly became close friends, and from being in a slump after my untimely departure from ENA, my spirits were high. I am incredibly grateful for his generosity in welcoming me into his program, giving me the chance to keep coaching and financially sustain myself.

Then, opportunity knocked.

I saw a job posting for a team program director/head coach position, with a comfortable salary. The catch? The gym is in located in Michigan. :eek: I got in touch with the gym owner about the position, and after some discussion, he proposed a three day working interview. After going on a few other interviews, the one in Michigan was the last, as well as the furthest away (all the others were in NJ). After coordinating with my good friend who lives in Ohio, I made a nice week-long trip out of it. With accommodations paid for by the gym, I went through a three day cycle of: drive to the gym, coach kids who had no idea who I was, drive back to the hotel, enjoy my evening nerding out on coaching material, go to sleep, wash and repeat. It was tons of fun, and I went out to eat with some of the coaching staff twice, the second instance being quite important because... I was offered the job!

Upon returning home, I had a lot to think about. If I took the job, I would literally have to uproot my entire life. I would have to move away from all of my friends and family, and away from New Jersey, where I have lived for, like 95% of my life. However, I realized my ambition has always been sky high, and I have been patiently searching for the opportunity to be the head coach of a WAG team, at a gym that could actually support my vision and goals, as well as meet the needs of a high performance program. The decision was a simple one.

I accepted the job, and I would move in to my new apartment the first week of March, and begin coaching at the start of the second week. I was incredibly excited, but equally nervous; I was reassured by my friends and family. There was a big going away party held, and I was... emotional, haha. This was the single biggest event of my life so far, and I am happy to say it was an incredible send off, and it helped me realize how much love and support I have. My dad and I packed up a 10' moving van with all of my belongings (IT ALL BARELY FIT :oops:), and we drove six hundred miles to Clinton Township, MI. It was a blast.

The move-in process was great, and the gym owner actually helped me with moving expenses, as well as actually moving furniture into my new apartment! I was incredibly grateful, and I quickly realized I was in very good hands. My dad helped me settle in the first couple days, and then I was on my own. The first week of coaching was amazing. All the girls that I coached during my three day working interview months prior were excited to learn that I was now becoming a permanent fixture in the coaching staff. I was on cloud nine. :D

Then, quarantine hit.

The gym had to shut down. After one week of coaching, everything was taken away. No coaching, no kids, unemployment, worry, uncertainty, no friends or family near me. I don't want to use the word "depression," but it was pretty damn bad. It was very difficult adapting to the new normal. I was initially worried that the gym might go out of business after so many months of no business. However, I quickly learned that the owner is a very astute businessman, and he actually planned to spend money to expand and improve the gym during all the downtime. I helped with the huge task of expanding the facility, and now, after months of hard labor and coaching withdrawal, we have finally opened! It's at very minimal capacity, and to team athletes only, but my spirits have been at an all time high. For the last month I have been coaching these girls, adapting new policies, introducing new standards and expectations, and the girls and coaching staff have been incredibly receptive. I am over the moon! :D

As many of you know, I have never been one to care much about anonymity. I like sharing my exploits, and I believe, especially as a coach in this sport, that there are zero downsides to transparency. I coach at Sterling Gymnastics Academy, at their Sterling Heights location, and I am eager to meet all the Region 5 people! I have spent my entire coaching career thus far in Region 7, so this is certainly an experience for me to be in a brand new USAG region! Please, if you are in Region 5 and are open to conversation, don't be afraid to reach out. I love meeting people and networking!

I am happy with where I am in my life. Thank you all for listening. :)
 

MILgymFAM

Well-Known Member
Proud Parent
Fan
Feb 6, 2014
4,594
40
Twin Cities
Country
USA
I’m so glad to see you’re so happy up there! I hope maybe I can bring my girl to you again someday (or her getting to you, more like.. she’s not a kid anymore).. I would say what are the odds, but you just never know where our family will end up- and you remain the only coach to help her bars. Ha. :)
 

txgymfan

Administrator
Staff member
Gold Membership
Coach
Proud Relative
Fan
Sep 4, 2008
3,161
Houston
Country
USA
Congratulations! I’m so impressed with your tenacity and strength through this process. What an incredible ride you’ve had. I’m now following your new gym on social media just like I have your last few. Sterling is lucky to have you. It’s exciting that you got to be a part of their expansion.

Michigan is my home state and parts of it are beautiful. Try to get “ Up North” for a long weekend when you can. My profile picture is of Michigan Cherries.

Maybe one day we can meet before my flight back to TX for a beer, or even better, a hard cider and a burger.
 

B&M's mom

Member
Proud Parent
Sep 4, 2010
390
Country
USA
Congrats on the new job! Enjoy the area. Having grown up a city over, I know the area well. While it's gone through some tough times, it's a great place. Explore the Detroit area, you'll be surprised at what is there! Good luck!
 

Gym mama

New Member
Proud Parent
Jul 9, 2019
6
NJ
Country
USA
Hello ChalkBucket friends!

Life has been nuts lately, hasn't it? 2020 has been an insane year for everyone so far, and I really hope it gets better from here on out. I hope all of you are doing well, staying healthy, and keeping your spirits up. Optimism is a strong weapon right now.

I'd like to tell a story about the last year of my life.

Last May, I got hired at ENA, a nationally recognized, high quality program in NJ. I worked alongside some of the very best coaches, and got to work with some amazing athletes. I picked up numerous new skills, and I got to see first hand what the atmosphere can be like within high performance programs. Unfortunately, for a few different reasons, my employment ended in October. My experience was overall very positive, and I gained a ton of valuable knowledge during my time there. I still remain in contact with the coaches at ENA, and I consider them industry professionals and valued colleagues.

I then began working with John Min within his MAGMA program. A nascent program with small numbers, and very few coaches, renting out space at an established gym's facility. It reminded me heavily of my roots; I started off running a small Xcel team on my own, working in a facility that was not ideal. John's ambitions are huge, and his knowledge and experience equally so. He and I quickly became close friends, and from being in a slump after my untimely departure from ENA, my spirits were high. I am incredibly grateful for his generosity in welcoming me into his program, giving me the chance to keep coaching and financially sustain myself.

Then, opportunity knocked.

I saw a job posting for a team program director/head coach position, with a comfortable salary. The catch? The gym is in located in Michigan. :eek: I got in touch with the gym owner about the position, and after some discussion, he proposed a three day working interview. After going on a few other interviews, the one in Michigan was the last, as well as the furthest away (all the others were in NJ). After coordinating with my good friend who lives in Ohio, I made a nice week-long trip out of it. With accommodations paid for by the gym, I went through a three day cycle of: drive to the gym, coach kids who had no idea who I was, drive back to the hotel, enjoy my evening nerding out on coaching material, go to sleep, wash and repeat. It was tons of fun, and I went out to eat with some of the coaching staff twice, the second instance being quite important because... I was offered the job!

Upon returning home, I had a lot to think about. If I took the job, I would literally have to uproot my entire life. I would have to move away from all of my friends and family, and away from New Jersey, where I have lived for, like 95% of my life. However, I realized my ambition has always been sky high, and I have been patiently searching for the opportunity to be the head coach of a WAG team, at a gym that could actually support my vision and goals, as well as meet the needs of a high performance program. The decision was a simple one.

I accepted the job, and I would move in to my new apartment the first week of March, and begin coaching at the start of the second week. I was incredibly excited, but equally nervous; I was reassured by my friends and family. There was a big going away party held, and I was... emotional, haha. This was the single biggest event of my life so far, and I am happy to say it was an incredible send off, and it helped me realize how much love and support I have. My dad and I packed up a 10' moving van with all of my belongings (IT ALL BARELY FIT :oops:), and we drove six hundred miles to Clinton Township, MI. It was a blast.

The move-in process was great, and the gym owner actually helped me with moving expenses, as well as actually moving furniture into my new apartment! I was incredibly grateful, and I quickly realized I was in very good hands. My dad helped me settle in the first couple days, and then I was on my own. The first week of coaching was amazing. All the girls that I coached during my three day working interview months prior were excited to learn that I was now becoming a permanent fixture in the coaching staff. I was on cloud nine. :D

Then, quarantine hit.

The gym had to shut down. After one week of coaching, everything was taken away. No coaching, no kids, unemployment, worry, uncertainty, no friends or family near me. I don't want to use the word "depression," but it was pretty damn bad. It was very difficult adapting to the new normal. I was initially worried that the gym might go out of business after so many months of no business. However, I quickly learned that the owner is a very astute businessman, and he actually planned to spend money to expand and improve the gym during all the downtime. I helped with the huge task of expanding the facility, and now, after months of hard labor and coaching withdrawal, we have finally opened! It's at very minimal capacity, and to team athletes only, but my spirits have been at an all time high. For the last month I have been coaching these girls, adapting new policies, introducing new standards and expectations, and the girls and coaching staff have been incredibly receptive. I am over the moon! :D

As many of you know, I have never been one to care much about anonymity. I like sharing my exploits, and I believe, especially as a coach in this sport, that there are zero downsides to transparency. I coach at Sterling Gymnastics Academy, at their Sterling Heights location, and I am eager to meet all the Region 5 people! I have spent my entire coaching career thus far in Region 7, so this is certainly an experience for me to be in a brand new USAG region! Please, if you are in Region 5 and are open to conversation, don't be afraid to reach out. I love meeting people and networking!

I am happy with where I am in my life. Thank you all for listening. :)
I can tell you firsthand that “Aero” is a one in a million kinda coach. My daughter was on his original xcel team and then after a disappointing move to another team which ultimately brought my daughter back to work with him to finish out her level 6 season. She had returned to “Aero” with many mental blocks and fears after being mentally broken by her previous coach and he was able to help break her fears down and support her mentally and physically to finish the season strong! I will forever be grateful for his love and patience and I can’t wait to see where the future takes you! ❤️ AeroFlyer Mom forever
 

coachmolly

Active Member
Coach
Former Gymnast
Jan 18, 2009
2,991
VA
Country
USA
Congratulations! I randomly thought about you the other day thinking about gym things and wondered how you were doing. Wishing you all the best with this new position, the gym and kids are very fortunate to have your knowledge and passion!
 

JBS

Administrator
Staff member
Gold Membership
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Parent
Sep 3, 2005
5,934
Wisconsin
Country
USA
Awesome!... Region 4 here... but we come to R5 a ton as it's only an hour to the Illinois border. Go Bears!
 
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Aero

Coach
Coach
Fan
Jan 1, 2014
839
31
Michigan, Region 5
Country
USA
Thank you all so much for the kind words and encouragement. I love having all of you to talk to, and all the countless times I have received invaluable advice from the amazing individuals on this forum over the years has really helped shape my values as a coach. It keeps driving me forward, towards my goals. I'd also like to express gratitude to all the Region 5 peeps welcoming me onto their turf! What's it like here? What should I expect?

I’m so glad to see you’re so happy up there! I hope maybe I can bring my girl to you again someday (or her getting to you, more like.. she’s not a kid anymore).. I would say what are the odds, but you just never know where our family will end up- and you remain the only coach to help her bars. Ha. :)
It would be awesome to see Lina again. That one short lesson was a ton of fun, and I quickly saw the drive and determination she possesses. She's got a strong character! If there's ever a time any of you find yourselves in Michigan, please feel free to reach out!

Congratulations! I’m so impressed with your tenacity and strength through this process. What an incredible ride you’ve had. I’m now following your new gym on social media just like I have your last few. Sterling is lucky to have you. It’s exciting that you got to be a part of their expansion.

Michigan is my home state and parts of it are beautiful. Try to get “ Up North” for a long weekend when you can. My profile picture is of Michigan Cherries.

Maybe one day we can meet before my flight back to TX for a beer, or even better, a hard cider and a burger.
Thanks for the follow on Insta! Hopefully there will be some sick stuff getting posted in the coming years! High performance is the goal.

As for exploring Michigan, I haven't really gotten to do much of that yet, sadly. I definitely plan on it, though. It's exciting getting to discover a whole new state. New Jersey is small, and it was getting a little... boring, haha. As for meeting up one day for food and drinks, COUNT ME IN! :)

I can tell you firsthand that “Aero” is a one in a million kinda coach. My daughter was on his original xcel team and then after a disappointing move to another team which ultimately brought my daughter back to work with him to finish out her level 6 season. She had returned to “Aero” with many mental blocks and fears after being mentally broken by her previous coach and he was able to help break her fears down and support her mentally and physically to finish the season strong! I will forever be grateful for his love and patience and I can’t wait to see where the future takes you! ❤ AeroFlyer Mom forever
These words mean the world to me. I always try to get these kids to realize how strong they are, and what they are really capable of. Gymnastics is already a great vessel for teaching fortitude and strengthening character, but it also necessitates having a coach who can effectively guide the athlete through the unforgiving gauntlet that the sport is, without it breaking them. I strive to be this coach every day, especially because there have been so many coaches that have not fulfilled this duty, and that makes it so much worse for the athlete. Honestly, G is the real hero! What she had to deal with was absolutely terrible and unacceptable, and it was hard for me to see what it had done to her personality and to her gymnastics. I was honored to coach her again, and she achieved some huge victories at the end of the season. It was great to play a part in her life, from the great memories during her initial development as an Xcel Silver on the Aero Flyers, and then again as a Level 6.

I hope G is doing okay amidst this craziness. She must be dying to back to gymnastics! She's a tough kid with a ton of heart. I miss her!

What?! I'm not crying, you are! :oops:

It's moments like this that remind me why I coach in the first place. Thanks for this, it made my whole week. :)
 

SMH

Active Member
Proud Parent
Dec 17, 2016
643
Country
USA
Awesome!! I’m from MI (we currently live in another Region 5 state) and its a beautiful place. Make sure to explore the upper peninsula when you get a chance- it’s amazing up there.
 
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moogacat

Member
Proud Parent
Nov 1, 2018
123
48
Country
USA
Welcome to Region 5! We're down in KY but we see a lot of Michigan teams at midwestern-area meets. Hopefully we'll actually have meets and will run into you! My daughter's fingers are crossed-- she competed XD last year but is making the jump over to Optionals and is planning on scoring out and competing L9. She'll be so disappointed if the season is a bust. Best of luck with the new gym!
 
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