Gymnastics club continues rebuilding

The Polarettes Gymnastics Club has done a bit of a pirouette over the last year. After longtime head coach Kelly Mock left in May after 10 years, the club was forced to search for a replacement. The search ended in St. John's...

The Polarettes Gymnastics Club has done a bit of a pirouette over the last year.

After longtime head coach Kelly Mock left in May after 10 years, the club was forced to search for a replacement.

The search ended in St. John’s, Newfoundland, where they found level-three coach Jenn Ryan, who took the reins in August.

“We’ve got a lot of new staff—and Jenn came in—and another coach came back who has coached in a long time,” said Polarettes coach and head co-ordinator Catherine O’Donovan. “So it’s kind of a transition year.”

“Just this summer I finished off all three components, technical, practical and theory of level of three, just before I came up,” said Ryan. “To go to Canada Games you need level three.”

In addition to bringing in Ryan, the club is intending to increase the quality of coaching available to them. At the end of February, two of the club’s athletes are travelling to Surrey, BC, for a meet, while there two of the club’s coaches will take the test to get their level two coaching certification.

“It provides greater knowledge on spotting athletes and overall greater knowledge on how to teach kids skills,” said Shaun Porter, one of the two coaches heading south.

A former competitive athlete who retired to coach after sustaining a back injury, Porter earned a ranking of sixth in Western Canada and attended the Nationals in 2004.

“I was injured, so it was a bad competition,” said Porter. “I had to retire afterwards.”

The year-round club holds three recreational clinics over the school season and a camp during the summer and at any given time has roughly 200 members, including 30 competitive athletes.

“In the mornings we’ll do three hours of gymnastics and in the afternoons we try to do different activities,” said Ryan of the summer program. “We’ve taken them bowling and swimming.”

“We do fieldtrips and biking trips,” added O’Donovan. “Every week is a theme week, there’s Olympics week or superhero week or wild week. That’s our big money maker to allow us the rest of the year to do the competitive and recreational.”

The club, which is located next to Vanier Catholic Secondary School in Riverdale, has a surprisingly large variety of patrons who are not necessarily members. Daycares rent the gym a few times a week and during the weekend the gym can be rented for parties.

“You kind of need to call two months in advance,” said Ryan. “Because we’re booked for February now.”

For those less dedicated to gymnastics or just want give the sport a shot, Polarettes also has two drop-in periods each week.

Sunday’s drop-in is designated for parents with children under nine and on Wednesdays O’Donovan does a teen drop-in for those 14 and up.

“Mostly we have snowboarders and break-dancers,” said O’Donovan. “And then we have the odd person who comes to actually do gymnastics.”

The Freestyle skiing club occasionally comes in Thursday to learn gymnastic techniques they can incorporate into their skiing routines.

“Dry-land training is what they call it,” said O’Doonovan. “To improve their skiing and stuff they’ll do conditioning.

“The Special Olympics has rented us out before for the same idea.”

Furthermore, schools are welcome to rent out the gym during the day.

“Either Catherine or I will be there and we’ll do a lesson with them,” said Ryan. “We had a math class in (from Vanier next door) and the teacher said you need to get this score and we’ll take you to the gym. So it was kind of a little reward for them.”

According to both coaches, gymnastics gives athletes an advantage in whichever sport they choose.

“Gymnastics is a sport that’s the basis for everything else,” said Ryan. “It gives you a good background in body-awareness, it trains all your fundamentals for any other sport. Especially if you’ve done it at a competitive level, you can go into any other sports and your just that little bit ahead.

“My niece is six and my sister is like, ‘I’m not going to put her in gymnastics because she’s not co-ordinated enough.’ (So I said,) ‘That’s why you have to put her in there.’”

“What I like about the sports (in the Yukon) is that if you’ve been around long enough you know any kids in competitive sports,” said O’Donovan. “So many kids have been through the gymnastics gym that have gone on to nationals in skiing or running—you name it, I’ve taught them before. It’s really nice to see.”

Besides the two boys heading to Surrey, 10 girls from Polarettes will be travelling to Sherwood Park, Alberta, to compete at the Jurassic Classic in early March. As an affiliate of British Columbia Gymnastics, the club also holds aspirations to send a handful of gymnasts down to the BC Championships April 17-19.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Crystal Schick/Yukon News
Calvin Delwisch poses for a photo inside his DIY sauna at Marsh Lake on Feb. 18.
Yukoners turning up the heat with unique DIY sauna builds

Do-it-yourselfers say a sauna built with salvaged materials is a great winter project

d
Wyatt’s World

Wyatt’s World for March 5, 2021.

g
Yukonomist: School competition ramps up in the Yukon

It’s common to see an upstart automaker trying to grab share from… Continue reading

The Yukon government responded to a petition calling the SCAN Act “draconian” on Feb. 19. (Yukon News file)
Yukon government accuses SCAN petitioner of mischaracterizing her eviction

A response to the Jan. 7 petition was filed to court on Feb. 19

City councillor Samson Hartland in Whitehorse on Dec. 3, 2018. Hartland has announced his plans to run for mayor in the Oct. 21 municipal election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillor sets sights on mayor’s chair

Hartland declares election plans

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health Nurse Angie Bartelen at the Yukon Convention Centre Clinic in Whitehorse on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
State of emergency extended for another 90 days

“Now we’re in a situation where we see the finish line.”

The Yukon government says it is working towards finding a solution for Dawson area miners who may be impacted by City of Dawson plans and regulations. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Miner expresses frustration over town plan

Designation of claims changed to future planning

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been postponed indefinitely. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
2022 Arctic Winter Games postponed indefinitely

Wood Buffalo, Alta., Host Society committed to rescheduling at a later date

Housing construction continues in the Whistle Bend subdivision in Whitehorse on Oct. 29, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Bureau of Statistics reports rising rents for Yukoners, falling revenues for businesses

The bureau has published several reports on the rental market and businesses affected by COVID-19

Crews work to clear the South Klondike Highway after an avalanche earlier this week. (Submitted)
South Klondike Highway remains closed due to avalanches

Yukon Avalanche Association recommending backcountry recreators remain vigilant

RCMP Online Crime Reporting website in Whitehorse on March 5. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Whitehorse RCMP launch online crime reporting

Both a website and Whitehorse RCMP app are now available

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

A rendering of the Normandy Manor seniors housing facility. (Photo courtesy KBC Developments)
Work on seniors housing project moves forward

Funding announced for Normandy Manor

Most Read