Kara Thorpe is the recreational director at the Prince Albert Aerials Gymnastics Club and has been coaching gymnastics within Prince Albert since 2007.
Currently, Thorpe is the coach of Prince Albert’s Brent Ertman, a rising national gymnastics competitor and recent winner of Best Male Athlete for this year’s BOB awards. But Thorpe has coached an array of athletes throughout her coaching career in Prince Albert. She said she coaches everyone from special needs groups, parents and tots, and then of course at the national level.
“I really try 100 per cent to feel the success of each athlete,” she said. “Yes, I have Brent as a national athlete and his stuff is really exiting to me, but I also teach 18-month-olds and for them to be able to hang onto the bar for the first time is also exciting for me.”
“Each individual success and each individual landmark is just as important and just as exciting as any other,” she added.
Thorpe was a dancer and baton twirler in her youth. She said she was never really a gymnastics athlete, but as part of her dancing she would participate in gymnastics once a week to improve her strength and conditioning. She said it was when she was retiring from competing in baton and began coaching that she realized how important gymnastics was for her athletes.
“I took the certification program and as part of that certified program you have to work under a certified coach, so I went to one of the gyms and said ‘hey can I coach for you’ and they said ‘sure’ and it just went from there,” she said.
“Gymnastics is listed as one of the foundational sports for all sports,” said Thorpe. “And one of the reasons is because it is just so accessible and it is so modifiable; it is just a great sport that allows you to learn at your own pace.”
Thorpe said a lot of people think of gymnastics as jut a child sport, however that is not the case at all.
“It’s a come in and learn at your own pace and at what you want to do and we can continue to move people forward in balance and co-ordination and all those kinds of things,” she said.
She added she often has kids that participate in gymnastics who utilize their training from it through to other sports.
“We often times see kids move from here into others sports such as hockey, we have a pretty competitive boys program, and often times we will say keep doing this until you get bigger into hockey because you will be a better skater, because they have better balance and better agility they have better co-ordination,” she said.
“So just the basics that you learn in gymnastics can actually transfer into to lifelong skills, she added.”
Thorpe was the winner of Best Coach during this year’s BOB awards. She has been coaching gymnastics for 15 years, seven of which have been in Prince Albert.
To learn more the Prince Albert Aerials Gymnastics Club click here.
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