Do you know about rhythmic gymnastics?

Natalie Cohen

We all know about gymnastics. The sport that has a balance beam, uneven bars, and young ladies wearing shiny leotards. But do you know about rhythmic gymnastics? One of the sports that require the most commitment, precision, perfection, technique, and self-discipline?

Rhythmic gymnastics is an Olympic sport that incorporates gymnastics, ballet, different styles of dance, and apparatuses. The apparatuses in this sport are ball, hoop, clubs, ribbon, and rope. There are ten difficulty levels. The “perfect” score is easily affected by a slight fault or slip.  

Andrea Colón, 10th grader, competed in this sport for 10 years. She would practice for 4-7 hours, 6 times a week, and have a competition every 3 months. By performing this sport, she learned about commitment and discipline.  Being so passionate about rhythmic gymnastics made her want to help younger gymnasts after she finished her practice. 

Andrea eventually decided to retire from competing and become a coach. She’s currently working 4-7 hours, 6 days a week training about 20 girls in levels 3, 4, and 5.

Andrea finds it hard to structure her students and give them discipline, but her favorite part about coaching is when the gymnasts are loving what they’re doing and appreciate the corrective criticism. Coaching girls that represent Puerto Rico makes her feel joy when her gymnasts are performing. “It’s the best feeling, I don’t even know how to explain it, it makes me so happy!” Her years of competing, practicing, and being under constant pressure are now being shown as she puts everything she has on these girls that want to be like her.

At the beginning of March, Andrea went to her first competition as a coach. Andrea’s good teaching skills are seen in competitions. At only 15, she has had girls make it to the 3 level podium after a competition.

Because Andrea travels so much as an athlete and as a coach and because she does not have much time to study, she has had to learn to better organize the little time she has left. Besides gaining time management skills and not procrastinating, she appreciates Saint John’s School for everything they have done. “I’m really fortunate to have been in Saint John’s since I was very little because they’ve recognized how hard the training hours are. I haven’t taken PE since the third grade and used that time to study. I’ve always had a study hall which I’ve learned to use wisely. Also, I’ve gotten used to going to sleep really late studying. Even though I don’t train anymore, I still work the same amount of hours which I trained as a gymnast, so I still have limited time to study.”

        In the future Andrea wants to become a physiatrist (Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation physicians) and help USA gymnastics. She also wants to research more effective training methods and continue to coach, judge, and choreograph routines. Rhythmic Gymnastics is Andrea’s greatest passion.