Like jumping on a trampoline, the world is upside-down these days. The novel coronavirus sweeping across the globe has driven us to make important sacrifices to keep ourselves, family and neighbors safe from the illness. Our familiar lifestyles and activities are on an indefinite holding pattern, if not changed forever.
Of note, globally, international gymnastics competitions are postponed, including the 2020 Olympic Games. For Olympic hopefuls, that means their full-force training mode preparing for the Summer Olympics is replaced with adjusting to the limitations of training at home without a trampoline to maintain preparedness instead of in a fully equipped gymnasium with a trusted coach to prepare for any upcoming competition. All this, with the uncertainty of knowing which ones, when or where they will be. This demands a new way forward.
Thankfully, we live in a modern world. Zoom, iPads, and the internet can help rise to the challenge. But, stay-at-home orders and maintaining a self-distance from others, it still makes for a formidable ordeal.
Therefore, one begs to wonder, what are the top international gymnasts doing to remain prepared? Let’s ask.
One such gymnast to ask is Kim Beattie, 21, from Banchory in Scotland, UK. A GB National Team member, her coaches are John and Melanie Wills at the Banchory Sports Centre.
Kim is an accomplished young woman. She as been awarded the Master Gymnast award by British Gymnastics, the Scottish Senior Gymnast of the Year 2019 by Scottish Gymnastics and the Full Blue award for sporting achievement from the University of Aberdeen. Since she is 4-time Scottish DMT Champion (2015-2018), the British DMT Champion of 2018 and on the National Team for Great Britain that won silver Team Title at the World Championships in 2017 and 2019, it’s no wonder.
Kim is also a student at the University of Aberdeen where she is pursuing a Masters degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. She hopes to graduate next year.
Acrobatic Sports had a few questions for her. Her answers might inspire you.
Acrobatic Sports (AS): Has your country/state ordered that everyone stay home? Does your country also require 2-metres of self-distancing and/or wearing a face mask?
KIM: In the UK, we have all been ordered to stay at home unless you need to go out for food shopping or medicine. You can leave your home if you need to go to work, however, most people are working from home. We’re also allowed to leave the house once a day for exercise by ourselves or with members of our household, but we must stay 2 metres apart from everyone else at all times outside the house. We are not required to wear a face mask when we leave the house and we are not allowed to meet or visit any friends or family members not living in your household.
AS: If your country/state has ordered such measures, are you still able to go to your gym or training facility to train? If so, how are they affecting your training?
KIM: In the middle of March, all sports centres and gyms were ordered to close and have not yet been reopened across the country. This means we currently don’t have access to trampolines (or any gymnastics facilities or sports centres), or any strength and conditioning, and gym facilities.
AS: If you cannot go to your gym or training facility, how are you training at home? What are you doing to stay fit and/or prepared for potentially upcoming competitions?
KIM: I’m currently on a schedule of 2-3 hours of training per day which includes strength and conditioning, rehab, yoga and high intensity workouts, all set out by my personal coaches, personal trainer and physiotherapist. I feel particularly lucky as we are an active family so we have lots of very basic gym equipment and weights around the house, as well as a big country park out the back of the house for any workouts which require more space, such as sprint sessions. I get Sunday every week to rest which is nice though! I’m staying prepared for our return to training and competition by keeping my body, but also my mind in as best shape as possible. I do short visualisation sessions as part of my training each day, and I’m continuing to work with my sport psychologist to help me mentally prepare for my return to training, but also to keep me motivated during this time.
AS: If measures ordered by your country/state have been lifted with some restrictions/with limitations, how has that changed your training?
KIM: No measures have yet been lifted in the UK and it still looks like it may be a while until we will have access to training facilities and gyms again.
AS: Being physically prepared is one thing, but one must also be mentally prepared. Without knowing exactly and confidently when and where the next competition will be, how are you staying mentally prepared?
KIM: As I am writing this, we would have been competing in qualifications at the European Championships in Sweden today, with team and individual finals over the rest of the weekend. This week, the British and Scottish Championships in July and September have also been cancelled, which effectively puts an end to all competitions in the UK for 2020, unless any events are rescheduled for the end of the year. It’s upsetting that these events which we have been excited about and working hard for have been postponed, however, it’s the best decision for all our safety. At the moment, I’m currently not focusing on preparation for competition at all, but rather just staying mentally prepared and motivated for our return to training, whenever that may be! I’m taking this time instead to focus on developing positive lifestyle habits and making the most productive use of this time possible to develop as an athlete by trying some new things, such as yoga which I have been really enjoying!
AS: Also, it’s important to be emotionally prepared. Staying at home for weeks on end can be daunting. How are you coping with shutdowns and postponed international competitions?
KIM: The postponement of domestic and international competitions is upsetting, as one of my favourite parts of the sport is competing! However, I’m mainly focusing on the steps I can take now to ensure a smooth transition back into training and competition, to keep myself motivated and excited for any upcoming events. Personally, I have quite enjoyed the lockdown period so far! From last September until this lockdown, I have spent most of time training at home or at training camps, competing internationally or in the library focusing on my university work, so I am really grateful to have some down time to spend with my family and our new golden retriever puppy, Murphy, we got back in October. Although I miss training, competing and all my teammates a lot, I have had fun trying new workouts and doing activities with my family, but also having some quality time to complete my university thesis and exams has been really beneficial.
AS: Finally, how do you plan to celebrate when it’s over!
KIM: Go on holiday! The weather, even over the summer months, is not always kind to us in Scotland so some sun and seeing more parts of the world again would be my best way to celebrate. Seeing all my close family friends and friends again will be a top priority, and I also love eating good food so i can’t wait to go out and eat at some of my favourite restaurants.