November 28, 2018
It may sound cliché but at Houston Gymnastics Academy our coaching staff is truly one big ol’ happy family! More importantly, we think of our students and their parents as part of our extended gymnastics family as well. While you may see our coaches on the floor or briefly talk to them between classes, we want you to get to know a bit about each of them, why they love working with kids and fun tidbits about them. First up is Coach Sergio, a coach loved by parents and gymnasts alike!
How long have you been at HGA and what made you want to work with kids?
I started at HGA in 2014 but always knew I wanted to work with kids. I had been volunteering as a tutor for school-aged kids and really enjoyed seeing them succeed and accomplish their goals through hard work, which translated well to what I experience here on a daily basis.
How do you motivate your students to tackle their fears, learn new skills and continue to challenge their limits?
This is one of my favorite things about my job as a gymnastics coach. Each class, I encourage my students to set a goal for the class and work to achieve it which helps them focus and leaves them feeling a sense of accomplishment after each class. Kids also learn by example so it’s not uncommon, if a student is frustrated or nervous, for parents to see me doing the skill alongside the student. I always want my students to know I am their biggest supporter and will always be there to help until they achieve their goal.
What is your favorite thing about working at HGA and helping young kids?
When we say we’re a big gymnastics family, that’s the absolute truth. I love becoming part of my students’ lives because it’s more than just time spent in the gym. It’s hearing about their day, I know about their favorite subjects in school, if they have a new sibling, what worries them, etc.. It’s rewarding to help them achieve their goals and see them progress, as well as learn new skills and how to face challenges because those lessons will help them in the future as well.
Tell us the best/funniest story a student has told you?
I could write a book on the funny things that come out of my students’ mouths. I always tell my kids that if they believe they can achieve it they will. It’s a mindset. So it was funny when one of my preschool students always arrived drinking a green smoothie. He emphatically told me, “It makes me big and strong!” Come to find out, his mom needed to convince him to eat his vegetables so she started making a juice she referred to as Pokemon Juice! He believed it made him big and strong and that’s the attitude he brought to every class!
I also love when the kids call me “Coach Surgery” instead of Coach Sergio!
What do you find most challenging about your job as a coach?
I’d say the most difficult aspect would be ensuring each child gets individual attention in a class setting. This is why we maintain a low student-to-teacher ratio. I work hard to create lesson plans for each individual student to make sure he or she is progressing and improving their skills.
Tell us about a student you’ve had that faced medical challenges and how gymnastics helped.
Truthfully, I have seen the benefits of gymnastics countless times. However, I have worked with a number of autistic children and see firsthand how gymnastics have helped them in a number of ways. Oftentimes, they face challenges in the gym due to the loud environment (some opt for private lessons because of this) and their lack of muscle strength. In one instance, the student had a fear of heights and didn’t like to be touched which is necessary when spotting a new skill. However, I worked with the student, adjusted my coaching to meet the gymnast’s needs, and in the end, the student persevered and mastered ring holds (high above the floor) and floor skills.
What do you think parents need to know about gymnastics and its benefits?
Kids these days are often participating in multiple sports and gymnastics can help with those. It is phenomenal for improving flexibility and coordination. I also think all youngsters should enroll in preschool gymnastics because these classes help tremendously with social skills, motor skills and cognitive development.
To learn more about the classes offered at Houston Gymnastics Academy, or to register your child, click here or call 713-668-6001 today.