Gymnastics head coach rolls out new routines

Kaitlyn Keyes, Photography Editor

Having had four different head coaches in the last four years (not to mention various assistant coaches as well), the Liberty gymnastics program has become quite accustomed to change. And while sometimes this change can be challenging, with Liberty’s newest gymnastics head coach, the gymnastic program is bounding ahead.

This year, the Liberty gymnastics program welcomes new head coach, Lyss Holt. Holt began coaching gymnastics when she was still attending high school at Skyline, teaching at kids camps and then later club gymnastics during her senior year of college. She also worked as the head swim and dive coach for six years at a country club.

Here at Liberty, Holt has already begun to make her mark on the gymnastics program, implementing many new changes which have in turn led to shifts in the culture of the program.

“She is definitely more structured, and she definitely implements more organization in how we run practices and learn new skills,” senior gymnastics captain Kelley Zeng said. “She teaches us a lot, so I think it’s definitely been a great change.”

This year, there have been many new rules enforced regarding cell phones, attendance, and practice clothing, among other things, contributing to a more focused environment. The more structured practice style has also allowed and encouraged athletes to practice events which they have not had much opportunity to in the past.

These newly enacted changes to routine have proven to be helpful so far to athletes as they begin their season.

“I definitely think we’re getting more conditioning in because of the new structure, so we’re much stronger than we have been in previous seasons,” Zeng said.

Still, the beginning of the season has not been completely without struggle. The team began their season without a carpet, which serves as the last layer of cushion on top of the springboards and foam floor. This lacking layer of protection made it hard for the team to practice tumbling at the beginning of the year.

“It’s been a bit of a challenge, but we’ve been learning to adapt, which I believe is an invaluable skill not only for gymnastics but also as an overall life skill,” Holt said. “It has also allowed us to come together as a team, enduring the struggle and embracing it together.”

Now, the Liberty gymnasts look forward to competing and taking on the rest of their season with enthusiasm.

“I think it’s amazing how much everyone has progressed in just a couple weeks,” sophomore gymnast Emily West said. “I’m very excited to see how far we get by the end of the season.”