Hayley is in a more advanced gymnastics class, which meets at the same time as Mabel's, in the same gymnasium. When the classes begin, Hayley's class heads to the end of the mat for stretching in splits, while Mabel's circles up to plan their lesson. This is as close as they get for the entire hour.
Hayley begins practice on the trampoline. This is her favorite part, she says. She does a GREAT splits jump.
The girls in her class take turns in this area. After trampoline, it was Hayley's turn to practice handstands. A running start...
... and halfway upside down...
... and ta-dunk! Hayley's ample feet help balance her there on the 'green cheese'.
Backbends are difficult because the girls need to lean and land without fear. They start with a wedge and a spotter.
One of the things I love most about her advanced class, is that they are learning to tumble. The years Hayley spent repeating beginner classes got her nowhere (other than really good at somersaults, beginner cartwheels, and jumping on the tramp); she is finally in a class that is growing her skill level, and that is exciting!
During this exercise, she is running from her start point on the floor, jumping on the spring board, and landing on the stacked pyramid. When she is more comfortable with herself flinging through the air, she will land on the pyramid with her feet, square and still.
Footwork through wooden bars on the floor...
Then somersaults on the beams, closest to the floor to start. [The week after I took these shots, she successfully did a cartwheel, landing ON THE BEAM without falling or losing her balance!]
Then: BEAM. I love her on the high beam. It helps her work on grace and balance and she looks so good up there! This is the highest beam she's ever been on.
I'm so proud of my big girl. And I love the fact that I get to share this with her. I love that she moved me toward it. If you know me well, you know I am NOT the tumble/cheerlead/gymnast type - but thanks to my stepdaughter, I'm now not afraid to be.