Interested in gymnastics? There’s room for all ages and abilities in Sturgis

STURGIS, S.D.- Gymnastics can be a demanding sport, but it doesn’t always have to be. Northern Hills Gymnastics Academy has something for everyone- even those who might want to be a Ninja Warrior instead.

What options do you offer for highly competitive gymnasts?

We offer what you see like traditional gymnastics of DP [Development Program] levels where you quite a few hours in gymnastics, you have a lot of training, you travel really far for meets. So we offer that for the girls who are a little bit more serious,” explains  Kimberly Graves, Beam/Floor Coach at Northern Hills Gymnastics. This is often the path a gymnast will take “if they want to do a D1 school, they potentially want to go elite and try out for the national team or, you know, the Olympics, as you see on TV.”

What options do you have for gymnasts that are just getting started?

USA Gymnastics has rolled out a less intense program in recent years, which is perfect for those who are starting out, or maybe even burning out after years of training. “For the girls who are just starting out and not sure if they’re ready to just dive all the way in for gymnastics, we offer the Excel Program, which is fantastic. It helps athletes get a great introduction to gymnastics. They get to see what gymnastics is all about before they just dove headfirst into it and say, this is going to be my life from now on,” Graves adds. This program “will allow them to play sports in high school and allow them to have other activities and other interests.”

Why join gymnastics as a kid?

Jessica Price, Bars/Vault Coach at Northern Hills Gymnastics, explains that gymnastics isn’t about winning- it can build beneficial habits and skills that last a lifetime. “We‘re building healthy habits that hopefully will last a lifetime with fitness and rebounding, strength, flexibility, body awareness, balance, motor skills. It’s pretty well-rounded as far as the sport goes, you know, and it doesn’t matter what age you are. If you want to come enjoy the sport, then we’re more than happy to teach you to do that.”

What options do you offer besides gymnastics?

Swinging from bars and conquering obstacle is something many kids enjoy, but gymnastics isn’t the perfect sport for anyone. That’s why Northern Hills Gymnastics Academy also offers Ninja Warrior classes. They’re taught by an expert who competed and worked on American Ninja Warrior! “What I got to do is I got to test courses and got to help out the people making the shows, make sure everything was set for the competitors to get on it,” says Northern Hills Gymnastics Ninja Program Manager Colt Scott. “So in a sense, I got on a little bit of everything. I got on more obstacles than most people would in their entire career. So that really did help me in my experience in how to teach, in how to train and how to build.”

Do I need experience to start gymnastics or ninja classes?

Absolutely not! “Anyone can do it. It doesn’t take much to succeed. You don’t have to win to feel great about accomplishing something,” says Scott. “If you’ve never gotten a ten foot warp wall and you get it, that’s great…and you don’t have to be perfect. All you have to do is get past your own obstacles, and that’s the most fulfilling thing about it.”

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