“Liam, We Talked About Your Focus!”

“Liam, We Talked About Your Focus!”

Once, Little League taught boys to be team players. Now, it’s about their dads berating them to maximize their personal excellence.


The HEAD and the HEART

A few years ago I started a new tradition at the gyms. Being near the University of New Hampshire we have a number of college students who work at each location. As the seniors finish their last final and prepared for their college graduation we  all go out to dinner together. I want to make sure they they know how much I appreciate their work, their integrity and their dedication to the gym and the students. I can only hope that I have been a good boss. That I have helped guide them and that Atlantic has been more than just a job and a pay check.

Last night was a wonderful evening. We had a great dinner and toasted their future. We shared funny stories of incidents in classes along the way and I refrained from my habit of offering fatherly advice!

As we were preparing to leave I wanted to thank them once again. I said to them, ” I may be the HEAD of this organization but you are the HEART. “

My job is to market the gyms. Set up an organization that runs well and smoothly. I can get the students to the door. They have to keep them (and their parents) happy.

To our Graduating Seniors, Kadi, Erika, and Emily- Thank you. I am proud of you, we would not be who we are with out people like you. I am happy to say that KADI has taken on a full time position at ATLANTIC! Erika will be in grad school at UNH so will be around a while longer and Emily will at least be around through the summer.

Being the “Dad” of the gym I cannot let you go without giving you some advice:

This is an exciting time, with all that is in front of you; endless possibilities, and just as many opportunities, waiting for you to grab hold. It can be scary— uncertainty, confusion, and choruses of, “What do I do now?” will surely ring in your ears from time to time.

Here are my words of wisdom of the things they probably didn’t teach you in college.

  • Learn the art of listening.
  • Nothing worthwhile is easy and nothing easy worthwhile. Only when we get out of our comfort zone do we set ourselves up for greatness. You will not learn by taking the easy way out— of anything.
  • Be tolerant.
  • Be kind to yourself and kill the naysayers with kindness.
  • Never stop learning.
  • Your words have meaning, choose them wisely.
  • Unplug, unwind and quiet the chatter.
  • Think outside of the box. On second thought, don’t put yourself in a box in the first place.
  • Forgive because you won’t ever forget.
  • Remember the old folks; respect them, for you too will be old one day.
  • Be compassionate.
  • No tanning beds.
  • Ask for help. People will show up, as will the universe. Pretending doesn’t make you smarter.
  • Don’t accept explanations as whole truths from people just because they have a business card. Question everything and do your own vetting.
  • Take chances and risks. Have certainty that there will be someone to have your back. Don’t let fear paralyze you. Bravery is acting in the face of fear, making friends with it and moving past it.
  • Share yourself, and your talents, with others. Give back and give often.
  • It’s okay to change your mind. Walk a road that you hadn’t envisioned, and then, when you are ready, make a sharp left, and take that road.
  • Keep your heart and mind open. You will find it, although it may not look like what you had pictured in your mind. You may find that there’s more than one it.
  • Doc Massimo would always tell me Control the controllables. The quicker you can distinguish between what you can control, and what you cannot, the happier and lighter you will feel.
  • Surround yourself with positive people and let the others gently fall away. Don’t count people out. Sometimes they will surprise you. Gather those around you that will assist you on your path; those that support and encourage need only apply.
  • Don’t save things for a rainy day, or the perfect time. They don’t exist. Wear the new dress, tell someone that you love them.
  • You have to look at yourself in the mirror every day. Be sure that you can smile at the person looking back at you.
  • People are doing the best that they can (most of them anyway), be patient with those that aren’t as capable as you are.

Good luck! You will always have a HOME here at ATLANTIC. If you ever get lost- enter these into your GPS-Latitude: 43.095321 | Longitude: -70.790951. It will help you find your way back here.

The Importance of Risky Play

Are you hovering?

Be honest: how many times in the average playground visit do you find yourself tensing up with anxiety over the possibility of your kid getting hurt? How many times do you say something along the lines of, “be careful,” “that’s dangerous,” or “don’t do that”? If you’re like the vast majority of loving, attentive, well-intentioned parents, that number is likely pretty darn high.

While we can all agree that nobody wants their child to get hurt, there are a few drawbacks to being overly protective in this scenario:

  • Hovering over your child and waiting for the next dangerous scenario to arise is exhausting for parents, and can make us dread playground outings and other play experiences that are important to our children’s development.
  • Children can sense when we are anxious around them. When they inevitably pick up on our tension, they may start to feel anxious or irritable themselves, which is not the way we want our children to feel while they play.
  • Constantly stopping children from taking age-appropriate, reasonable risks or insisting on “rescuing” them from play-related struggles sends our kids the message that we do not trust them, they are not capable, and we can and will fix everything for them.
Climbing, running, jumping, and tumbling are all crucial to a child's gross motor development.
Climbing, running, jumping, and tumbling are all crucial to a child’s gross motor development. | Source

Why is risky play important?

Think about the last time you were challenged by something. Maybe it was a marathon that took months of grueling training. Maybe it was a rigorous job interview. Whatever the challenge was, think about what it felt like to be in the midst of that struggle. You may have had thoughts like, “I can’t do this” or “I should just give up.”

But you didn’t.

Now recall how good it felt to overcome that challenge all on your own, despite your own doubts and fears. How did you feel afterwards? Chances are you felt capable, confident, proud, invigorated, and invincible.

This is the feeling that we deprive our children of when we see them attempting to climb a particularly tall tree and run over in a panic to demand that they get down, or physically “rescue” them ourselves. Imagine if, while in the midst of your challenge that you brought to mind earlier, someone in a higher position of power came along and told you, “Stop trying to do this. It’s too hard, and you might hurt yourself. Do something safer.”

Now, imagine again that you are struggling with your challenge and someone comes along and says, “I see you getting frustrated/scared/nervous. It can be hard to try new things. I’ll be here if you need help.”

What a relief! Having someone nearby to empathize with your struggle while gently encouraging you along and not pushing their help on you is the best! This is exactly what our children want and need from us while they take risks in their play.

When we act as a confident cheerleader and offer our help without being pushy, children receive the message that:

  • My parents trust me
  • My parents will stand by me with unwavering support and gentle guidance while I try new things
  • Challenging myself is ultimately rewarding
  • I can achieve things and overcome obstacles if I try hard and don’t give up.

These messages may be rooted in play, but your child will carry them well into adulthood. The way you react to your child facing age-appropriate obstacles today will affect your relationship forever.

Taking age-appropriate risks helps children feel confident and capable.
Taking age-appropriate risks helps children feel confident and capable. | Source

What risky play is not

  • Letting children do whatever they want without supervision.
  • Letting children put themselves or others at risk of serious physical harm.
  • Not stepping in when a child is doing something dangerous.
  • Encouraging children to do things that are blatantly dangerous, or that we know they are too young to do safely.
  • Being too physically far from our children to help them if needed.
  • Ignoring children altogether while they play.

What risky play is (from a parent’s perspective)

  • Closely supervising and observing our children so that we are aware of their physical abilities and play choices.
  • Being physically close enough to step in at a moment’s notice if our child falls or is suddenly in danger of being seriously harmed.
  • Using our own judgement to assess the “risk versus reward” of what our child is doing. (More on assessing risk vs reward later).
  • Being conscious of our own anxiety and making an effort not to transfer that to our child.
  • When feeling the urge to stop our child from doing something, asking ourselves honestly, “why don’t I want her doing this?” If the answer is anything other than, “there’s a good chance that she or another person will get seriously hurt”, bite your tongue and just observe.
  • Offering help when necessary, but erring on the side of simply empathizing with our child’s struggle.
  • Rather than physically intervening when a child is struggling, offering suggestions. “Try holding onto that next branch and pulling yourself up!”
  • Acknowledging the challenge and celebrating our child’s success. “You worked so hard to climb that tree! It was really difficult at times, but you made it to the top!”

What risky play is (from a child’s perpective)

  • Practicing my balance as I carefully hop from one rock to another.
  • Using my left brain and my right brain in tandem as I climb the rope ladder at the playground.
  • Working on my planning skills as I figure out how to scale a tree.
  • Learning what it feels like to be a little nervous but try something anyway (i.e., bravery!)
  • Learning that I will sometimes fall and get hurt, and it’s usually no big deal.
  • Developing my sure-footedness and physical coordination.
  • Feeling like I can do anything, even if it’s a little daunting at first.
  • Seeing my parents model an attitude of helpful encouragement and genuine empathy, traits which I will carry with me into my interactions with others.
Being trusted to take risks instills courage!
Being trusted to take risks instills courage! | Source

Assessing risk versus reward

You’re probably thinking, “great, I’m on board with risky play. I want my kid to feel confident in his abilities, and I’m ready to take a step back and not be so quick to stop him from taking risks. But how do I know when to step back and when to step in?”

It’s a fair question. Where is the line between allowing freedom of movement and play choices, and gross negligence?

The key is to use your own judgement to assess the risk versus reward of the activity your child is choosing. It’s pretty self-explanatory: take a look at what the risk to your child is in the worst case scenario. Could they get a minor injury, like a bruise or a scraped knee? Could they just be slightly uncomfortable for a moment? Could they get dirty? Next, assess what the reward for your child would be. Would they conquer that longtime fear of the slide at the local playground? Would they bond with a playmate over a shared exciting experience? Would they learn that a skinned elbow isn’t the end of the world?

Obviously, your child’s own level of development is a huge factor. Maybe you have a super-coordinated two-year-old who can totally handle the rope ladder. Maybe your six-year-old just doesn’t have the upper body strength to do the monkey bars yet. Observe your child at play frequently to learn what they can do.

Your assessment of risk versus reward is entirely dependent upon your child’s age, physical abilities, and your own comfort. If something your child is doing makes you uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to go with your gut and simply say to them, “hey, I’m worried you might get hurt doing that. Let’s choose something else.”

On the flip side, though, don’t be afraid to say, “yes, you might get a scrape from doing that, but if you’re okay with that, go ahead and try.”

To sum it up: trust is key

The main thread running through the topic of risky play is one simple word: trust.

Take a moment to reflect on how it feels to feel trusted versus feeling mistrusted. One instills confidence, the other breeds insecurity. Of course, as adults, it’s our job to make the final call as to whether something is safe and permissible for our child. But part of being an effective parent is frequent self-reflection and reassessment of our parenting practices. Ask yourself often, “am I telling my child ‘no’ because there is a real risk of harm here? Or am I telling her ‘no’ because of my own baggage?”

Trust begins with letting go of that familiar desire to control our child’s choices. When we can let go of that urge early on, our relationship with our children can be built on a foundation of communication and mutual respect, rather than one of fear, anxiety, and control. Show your children early on that you have confidence in them and you both will reap the benefits for years to come.

Check out this fearless little girl working on her coordination. Notice how mom doesn’t panic even when the baby experiences a minor fall.

March Magic for Atlantic Dover

March began as a whirlwind for the girls of the Atlantic Gymnastics Dover Xcel team. Over the weekend of March 3rdand 4th Atlantic’s athletes were spread throughout the eastern coastline. Dover’s Bronze and Silver teams competed in the first annual Noha’s Invitational at the Hampshire Dome in —–, NH while the Gold, Platinum, and Diamond teams traveled to South Carolina to the Coastal Classic where they would test their grit against teams from all over the south. Atlantic was well represented in both competitions where all the girls put on their game face and let their hard work shine.

The Bronze team was divided into two age division: Junior and Senior. Izzy Rothwell and Maddie Bickford represented Atlantic in the Junior age group. Izzy was strong on bars keeping her legs glued together earning 1stplace with a 9.55. Maddie took 1st in the all-around with a 37.5. In the Senior group Annette Morris earned 1st place on floor with a beautifully executed routine. Lily Nutter, who has been working hard on bars, earned 2nd place. Hannah Dunbar took 1st on vault, beam and in the all-around. Hannah also earned the judge’s award on beam impressing them with her confidence. Additionally, Hannah earned the award for the highest all-around of the Bronze session! Kaylee Corman earned the judge’s award on floor for her flawless presentation and took 2nd place on beam. Mollie O’Connor earned 1st on bars with a 9.5. Anna Wolusky was strong across the board earning 2nd place in the all-around. Aaliyah Stancil was powerful on vault earning a 9.05. Gracie Blanchette showed off her strength on bars earning a 9.15. With ten Bronze team members competing, Atlantic coaches are proud to announce that as tricky as beam can be, there were no falls! The Bronze team earned 1st place!

Noha Bronze

It was Silver’s turn next to compete. There were six Silver’s representing Atlantic split into three age divisions: Youth, Junior and Senior. In the Youth division Sam Bishop was strong on floor performing her advanced tumbling pass earning 2nd place. Gracie Schmidt took 1st on floor showing off her fabulous dance. Katherine Indelicato, part of the Junior division, rocked the beam with a solid routine and took 1st place. Bea VanCampen took 1st on floor presenting a beautiful routine and also earning the judge’s award for finishing with a smile. In the Senior division Adurey Choate placed 1st on vault, floor and all-around. Evy Ashburner performed her round-off back handspring for the first time and earned 2nd on bars and beam. The Silver team finished in 2nd place.

Noha Silver

Atlantic’s Gold team was represented by four members: Annie Beikman, Renee Remick, Brooke Helliwell, and Savanah Hughes. The girls were divided into three ages divisions based on age but all scores contributed to the team overall regardless of age division. Savanah had a stellar performance on floor where she stuck her tumbling passes and impressed the judges for a 4th place finish. This was Renee’s first meet back after an injury and competed with complete composure. Renee earned 5th on bars with a 9.35. Brooke was consistent across the board taking 2nd place on bars, beam, floor and all-around. Annie was honored as a Senior competitor. She will be attending Keene State in the fall and will be truly missed. Annie was beautiful on beam after a shaky warm up and earned 2nd place while receiving 3rd in the all-around. The top three scores on each even contribute to the team total and the Gold team took 4th place with a total of 106.375.

Coastal Classic Gold

Overcoming injuries, and with other commitments finished, this was the first meet since the start in November Atlantic’s Platinum gymnasts represented with a complete team! The girls were excited but confident as they started their meet. Gianna Coppola, who has been focused on mastering her bar routine, earned 1st place scoring a 9.525. Tori Downey, always a confident competitor, showed her skills on beam earning 4th place. Bethany Howard, a powerful tumbler, wowed the judges with her Michael Jackson moon-walk on floor for a 1st place finish. With only three members, all scored contributed to the team total. The girls worked hard and walked away with a 2nd place Platinum finish.

Coastal Classic Platinum

This is Atlantic Dover’s first year with a Diamond team, the highest level of Xcel. Sarah Bieniek, Alexa Nelson, and Audrey Stuart, all dedicated young women, showed that hard work pays off. Sarah performed her more difficult vault and landed both during the competition, a huge success! She was rewarded with a 2nd place finish and a 9.275. Audrey and Alexa, both in the same age division, were neck and neck throughout the competition. Audrey took 1st on vault, bars and in the all-around while Alexa earned 1st on beam and floor. The Diamond team took home 1st place (with all three girls’ scores contributing to the team total) with a 110.3, beating out five other teams for the gold!

Coastal Classic Diamond

Atlantic will compete next at the A2X2 Invite hosted by A2 Gym & Cheer at the end of March.

What’s Going On This Week on the Seacoast 2/20/18

The Winter Olympics are in full swing! I am now nearly an expert in the rules of Curling! Can you believe that one of the Olympic Athletes from Russia’s Curling team tested positive for performance enhancing drugs?! I am not knocking curling, I am sure it takes a great deal of SKILL and certainly some flexibility but I am not sure about the amount of athletic ability it takes. How embarrassing to not be in good enough physical shape to be on a curling team with out taking PED’s.

The temperatures are warming up this week. Time to finally get the Christmas lights off your house. Before you get too excited about planting your garden remember that the AVERAGE snowfall totals for March is just over 10 inches. I know I plan on keeping the plow on the truck for at least a few more weeks.

Here is a list of things to do this week. Remember you can always check Seacoast Kids Calendar for a quick rundown of what’s going on and last minute things to do.

I am starting my annual spring diet. So of course I dream about sweets. If you are looking to satisfy your sweet tooth there are a few places to do a chocolate tasting.

Taza Chocolate Factory Tours
561 Windsor Street, Somerville, MA (617) 284-2232
Cost: $8/$6 per person
Hours: Monday–Sunday every week; Online reservations are required
Hop in your car and head south over the border and you’ll hit Taza Chocolate Factory in Somerville, MA, where they make 100% stone ground, Mexican-style organic dark chocolate. Tours here run 7 days a week (note: no chocolate production on the weekends), are approximately 60 minutes and length and are recommended for ages 10 and up due to the educational focus. On Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30am, they offer the Cacao Scouts Kid’s Tour, a special abbreviated tour for families with children under the age of 10 for $6. The public tour costs $8 per person and online reservations are required by visiting tazachocolate.com or calling (617) 284-2232.

Harbor Sweets Factory Tours
Palmer Cove, 85 Leavitt Street, Salem MA
Hours: Tours are given on most Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:00am. It’s best to call for information. (800) 234-4860
Cost: Free
In historic Salem, MA, you’ll find Harbor Sweets where employees still make all of their famous “Sweet Sloops” and other delicious candies by hand. Tours are offered weekly on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11am and are free to the public. Reservations are not required but it’s recommended to call first to confirm tour times. If you haven’t filled up on the samples, visit their old-fashioned shop next door and pick up some goodies for later. There’s plenty of family-friendly stuff to do in this great town so make a day-trip out of your visit! For info, visit harborsweets.com or call (800) 234-4860.


Wilbur’s of Maine Factory Tours
174 Lower Main Street, Freeport, ME 04032
Cost: $3.50 per person
Hours: February 20, 21 & 24; 11:00am-2:00pm
If you’re headed up to Maine, visit family owned and operated Wilbur’s of Maine in Freeport for a factory tour. Take a hands-on tour of their facilities, learn the company’s history, eat a bunch of samples and even make your own candy. Cost is $3.50 per person and tours run every half hour. No reservations are required. They run tours monthly so visit wilburs.com for more info or call (207) 865-4071.

Tuesday  20 February  7:00 p.m.

The Disaster Artist

Portsmouth Music Hall
Cost: $9 – $12
Event Category:

Wednesday, 21 February, 2018    

Foodworks with Hannaford at CMNH

Children’s Museum of NH  6 Washington Street
Dover, NH 03820

 Are you or your child getting bored with the same on-the-go snacks such as containers of cereal or crackers? Join us to make and take home a variety of healthy on-the-go snack ideas that will spice up snacks for your whole family! FoodWorks is sponsored by Hannaford. Free with museum admission.

Thursday, 22 February  10:30

Story Time with the Animals at the NHSPCA

104 Portsmouth Avenue
Stratham, NH 03885

Phone: (603) 772-2921
Website: Click to Visit

So fun! Story Time with the Animals is for kidsages 2-5 years. Come join is in the Humane Education Classroom at the NHSPCA’s Learning Center for Pets and People every Thursday at 10:30am. Children listen to a story about an animal, color a picture of an animal and visit with REAL animals in the classroom (hamsters, bunnies, birds, chinchillas and sometimes kittens, awwww!). No registration is required. A donation of $5.00 is suggested and appreciated.

Friday, 23 February

Comic Hypnotist Frank Santos Jr.

Rochester Opera House
31 Wakefield Street
Rochester, NH 03867
(603) 335-1992
Cost: $22 – $24
Frank Santos, Jr. has been mesmerizing audiences for over 20 years with his spectacular display of mind bending antics that can turn any skeptic into a fan. No two shows are ever the same as the audience becomes the stars.
Under his hypnotic spell, audience members are more than willing to follow every command, from awkward to outrageous in the unpredictable, hilarious, laugh until your sides hurt R-rated comedy show. Santos is returning to our stage by popular demand for an eighth season.
The show starts at 8 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.) on Friday, Feb. 23. Tickets start at $22-$24.  Reserve tickets online or call the box office 603-335-1992, M/W/F from 10a.m.-5 p.m. and two hours before the show.

Saturday 23 February

Parents Night Out.
6:00-9:00 PM
$30 per child
Call to reserve your spot 603-433-0404

Monday 2/26- Friday 3/2

February Vacation Camps for children ages 3.5-12,
$30 per child, $15 for siblings
Call to reserve your spot 603-740-3547


Meet Results- Atlantic Dover

Atlantic Freezes the Competition at Frostbite Invitational

Atlantic Dover’s Xcel team competed at the Frostbite Invite hosted by Dudziak’s Gymnastics at Biddeford High School where teams from all over New England participated. Atlantic competed in all five Xcel divisions: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond. Each division was evenly split into age groups: Youth, Junior, Intermediate and Senior.

The Bronze team was ready to go bright and early Saturday morning on February 10th. Lily Nutter, part of the Junior division, has been working hard perfecting her vault and earned 1st place. Lily performed well on the other three events and took home 1st place all-around. Maddie Bickford nailed her beam routine with a beautiful handstand placing 1st with a 9.35. Izzy Rothwell has beautiful presentation on floor and worked hard perfecting her tumbling passes, the judges agreed and Izzy earned 1st on floor. Aaliyah Stancil, part of the Senior division, had an aggressive run on vault and earned a 9.325. Anna Wolusky, always a tough competitor, had a strong handstand shape throughout her vault and took home 1st. Hannah Dunbar, a first year Xcel team member, remained calm under pressure earning 2nd for her bar and floor routine. Hannah took home 1st for her beautifully solid beam routine. Sierra Rose stayed strong on beam with a beautiful turn placing 3rd. Gracie Blanchette is a powerhouse on bars and earned a 9.325. Annette Morris has beautiful artistry on floor with strong presentation earning a 9.675 and 1st place. The Bronze team earned 1st place! Frostbite Bronze 2018.jpg
The Silver team was next to compete early on Sunday morning of February 11th. In the Youth age group, Amari Thornton, a first time Silver competitor, was amazing on floor. Her tumbling was flawless, earning 1st place. Gracie Schmidt placed 1st in the all-around with strong finish on each of the four events. Samantha Bishop has been working hard perfecting her routine on beam. Hard work pays off and Sam took home 1st place on beam with a 9.325. Katherine Indelicato, part of the Junior age group, was calm and poised during beam and nailed her cartwheel placing 1st. Averie Marcotte stole the show with her floor routine, her leap pass had beautiful execution and she took 1st with a 9.325. Sofie Gibson, also a first time Silver competitor, had the meet of her life. Sofie placed on each event and took home 1st on bars and in the all-around. Because of Sofie’s high all-around score (37.475) she was also awarded the Iceberg Award which is given to the gymnast with the highest all-around of the entire meet regardless of age. Kathryn Demerast was close on Sofie’s heels and took 2nd in the all around with a 37.35. In the Senior division, Bea VanCampen performed an amazing beam routine where she stuck her cartwheel, a skill she has been struggling with, and placed 1st with a 9.6! Cate Palmer shined on floor performing to 24K Gold by Bruno Mars taking 1st with a 9.45. She also earned 1st in the all-around. Evy Ashburner finished strong on beam with beautiful artistry for 2nd place. Audrey Choate was a strong vaulter and took 1st with a 9.6. Atlantic also took 1st place in the team division.
Frostbite Silver 2018.jpg
The Gold team came in ready to perform. Brooke Kelly, part of the Youth division, was tight and controlled on bars placing 3rd. In the Junior age group, Savanah Hughes had a beautiful cast on bars placing 2nd with a 9.5. Brooke Helliwell also performed well on bars with huge swings earning 1st place. Brooke also showed off her Footloose floor routine scoring a 9.45 for a 1st place finish. Sophie Lusenhop, part of the Intermediate age group, was aggressive in her front handspring vault earning 3rd place. Morgan Koskela had a great run and strong repulsion off vault for 4th place finish. Cadence Howard amped up her vault placing 2nd. In the Senior division Jillian Driscoll and Annie Beikman were top performers with Jillian taking 2nd place all-around and Annie earning 1st. The Gold team placed 1st! Frostbite Gold 2018.jpg
In the Platinum level Anya Marengo, part of the Junior division, performed her heart out on floor earning 2nd place. Gianna Coppola has been working hard improving her bar routine and earned 1st place. In the Senior division Bethany Howard competed on bars and beam due to an injury. Bethany pushed hard through her beam routine earning an 8.75. In the Diamond division, all the girls were part of the same age group. Sarah Bieniek attempted a new vault and earned an 8.8. Alexa Nelson flew high on floor with a 9.55 for 2nd place. Audrey Stuart stuck her beam routine with a beautiful acro connection earning 1st place. Audrey also received the Iceberg award for the highest all-around of the Diamond session!
Frostbite Plat Dia 2018.jpg
Atlantic will compete next in Myrtle Beach with their Gold, Platinum and Diamond gymnasts over the first weekend in March!

Dover JO Gymnasts Heat Up During Icy Competitions


Atlantic Gymnastics JO Level 3 and Level 4 girls have done a great job competing in back to back competitions over the span of two Saturdays. On February 3rd they competed at the Friendship classic hosted by Granite State Gymnastics and February 10th the girl competed in Maine at the Dudziak’s Gymnastics Frostbite Invite.


At the Friendship Classic, Avery Smith  our solo Level 3 gymnast and came in fully prepared. She rocked it on every event- scoring 9.6 on Vault for 1st place, 9.2 on Bars for 5th, 9.35 on Beam for 4th place, and 9.4 on floor placing her 2nd! Her  All Around score of 37.55 placed her 2nd !  The officials at this meet pick out one girl per session on each event to give a special award to for doing an outstanding job and Avery was given the Bars and Beam award!

With four Level 4 competitors at the Friendship Classic; Ava Birarelli, Norah Knowles, Virginia Hudson, and Kaia Buensuceso- these girls also came ready to give it their best. On Vault, all the girls placed- Ava’s score of 8.925 placed her 2nd in her age group, Norah with an 8.975 placed 2nd in her age group, Virginia had an 8.6 putting her 9th, and Kaia came in 1st place with a 9.375! Ava and Norah placed 2nd and 3rd on Bars with an 8.9 and 8.8 respectively. Ava placed 3rd on Beam with an 8.8, Norah 8th and also got an 8.8, and Kaia placed 4th with a 9.05. Everyone stuck their beam routine! On Floor Ava again placed 3rd  with an 8.675, Norah received 2nd with a 9.0, and Kaia took 1st with a 9.325. Kaia’s excellent floor routine earned her the Judges award! Each girl placed in the All Around- Ava 1st 35.3, Norah 2nd 35.575, Virginia 12th 33.425, and Kaia 4th 35.4. The Level 4 girls earned the 3rd Place Team Award for their outstanding work at this Meet! Nice Job!

At The Frostbite Invite, Avery continued to do a great job representing Atlantic. She had her head in the game and came out on top at first place in the All Around with a total score of 37.35! She came in 2nd on Vault, Bars, and Beam, with scores of 9.425, 9.175, and 9.4 and took 3rd on Floor with a 9.35. Keep up the great work Avery!

The four Level 4’s came ready to work once again and had a great deal of competition. Virginia place 5th on Vault with an 8.85 and had a total all round of 33.825. Kaia placed 2nd on Vault with a 9.0 and 4th on Floor with an 8.95 and came in 8th for the All Around with a 34.675. Norah placed 3rd in the All Around with a 35.575, she placed 3rd on Vault 9.0, 2nd on Bars 9.225, and 6th on Floor 8.825. Ava came in 5th in her age group with a 35.85, she placed 8th on Vault 8.75, 3rd on Bars 9.425, and 8th on Beam 9.075. Nice work Level 4 Team!


Atlantic’s JO Team girls will begin preparing to compete at their State Meets. Be sure to keep an eye out for more news on these athletes!

Want to be an Elite Snowboarder- Join a gymnastics club!

Winter Olympics: Why are teenagers SO good at snowboarding?

Red Gerard
Red Gerard, was doing incredible “man-sized tricks” at the age of 10, attracting the attention of big-name sponsors.

They are not even old enough to vote yet but Americans Red Gerard and Chloe Kim are already Olympic champions.

Gerard, 17, upset the odds to take gold in the men’s snowboarding slopestyle at the Winter Olympics in South Korea, beating competitors as much as 12 years his senior.

Kim, also 17, dominated the women’s halfpipe field to take victory on day four of the Games.

But these teenagers are by no means anomalies in the wider snowboarding community.

Ski Sunday’s Ed Leigh, who has followed the sport’s progression for over 25 years says this is the way the sport is going.

“Experience certainly has its benefits but a lot of the older riders aren’t prepared to take the risks the youngsters are,” Leigh said.

“Some of the world’s best are as young as 13, and in controlled environments, they are capable of incredible feats”.

(Depressingly, the “older” riders to whom he refers are not even in their late 20s, by the way)

So why aren’t the so-called “world’s best” in Pyeongchang?

According to Leigh, Japan’s Kokomo Murase is “probably the best female snowboarder in the world right now, but at 13 it would be too soon to compete on this Olympic stage.

“It would be like putting a 13-year-old in a Formula 1 car”, Leigh said.

“It doesn’t matter how good they are at driving go-karts, you can’t give them that much power.”

Gerard, was doing incredible “man-sized tricks” at the age of 10, attracting the attention of big-name sponsors.

“But if you put a feather-light teenager on a course with jumps this size, in these windy conditions, it wouldn’t take much to blow them off course and that is how people get hurt” Leigh said.

“You need a mature decision-making process to keep you safe.”

This was evident during the women’s slopestyle final, where strong winds made for treacherous conditions. American Jamie Anderson – 26, a veteran in snowboarding terms – took gold.

Leigh said in his commentary: “It wasn’t about anyone’s best run, it was about who could survive and it’s no surprise that two of the three medals were made up of the most experienced riders.”

So where do they find these ‘kids’?

Funnily enough, scouts are no longer starting their search for potential Olympic champions on the slopes.

“The problem snowboarding has” Leigh tells us, “is that kids with ‘potential’ are probably slipping through the net all the time.

“Everyone kicks a football at a young age so you are unlikely to miss talent, but not everyone has the funds or the facilities to discover they could be good at snowboarding.”

So where can you catch them?

Answer: In gymnastics clubs.

“In the same way heptathletes were farmed into skeleton, we are going to see kids who have gymnastics or acrobatic backgrounds starting to get pulled into snowboarding.

“The snowboard skills can come later but kids these days need to show acrobatic prowess by eight or nine years old.”

So now you know.

Want to be an elite snowboarder?

Join a gymnastics club.

Max Whitlock
Could Max Whitlock have been an Olympic gold winning snowboarder if he’d been spotted at a young age?

Who are the teens to look out for in Pyeongchang?

The Japanese are a very young team. Hiroaki Kunitake, who turned 16 on February 10 and Yuri Okubo, 17, have both performed well in big air in recent months. Yuto Totsuka, 16, is also a contender in the men’s halfpipe.

The original favourite for the men’s slopestyle, Marcus Kleveland, 18 is hoping for redemption in big air. But can Gerard do the double?

American Hailey Langland, 17 won the women’s big air at X Games in 2017 so is one to watch in that event.

New Zealand’s Zoi Sadowski-Synnott is 16 – she finished 13th in the women’s slopestyle but took the silver medal in the same event at last year’s World Championships. She also finished just outside the medals in the big air competition at that event so will be an outsider if the conditions are right in Pyeongchang.

Hiroaki Kunitake
Hiroaki Kunitake of Japan only turned 16 on February 10 but is competing in the men’s halfpipe