Youth Sports Spotlight: Local Gymnastics - WVTM-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Birmingham, AL

Youth Sports Spotlight: Local Gymnastics

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BIRMINGHAM, AL -

Most youth sports programs in the summer time require a huge commitment.

Gymnastics is no different.

16-year-old Lauren Jennings started her gymnastics career at a young age.

"As a child, my mom said I would always flip on the sofa and do rolls," Jennings said. "So she signed me up for the kiddie classes and I just loved it."

Jennings trains at the Head Over Heels Gym. She is one of 22 optional level gymnasts on an upper-competitive team. Jennings' former coach Ann Williams says her staff does everything they can to prevent injuries when kids start competing.

"We manage it by how we train," Williams said. "Obviously, you don't just put a kid out and say, 'Do a double-back.' You work up to it through a whole process of probably years of preparation."

"The hardest part is definitely fighting mentally, not so much physically," Jennings said. "The sport is so hard mentally because we're throwing in insanely hard skills. They're scary sometimes, but you have to learn to push through that."

Being a part of a team has allowed Jennings to enjoy the sport more.

"We're a big family now," Jennings said. "We started out as individuals and now we're just a huge family. We do everything together. We're always here together."

"They form relationships," Williams said. "Those relationships become important to them. They're working for themselves but they're also working as part of that team dynamic. They enjoy that part of it also."

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