As a level 6, things started to get more serious. I began taking weekly private lessons (which continued through my gymnastics career) with my regular coach, Kim, as well as USAG judge, Neela Nelson. My privates with Kim were to help with my basket-case brain. At the time, I was so terrified of fly-aways, and for good reason (so I thought). I had hit my feet on the high bar on a fly away once, and then refused to do it until testing day to move up to level 6. I also battled with my nemesis, the beam, fighting to regain my back walkovers after having a terrifying experience of flat out missing the part where your hands are supposed to land on the beam.
It was Neela that really got to the nitty-gritty (especially with dance on beam and floor) and helped me have a successful level 6 season. From her, I went from a so-so beam and floor girl to a more polished gymnast. She expected nothing less than perfection from me, but did so in a way that wasn't harmful to my eleven year old brain.
The highlights of my time as a level 6 was the fact that I was such an explosive vaulter (for my age, size, and level). I was working Tsuk tucks into the pit partway through my level 6 season. (This vault later on became my "signature, no-fail vault.") In truth, I was a little cocky about this, but I didn't really know at the time. One day at practice, I turned my best friend into my enemy for about a month because my coach told us to watch how the level 9s and 10s pop off the horse, I let "like me!" slip out of my mouth. Hmm, oops.
It was also during this time as a sixth grader that I was placed in a dance elective. Our culminating activity? Watching Lord of the Dance on VHS, thus sparking my interest in Irish dancing forever. It was also lucky that the dance teacher at my school's daughter was a gymnast at Desert Lights with me. Her music was an excerpt from Siamsa, and to this day, a part of me still wants that as my floor music.
Goals: Turnout stretches/drills EVERY DAY
Days till worlds: 58