How to conquer your gymnastics dreams according to a true Olympian
If you’re looking for advice on how to conquer your gymnastics dreams, search no further than the words of wisdom from former National Jets gymnast and coach, two-time Olympic aerial skier and now assistant coach of the Canadian Aerial Skiing Winter Olympic team – Liz Gardner.
Over 25 years ago, Liz was a squad gymnast coached by Ross at Jets Diamond Creek, before transitioning into aerial skiing.
There was a point in Liz’s life where gymnastics was all she knew, it was her life and making the decision to leave it behind and start another sport wasn’t any easy one. In fact, it was one of the most daunting experiences of her life.
But little did she know then, something so daunting would become a life-changing and completely phenomenal experience. While one door closed due to injury, another one opened – and while it was a major risk to start something new, the risk in the end was worth it.
Liz is now a firm believer that sometimes you have to take a chance and take a risk in order for your life to come alive with opportunity.
Tip #1. Get comfortable in the uncomfortable – There will always be times when you’re feeling out of your comfort-zone, perhaps thrown off balance and off course. Liz says the trick to being the best gymnast you can be, remains down to pushing yourself to be exactly that – taking a chance and not shying away from the risk.
Instead, jump, flip, twist over the risk and conquer it – until you feel comfortable in the skill that once felt uncomfortable. But don’t get too comfortable – once feeling confident it’s time to move on and challenge yourself with something else.
“We get so caught up in having to be comfortable – but to me if you want to become the best athlete you have to accept the discomfort in training.
You have to accept that there’s some fear and you have to be ok with it and work through it, because in gymnastics and in aerial skiing – it’s the people who can get comfortable in the uncomfortable.
If you’re ok working outside your comfort zone, you are going to accelerate and make changes so much faster”.
Tip #2. If it’s not challenging you, it’s not changing you: push yourself to the limit – What you put in – is what you will get out. The only barrier to achieving your dreams and success is you. The harder you work – the more likely it is you are going to improve and succeed. Remain fierce and use this ‘push’ to drive a fire of passion and determination and ingrain it into every training session until it becomes a natural routine.
While Liz decided to end her gymnastics career and embark on a journey into aerial skiing, she never truly left gymnastics behind. She brought her insane tumbling skills, strength, discipline, tenacity and ambition with her. The hardest part of the journey was learning to ski and learning to ski well. Something that looked so simple, or that came so easily to others – she was learning now – going straight back to basics. But it wasn’t long until she soared from basics all the way to the Olympics.
Liz lives by the importance of a constant challenge.
“When you come to training, you should do everything possible in that training session to challenge yourself.
Both physically and mentally, continue to push yourself day in and day out because if it’s not challenging you, it’s not changing you and you’re going to stay the same athlete”.
Tip #3. Dream big – You have to think it, to believe it, to make it happen. But having a dream is only the first step – the ambition to chase your dreams has to be there, in order for the chase to be sustained.
Liz says you have to put your dreams into actions. Day in and day out when she was chasing her aerial skiing Olympic dreams, Liz was working harder than ever, training on the slopes, as well as in the gym. She never wasted a moment to improve, to edge closer to her goal.
“I think you’ve got to dream big that the first thing, don’t limit yourself. If you want to go to the Olympic Games that’s amazing, have that dream, but you have to put things into action to make that happen and to me that’s the number one thing”.