Katie Earley – Illinois Nomination & Photography by Rachel Ray Photography Issue 64 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
My name is Katie Earley and I am member of Inspiring Magazine Issue 64. In my interview I was asked about a topic I would choose to present to a group of peers. I picked my experiences in competitive gymnastics and dance.
My life has been centered and focused around competitive gymnastics and dance. I believe that both of these sports have molded me into the person I am today. I started gymnastics at a young age. Gymnastics taught me so many more things than tricks. I learned how to provide proper nutrition to my body, time management, confidence, facing fear and mental strength. My body was able to provide me with physical strength and the skills, but no one talks about the mental strength that it takes to be a gymnast. In gymnastics you work in the gym 30 hours a week year-round. You are attending school and going straight to the gym 6 days a week year-round. You are working your hardest to perform at 5 or 6 competitions a year. You eat in the car or at the gym and you do your homework when you get home. You learn time management to work all those things into your day. Gymnastics is a super hard sport, and you need immense physical strength. After a lot of training your body provides you with the skills you will perform but it's prepping your mind that is the hardest. The mental strength that you need to do a back handspring on a piece of wood that is 4 inches wide and 4 feet from the ground not for the weak. You have to push yourself past the fear, trust your body, have confidence and execute. That is just one of the examples of the 4 events or skills you do that you have to have the mental strength for. Gymnasts make it look so easy but behind the scenes there is a lot of hard work and a lot of mental toughness. When your mental strength isn't in line with what skills your body can do or is doing, this is when there is room for error, and you don't perform at your best or can hurt yourself.
Dance was an easy transition for me due to already being physically and technically trained on some of the skills as the two are similar in a lot of things. The two performances though are much different. The physical endurance of getting through a high impacted dance routine is a lot different than performing a bar routine, floor routine, vault or balance beam routine. Where those routines are more physically and mentally demanding, dance requires strength in your performance at the same level of energy for 3 minutes. Dancers also train technique for numerous hours, have to learn several routines and remember choreography. This year alone between my studio and high school team I have learned close to and performed 15 dances. I would not change my path because I learned so many things from each sport.
Dance is my true love and passion. It always me to show emotion and I can express myself through movement. I want to inspire other little girls that are aspiring to be a dancer or a gymnast to follow their dreams of it. Neither sport comes easy and is hard work and dedication. I have loved being part of both and will cherish everything I learned from both.
I have spent a lot of time training and preparing myself mentally and physcially for competitions in both sports. I have loved being in both sports! I have been surrounded by the best teammates and formed relationships that will last a lifetime. Both dance and gymnastics have taught me how the mind and body work together in the pursuit of success. I am so glad that Inspiring Teen Magazine has let me speak out on these topics for inspiration to others!