Longpain has been involved in coaching gymnastics for roughly 20 years of her life. The Tiny Toes Gymnastics organization, originally started in Tracy—where Longpain has lived for the past 30 years—has served Central Valley children with the desire to learn gymnastics for three years.
The classes are broken down into three sessions. The first is the Mini Munchkins class for 3 to 5-years-olds. The second is the Mighty Munchkins, which is designed for children 6-to 8-years-old. The last session of the evening, the Me and My Munchkin class, is a joint class for parents and toddlers 1-to 3-years-old.
Longpain keeps the mood light during her training sessions, building a comfortable environment for the young pupils. She calmly guides her students through the techniques with a steady patience.
“It’s very important to us that all students learn in a safe, fun environment,” said Longpain. “Students progress on a level that is comfortable to them. Even though the students are with peers their age and may be at different skill level, we grow with each individual.”
Despite teaching gymnastics for years, the satisfaction of being a coach keeps Longpain going. “Not many people can say they love their job; I can,” said Longpain. “Every time a student gets a skill on their own, it’s like watching your child take their first step.”
And the actual parents get a lot out of the process as well. On Aug. 4, they relaxed with ear-to-ear grins as they watched their children learn basic coordination and build muscle memory.
“This is her third session,” said Virginia Melius of her 7-year-old daughter Darleen Melius. “She is doing really well. It keeps her balance together and keeps her active she loves it.”
The emphasis of the evening was mostly on basic body control, tumbles and rolls. The children were also lightly introduced to balance beams to help build up an early framework for gymnastic training.
“This program develops a gymnastics foundation using skills, activities, music and games,” said Longpain. “We emphasize coordination, flexibility and building strength on all apparatus.”
The classes incorporate music into the workouts with instructions built into the songs that kids must identify and follow, much like a game of Simon Says, adding a unique and fun element to the classes that the children can enjoy. These types of workouts, coupled with traditional gymnastic and flexibility training, formulate the organization weekly curriculum.
Longpain also offers recreational cheerleading classes that are hosted on Fridays starting in September. More information can be found at the Hammon Senior Center or at tinytoesgymnastics.com.
Contact Erick Torres at 892-6187, ext. 28, or firstname.lastname@example.org.