Most of the time training facilities that prepare youngsters for competition in the sport of gymnastics are only found in large cities. For those living in small towns, commuting several times a week could hinder or totally prevent a would-be gymnast from learning desired skills.
Parents in Refugio and the surrounding area are not faced with that dilemma. They can take their children to Fliptastic Gymnastics in downtown Refugio to learn gymnastic and cheerleading skills. The facility has been owned and operated by Lacy Collins since December 2017.
Parents of Fliptastic students have expressed their appreciation to Collins for offering the sport of gymnastics to their children locally, as well as, keeping it affordable.
Collins developed a love for gymnastics and cheerleading at a young age. She was a high school cheerleader and used to help her mother teach a gymnastics class while growing up.
Fliptastic is open on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday and there are plans to expand classes after the COVID-19 pandemic has ended. In addition to team classes, one-on-one private lessons are an option.
Students, both boys and girls, from the age of 3 years old and up are taught tumbling from a beginner level to advanced twisting skills by Collins and her staff. The beginner class is taught the correct way to stretch, do rolls, cartwheels and proper body position. Skills such as round offs, back bends, walkovers and kick overs are added at the elementary level.
The intermediate class utilizes the skills learned from previous classes as they begin to work on front and back handsprings as well as learning to connect mastered skills. The advanced class works on tucks, punch-fronts and twisting techniques/skills.
Tumbling classes are held throughout the year. Usually a big spring show is held annually to give the young gymnasts an opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned to parents and friends.
For cheerleading students there is a beginner level, level one prep team, level two prep team and a level three prep team. Each division requires specific tumbling, builds and jumps to be mastered. The higher the division, the more difficult the skills become.
During team tryouts Collins considers each student’s strength, height, age and ability to perform skills in order make sure each student is a good fit with the team he or she is placed on. Teams from Fliptastic compete in three to four competitions per season.
All of the cheerleaders compete as teams; however, if a student excels in a particular skill they may compete individually.
“It generally takes from August to November to really get the cheerleaders ready to compete,” Collins said. “December through May are when we are the busiest with competitions.”
Cheerleaders from Fliptastic compete as All-Star Prep teams. At least one team, if not all, usually leaves with a first place in every competition.
“Actually, I don’t believe we’ve ever placed less than second place,” Collins said.
But, there is more to be gained than just learning skills and competitions. Through the sport of gymnastics Fliptastic students also learn leadership skills, how to work as a team, have confidence in their abilities and make lasting friendships.
Collins expressed that along with teaching tumbling and cheerleading skills her goal is to build lasting memories, instill confidence and strengthen character in every child that comes through the doors of Fliptastic.
She said the most rewarding aspect of her job is, “the look on the students’ faces when they realize what they are capable of. Every one of our past, current and future students has talent. It’s our job to help them see it.”