By Kristen Leonard
Opelika’s Trampoline and Tumbling Program has had a huge impact on athletes since the program was first brought here in 1993 by Valeri White, Opelika’s Parks and Recreation Trampoline and Tumbling Coach.
Trampoline and tumbling is a sport that trains all year and unlike traditional gymnastics, team members are scored individually. The competitive season is from January to July, during which athletes have the opportunity to compete on a national and even world level. So far, athletes have competed all over the United States and in other countries such as, South Africa, Belarus, Russia, and Australia.
The team has been fortunate enough to have some of its members compete in nationals. Just last year, Cameron Thomas won national champion for Trampoline, and Ri Leigh placed fifth in the nation for on floor in Spokane, Washington. When the team went to Greensboro two years ago for nationals, Maya Billingslea placed in the Top 10. Billingslea has also been invited to train with an Olympian in Portugal next summer for two weeks.
In addition to the athletic team, the program offers courses that cost between $45-$95 per week for an eight-week period to help kids, ages two and above, learn a range of trampoline and tumbling skills.
“Thousands of athletes have come through the doors with the goal of helping them obtain their performance, fitness, recreation or competitive goals while making them feel part of a special family,” said White. “From 2-year-olds in the Parent and Me classes learning coordination and balance to [training] a world champion, we have influenced kids to be their best.”
Laura Chesser, Public Relations Coordinator and former tumbling instructor, also shared her thoughts on the program.
“I think one of the best things about our program are the instructors. We have great instructors who put a lot of emphasis on technique. When kids have the basic technique and form down, they advance really quickly, and it’s easy for them to move up to the next level,” said Chesser.
“I give big props to the instructors for providing a safe environment for kids to have fun without feeling too much pressure.”
For more information about the program, go to Opelikasportsplex.com or visit Opelika Trampoline and Tumbling Facebook page.