THE TALON

Student Spotlight: Jackson Coppola

Get to know Jackson and all about his gymnastics career!

Why did you decide to start gymnastics?

Well when I was about 3 years old, I was just like rolling around the furniture all the time, and my mom was like, ‘I’ve had enough of this, you’re going to take a gymnastics class at the YMCA.’ I loved it, so I started doing gymnastics competitively when I was 7. This is my 10th season. Now I train at the Gymmasters Gym Academy in Mount Pleasant.

Do you have an idol gymnast/coach that really inspires you or that you look up to?

There are a lot. The one that I probably look up to the most is an Olympian, Christ Brooks. I actually got to meet him and train with him when I went a camp a couple years ago in TN. He taught me random tips and tricks that made my skills more smooth and it was really cool to work with someone like him.

What is the greatest advice you’ve ever received about gymnastics?

Probably to treat every practice like the one before a competition.

I try to treat every practice like it’s the one before a competition”

— Jackson

Where are some of your favorite places you’ve gone for competitions?

I’ really liked Chicago, Orlando, LA, Las Vegas, and Seattle. Usually we explore the city and it’s always a cool experience, especially when my friends are there with me. That’s something that I really love about being a gymnast–having the opportunity to see all highlights of cool cities that I wouldn’t otherwise even see.

How do you prepare for important competitions, like the one in LA a couple weeks ago? Do you have any special routines?

So, the way it usually happens for a meet that’s far away is that I’ll do things that will calm me down, instead of stressing me out. So, obviously, I won’t do my homework. But I’ll sleep and watch Netflix because that calms me down and gets me in the right mindset to compete.

What’s your best event?

My best event is probably floor. Guy floor routines don’t have any music, which you might think makes it harder to keep rhythm and timing, but I don’t mind it because it’s easier to get back on your feet if you mess up. Even without the music, you kind of just go out there and destroy it on the floor. I’ve just developed a sense of tuning everything out and my focusing on just doing my routine.

If you’ve had a bad practice or meet, what motivates you to come back and work harder to improve?

That’s a tough one. Usually I’ll go home and think what I’ve messed up on, and focus on that the very next practice.

What is your training schedule like?

I train 16 hours a week. On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday I have 3 hour practices and I have a 4 hour practice every Saturday.

Most elite gymnasts are homeschooled. Have you ever considered that? How do you manage your time so well?

I’ve never really considered being homeschooled. I think I’ve learned time management skills and this is kind of just normal for me. I’ve gotten good at finding the balance between my school life and my gym life and making enough time for both.

What are your plans for gymnastics in the future? College/professional?

Gymnastics is great but my main priority is definitely still my education. I want to go to a school where I can keep the same balance between education and sports. I really want to go into aerospace engineering because I’ve been around around airplanes all my life and I want to learn how they work and how to build them, because that’s like really cool.

 

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