Spotlight On: Coach Valerie MacDonald
Head Coach: EAGLES/XCEL Gymnastics Program
When did you first realize you wanted to be part of gymnastics?
“When I was 8 years old, I saw Nadia Comaneci compete in the Olympics. I saw how much she wanted to be a champion. I decided I wanted to be an Olympian, too. So I started training in gymnastics”.
When did you decide to become a coach?
“I realized when I got older, that maybe I wasn’t good enough to compete in gymnastics at the college level. I loved the sport, and thought I would be a better coach than a gymnast. I started coaching for the University of Denver youth program when I was 19, working with the preschool and pre-team kids. I’ve spent the last several years coaching at different gymnastic facilities in Denver.”
How did you find your way to TIGAR?
“I wanted to be at a gym that was family friendly, and allowed me to show my strengths as a coach. It’s a fun environment. I also want to be part of an incredible coaching staff. TIGAR coaches are skillful, knowledgeable and caring. The range from International and Elite coaches to the talented recreational coaches is phenomenal”.
What Is the EAGLES Program about?
“The Eagles program is perfect for the gymnast who wants to do other sports. Pre-teen and teenage girls are busy doing soccer, cheerleading and other activities. EAGLES allow them to compete at USAG sanctioned-meets without the financial and time commitment needed for Competitive Team gymnastics.”
What is your coaching philosophy?
“For me, it’s all about the kids being happy. I want them to have fun. If they are not having fun, kids aren’t going to try their best. When a kid gets a skill for the first time, I’m as happy as they are. Their face lights up, and that will make my day”.
What advice do you have for parents when looking for the right coach or sports programs for their child?
“Parents should always visit a gym, and watch the coaches interacting with the kids. Their kids should always be comfortable with their coaches. Coaches can push kids to want to succeed, but kids should be having fun”.
What do you do for fun?
“I love family time with my husband and two kids. I love going to the theatre to see movies. And I love Mexican food. I make the best salsa!”
To learn more about the TIGAR EAGLES/XCEL Gymnastics Program, contact Drew Negley at Drew@TIGARgym.com
Written By: Bradie Walls