New faces in the gym: Austin YMCA starts boys gymnastics program

Published 8:36 pm Monday, January 14, 2019

The Austin YMCA gymnastics program just got a little bigger.

The program recently started a boys gymnastics team that will compete in Midwest Amateur Gymnastics Association meets this year and the YMCA has also introduced a beginners class called Daredevils, which teaches boys basic gymnastics skills.

Jarrett Hull of Austin goes through a tumbling routine with the help of coach Gracie Nelson at a session for the Daredevils class at the YMCA Monday. Rocky Hulne/

The boys gymnastics team will have four long-time gymnasts on it and up to 15 boys have shown up for the Daredevils class.

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Nikki Lindberg, YMCA gymnastics director, said the boys gymnastics program has emerged from what used to be parkour.

“When I first got here about four years ago they were doing parkour,” Lindberg said. “It kind of evolved into parkour gymnastics and now it’s moved into full gymnastics. We’ve had a couple of boys that have been coming for quite awhile.”

The YMCA held a ninja day for boys to try out gymnastics and approximately 30 kids showed up to try it out. Lindberg said that young boys quickly learn that gymnastics can be a fun way to get some great exercise and learn some new skills.

“Sometimes the boys think it’s just for girls, but as soon as they get in the gym and they get to run, jump and do all of that stuff, they really like it,” Lindberg said. “The health benefits are great. It helps you with every sport with flexibility and coordination. Even if it’s not your main sport, it’ll help with the other ones.”

The age of the boys competing ranges from six to 11 years-old.

Isaiah Blake of Austin vaults during a Daredevils session at the YMCA in Austin Monday night. The YMCA has introduced a boys gymnastics team this year. Rocky Hulne/