2012 Olympic team gold medalist and UCLA freshman Kyla Ross told IG that, although her routines may have less content than during her international career, collegiate gymnastics presents its own challenges.
“I think it’s more of a mental game,” said Ross, who placed second all-around at the 2013 World Championships in Antwerp and third all-around at the 2014 World Championships in Nanning. “Yes, my routines are shorter but you’re out there trying to be as perfect as you can be. It’s about going out and practicing all your mental cues before you go up and hit your routine.”
Ross said adapting to the demanding NCAA competition schedule of frequent meets — sometimes more than one per week — has been one of the biggest tests in her transition from international to collegiate competition.
“Coming into college, I really didn’t realize how important pre-season was,” said Ross, who during her international career trained under coaches Jenny Zhang and Howie Liang at Gym-Max in Costa Mesa, Calif. “That’s where you really have to perfect your routines, because, once season hits, you’re competing every weekend. We had three meets in one week. It’s definitely tolling, but it’s so much fun. To be able to come out in front of crowds like this (at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion) every weekend is my favorite thing.”
Ross said her training is tailored to the physical demands of frequent competitions during the NCAA meet season, which runs from January through April. The NCAA Championships will take place April 14-15 in St. Louis.
“Competing every weekend is tolling on the body, so we definitely have a lot of treatment during the week,” said Ross, who was named the Pac 12 conference Freshman of the Year in gymnastics. “During the season we taper off what we do in the gym and are very mindful of that, so we can come in fresh to the competition each weekend.”
Ross is also enjoying the emphasis on crowd-pleasing performances that collegiate gymnastics encourages.
“The first meet was a change,” Ross told IG. “I wasn’t so used to being so engaged with the crowd, but competing in Pauley has been so much fun. I feed off the energy and it’s so exciting to be able to come out and enjoy yourself, and especially having a close team bond is something special.”
Kyla Ross is featured in the following issues of International Gymnast magazine:
Ross cover photo (September 2010)
“Clutch Hitter” - Ross profile (November 2010)
2012 Olympic Games special issue (September 2012)
"Focus Forward" – Ross cover photo and interview (November 2012)
2013 World Championships coverage (November 2013)
2014 World Championships coverage (November 2914)
“The Little Gym with a Big Heart” - Gym-Max feature (October 2015)
Ross center poster (April 2016)
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