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Isabella Gledhill Coaches at GT Gymnastics


Credit to Jordan Milewczik

Junior Isabella Gledhill has been doing gymnastics for nine years and is now a coach at GT Gymnastics.

Trey Dehesa and Nathan Williams

By Sophie Carite

Video: Isabella Gledhill, a junior at FHN and Coach at GT Gymnastics, teaches kids how to perform routines and tricks. Gledhill has been teaching gymnastics for 6 months and has been doing gymnastics herself for 9 years. Gledhill plans to continue this job for many years to come. She loves what she does and hopes to positively influence young girls to become gymnasts.

She took a deep breath and walked through the familiar glass doors into the gym at GT Gymnastics in late November 2016. Only this time, it was different. Instead of her usual leotard, she wore leggings and a T-shirt, and instead of going to practice gymnastics, she was there to teach it.

After nine years of participating in gymnastics, junior Isabella Gledhill made the choice to quit and become a coach at the same gym where she had spent so many years competing and practicing. Becoming a coach was the easiest way for Gledhill to stay close to the sport she loves.

“I really like this job because it helps me to stay active, and I get to help kids do something I loved and hope they do too,” Gledhill said.

Gledhill’s experience as a gymnast has made becoming a coach an easy switch. According to gym owner Gary McGinley, coaches need to be energetic, good at working with kids and have a strong background in gymnastics.

“She checks all the boxes,” McGinley said. “Her passion is exceptional, she was always an excellent student, which makes her a good role model for the kids, and her positive attitude really comes through in her work.”

Gledhill started doing gymnastics just for fun in second grade, and it’s been a serious passion of hers ever since. Deciding to coach recreational gymnastics was the obvious choice for Gledhill because of how much fun it had been for her. However, like many of the kids she now coaches, it didn’t take long for Gledhill to want to step it up from doing recreational gymnastics and start competing in a team at GT gymnastics.

“As a kid, I loved learning new routines and getting to hang out with my friends at practice,” Gledhill said.

Gymnastics has been one of the most important aspects of Gledhill’s life since she started. Joining a team and practicing all the time motivated Gledhill to have a healthy lifestyle and put effort into everything she does. She tries to pass these traits and lessons onto her students, who generally range from 6 to 12 years old.

Gledhill also hopes that the kids she coaches form some of the same long-lasting friendships she had growing up. One particular friend that she has stayed close to is junior Megan Puhse, who did gymnastics with Gledhill in the past, and currently works with her at GT Gymnastics.

“I just remember talking about new skills we could do as kids, and now we can talk about coaching stuff,” Puhse said.

The part of the job that Gledhill enjoys most is getting to work with younger kids, and trying to pass on her passion for the sport by giving them the same experience she had. She enjoys helping those she coaches grow into better people. According to McGinley, being a coach has helped Gledhill grow as a person as well.

“When she first started coaching, her personality wasn’t coming through,” McGinley said. “Now she motivates everyone around her, and you can really sense her positivity.”

Gledhill plans to continue to expand on her abilities by learning to coach competitive team gymnastics. Recently, she has started helping out and observing how teams are managed by a more experienced coach. According to McGinley, competitive gymnastics is much more complex and harder to teach because the skills the kids need to learn are harder to do both mentally and physically, but he believes Gledhill will be very successful in doing it.

“Coaching a team would be an exciting challenge, but it also takes a lot of work,” Gledhill said

After working at GT Gymnastics for a year, Gledhill still feels the same sense of excitement she did when she just started out. She loves the positive, upbeat work environment McGinley has created and likes getting to talk about new ideas on improving her coaching style with Puhse.

“It’s a job I’m very happy to have,” Gledhill said. “I don’t know that I’ll do it forever, but I’m grateful I have the opportunity to do it now.”