Ana Perez has always loved rhythmic gymnastics. It was her first love, and she realized it when she was just four years old, growing up in Valencia, Spain. She appreciates every aspect of it, basking in the sense of achievement that comes from having a perfect routine. She loves the concentration of the sport, only having two minutes to make something flawless, knowing even the smallest twitch can throw off everything for the judges. However, what she likes most, are the hours spent training, knowing she is fighting for a dream. She felt this when she was a competitive athlete for twelve years, and now, she feels it as a coach.
Working with many top athletes, Perez quickly became recognized as one of Spain’s best rhythmic gymnastics coaches at the age of sixteen. Ten years have gone by, and her reputation is known, not just in her native country, but around the world in her sport. She has won championships and trained the best, sharing her experience with beginners and shaping them into professionals. In 2015, this is just what she did for her winning team at the National Base Spanish Championship with her club, Club Morvedre.
“When I saw the result on the screen of the ranking and saw that Club Morvedre was the first, we were calm, since there were some teams to compete, but when the category ended and Morvedre was first in the National Base Championship in the Juvenile category, we embraced the technical team and the gymnasts who make up the whole and we were excited. At that moment, we felt very proud, because it was a dream that we had finally achieved. At other times, we had not had good days of competition and at last here we had performed a perfect exercise,” Perez described.
Every November, this Championship occurs, where 16 teams of each category come from all the communities. This Championship of Spain Base level corresponds to the second highest level that Spain has, only ahead is the Absolute level. It is a competition that allows gymnasts to be evaluated on their level, where they can take a step forward in the rankings. It is one of the most vital competitions for the athletes in the country.
“I love being able to teach gymnasts, transmitting the values of sport, competition, discipline, companionship and self-improvement that are essential to rhythmic gymnastics. Even more importantly, about the relationship between a gymnast and her coach. A good relationship leads to the achievement of results. There is a very strong relationship between myself, as a coach, and this youth team, as performers. Our mutual work has allowed us to obtain the best result that we could achieve,” said Perez.
As a coach, Perez helped to make the corrections and modify those parts of the choreography that did not work well. Thanks to these corrections, the team were classified in the autonomic phase for the National Base Spanish Championship, in Zaragoza, and were champions of Spain in the Young Category.
“Ana worked closely on the project where we managed to help the youth team win first place in the Spanish Championship. She is an excellent co-worker and a good support in the hardest moments or, better said, in the most stressful moments as well as in the happiest ones. She always tries to look for the best for the Morvedre club, and she gives it her all. She is ferociously committed to her work. I have worked with her for a long time and she has taught me many things, among which I emphasize commitment, discipline and comradeship,” said Alicia Gaspar, Perez’s fellow coach.
When preparing the team for the competition, Perez worked on the warm-ups, handling of the ribbon, and the physical preparation required for competition, as the gymnasts needed to be in the proper physical condition at the required level of competition. This sport is about sets of repetitions of the choreographies prepared by the trainers so that the exercise is successfully performed. They trained in the summer, preparing the choreography with the music. They trained three hours a day, five days a week, making sure every detail was ironed-out.
“My contribution has been to give my best to bring about the best result, both in the editing and in the choice of music. I have given them the commitment and the confidence to be able to get the result obtained. I find this to be an essential element to coaching any sport, both when it comes to training and when it comes to competing. The instructions are key, as well as the part that the athlete plays,” said Perez.
Some parts of the choreography originally did not go as planned, as the apparatuses fell and the gymnasts became nervous. Perez then decided to make it easier for some pitches, so gymnasts felt safer with their choreography. That is essential when it comes to competing, because gymnasts should be comfortable with their exercises. Without Perez, the team could never have achieved what they did, and this was acknowledged by all who witnessed the team’s results.
“As president of the Morvedre Club where Ana has been working for more than ten years, I have to thank her for everything she does: for being part of my team of coaches, for the great work done season after season at all levels and for her results obtained. But above all, I have to thank her for creating the good atmosphere of fellowship between coaches, parents and gymnasts, as well as the excellent preparation of the gymnasts that led to one of the competitions in which more than 100 gymnasts competed, getting to be among the best,” said Luis Marín.
Needless to say, Perez’s commitment to coaching is greatly appreciated by all.