Sept. 27, 2012
Welcome to the Weekly Warmup! Each Thursday during the preseason, MGoBlue.com's Brad Rudner will sit down with each member of the University of Michigan women's gymnastics team to talk about the preseason training, last season's experience, and what lies ahead for the 2013 season.
The second edition of the Weekly Warmup features junior Stephanie Colbert (Naperville, Ill.)
Brad: Like a lot of sports, gymnastics is year-round. Why is the preseason such an important time?
Stephanie: The preseason is all about getting numbers in and building confidence. We do a lot of difficult conditioning to get ready. There's a lot of team bonding, and a lot of things we do together as a team, like partner assignments and team assignments. That's how you build good team chemistry.
Brad: Due to the injuries last season, you were forced to take on a role that was a little different for you, doing uneven bars and balance beam. When something like that happens, and your team needs you, what's the mentality you need to have?
Stephanie: In college gymnastics, it's so much about the team rather than club, where it's really just you. You want to do your part for the team. Uneven bars and balance beam were two events that I didn't really compete on, so I accepted it as a challenge. I was able to get a bar routine in week and a half, and I had trained beam most of the year, so that allowed me to hit when I had to. I was able to step up when my team needed me.
Brad: Take me back to the Big Ten Championships. After Joanna had her mishap, you knew that your uneven bars routine would be the difference. Talk about a lot of pressure. Looking back, how do you think you handled that?
Stephanie: Overall, I think I handled it a lot better than I thought. After vault, Scott [Sherman] told me that I was going to compete uneven bars no matter what, in case there was a tie and we needed the sixth score to break a tie. I was prepared to hit a bar routine. After Joanna [Sampson] fell, it hit me just how important it was. I was pretty nervous standing there, but Scott and Bev [Plocki] talked me just like it was another routine in the gym. I've struggled on bars at times because it takes me a little longer to learn skills, but even though my routine isn't the most difficult, being able to hit in a pressure situation like that gave me so much confidence. Now I know I can do it again if I need to.
Brad: Your sophomore season was a bit of an up-and-down ride. What's the biggest thing you learned about yourself after that experience?
Stephanie: That I can push myself beyond what I thought I could do. It's making every routine in the gym count. And confidence. It's all about being confident. If you can go out and compete with confidence, everything suddenly becomes a lot easier.
Brad: The team has everyone healthy now, so that is a plus, and the freshmen seem like they are blending in well. What's it going to take from the team this year to get back to what Michigan gymnastics is used to?
Stephanie: Again, it goes back to confidence. I think for us, it's going to be about having confidence in ourselves and continuing to believe. We need to keep our main goal in mind while setting little goals along the way to build up to that point. This year, we've got a lot more intrasquad and team assignments to get us prepared. I think the team as a whole is a lot farther ahead than where we were last year at this time. We're looking good, and we're ready to show everyone what we're about.
Sept. 20 - Katie Zurales