Francis ‘Zooms’ in on mentorship
GYMNAST DANUSIA Francis is making the most of her time imparting knowledge to the next generation of gymnasts during the coronavirus pandemic.
Although the virus has halted all sports, Francis has been tutoring gymnasts globally on the online video chat platform Zoom. She said that the idea came to her while training in isolation at home in the United Kingdom because of local measures to curb the spread of the virus.
“I was finding my Zoom sessions with my coach so helpful and motivating,” she said. “I thought I’d offer it to other gymnasts to help keep them motivated as well.”
Francis qualified for the Tokyo Games last October, but her Olympic debut has been pushed back to another year because of the Games’ postponement until July 2021. She says that teaching has been a good way for her to navigate through the inactivity and the restrictions in place.
“It has been, in a way, therapeutic,” she said. “It has kept me busy and given me purpose, and also, the kids inspire me back. Seeing them work hard helps me to keep motivated when participating [in] my coaching sessions.”
She says the feedback has been positive, allowing her an opportunity to help gymnasts on a level that she may not have had before.
“It’s been great to help motivate and inspire gymnasts from all different countries through Instagram, Zoom, and other online platforms, and have some positives come out of this negative time,” she said.
She has also credited the local gymnastics community for being more unified during the crisis. She says that members of the senior team have been sharing videos of workouts for younger gymnasts to complete, and providing encouragement since the start of the quarantine.
Francis says that there are plans to host similar online sessions even when the health situation improves.
“Some parents have already asked me about continuing post COVID-19, which is a huge compliment to me to think my sessions are being that helpful,” she said. “It has also planted the seed for potential online international workshops, and to stay more connected with the upcoming gymnasts in Jamaica when it’s not possible to be there in person.”