Friday, November 14, 2008

Texans Cheerleader Spotlight: Rachael 

Posted by Sasha at 7:40 PM ET

November 4, 2008
By Brooke Bentley

Texans Cheerleader Rachael discovered at an early age that she had a gift for gymnastics and dance, and it didn’t take her too much longer after that to realize that she wanted to be an entrepreneur.

“I’ve always had the dream since I was a little kid that I wanted to own my company,” Rachael said. “I wanted to be the big shot. I wanted to be the boss.”

Now, the 24-year-old is getting to combine all of her passions as the owner of her own mobile gymnastics company, Monster Academy.

“I actually started coaching when I was about 13,” Rachael said. “I just fell in love with coaching. I’ve been doing it all my life. It’s something that I am very passionate about. It’s something that I think I’m very good at.

“I love dealing with kids; they always make me smile. Sometimes they say the silliest things, and you just start laughing.”

Rachael coaches various age groups and ability levels in her classes, which are held in schools across the city. But two principles run constant in all her programs: master the basics and have fun.

“Usually the beginning, I don’t think, is as fun because you aren’t doing the cool flips or using the cool mats,” Rachael said. “So it’s hard to get kids’ attention because I have to start with the basics like body position, which is not as much fun. But I try to incorporate things that use the body positions that is fun for them.

“And I feel it’s really important to explain why we have to do this – why we need to learn what a straight body is and what a tuck is – because it will help them develop as they get into harder skills.”

The second-year veteran also finds it important to educate her students on the benefits of exercise.

"'Flip flop and roll to fitness,’ that’s my motto," Rachael said. “I feel like physical, everyday activity is starting to diminish. So one of my things is, "Let’s have fun and work out.' And I think it is very, very vital to start influencing that on kids at a younger age.”

As for the fun, Rachael brings out her playful side to relate with the children, leading them in silly dances or games to warm up before class.

“I just find the little kid in me,” she said. “For one day, I can scream and yell and be goofy and say goofy things to them. You know, kids love to have fun, so it’s something I have to find in myself.

“It’s being on their level and having fun with them, and then when it’s time to be serious, they know, ‘OK, it’s time to be serious for coach Rachael.’”

The most rewarding part of Rachael’s day is seeing a pupil master a gymnastics move and take pride in learning the skill.

“You can really see a light bulb click in and they’re like, ‘Oh, that’s what you meant,’” she said. “That’s the rewarding parts. That why you’re like, ‘This is why I love my job, because I finally got them to understand it.’

“Once I see the accomplish something they worked hard on, it makes me feel really, really good. It makes me realize that all my hard word and dedication is heading in the right direction."

Labels: ,