The Making of a Meet

IMG_16521As the weekend came to a close, and the equipment truck door closed (thanks to Hannah's acrobatics), I thought, "whew, we did it".  But that wasn't the end.  We unloaded our loads of Pinnacle and personal items that had been borrowed for the weekend, tidied up open balances, posted results, and began looking forward to next year's event.

Pinnacle is new in the invitational world, however we have grown accustomed to hosting meets over the past 4 years.  The first time we did it, it was overwhelming.  There was stress from the time we agreed to host until the week following the competition.  Each time we have hosted a competition, the level of stress has declined.  Confidence has increased throughout my staff and we even sometimes think we are good at it.

Here is a rundown of how the Pinnacle Pacer came into existence.  Please note I will skip things in this description, however the key parts are all listed.  Only gymnastics geeks like myself would enjoy the entire story.

Hannah and I began brainstorming ideas for a host meet at the end of the 2013-2014 season.  Some reasons for hosting included: having another local meet all of our athletes could attend, having sanctioned matting at an off site facility, and becoming a larger part of the Kansas and USA Gymnastics community.

From there, we had to find somewhere to do it.  When you host a meet, there are very specific matting and space requirements that must be met based on the levels in the competition.  For level 8-10 athletes, runways have to be a minimum of 76 feet, beams have to have a mount and dismount mat on each end, floor corners must be padded.  In addition, you have to fight the volleyball and basketball leagues that take up the majority of the gym space in the Kansas City metro, practically every weekend.

Then, I took my kids to science camp at the Shawnee Civic Centre and thought "I could host a meet here!".  I called Hannah and told her I had the perfect spot.  Close to our families, volunteers, and within the Shawnee community.  We were able to come to an agreement on rental and dates and then the real planning kicked in.

When you host a meet, you have to apply for a sanction from USA Gymnastics.  This provides insurance for the participants in the competition, provided that strict criteria for matting, personnel, and conduct are adhered to.  Once I had the sanction, I began advertising our meet to local and regional clubs.  Pinnacle is lucky to have such amazing support from other local clubs that our meet began filling: quickly.  It really is like a pseudo family.  As much as metro clubs compete against each other and vie for regional and national spots, we also come together to make invitationals in Kansas City successful.  I am so grateful to have so many great relationships with other coaches and owners in the Kansas City metro.

Also exciting news, I started receiving entries from Nebraska teams!

Once I started getting rosters from clubs, I then had to verify memberships.  This involves making sure that every athlete and coach entered in the competition is a USA Gymnastics member in good standing.  From there, I put the rosters into sessions and made the schedule.  Some of the schedule depends on the availability of judges.  For most judges, this is a part time job and they are not always available during the week.  However, due to the large number of entries, I knew we would have to start on Friday.

The Kansas National Association of Women's Gymnastics Judges (NAWGJ) assigns judges to each competition held in the state.  A meet referee is assigned to the meet and works with the Meet Director to make sure the schedule will work and assign judges to each event panel.

So we are looking good, right?  We have a place, athletes and coaches, and judges.  Now it's time for the execution.

Off site meets require the rental of equipment.  We rented from a company based out of Arkansas.  When they delivered the equipment, we had 4 1/2 hours until our first session started.  Time to get moving!  We had an amazing group of gym parents and employees that helped unload the truck and assemble every piece of equipment.  I wish we would have videoed so I could show you a time lapse of the morning.  It was an amazing process.
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Once everything was set up: it was pretty much smooth sailing.  My staff has been to so many meets as both athletes and coaches, that the actual meet part feels easy.  That is also probably in part of the amazing amount of preparation that my staff puts into the weekend.  From meals, to vendors, to equipment placing, everything is mapped out prior to the weekend in hopes of a glitch free competition.

So as amazingly long as this is, consider it the Cliff's Notes version of meet hosting.  If you ever want the full story, we can go to lunch!

To all those that attended the Pacer (and those who didn't), best of luck the remainder of the season and we hope to see you next year!


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