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Sudbury Laurels welcome Brent Farnsworth - in a whole new capacity
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Though gymnastics is largely an individual sport, members of the Sudbury Laurels often travel as a team to competitions.

And even as some compete within the same exact age bracket and level, there is a sense of group support that prevails, the notion of teammates wanting to see fellow Laurels excel.

Turns out that this sentiment also carries over to the coaching crew at the GymZone - home of the Sudbury Laurels.

A national caliber trampolinist who hails from Whitby, Brent Farnsworth was named as head coach of the T & T (Tumbling & Trampoline) squad this past summer, immersing himself in the role with far more of a foundational setting on one side of this equation than the other.

Thank goodness for fellow GymZone coaches.

"If people are looking for trampoline expertise here, I am their guy," said Farnsworth, a 21 year old Sports Psychology student at Laurentian University. "But there are some resources here at the gym who have more tumbling background than I do."

"Meghan (Meghan Miller-Baziw) is really good with it - and Julie (Julie McEwen) and other previous coaches. I also do a lot of external research as well, a lot of outside sourcing."

Such is the initiative and passion for the role that would make Farnsworth a great choice in the first place, first showing interest as a CIT (Coach in Training) at the age of 13 or 14 while still in Whitby.

"Working with coaches in different gyms has been very helpful and very insightful," said Farnsworth. "As someone who is studying sports psychology, I find I learn a lot about the athlete perspective."

"As a coach, I am trying to build up an athlete and give them the best experience possible."

From a purely technical standpoint, the truth is that gymnasts seldom train in a bubble.

While they may not cross-compete, the awareness of all that is happening within any given facility is absorbed over time - even moreso for someone like Farnsworth, a true student of his sport.

"At my previous gym where I did a lot of my younger training, there was a big focus on the artistic side of gymnastics - including power tumbling," he stated. "I would spend some time during training on the fast track and other apparatus where I would focus on tumbling skills in addition to trampoline which was my primary focus."

"I think that being able to understand the physical movements and properties of different skills, especially ones that are in the tumbling stream of gymnastics, can help me to be a better coach for my athletes."

In terms of his experience on the trampoline, Farnsworth is not just any gymnast, capturing his category at nationals in Edmonton this past summer.

Ironically, after representing Canada at World Cup events in Spain and Portugal (pre-pandemic), the Covid break might have been just what the doctor ordered for the introspective young man.

"It was almost a case of me deciding to step away and taking time off and then coming back - and still being able to achieve those scores," he noted. "It was very gratifying."

These days, Farnsworth is balancing both - though the gymnastics schedule is helping him out.

With the trampoline events not scheduled until the very tail-end of the competitive season, the supremely committed first year coach is able to focus his energies entirely on preparing the Laurels provincial tumbling and trampoline team for their upcoming qualifiers in the new year, kick-starting his coaching career in style.

And if he needs a little help in doing so, he doesn't have far to look - not with the glut of coaching talent at the GymZone these days.

Northern Hockey Academy