Gymnastics Coach Keno Rodriguez was selected to judge at a national AAU gymnastics competition. Experience and commitment to the sport evident when judging, teaching, and coaching.
Saturday afternoon at Bowl-a-Rama: ball in hand, pins poised, approach, release, and CRASH! -- They all fall: ten pins down, a strike. Score it a perfect 10!
In compulsory gymnastic routines, judges start with a point value. That “perfect” point value used to be 10. That has changed, and now various point values are used. What remains the same are the deductions taken from that number by professional gymnastics judges. Rather than “add up” scores, as in most athletic endeavors, penalties are deducted for mistakes.
Blue Valley Recreation’s own Keno Rodriguez was recently nominated to judge at a national AAU gymnastics competition in Orlando. Rodriguez and five other judges rated male gymnasts, ages 6-19.
Mike Thomas, who directed the national competition, nominated Rodriguez. Thomas serves as Regional Director of the Kansas Gymnastics Association. He explained, “I nominated Keno because he has honed his skills. He has judged so many different levels. Keno is known as a fair, professional and friendly judge. Coaches know they can approach him if they don’t understand a score. They can depend on a fair explanation and positive feedback designed to help the coach better the gymnast.”
Although Rodriguez judges many regional meets, this was his first time judging at a national gymnastics competition. To assure consistency, the judges met before the meet to discuss guidelines. Rodriguez judged floor routines and vaults. He had previously seen some of the gymnasts perform in other meets. Rodriguez noted “It was fun to see how much their skills had improved. They are physically stronger, more experienced, and their floor moves become more creative as their confidence grows.”
Judging gymnastics is complicated and tedious. There are pages and pages of rules and potential deductions. To be certified, judges must:
· pass a rigorous test;
· stay current with routine changes and scoring systems; and
· consistently take part in professional development.
Judges with years of experience typically give lower scores because they’ve had so much practice. They “see it” faster, “think it” faster, and “record it” faster.
Judging gymnastics is but a small part of Rodriguez’ schedule. Under his direction, the Blue Valley Rec gymnastics program has grown from 25 kids in 1993 to approximately 750. Many gymnasts take classes year round, taking a break in the summer. The core of the program is for kids six and under, but classes are held for youth up to age 18. Rodriguez is passionate about the sport and loves working with kids. And to say the feeling is mutual would be an understatement. Students long remember Coach Keno and how fun it was to learn from him.
Back to Bowl-a-Rama: go for the turkey, three “perfect” tens in a row. Any deductions? Only the pins that don’t fall….
By Connie Skeens