A question-and-answer session with the state's boys and girls gymnastics coaches


GETTING TO KNOW: Skip Adamson, Lincoln-Way co-op boys and girls head coach





By Mike Considine

SGS co-publisher

 SGS: What school did you compete for and what are your memories of your high school gymnastics career?

Adamson: New Trier East (last graduating class .. now it is New Trier). We put on a type of circus in the fall. We did a mini-tramp show (parts of which I still use in pep assemblies at our school now).  We did the teter board (how that got by insurance, I have NO IDEA), Spanish webs ... It was a crazy endeavor that i have not tried to copy here at LW ... but often think about.

SGS: Did you know when you were in high school that you'd end up being a gymnastics coach?

Adamson: Most likely. I was told to coach the grade-school program when I was a freshman, then picked to help in the PE classes. So I was basically told to teach gymnastics from the day I started. I do the same to many of my athletes today.

SGS: What were your previous coaching jobs and how did they prepare you to build the successful program at Lincoln-Way?

Adamson: I began my "professional" coaching career at Northbrook Gymnastics Training Center under Gerry Denk. I worked very loosely with Kelley Crumley. I had the beginners and high school; he had the team. Then as an assistant at Glenbrook North, spent one yr there under both the boys and girls coach. Two years at Glenbard West one as an assistant to Blaise blasko and Jeff Levin, one as head coach; head girls coach the same two years. One year at Libertyville under Paul Blasko (while I coached boys and girls diving at Waukegan).
LW from then on. The first year I was boys assistant to Hallinga (... not sure what ever happened to him) and three years as an assistant to Donna Cox on the girls side.

What a mouthful.

I learned from every one of the coaches I was under and I went out to get info from the likes of Fred Dennis, Rich Larsen and Ed Raymond. I worked a summer with Doug Foerch at the Gym Spot in Mundelein. I learned from the swimming coaches in Waukegan. I made an effort to footnote each idea to know what each program does and try to bring some of it to LW in the long run. At each stop, I tried to do the same thing to as well. I just did not stay at all of the others very long until I got the teaching opening.

SGS: At Lincoln-Way, you seem to have an excellent track record of not only attracting club gymnasts, but of keeping them in the program once they join the team. What would you attribute this to?

Adamson: I get very few club kids really. I just have been lucky to get a string of them most recently. With the girls program, I only get the ones that have quit.

Brian Hulbert was my first club kid (05-06). He overlapped with Dan Hutton (05-06-07-08) who overlapped with Ryan Mars (07-08-09-10), Jake Gratkowski, Issac Kruspe and Ajani Cargle. It is just lucky that they overlap by a year or so, and you can get one going and the other following along. The only reason I got any of them is that Gym-Kinetics dropped the boys program, and Premier was too far away for them to drive.

SGS: Generally, what are the tenets of your program? What successful coaches or coaching principles have influenced you?

Adamson: I listed all the names above that I have tried to steal (borrow) all of what they do and impart it to my program. Basics, fun and a lot of time in the gym. Unfortunately, I have no assistants who spend time in the gym. 

SGS: You're among the few coaches who've been able to establish strong programs in both boys and girls gymnastics. Do you set the same or similar goals for each? What is the carryover, regardless of whether you're coaching boys or girls?

Adamson: Time in the gym. Strive for a goal, and believe that you can get it.

SGS: How much planning is involved in hosting the state meet? What are the positives and negatives of being the host, especially when you typically have a team that's competing in the meet?

Adamson: Brad Foerch told me it is like hosting three sectionals, and that is a good description of it. Mostly Donna Cox takes the hard stuff and I worry about the equipment and visual stuff. She really gets all the staff and behind-the-scenes action going. I am just glad she likes to throw a party.

Positives ... not much really ... just we do not have to drive 1 1/2 hrs to a meet ... but then it throws the kids a bit. I think, that is all they know how to do.

SGS: What have you experienced in your term on the gymnastics advisory committee? What have you accomplished and tried to accomplish?

Adamson: I have been lucky to get a few of the items on the agenda through. I have been involved with the change in girls format, the tweaking of the boys with the all-around. We will see if we change the girls sectional situation come next year.

SGS: What made you join the committee and how has the experience been?

Adamson: Someone put my name in and I forgot to say no. I blame Scott Hagel and Jeff Robertson.

SGS: What can be done to revive boys gymnastics in the south suburbs?

Adamson: I have found that the school itself has to want to help any program, then a "lifer" coach needs to be found. After that good things can happen.