We are launching our People of Balance 180 series with one of our coaches, Ashlyn Johnson. Ashlyn is an incredibly talented young woman. Not only is she a Level 10 gymnast, but she also just made it to states for the Swim and Dive team at Oak Hall School. She has been a coach at Balance 180 for the past two years and was recently accepted into the United States Air Force Academy. Such an amazing honor and accomplishment.
When we talked to Ashlyn it quickly became apparent that it isn’t all of her success that determines who she is, but rather what each experience has taught her. Yes, training 25 hours a week will build your strength and teach you how to master complex skills. But for Ashlyn, gymnastics has taught her so much more.
“Gymnastics has taught me three invaluable life skills: time management, dedication, and discipline.”
All three skills that will serve her well as she embarks on her journey in service of our country. She goes on to explain that the most critical moments in life are the challenging ones. Moments when you think you can’t go on anymore. Times when it’s hard to breathe, or you completely forget why you started in the first place. The moments where you’ve never felt weaker, those moments are the most important because that is when you realize who you are. How strong you are. And for Ashlyn, being a student-athlete and pursuing her dream of joining the United States Air Force Academy, has revealed how much she is capable of and just how special she is.
At just seventeen years old, Ashlyn has also mastered perspective. Because every moment in her life is tediously planned out and accounted for, there really is no time to overthink or obsess about small meaningless matters. Ashlyn’s lifestyle demands unyielding focus.
When you are sprinting full speed an inanimate object (the vault table in gymnastics) and defy gravity by flying through the air, the drama of everyday life inevitably slips away. When you are diving from a plank 25 feet high, a small problem suddenly seems so negligible. And when you are applying to a military school, answering questions like why you want to serve your country, well there is no greater sense of clarity.
Ashlyn uses her experiences and perspective when she coaches our athletes. She explains that as a coach and a gymnast you can take all the significant parts of your favorite coaches and use them to be the best mentor possible. She has a distinct sense of pride when she is coaching, knowing that all of her training can help these young athletes who share her passion.
“The best part about coaching, for me, is being able to take all of their small achievements and build them into something more meaningful.”
Being able to celebrate the small successes and celebrate each athlete is what makes Ashlyn Johnson a terrific coach and an incredible person. Thank you, Ashlyn, for choosing to serve our country and inspiring us to “stay positive, work hard and make it happen.”
Written by Julie Walter.Subscribe to BLOG