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Swinging into Spring: March 2018 Youth Ninja Team Recap

Last weekend the Obstacle Academy Youth Ninja Team tore through their monthly in-house competition. The competitions are a great way for the youth to tackle competitive stress, and showcase their skills to friends, families, and each other. The performances are always intensely surprising and leave the coaches, teammates, and spectators beaming with pride.

Of the four teams: Junior, Intermediate, Advanced, and Competitive, the Juniors always run first. When we set ninja warrior competition courses for the youth ninja team, we build the entire course layout around specific obstacle movements and transitions. In the weeks leading up to the competition, we introduce and train the youth ninja athletes on many of these specific movement concepts. Each OA youth ninja team runs through similarly structured courses, but as the competition migrates through ninja teams of varying age and skill level, coaches increase the difficulty of various course features: lache distances increase, hanging components become more difficult, and the overall strength and endurance required reaches a level that only dedicated ninja warrior athletes are able to overcome. The competition courses are always set at an appropriate level ensuring every athlete can complete, as long as their movement is perfect, and they remain focused the entire time. Each course will contain obstacles that increase in difficulty as they progress, and sometimes the obstacle that requires the least amount of strength will require the most precise & flawless movement.

The week leading up to the competition is the most important. We spend a week laying out the courses, for each team, and often alter them a number of times. If enough of the youth are almost grasping the movement on the most difficult portion, we take note and that movement will make it to Friday. If not, we scale the course very slightly, and manipulate the hardest movement so that if done correctly, the shortest youth can reach, and the tallest won't drag their feet. Of the entire program, this process is one of the most challenging tasks.

This month the Youth faced a medium-length, and slightly above average difficulty course. The gym was freshly remodeled, so the atmosphere allowed for larger obstacle transitions, and a parkour-heavy mount and dismount on the rock wall. One of our Intermediate Team ninjas made graduated to the Advanced Team one week earlier and had the option to compete in either. He chose to compete as an Advanced Team athlete and successfully completed the course. There were several notable saves and recoveries, and a few youth ninjas made their first podium appearances! A Competitive Team ninja made one of the most outstanding shows of tenacity and dedication we’ve seen, and pushed through to finish the course, despite knowing that his course completion time wouldn't land him a placing position. These are some of the reasons we are inspired by our youth ninja athletes and have about as much respect for them that one person can have for another. Half of the March 2018 podium were female, half were male. Half the champions were female, and half were male. Intelligent movement and dedication will always win. We have the best group of athletes in this growing sport. Every one of you should be proud.

March 2018 OA Ninja Team:

March 2018 OA Ninja Team Course Runs:

Junior Team

1st Place: Henry

2nd Place: Nico

[ No video available :( ]

3rd Place: Jenna

Intermediate Team

1st Place: Graham

2nd Place: Nick

3rd Place: Abby

Advanced Team

1st Place: Iris

2nd Place: Addie

3rd Place: Kai

Competitive Team

1st Place: Inge

2nd Place: Ryan

3rd Place: Paris


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