Meet the Coaches – Angela Frattaroli
My name is Angela, I am one of the coaches at Island Rhythmics in Victoria B.C. In my youth, I trained in Montreal under the instruction of a national team coach and learned so much about the technique of rhythmic gymnastics. I moved to Victoria with my family in 1999 and quickly saw there was no comparable training opportunity for me here. While that ended my career as a gymnast, it gave way to my new love, coaching.
I started the club in 2002 with my mom Danielle while I was completing my undergraduate degree at the University of Victoria. I started the club because I wanted to do things differently, bring in sport complimentary specialists like soccer players to teach ball tricks and acro yoga instructors to teach balance and lifts. I also wanted to make sure that life skills were front and centre in the work we do with the gymnasts. Sport has taught me so much and I bring that with me in life. The reason I was able to work full-time, coach and do my schooling is because I learned time management and stress management. I learned mindfulness (although it wasn’t called that when I was younger, or at least I didn’t know it was). When I was in the gym, I focused on my training, and when I got home, I focused on homework or whatever was waiting for me at home. Worrying about my homework while in the gym was not going to help the work get done, so it wasn’t an effective use of my time and energy. It also taught me about actions, choices and consequences. If I chose not to go to gym or give 50% effort, then my competition results would show that. If I chose to watch TV instead of doing my homework before gym, I would be up later finishing my work. These lessons are crucial to my life now and I wanted to help pass that on to others.
I have been involved in rhythmic gymnastics since the age of 3. I was a gymnast until the age of 17, competing at a national level for 8 years as a member of the Quebec Provincial Team and even winning the National Junior Group Champion title at Nationals. I started junior coaching at the age of 13 and became head coach at 18. At that time, I also took on judging and multiple titles (over the years) on the provincial federation’s administrative and advisory committees. As one of the highest ranked judges in B.C. on the international stage, I have the opportunity to judge at national competitions including national team trials, and join Canadian delegations at international competitions and see some of the world’s best. These competitions give me the opportunity to see the new trends in the sport and bring renewed passion and energy to the girls in the gym. They also help me to see ways we can change what we do in the gym to make things cooler, more fun and more interesting.
My passion with rhythmics really lies in helping the kids express emotions through their routines and creating choreography that means something. If it makes you cry, if it makes you smile, if it makes you want to get up and dance, then the routine is a success. A good routine can also be a chance for our young athletes to express emotions they don’t have words for yet. Especially in the early teen years when so much is changing and they don’t understand those changes enough to be able to express them verbally. But more on that in a future blog, because I could go on at length.
Outside of gymnastics, I am a director of communications and capacity development in the public sector. I have an undergrad in French Literature and Psychology, and a Masters in Communications. I have run events in down town Victoria to celebrate World Kindness Day, a UN sanctioned day meant to encourage and celebrate kindness throughout the world.
I am so lucky to have the opportunity to have such a great coaching staff that works with me. They each bring a piece of the holistic training puzzle and I learn so much from them every day. I am also so lucky to get to work so closely with my mom (affectionately called by many in the gym as mommy). Mom has been a huge help to me navigating life and the complexities gymnastics has introduced throughout the years and we are so fortunate to have her in the gym (even if she lacks coordination…we still love her dearly!). I also hope our relationship in the gym will be an example to our athletes about the importance of family and how as we age we can be the very best of friends.