“When Nathan was 6 years old, he taught himself how to do a back walkover all by himself, because we have a trampoline in the back,” said Alanna Shuh of her brother Nathan. “He used to get in trouble in church because he used to do back walkovers all down the hallways, and it would drive the Sunday school teachers crazy.”
Fifteen-year-old Nathan Shuh first hit a trampoline at the age of 18 months, and has risen through the gymnastic ranks ever since. On Saturday, he jumped into the national spotlight, winning bronze at the 2013 Canadian Gymnastics Championship in Ottawa. This marked the Woolwich teen’s first year at the national level, with the hope of more to come.
“You need to work really hard at your sport, because it’s a privilege, not a right,” said the EDSS student, who began training ever day for the championship in September, with three visits to the gym each week.
Nathan’s path to the championships really began in 2009 when he joined the Woolwich Gymnastics Club’s competitive program for three years (he is now a coach-in-training for the organization). Last summer, he made a switch to competitive trampoline, working with coach Chris Martin at Airborne Trampoline KW to devise a fluid strategy.
“There are a lot of skills you can show off, but depending on the day and how you’re feeling, you need to combine the skills you can execute really well in order to make the top three,” explained Nathan’s mother, Corinne Shuh.
“The first bit you do is, you warm up,” said Nathan, describing his training regiment. “That’s focusing on flexibility and endurance. Then you get on the trampoline and you work on your skills and routines for the most part. At the end, you do conditioning – that’s maintaining your strength and flexibility.”
After succeeding at the provincial championships, he went to the nationals, with judges analyzing performances based on difficulty, execution, and flight time (time in the air). When points were tallied up, Team Ontario won silver, and Nathan took home bronze.
“I’m really excited about it,” said Corinne Shuh of the championship. “He’s committed to working at it – when you watch him training, he’s the first guy on the trampoline and the last guy off.”
The hard work is what’s needed to be competitive, said Nathan.
“You need to have really good aerial awareness, good stamina,” he said. “Just work hard. Work really hard.”