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Matt’s time in the gym began long before he established Capitol City Gymnastics with his teammates from The Ohio State University. His parents ran a gymnastics facility, and Matt was four years old when he enrolled in his first class. He persevered in the sport all the way through college, where he also earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology. As a competitive gymnast, Matt’s favorite event varied between floor, vault, and parallel bars (but never pommel horse). 


As a father and a competitive gymnastics coach, Matt is passionate about abuse prevention and equitable power dynamics, especially when it comes to student-athletes. “Parents have the option of dropping off gymnasts age 6 and older, but they are always welcome to drop in and see what we are doing.” Matt and his staff do their best to create an environment where athletes feel safe and have a voice. “In our team meetings, we invite the girls to speak up.” When a team member asks questions, states what she needs, shares why a skill intimidates her, or respectfully but assertively disagrees with something a coach says, Matt can’t help but feel proud. “Learning self-advocacy, especially to a male authority figure, is a big deal for a young girl. I don’t take that lightly. That’s a major skill.”


When asked what it’s like to coach so many preteen and teenage kids, Matt shares with a chuckle, “Dealing with teens is a whole different animal.” Reflecting on his nearly three decades of coaching, Matt explains, “Teenagers today are so stressed out. Sometimes the most important thing is to take stress off of them, lay off, and focus on the fun. If you push them too hard, they’ll quit. Instead, I try to help them stay in love with gymnastics… The kids really need to motivate themselves. A good coach just facilitates the process.”


The gymnasts who compete with Cap City want to learn new skills. “In gymnastics,” Matt says, “You compete against yourself, and everyone develops at their own rate. Incremental progress, over time, gets results.” As  gymnasts learn and overcome challenges, they get stronger in every way. “They gain new skills, and grow as people. It’s never been just a job. We run this gym for the kids.”

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