SoCal Rhythmics is a rhythmic gymnastics club that trains at the Magdalena Ecke YMCA in Encinitas, California. We train girls age 5 and up, from beginners to national team aspirants. There is a great sense of camaraderie among the girls - at rhythmic gymnastics practice they really feel special!

Many of our gymnasts have earned State and Regional titles and have represented California and the southwest US at national Junior Olympic competitions. Several girls have been invited to train with the Youth Elite Squad, a talent identification program run by USA Gymnastics to work with particularly promising young athletes. Our team has even been represented at the Visa Championships, the competition in which the US national team is chosen.

Below are highlights of our gymnasts' achievement:

2014 Senior 10th place AA in USA Rhythmic Championships.
Senior FIG Elite gymnast
2013 Senior 10th place AA & 6th place Hoop in USA Rhythmic Championships.
Senior FIG Elite gymnast
2012 Junior FIG Elite gymnast(top 12 Level 10 Junior in National Championships)
2011 14th place Junior level 10 in Visa Championships
2009 Junior FIG Elite gymnast(top 12 Level 10 Junior in Visa Championships)
3rd, 4th and 10th place Level 8 National Junior Olympic Championships
2nd, 3rd and 4th place Level 8 Region1 Championships
2008 5th place Level 9 National Junior Olympic Championships
2nd and 3rd place Level 8 National Junior Olympic Championships
5th place Level 7 National Junior Olympic Championships
1st place Level 9 Region 1 Championships
1st place Level 8 Region1 Championships
1st place Level 7 Region 1 Championships


Some say the rhythmic gymnastics is the most beautiful of all Olympic sports. But it is not as well known here in the US as it in Europe, where successful rhythmic gymnasts have “rock star status.” When most Americans think of gymnastics, they think of the balance beam and uneven parallel bars. “Whenever I tell people I am a gymnast, says SoCal team member Ruby, “they ask me if I can do a flip.” But all those things are part of artistic gymnastics. Rhythmic gymnastics is an entirely different sport. Instead of bars or beam, the apparatus consists of a ball, hoop, rope, ribbon, or set of clubs. The athletes do choreographed routines, set to music, that are somewhere between a dance performance and an artistic gymnastics floor routine. But with a twist - while the athletes are doing their pirouettes or walkovers they are also are manipulating their apparatus – tossing the ball, leaping over the hoop, or creating patterns in the air with the rope or ribbon. A good rhythmic gymnastics routine demonstrates the athlete’s flexibility, strength, grace, and coordination. Routines with each of the different apparatus has its own character:

Ball – the ball routine is meant to demonstrate the athletes’ flexibility. The girls toss the ball in the air, roll the ball over their body, or move with the ball balanced on their hand.

Hoop – don’t call this a hoola-hoop! Rhythmic gymnasts almost never spin the hoop around their waist. Instead they toss, spin, and roll they hoop while doing acrobatic moves. At high-level competitions, the hoop is in the air almost constantly.

Ribbon- the ribbon routine showcases the athletes’ ability to pirouette. Many people think the ribbon routines are the most beautiful to watch, but it is also one if the most difficult events. The athlete must keep the 5-6 meter-long ribbon moving in a pattern at all times – spirals, snakes, figure-eights, circles, or in a toss. Team member Cydney says, “I feel like I am painting a picture when I do my ribbon routine.”

Clubs – a clubs routine shows off the athletes’ ability to balance. The clubs are lightweight plastic, often covered with colorful tape – they look like small juggling clubs. The gymnasts flip them around – either together or separately. Since there are two of them, many girls also think clubs is one the hardest events.

Rope – the rope routine highlights leaps and jumps (the higher, the better). The girls jump over the rope, through the rope, under the rope, they make patterns in the air with the rope, and they spin the rope around themselves in complicated ways.

Rhythmic gymnasts compete at ability levels 3-10. For levels 3-9, the coach decides at which level a girl will participate each year. Level 10 is by competition only. Coach Dani decides which level is appropriate for each athlete, based on what will both challenge her and allow her to be successful.

Many competitions also separate girls into age categories within each level, child, junior, or senior.

Individual vs. Group
Most gymnasts in the US compete as individuals. But there are synchronized team competitions as well, known as “group.” Five gymnasts compete together, tossing the apparatus to each other in beautiful and complex patterns. A great sense of teamwork is the key! Check out these cool videos of both.



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