The UAA gymnastics team had been attending open practices on a voluntary basis since Aug. 1 when assistant coach Aline Cartwright returned to Anchorage. Tanya Ho joined the team on Aug. 13, and due to NCAA regulations, the team was not allowed to officially practice together until Sept. 22.

NCAA bylaw article 17 states rules regarding playing and practice seasons. It limits the days a sport is allowed to be in season with official practice times. In season, coaches are allowed to assign 20 hours of mandatory practice per week.

During out-of-season periods, coaches aren’t allowed to give their athletes any workouts, assignments or structure. In gymnastics, they can only spot their athletes and provide recommendations to prevent them from injuring themselves.

Ho used the team’s first day of official practice for a special event. She required skill tests from all of her healthy athletes. Skill testing describes a setting similar to a competition scene. All athletes were required to present their elements on each of their events. That way, Ho and Cartwright got an idea of where their athletes’ athletic abilities and overall shape after returning from summer.


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