Newton Parks and Recreation offers gymnastics classes

Staff Writer

Jeff Brock, 64, is a life-long resident of Catawba County.

He is a gymnastics coach who is offering gymnastics classes at the Newton Parks and Recreation Department. 

“I've been teaching at the Newton Recreation Department for five years now,” he shared. 

Having two residences, one on Lake Lookout, Catawba County and one in Boone, he teaches classes in both areas.  He also teaches classes in Hudson and Lenoir.

“I've been teaching for 40 years,” Brock said.  “I got my teaching certificate and have taught several subjects in community college.”

While in college at Appalachian State University, Brock did a work study program working as an outdoor instructor.   He taught rock climbing, worked with intramurals, and started teaching gymnastics. 

Brock said it was a new concept at the time. 

“I ran a gymnastics room,” he said.  “No one knew what it was in the early 1970's.”

Brock was soon approached by Cline Bell, the varsity gymnastics coach.

“He asked me if I wanted to come work for him, and I did,” he said. 

By working with Cline, Brock got a lot of experience and expert training. 

He was thankful to study with Chinese and Russian coaches. 

Brock is especially thankful for the instruction he got from the Russian coaches.

“They were the best in the world at the time,” he said. 

After coming home to Catawba County, Brock worked with the Hickory Foundation Center for a while, which is now the Hickory YMCA.

His time working with Cline inspired Brock to open his own gymnastics school.

“I ran my school from 1985 through 1995,” he said.  “I did a lot of traveling.”

Brock said that it was hard to staff his academy because he couldn't find much qualified help.

Brock decided to give up his school after he got married.

“I thought recreational gymnastics was where I needed to be,” he said. 

He now enjoys teaching preschoolers up to pre-teens.

“It's a young person's sport,” Brock said. 

Several days a week, he alternates between his dedicated preschool class in Boone and the other classes he teaches. 

Students are put in groups based on age and skill level, and class sizes are limited to no more than six. 

Brock says he loves teaching the classes.

“Either you like teaching or you don't,” he said.  “I went to school forever for this getting degrees in stuff that doesn't have anything to do with it, but I like teaching the kids.”

Brock said that the lessons learned from gymnastics help with self-confidence, and the skills help with other sports. 

“Gymnastics transfers the agility and strength to a lot of other sports,” he said.  “If they work hard, they get better and get a great sense of achievement.”

Right now, Brock teaches classes from 3:30-7 p.m. several days a week.

All classes are 45 minutes long, except for the preschool classes which are 30 minutes.

Brock offers free trial classes for those wanting to try it out. 

For more information, contact Jeff Brock at 244-7446.