When Arizona gymnastics head coach Tabitha Yim first joined up with the program, she knew she had to find a way to get the crowd and Tucson community more involved in home meets in McKale Center.
That has led to the revolutionary idea of an #ARIZONASTICK. Before every meet, two GymCats explain on the video board that whenever one of their competitors hits a landing, the crowd is to stomp with both feet and shout out “stick,” raising their hands high into the air.
“Both feet stuck and slide your heels together,” sophomore gymnast Maddy Cindric said. “Do not move.”
That’s an understatement. In order to stick the perfect landing, gymnasts must stay completely still with their arms usually in the air.
The idea really came from the mind of Yim after she attended a number of UA sporting events and saw the interaction with their respective crowds.
“It came from a collection of things,” Yim said. “In football, they say that’s an Arizona first down. I’ve been watching a lot of the different Arizona sporting events; it’s such a unique culture here and really a family feel. Even at [a] volleyball game, they are going ‘roof roof roof!’ I personally love that in the stands.”
The new employment of the crowd and the #ARIZONASTICK has brought back the intensity of the GymCats’ program and has the opportunity to intimidate opponents.
“I said that we really had to bring something like this into gymnastics so the crowd can be interacting and they can be a part of it, because our crowd makes a big impact,” Yim said. “We talked about it as a staff and a team and tried it out at our Meet the Team event. When we saw everyone’s hands go up like that in the crowd, we knew that was something that was going to stick.”
For the athletes themselves, the #ARIZONASTICK has led to higher scores – something they are always trying to achieve. When one of them hits a landing, it brings that much more excitement to the entire team.
“It’s definitely exciting for the judges, too,” junior gymnast Gabrielle Laub said. “It’s the last thing they see and the exclamation point.”
Since Yim has held the head coaching role, attendance has significantly improved, to which Yim credited her sports information director Danielle Bracamonte. At their first home meet of the season, the Wildcats had the highest attendance in history. It all goes back to the message that Yim and her staff are sending to the city of Tucson.
“We are really trying to live, eat and breathe those values in everything that we are doing,” Yim said. “Our SID Danielle Bracamonte has just been on top of it. She posts things every single day to make sure our fans and our community know what is going [on] inside the gym. Like I said, it’s a team effort, and we are all on the same page.”
Yim also credited the collaborated effort of the Arizona Athletics marketing staff, the introduction show and the team.
The team as a whole has now bought into Yim’s system, especially as the Wildcats gave then-No. 5 UCLA a run for their money Saturday afternoon. Against the Bruins, the Wildcats notched seven #ARIZONASTICKS.
It most certainly has brought more intensity to the Arizona gymnastics program. So keep those #ARIZONASTICKS coming.