Q&A with Julie Dornseif
What's your background in the sport your coaching?
I've been in the sport all my life. I competed on the varsity team at Park High School in Cottage Grove back in the 80s. I got my start in coaching gymnastics at Perpetual Motion Gymnastics in 1991 -- the owners taught me everything from preschool to high school gymnastics. I coached there for over 15 years and I am very thankful for learning so much from them. I have also attended Lake Owen Gymnastics Camps many times for coaching clinics throughout the years.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Cottage Grove and moved to Woodbury four years ago.
What's your coaching philosophy?
Strive to be the best. It doesn't matter how much talent you have, it's about trying your best and never giving up on yourself -- hard work is what counts. My main motivation in coaching is teaching students to reach goals they never imagined possible. Often the less talented can be the most rewarding as they receive the biggest change for the positive in their personal perspective. Seeing them succeed and win is something special, and their smiles are priceless.
What specific coaches do you look up to?
Mark Sickich from Park High School has been my mentor this year for high school gymnastics. I came from club, so there are lots of different rules and changes to learn for high school gymnastics and he has been my rock this season. I know I can always go to him for questions, advice and support. Another former coach, Mike Amidon who is a high school/MAGA judge and also my former coach has been a huge help to me this year, helping me with all those new high school rule changes -- and there were a lot of them this year -- and helping guide me along every step of the way.
What are your goals with the program?
This is a young team. I want to develop this team into a competitive team. I plan on coming up with specific plans on how we can accomplish that and when next season comes we will be ready. They have talent and now we will work hard to get them to where they need to be. The girls have come a long way with new skills this year.
What is your favorite sports memory?
Being able to go to the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy (WOGA) in Plano, Texas for a week and meeting the owner, which is Nastia Luiken's (who won the all-around gold medal at the Olympics) dad and him telling me how he got his gym started all from his gold medal. He taught me anything is possible and dreams do come true.
What do you like to do outside the gym?
Well, I have very little free time. When I'm not coaching high school, I'm running the community ed gymnastics program at night, and when I'm not there, I'm off watching my daughters who are also in gymnastics competing. I have been fortunate to travel around the country to watch my oldest daughter Holly compete a lot so I guess that would be my free time and my vacation. I also plan to take a week off in April to spend time with my family in Mexico and I'm getting married there!
What's your favorite movie?
Miracle. Because it started with a dream and became a reality. I love that movie for inspiration.
What are your favorite sports team? (besides your own).
Of course it's the Vikings, because I'm a true Minnesota girl.
Who's your favorite athlete?
Probably Shawn Johnson, who was on the Olympic team. She is a normal kid that got to do normal things in school, but who wanted to become, and became, a great gymnast with hard work.
What advice do you have for young athletes?
Go out there and have fun! The harder you work the more it will pay off. I have seen many gymnasts over the years and the gymnast that puts 100 percent into it will get 100 percent out of it. Gymnastics teaches you discipline and teaches you to conquer your fears.
And remember dreams do come true!