Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

Hurricane Gymnastics Story


Positive instruction, persistence and the joy of gymnastics

by Kymberly Bach

Sam White

Sam White

Owner Tony Hampton is proud of the atmosphere that he and his staff have created at Hurricane Gymnastics. This beautiful Chesapeake facility, built in 2009,  is a welcoming, happy place where children of all ages are learning to develop confidence, set individual goals, and, best of all, have fun!

Tony and his staff are focused on creating an environment where everyone feels safe, comfortable and welcome. “I was fortunate enough to work with some of the greatest athletes and coaches in the world, so I learned a lot about how to coach. It is not about the dollar bill, “Tony states emphatically. “It is about doing what is best for the kids.”

There are ten different levels of competition in gymnastics with the highest level being the Elite Nationals, which are broadcast on TV.

An acclaimed coach, Tony has had many athletes go on to compete at the elite national level. At one point, he had six athletes on this exclusive team. Because they performed so well, he earned the National Elite Coach of the Year in 1997. “When started coaching I constantly watched how other coaches interacted with their athletes, noticing how some could be tough on them—perhaps tougher than I thought they needed to be,” Tony continues. “I am a coach with high expectations, but I’ve always believed that you could get kids to excel through positive instruction, persistence, and consistency. Because of that, I made the decision to never coach by intimidation, and that is why I decided to open my own gym.”

Although Tony has students who have competed at the highest level nationally, he nevertheless concentrates on creating an atmosphere at his gym where success is grounded in comradery and hard work. A dynamic team of skilled, talented and experienced gymnasts work to create this unique, winning approach to the sport. This team includes Sam White, Steve ‘Scooby’ Alexander and Brittany Ranzey—all of whom are fully certified through USA Gymnastics.

With this level of experience, Hurricane Gymnastics’ team is able to identify youngsters who enjoy the sport  as a form of recreation and those who have serious aspirations as far as competing is concerned.

Steve “Scooby” Alexander works with an aspiring young gymnast.

Steve “Scooby” Alexander works with an aspiring young gymnast.

Class Program Director Sam White grew up doing gymnastics, eventually switching to cheering and tumbling. “I help to focus the class by making sure they are getting good instruction while keeping it fun and exciting,” Sam explains with a smile. “I really want the kids to get something out of it. Seeing them believe in themselves and knowing that I played a role in that is a big reward. I really want to help them achieve whatever it is they dream of doing.”

“I’ve always believed
that you could get kids to excel
through positive instruction,
persistence, and consistency.
Because of that, I made the decision
to never coach by intimidation,
and that is why I decided
to open my own gym.”

—Tony Hampton

“Steve is the best cheer/tumbling coach in southeast Virginia or northeast North Carolina,” Tony declares proudly. “He really knows his stuff and the kids love him. He teaches tumbling clinics for cheerleaders, which is so important for their safety. A requirement for a cheerleading team is knowing how to do a back-handspring. Steve teaches clinics to help these individuals learn good basic techniques without hurting themselves or others.”

Brittany Ranzey started her career at just three years old. She went on to compete at the Elite National level for many years. She was also on the USA National team and competed at the 2008 Olympic trials. After her collegiate career at LSU, she decided that she really wanted to coach. “I have known Tony for a long time, so it was a perfect fit,” she explains.

In charge of Hurricane Gymnastic’s team program, Brittany’s goal is to prepare students to compete at the highest levels. “We have stepped up the skill level by changing strength and conditioning at all levels,” Brittany says proudly. “Our goal is to help each member score higher—which makes the entire team stronger—and to help them perform their routines so that they are cleaner and crisper. I feel like the experience that I have in working with some of the best coaches in the world helps me to coach each gymnast as an individual. I want them to reach their goals and excel, but most of all I want them to have fun and enjoy what they’re doing.”

Hurricane Gymnastics offers classes for those at any skill level. The staff is available to guide and direct any aspiring gymnast in the direction in which they are most comfortable—whether it be a more relaxed program or a more stringent program with higher expectations. The staff seeks to keep the parents of every student involved in the process. To that end, the gym recently began publishing a monthly newsletter for parents.

“We offer a free trial class,” Tony explains. “All that an interested parent has to do is call our office and let us know the age and gender of the child. We evaluate each child by watching their skill sets. If a child seems to be excelling, the coach lets me know. You can usually tell pretty quickly who wants to be there for fun and who wants to work at being a gymnast,” Tony says smiling. “For those who want just want to have fun and tumble around, we offer birthday parties on Saturday evenings.”

“My favorite part of my job is coming into the gym  and going from group to group, talking and joking with the kids,” he concludes. “It means so much to me to  be able to stand back and just watch them enjoying themselves. Although I have loved coaching, it’s time to pass the torch to my talented staff. All of us here work very hard to make sure that everyone feels important and special and experiences the joy of gymnastics! That is what we are always striving for.”

Hurricane Gymnastics

409 Network Station
Chesapeake, VA 23320