Owen Field: Gymnastics From the Snow to the Swamp
By: Bayleigh Pearson and Eboni Harris, CJCSI Sports
Sit-down interview with new Florida Women’s Gymnastics assistant coach, Owen Field.
NEW COACHING STAFF
UF women’s gymnastics has recently gone through a major coaching staff renovation hiring two new coaches; head coach Jenny Rowland, the predecessor of The Great Rhonda Faehn(2003-present day) who was recently named Senior Vice President of USA Gymnastics, and assistant coach, Owen Fields, a previous volunteer coach for the Nebraska Husker’s Women’s Gymnastics program.
Owen Field is not just new to the University of Florida Gymnastics coaching staff, but he is also new to the professional world, being that Field graduated from the University of Nebraska only one year ago. His responsibilities as assistant coach include, the uneven bars, team conditioning, overseeing equipment needs and maintenance.
Fields grew up in Sheboygan, Wisconsin where he graduated high school. He planned to be a walk-on gymnast for the Men’s Huskers team but ended up paying for all for years.
This soon sparked his coaching career after working with the woman’s gymnastic team all four years of college. After six years in Nebraska, he received the call to be an assistant coach at the U of Florida.
Field enjoys UF mostly for the support from the whole athletic department. “It’s not just in our sport, it’s in all sports. Everyone really gets along and supports each other.” said Field. The family feel has been very prevalent. That close knit environment can also be seen in the team setting when it comes to bonding. “We’ve done a few things, I think we are going to start trying to add some retreats. Adrian [other assistant coach] he actually does little motivational talks or brings in a video or something. We do those about once a week”.
STATE OF MIND
To maintain the spirits of the gymnasts in the midst of great wins as well as heartbreaking losses, Field says they just stay focused on the big picture, reminding them that if you have one bad day it will not ruin your whole season. Obviously if a meet doesn’t go as planned Field says he makes sure to make certain adjustments but he and the team are very focused on sticking to the entire process.
Apart from the family aspect of gator gymnastics, quite a bit of preparation goes into such a highly decorated team as the University of Florida Women’s program. The key to preparation is to treat every day with 100% effort according field
“The difference between regular season and the Super Six is that when you’re at nationals, you have to compete two days in a row and it’s more difficult for your body to recover than the rest of the season when you’re competing just once a week”.
Field believes that there is no specific rebuilding season rather that it is a constant process. Many talented seniors have graduated but there are strong underclassmen, especially freshmen that will be a great asset to the program.
COACHING BRIDGET SLOAN
Senior are very important to the team not just for their skills but also for their strong leadership qualities. One senior in particular is Olympian and 2016 All-Around Champion, Bridget Sloan. Field says that teammates are more willing to listen to each other because they know what they are going through in the competition sense.
“It’s really helpful to have a great group of seniors that are willing to help out because they know what is best for the team”.
In Bridget’s case, Field feels as if Bridget handles pressure very well because she’s been on such a big stage before as an Olympic gymnast. Bridget’s strong suits according to Field is that she knows what she needs and always communicates with the coaching staff. “We trust her enough that we know she is not going to lie about how she is feeling just to get out of something”.
SNOW TO SWAMP
To most Gator students, alumni, faculty members and staff, Gatornation is a way of life. The sounds, sights, and smells of the university all hold a special place in the hearts of many on and off campus. For those who are new to this Orange and Blue love affair, UF life can be quite the culture shock. Field says that compared to Nebraska, there is a feeling in the atmosphere that cannot be explained.
“I didn’t realize how different the intensity of being in the SEC in general was, especially at Florida… like when you step out on the competition floor and the arena is packed full of gator fans. It’s pretty awesome”.
CALLED UPON, YET CONTENT
The University of Florida is one of the most renowned schools for their athletic programs. Women’s Gymnastics in particular, is one of the most decorated and prestigious in all of America. Everyone is aware of the true talent within the gymnastics program allowing it to sustain attention from other schools throughout the country. Field says he has had offers for coaching positions at other programs but remains content with The University of Florida.
“I have had a couple [of offers] but I am really happy hear and don’t plan on leaving anytime soon!”
From the cold of Nebraska to the heat of the Swamp, Coach Owen Field is adjusting to UF nicely, while helping to build a more astounding Gator Gymnastics program.