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Getting to know USTA Professional member Kathy Forsythe( Mon, May 10 00:05:AM)

“Getting to know you……… getting to know all about you.”

Kathy Forsythe is a long-time USTA Professional member from Washington. She has served as USTA’s executive director, is a master judge, a coach of national and international champions and author of many USTA policies and projects that exist today.  She recently talked with USTA's Inside Loop and here's what she had to say. 

Inside Loop: As a long-standing USTA Professional, you’ve seen all sides of the sport and USTA. For you, what has been the greatest benefit in being a USTA Professional?

Forsythe: USTA has given me the opportunity to continue educating myself about baton twirling, both as a coach and as a judge. I started teaching at the age of 14 and anxiously awaited my 16th birthday so that I could become certified. Those credentials have continually opened doors for me and provided me with liability and accident insurance. That was just the beginning of my continuing education. I attended every USTA convention, workshop, and clinic that I could and learned from the very best. I think my greatest improvement was in 2-Baton, an event which I never competed in and only performed out on the football field. I went to a convention and learned that I was doing it all wrong. Now I think it’s one of the best events I coach.

Inside Loop: Many coaches want to be you! They want to know how to really develop athletes step-by-step the way you do. What advice can you offer them?

Forsythe: Be patient! There is no fast road to success. Athletes who are most successful and enjoy twirling have a good basic background and learn new skills more easily. When you’re going to teach a new skill, whether it’s a roll, flip or body move, work it backwards in your head, down a level and then another until you get to the basic skill.  Then make sure your athlete can execute each of these levels. It may take a little longer, and you might have to work on a lower skill for a couple weeks, but the end result is usually success. The skill will become consistent and accurate, and the athlete will achieve it with less frustration.

Another suggestion: Utilize the Competitive/Achievement System. I was teaching for many years when it was unveiled and thought I was doing a good job of covering the basics. And I was. But my athletes became more ambidextrous after working through this system and 2-Baton became easier to learn. Their speed was more consistent in both hands. They didn’t struggle with left hand releases and were never confused about baton direction.

Inside Loop: What are three things the baton twirling world would not know about you?

Forsythe: I was the featured twirler at the University of Washington, but that was as a grad student. I completed my undergrad at Northwestern University but was denied a twirling audition there. As was the case at many other Big Ten schools at that time, the marching band was all-male and female twirlers were not allowed. The two male twirlers received full tuition scholarships. Thank goodness for Title IX. Many of those bands are now open to female twirlers and band members.

My major in college and grad school was Classical Languages, and I taught high school Latin (and drill team and cheerleaders) for five years.

I LOVE ice cream!

Thank you, Kathy! It's nice getting to know you!