Bayleigh turns her passion for gymnastics into coaching


Kathryn Tilmes

Bayleigh Kostkan smiles in relief making it to her senior year of high school.

Chalky bars, bouncy floors, staying steady on a wood-like piece 4 inches wide and 16.4 feet long. Continuing something you love into a career you can enjoy for the rest of your life. 

As a 14 year gymnast who spent most of her life in a gym competing and practicing accomplishing new skills, Bayleigh Kostkan joins as a new coach for Kings High school girls gymnastics team. 

“I honestly wasn’t ready to leave the sport completely and I wanted to give back to an amazing program that did so much for me,” Kostkan said.

Coaching makes her proud, taking what she knows and helping out other girls trying to improve their skills. Seeing the girls accomplish something they couldn’t get excites her.

“I have a lot of knowledge on gymnastics and didn’t want it to go to waste. I love them both for different reasons but coaching it’s a lot easier on my body. I love the impact I make coaching and I love seeing others reach their goals. I loved doing it mostly because I liked being upside down,” Kostkan said.

Coaching can be difficult. There are rough patches that any coach can go through not knowing how to help can be hard but Kostkan finds a way to help the best she can. 

“I get very competitive and like things to be productive, however sometimes my corrections aren’t always applied which gets frustrating. But after a few tries it usually works out,” Kostkan said. 

After over a decade competing, and recovering from Achilles tendonitis, back pains, and many concussions, it’s time for her to let go of doing a sport she loves to ease the pain in her body.

“I’ve been a gymnast my whole life, it was so hard on my body and I’m just ready for a change. It’s a great sport but it’s my time to retire,” Kostkan said.

She has learned a lot throughout her gymnastics journey, giving out her best advice with the experience she’s been through. She learned to get through hard situations, “She believes” it’s okay to fail as long as you try again, if your dreams don’t scare you they’re not big enough, and a goal shouldn’t be easy everything you have should be worked for. 

“To better my athletes physically and mentally gymnastics is more than just performance, it’s about growing as people as well. It’s important to remember everyone has bad days but they make you better for sure,” Kostkan said.

The team loves having Kostkan coaching them. They get stronger every day and accomplish new skills with the corrections she gives. 

“I absolutely love Bayleigh coaching us. She has great knowledge of gymnastics and has amazing coaching techniques. You can tell she truly wants us to be our best. She pushes us in the best way possible,” junior Grace Kellum said.

Teammates look up to her and take her advice to heart, helping them never give up and work harder towards their goals.

“Not only has she taught me some super cool gymnastics skills she also taught me that not everything you want is going to be easy so don’t get discouraged when it’s not happening easily,” Kellum said.

 Coaching for older kids isn’t the only thing Kostkan does, she coaches little kids as well and helps them become strong gymnasts at a young age.

“She loves her kids. She has recently been really proud of her kids for all making a team they tried out for,” junior Maden Parker said. 

Kostkans mom, Stephanie a coach for kings gymnastics for two years out of the four years of being a kings sport. She has helped the team grow, her daughter has overcome a lot during competing and practicing and with injuries but will always find a way to come back stronger than ever. 

“Being a gymnast herself she understands fears and how to work through them and understands how to step back and build back up,” Stephanie said.

Kostkans advice and tips on how to do a skill helps a lot, most of the gymnasts are visual learners. It’s easier for them to understand what to do when they see it. Kostkan sets up drills and demonstrates them. 

 “Pointed toes, make sure hands are behind your ears, stay tight, try again,” Kostkan says.

The team is excited to have Kostkan stay with them a little longer after finishing her senior year gymnastics season but instead as a new coach. 

“I love that Bayleigh will get to continue to share her wealth of knowledge and passion with the team. She loves to celebrate new skills, hit routines and overall loves to make practice productive yet fun. I am beyond excited for her to share her talent with us this summer coaching for our upcoming season,” Stephanie said.