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KJ Kindler: 'Multi-Talented Coach'
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Kathie Jo Kindler (K.J.) was born June 26, 1970, in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. As a walk-on, she eventually got a full ride to Iowa State University.

Kindler, an Iowa State graduate, joined the Cyclone staff as an assistant coach in 1992. As an ISU gymnast, Kindler was a three-time MVP for the Cyclones and runner-up in the all-around at the 1992 Big Eight Championships. She was the school’s first individual NCAA Regional qualifier and competed three times in the postseason meet.

A three-time National Coach of the Year, Kindler led her program on an amazing trek. She and her gymnasts claimed the top spot on the podium at the NCAA Championships in 2014, 2016 and 2017. Eight top-three national finishes, nine straight regional titles, 109 All-American honors and 10 Big 12 titles.

Kindler is married to Lou Ball, assistant coach for the women’s team, and they have two kids, Adelade and Maggie.

Following are excerpts from the interview, which will appear in the 2019 March issue of International Gymnast.

IG: What’s the motto of the team this year?

KK: Our focus was the details because the margin was so small in that final NCAA meet. And we had to be reminded that every detail matters. We kind of had a hash-tag, point .0375, which [laughs] is the amount we lost by.

IG: Is there anything you could have done coaching-wise, or something the gymnasts could have done differently last year?

KK: We had a good meet. Yeah, you can always go back and pick out things that didn’t go perfectly, but I don’t know that we would have done things much differently. As far as major coaching decisions, the smallest minute detail of execution probably left us there. A tremendous balance beam rotation for UCLA — can’t play defense on that.

IG: Both of your kids are at Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy. How is that going?

KK: They are doing really well. The most important thing is that they love it. They love to go. The want to go every day. If they don’t get to go they are very upset.

IG: How many days do they go and what levels are they?

KK: They go six days a week. They are nine and eight, and they just love to be there. I think that’s the most important thing. Certainly I think gymnastics teaches you so much about life. They hope to be level 10 athletes someday, and I hope that they’ll get there.

IG: You have a busy life, taking your kids to the gym, and going to meets every weekend. How do you just chill out?

KK: [Laughs] I’m not much of a chiller. I don’t know how to answer that question; I’m pretty much always going. If I’m not working or if the kids are at the gym, I’ll still do a little bit extra. I honestly have taken very few vacations.

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