Meet the Staff
Our Staff is Safety, First Aid and AED-certified every year
Owner and co-head coach. Rachel was a competitive gymnast and a State All-Around champion in her youth and has a deep love of the sport. It brings her great joy to coach athletes who participate in gymnastics. It was her dream to be able to share her gifts and talents. In 2010 her dream was fulfilled when R Athletics opened. Rachel strives to offer excellence in all areas. Her coaching staff is exemplary and the level of coaching is top-notch. Every child is taught the proper skill progressions while having fun! Details are important to Rachel: individual attention, monthly themes, special events, and coach-parent communication are all vital components to the success each child will experience.
Owner and Finance, Building, Operations and Maintenance Manager. Married to Rachel Rydbeck for 16 years, John is responsible for all of the financial and operational decisions that keep R Athletics a top-notch facility. A graduate of Hope College with a Chemistry degree, he works at Infrastructural Alternatives, an environmental engineering firm, during the day and spends his evenings and weekends keeping R Athletics running smoothly.
Co-head coach. Daniel has been involved in the sport of gymnastics for over 20 years. As an athlete, he was a member of a very successful men’s team and trained under the current head coach of the University of Michigan. He was a two-time member of the Junior National Developmental team, which was invited to train annually at the US Training Center in Colorado. As a coach, Daniel has been an integral part of forty state championship teams. He works well with top level competitors as well as little pre-school students. His enthusiasm and encouragement are contagious.
Rec. & Rollin’ Coach, Team Coach. Jess has been involved in USA gymnastics for 16 years as both a competitive gymnast and coach. She was named Maryland Outstanding Gymnast of the Year during her senior year in high school, and placed third in All-Around Level 7 States. Jess is currently a senior studying Exercise Science at Calvin College. She began teaching at age 14 even while she competed. Now she coaches recreational and team classes. Jess likes coaching because she enjoys seeing the kids succeed and reach their goals; it is one of the most fulfilling things about coaching!
Special Events Director/Pro-Shop Manager. Karen is a mother of 5 grown children and grandmother of 13. She has a teaching degree in elementary education and has taught 2nd grade. She also has been the infant and early childhood director in a large church. Karen was a part of the planning and launching of R-Athletics and is currently the director of birthday parties, manager of the Pro Shop and staff at the front desk. Karen’s talents also extend to creating all of the embroidered apparel and accessory items in the Pro Shop.
Rec. & Rollin’ Coach. Cari grew up in Montana, but spent nearly a decade in Hawaii before moving to Michigan in 2013. She’s been involved in the sport of gymnastics for more than 25 years as an athlete and coach. She fell in love with the sport in high school and has several USA Gymnastics certifications in Preschool and Recreational Coaching. She believes gymnastics can benefit any child of any ability because in addition to teaching strength, agility, and coordination, it also develops goal-setting and social skills. She lives in Walker with her husband and very old dachshund, Maddy.
Rec. & Rollin’ Coach, Ninja Coach, Team Coach. Trevor is attending Davenport University. He hopes to have a career owning his own business while still working with children. When he is not working, Trevor enjoys spending time with the family he nannies for, especially 15-year-old, autistic Logan. Along with being a nanny, Trevor enjoys being active, enjoying the outdoors and spending time with friends and family.
Rec. and Rollin’ Assistant Director. Alison is a graduate of Taylor University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature, ESL, and Elementary Education. She taught Kindergarten students for the past 2 years in South Korea. Alison grew up in Italy, participating in traditional dance classes, swimming, and tennis teams. She loves encouraging children to learn, grow, and practice healthy and active lifestyles.
Rec. & Rollin’ Coach, Cheer Coach, Team Coach. Becky was a gymnast for 6 years and a USAG competitive gymnast for 4 years. In college, she danced for 2 years and performed around Grand Rapids. She has coached team and Rec. gymnastics for 3 years and has worked for 10 years with children in various positions. She is a graduate of the culinary program at Grand Rapids Community College and caters many staff events at the gym. She was the assistant coach for the competitive cheer team at R Athletics last year and coaches many of the surrounding high school cheer teams on their tumbling.
Rec. & Rollin’ Coach. Stephanie currently attends Forest Hills Central High School and plans to pursue a career in architecture and interior design. She has been involved in gymnastics for ten years, competing first with USAG and later with the Forest Hills team. In addition to gymnastics, she is a varsity rower for her school. Stephanie enjoys sharing her passion for gymnastics with others, and working with kids to help them achieve their goals.
Rec. and Rollin’ Director, Team Coach. Kaylie was a USAG competitive gymnast throughout her childhood. She participated in competitive cheer at Grandville High School and was titled All Conference, All Region, and All State. During high school she started coaching gymnastics with her sister Rachel, who was also her former coach. A passion was sparked and she has been coaching gymnastics for the past 8 years. Kaylie is the Rec. and Rollin’ director as well as a coach of the R-Athletics competitive team.
Rec. & Rollin’ Coach, Cheer Coach. Caitlin competed in gymnastics until 5th grade when she started dance. She competed in tap, hip hop, and jazz for 3 years. In college she joined a dance club and participated for two years. Caitlin holds double major in Psychology and Spanish and is currently pursuing a Masters in Occupational Therapy. Caitlin loves teaching youth gymnastics and encouraging them to improve. Her favorite part of coaching is the excitement her students have when they achieve a skill they have been working on.
Rec. & Rollin’ Coach, Team Coach. Michelle was one of Rachel Rydbeck’s former gymnasts and always placed high in All Around Gymnastic competitions. In high school, she broke the school record for bars and balance beam, and was the regional bars champion and 2nd in the State on the balance beam. She was on the All Conference and All State team and named MVP. Michelle loves coaching gymnastics because she gets to be a part of every child reaching his or her goals. She loves to have fun with them and make them feel special.
Rec. & Rollin’ Coach, Marketing Office Coordinator. Rebekah is a graduate of Cornerstone University with degrees in English Literature and Music. She taught British Literature and Composition for the past two years in Seoul, South Korea. Rebekah loves to travel and visit national parks. She loves working with children and helping them reach new goals. She is also an accomplished pianist and teacher. Rebekah serves as Marketing Office Coordinator and recreational coach.
Rec. & Rollin’ Coach, Ninja Coach. Rudy is an all-around athlete who loves baseball, soccer and basketball. He studies at Caledonia High School and plans to major in Mechanical Engineering in college. He is a natural as a gymnastics and ninja coach. His enthusiasm and praise is contagious and he is not satisfied until each student accomplishes his or her skills for that level.
Rec. & Rollin’ Coach, Team Coach, Developmental Team Director. Rachel was one of Rachel Rydbeck’s former gymnasts, competing all the way up to Level 10. During her career, she was a Level 9 National All-Around Champion and also received a full ride gymnastics scholarship to Northern Illinois University. Rachel competed at college gymnastics for four years while earning a degree in nutrition and dietetics. She loves coaching gymnastics because she loves seeing the joy it brings the athletes when they learn new skills.
Ninja Coach. Nick has been a gymnast most of his life, and, more recently, a diver and a rower. Nick has also babysat since the age of 14 and was a teacher-cadet. He is currently enrolled in Grand Rapids Community College to study Physical Therapy and Exercise Science. Nick loves to get the kids moving and feeling great about their skills and themselves.
Rec. & Rollin’ Coach, Cheer Coach. Delaney graduated from DeWitt High School in 2012. She was a competitive cheerleader for 8 years, including 4 years on the Varsity squad. She is attending GVSU and is majoring in social work. She plans to attend law school after graduation and eventually practice family/adoption law. Delaney enjoys sharing her skills and encouraging her students to believe in themselves.
Team Coach, RUSH Athletics Coach. J.J. was a USAG competitive gymnast until high school when she joined Rockford’s Gymnastics Team. She is a graduate of Grand Valley with a Bachelor Degree in Exercise Science. J.J has been coaching gymnastics for eight years. During that time, she has coached team, recreational and pre-school classes, birthday parties, and open gyms. The joy and excitement that children express when accomplishing new skills is why JJ loves her role as coach. They make her smile!
Ninja Program Director, Ninja Coach, Rec. & Rollin Coach, Team Coach. Cohen has been participating in gymnastics in some capacity since he was 2 years old. Cohen is also very accomplished in Taekwondo. He obtained his black belt at the age of 9, and his second degree black belt at 11. In 2008, Cohen was ranked third in the state and finish third at the AAU Junior Olympics. In addition to Tae Kwon Do and gymnastics, music has always been a big part of his life.
Rec. & Rollin’ Coach, Ninja Coach. Emma has been involved in gymnastics since she was 4 years old. She placed 1st on floor and 3rd on vault in the 2013 AAU Junior Olympics and participates in the sport today with the Forest Hills Gymnastics team. Not only does Emma compete in gymnastics, but she is also a certified black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Outside of sports, she enjoys the Fine Arts such as music and drawing. In the future, she hopes to become a radiologist for Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.
Administration/Operations Manager, Rollin’ Coach. As a mother of 5 children and a grandmother of 1 beautiful little girl, Betsy has spent the last 31 years working with children and volunteering in their schools and as an organizer of their sports teams. She is a graduate of Aquinas College with a degree in Business Management and is responsible for running the front desk at R Athletics. The highlight of her week is spending time with the babies of R Athletics. She delights in how much progress a child who is just crawling can make in a few weeks of class!
RUSH Athletics Coach. Ryan played Division 1 high school Hockey and Lacrosse at Northville High School. He went on to get a degree in Supply Chain Management and Mathematics from Grand Valley University where he also played D2 MCLA Lacrosse. He has spent the last three years as an active crossfit coach and competitor and a USAW Level 1 sports performance coach. He is the 2015 Meijer State Games Ultrafit champion and an avid dog, hockey and food lover!
Rec. & Rollin’ Coach, Cheer Coach. Abby is a native of Grand Rapids. She was involved in gymnastics for approximately 4 years, starting at the age of eleven. In high school, she was on stage crew for her school’s plays and musicals. Even though theater took up most of her time, she always had a love for gymnastics and would go to open gyms to keep up her skills. Abby currently is a senior at Grand Valley State University majoring in Business Management. She loves to watch her athletes shine with each improvement they make!
Rec. & Rollin’ Coach, Cheer Coach. Kori has been involved is cheerleading since the age of 6. She cheered throughout her entire high school career and was voted cheer captain her senior year. Kori loves being able to interact with the children she coaches, along with putting a smile on their faces when they master a new skill. Her favorite part of coaching gymnastics is being able to encourage students to do something they love just as much as she does.
Ninja Coach. Dishant, also known as “Dish”, is currently studying Economics at Grand Valley State University with the desire to become an entrepreneur. He is an accomplished pianist as well as an all-around athlete, including a 1st degree black belt in Karate. Dishant started with R Athletics in high school as a set-up person for birthday parties and is now back as a Ninja Zone coach. Dish loves the fast-paced action of Ninja Zone and the enthusiasm of the kids as they work on their ninja skills.