By Jennie Clark
Athletic Communications Assistant
The Gopher Men's Gymnastics team heads into a break in the season this week.
Minnesota had last week off before heading into a tough competition against No. 2 Oklahoma this weekend.
Gopher head coach Mike Burns thinks that break could be a good thing for his gymnasts.
"Not having a competition last weekend gives the guys who are a banged up a little bit a bit of a break," Burns said. "It's also good for the guys who are on the verge of adding some new skills to increase their difficulty."
Minnesota has had the tendency to perform better at home than on the road this season. The team is hoping they will have developed a new state of mind during the off week.
"We need to create our comfort zone on the road," Burns said. "What it does is forces the team to get closer and more bonded as a unit. There is a lot of strength in team unity, so the key is trying to tap into that and make sure it is there the whole competition."
Senior Aaron Fortunato credits the some of the success at home the energy they get from their Sports Pavilion crowd. But he believes the Gophers need to have the same energy on the road as they do at home.
"Our crowd here is awesome, so when we go away we don't have that," Fortunato said. "So it is trying to figure out how to create that atmosphere at an away meet. That's another thing we're trying to figure out this week."
Fortunato agrees that the week off was beneficial for the team as they go into a tough meet this weekend.
"It's a good thing to have a week off," Fortunato said. "It gives us time to recuperate and try to upgrade our routines for the upcoming week."
Although the Gophers had last weekend off, they were not taking their workouts lightly. The Gophers focused on both polishing up their routines and increasing their strength in the gym last week.
"We increased our strength last week," Burns said. "So the guys were hurting a bit at the end of last week. But pushed through and looked pretty good."
"We really worked on our individual skills," Fortunato said of last week's sessions in the gym. "We kind of cleaned up our half routines and put them back into our routines so they will improve."
Minnesota is currently ranked No. 7 in the nation.