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Coaching kids from a variety of age groups and talent levels can be challenging and rewarding.
One of Hamm’s proudest coaching accomplishments is the work he did with Diab’s son, Alex, a Glenbard West graduate who last spring won the NCAA championship on still rings, the same event Mark Diab won in college.
“Each group has its plusses and minuses,” Hamm said. “The little kids are super fun and cute and you can play around with them, but then they’re just crazy energy, bouncing off the wall. It’s like, ‘sit down, be quiet.’
“But I also like working with the older boys because you can really try to influence them in a positive way as far as becoming men and then they can understand the sport a lot better. You can talk to them in a different way in terms of technique and really pass on your knowledge that way.”
The youngsters certainly have a great role model in Hamm, who was part of a tremendous Hall of Fame class that also included fellow American Nastia Liukin, the 2008 Olympic all-around champ, Romanian star Andreea Raducan and Russian great Alexei Nemov, the 2000 Olympic all-around gold medalist.
“That was a big deal,” Hamm said. “I was super honored.
“You know you’re getting included with some of the best people in the sport from the last century.”