Balance (Off Balance Book 1) - Lucia Franco

Dear Reader,

Much like a student teacher novel, Balance is a forbidden romance story between a gymnast and a coach. If you find that genre of novels to be not to your liking in any way, shape, or form, Balance is not for you.

This novel is purely fictional and does not reflect on real life events. Gymnastics is a very hands on sport that involves a lot of close contact with an instructor. My main goal was to focus on the beauty of the actual sport, but also show what goes on behind closed doors and how working with a coach for nearly forty hours a week can transpire into something more. This story is meant to push you, take you outside your comfort zone. I hope you take the plunge and look outside the box before making judgment.

Balance contains explicit content some may find offensive. It is intended only for readers 18 years and older. If graphic language and underage, consensual sex are bothersome to you, I highly suggest not reading this novel. Reader discretion is advised.


All-Around A category of gymnastics that includes all the events. The all-around champion of an event earns the highest total score from all events combined.

Amanar A Yurchenko-style vault, meaning the gymnast performs a round-off onto the board, a back handspring onto the vault with a two and a half twisting layout back flip.

Cast A push off the bar with hips and lifts the body to straighten the shoulders and finish in handstand.

Deduction Points taken off a gymnast’s score for errors. Most deductions are pre-determined, such as a 0.5 deduction for a fall from an apparatus or a 0.1 deduction for stepping out of bounds on the floor exercise.

Dismount The last skill in a gymnastics routine. For most events the method used to get off of the event apparatus.

Elite International Elite, the highest level of gymnastics.

Execution The performance of a routine. Form, style, and technique used to complete the skills constitute the level of execution of an exercise. Bent knees, poor toe point and an arched or loosely-held body position are all examples of poor execution.

Giant Performed on bars, a swing in which the body is fully extended and moving through a 360 degree rotation around the bar.

Full-In A full-twisting double back tuck, with the twist happening in the first back flip. It can be done in a tucked, piked, or layout position and is used in both men’s and women’s gymnastics.

Free Hip Circle Performed on the uneven bars or high bar, the body circles around the bar without the body touching the bar. There are both front hip circles and back hip circles.

Handspring Springing off the hands by putting the weight on the arms and using a strong push from the shoulders. Can be done either forward or backward, usually a connecting movement. This skill can be performed on floor, vault, and beam.

Heel Drive A termed used by coaches to inform the gymnasts they want them to drive their heels harder up and over on the front side of a handspring vault or front handspring on floor. Stronger heel drives create more rotation and potential for block and power.

Hecht Mount A mount where the gymnast jumps off a spring board while keeping their arms straight, pushes off of the low bar, and catches the high bar.

Inverted Cross Performed by men on the rings, it is an upside down cross.

Iron Cross A strength move performed by men on the rings. The gymnast holds the rings straight out on either side of their body while holding themselves up. Arms are perpendicular to the body.

Jaeger Performed on bars, a gymnast swings from a front Giant and lets go of the bar, into a front flip and catches the bar again. Jaeger can be done in the straddle, pike, and layout position, and is occasionally performed in a tucked position.

Kip The most commonly used mount for bars, the gymnast glides forward, pulls their feet to the bar, then pushes up to front support, resting their hips on the bar.

Layout A stretched body position.

Layout Timers A drill that simulates the feel of a skill, or the set for a skill without the risk of completing the skill.

Lines Straight, perfect lines of the body.

Overshoot, also known as Bail A transition from the high bar facing the low bar. The gymnast swings up and over the low bar with a half-turn to catch the low bar ending in a handstand.

Pike The body bent forward at the waist with the legs kept straight,