Acrobatic Gymnastics: Walker And Williams Winning Wonderfully in Wroclaw

Walker And Williams Winning Wonderfully in Wroclaw

The wonderful World Games in Wroclaw, Poland, saw the acrobatic gymnastics of both Lewis Walker and Kitty Williams lift a brilliant bronze medal. In this most specialist skill, the charismatic mixed pairing performed superbly to make the podium, landing just behind Russia and Belarus.

Getting to the final was an achievement in itself given the standard of competition. But then the dynamic duo scored an impressive 28.810 points impressing both spectators and judges along the way.

Lewis said: “It feels amazing, it’s our first major championships as a pair and we just wanted to do all our hard work and commitment justice. We feel like we’ve gone out there and shown everyone what we can do and how amazing our sport is so we’re both very proud.”

Acrobatic Gymnastics Draws The Crowds

Understandably this can be a nerve-racking experience at the best of times, but being first to compete in qualifying in front of a sizeable crowd in the amazing Centennial Hall, can’t have been easy. Lewis went on to say: “We were very focused in qualifying on making sure both our routines were clean,” added 16-year-old Kitty. In the final, there was no pressure or expectation, once we completed our first balance move I think we knew it was going well.”

Just to make matters a little tenser, the pair then had to sit out quite a long wait as the trampoline competition got under way. They completed their balance routine scoring 28.170 giving them a total of 55.350, and a clear margin over the USA to qualify 4th and make the final.

Overcoming Adversity To Become World Champion

Kitty’s proudest moment was becoming age-group World Champion 2016 in China, and she loves her discipline. Soaring through the air is a great feeling for the Croydon based athlete who loves being part of a team.

But she admits to having really bad eyesight and having to wear contact lenses when she trains and competes. This in itself is proof to all youngsters, you can overcome any minor problems if you really want too. Mind you, both athletes have four-hour training sessions each day, not only to perfect routines, but to aid conditioning.

The discipline needed to become successful in this dynamic area is huge.

Poland’s Biggest Sporting Event

More than 3,000 athletes, from 31 sports and 111 countries, were taking part in the biggest sporting event ever staged in Poland. This fantastic extravaganza is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee. Founded in 1981 and very much the ‘Olympics for non-Olympic sport’, they provide a gateway to Olympic inclusion.

Acrobatic gymnastics is the competitive field where partnerships of gymnasts work together and perform figures consisting of acrobatic moves, dance and tumbling, set to music. There are three types of performances; a ‘balance’ routine where the focus is on strength, poise and flexibility. A ‘dynamic’ routine including throwing, somersaults and catches, and a ‘combined’ routine including elements from both balance and dynamic gymnastics.

It’s governed and regulated by the International Federation of Gymnastics (FIG). At international level, there are four FIG categories of competition defined by age; 11-16, 12-18, 13-19, and 15+ (Senior).

The fascinating thing about this discipline is in each partnership, the gymnasts’ different sizes and abilities will be balanced to complement each other in order to undertake the complex moves. Some will mainly carry out supporting and pitching roles, known as bases, they are then balanced with smaller gymnasts who become the ‘tops’.

There’s not much doubt both Lewis Walker and Kitty Williams are both tops when it comes to representing Great Britain.

Gymnastics Academy Coach Helen Reddy Wins Double Award

Gymnastics Academy Coach Helen Reddy Wins Double Award

Helen Reddy from Ivybridge Community College has been named as  Devon Sports Coach of the Year and received The Outstanding Contribution Award at a recent awards ceremony. Known to many as a ‘super woman teacher’, she’s managed to create not just a forward thinking gymnastics academy, but also the most successful school gymnastics team in the UK.

If ever there was a superb example of how to get youngsters more involved in this exciting sport, this was it. Having built up and run the Ivybridge Gymnastics Academy at ICC, Helen has supervised a squad that has won more national titles than any other UK school in the past two years.

Devon gymnastics Are In Very Good Hands

To add to her teaching and Academy commitments, this incredibly hard working, high-performance coach also uses her expertise at nearby Honiton Gymnastics Club. As a former national gymnast of some repute, and now a level five British coach, she’s vastly experienced in the sport.

And now she’s using all the knowledge accrued across more than 30 years to help the next generation of gymnasts.

Helen has constructed a sustainable coaching structure enabling students to take their first steps as young gymnastic leaders. The innovative scheme has been endorsed by British Gymnastics, selecting Ivybridge Community College as one of only a handful of apprentice hubs in the UK.

Recognition Of Her Commitment

The Outstanding Contribution award was selected by judges from people short-listed in all categories. It recognises an individual or organisation that has gone above and beyond the call of duty to develop sport in the county.

Sandy Park, home of Exeter Chiefs rugby club, provided the venue for the ceremony, in the presence of the guest speaker and Olympic gold medal rower James Cracknell. The aim was to celebrate the best of community sport in Devon.

Helen said: “I honestly didn’t think I was in with a chance, so I was stunned when they read out my name. It’s a real honour to be welcomed to collect an award in front of so many of your peers, so when they announced the second award I was even more astounded.

A Gymnastics Academy 15 Years In The Making

Helen began her PE teaching career at ICC in 2002 and has held the role of Head of Year, Director of Sport and Head of Performing arts. She began building gymnastics at the school by focusing on starting young boys’ gymnastics. It was a case of slowly moving forward into other areas before the Academy took shape.

This amazing lady is responsible for the development of more than 300 students at primary and secondary level, and she even comes up with the ideas and directs the performing art show at the college, involving 500 pupils. She believes this link is important, as such mass participation can help identify those who have a real gymnastic talent.

The overall aim isn’t about finding an elite gymnast, but encouraging pupils of all abilities to at least attend one of the extra-curricular clubs for a short while. And to top it all, Helen also organises the UK’s biggest annual acrobatic development competition in Honiton every year.

Recent achievements have included coaching and choreographing routines for British champion teams at junior and senior levels. Helen added: “I’m surrounded by a team of dedicated coaches, helpers and supporters who make it possible for me to put successful procedures in place. I couldn’t do any of this without their continued support.”

The award organisers, as well as those around her, see this passionate coach as someone who really does make a difference to young people in terms of helping offer valuable life skills. And who knows, she could be bringing on the next star gymnast.

Liz Slater, leisure partnership manager at Plymouth City Council who nominated Helen for the awards, said: “In my 25 years of involvement in Devon sport rarely have I witnessed a teacher and coach who has such a high level of passion, enthusiasm and a will to make a difference to young people.”

The Devon Sports 20th Anniversary Awards were organised by Active Devon in Association with The Exeter Foundation and Exeter College.

Team Gym At The British Gymnastics Championship Series 2017

Team Gym At The British Gymnastics Championship Series 2017

The Liverpool Echo Arena will be packed to the rafters at the end of this month enjoying an amazing four days of the 2017 British Gymnastics Championship Series. ‘Team Gym’ is the name of the game, amid fervent support from friends, family and spectators.

It’s a genuinely exciting concept where the action just keeps coming, as the teams battle it out in some pretty incredible disciplines. The Floor event will see between six and twelve gymnasts performing to instrumental music on a non-sprung area of 14 and 18 metres.

Team Gym Presents The Fabulous and Charismatic

Involving both men and women, each member of the team must take part in the fabulous floor programme using expressive presentation in a number of gymnastic elements. You’ll see charismatic choreography, meticulous in its planning and using linked movements, synchronisation and excellent teamwork.

Each routine should have two pirouettes, two balance-power elements, two jumps-leaps and one combination of two elements. Female teams are asked to include body waves, while the men should incorporate swing-type movement, lifts or throws.

Promoting Whole Body Gymnastics

The idea is to involve whole body gymnastics in the process, and it’s simply great to watch. With apparatus in mind, The Trampet sees the teams performing their best somersaults, with a section of individual programmes incorporating the vault table.

There are three different rounds with six gymnasts in each, but in the first round, everyone must perform the same element with a controlled landing all important. You’ll see lots of twisting double somersaults, quite dramatic in their execution.

Tumbling Teams Take Their Turns

For those who love their tumbles, this is the competition for you as Teams perform a tumbling series on a 15-metre track with what they call good ‘streaming’ – consecutive tumbles quite close to each other.

The result is a fast, exciting and dynamic section of the competition. As you might expect the evenness of the streaming is crucial. There are three rounds in this section all performed to music.

In every series, there must be three differing acrobatic elements. Again, all members of the team must perform the same series for the first round. This gets particularly interesting because you may be allowed between 6 and 12 gymnasts on the floor at one time – but you only need to put six forward for each tumble pass.

The mixed teams must include three boys and three girls. Here, the judge will be looking out for a really good flow to the tumbles and a perfect finish on the landing area. The gymnasts aren’t expected to stand still at the end of their run but must show control as they move out the way for the next tumbler.

All in all, it makes for an enthralling competition, highly recommended for those who have never been to a big gymnastics event.

So remember – from 27 – 30 July you will be treated to an incredible feast of gymnastics with multiple disciplines and age groups uniting under one roof competing for prestigious British titles.

Here’s the event schedule:

Thursday 27 and Friday 28 July – Aerobic Gymnastics British Championships.

Friday 28, Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 July – Rhythmic Gymnastics and Acrobatic Gymnastics British Championships. Sharing the floor over three days.

Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 July – TeamGym British Championships and GB Gym for Life Challenge

Friday 28 July – British Gymnastics Gala Evening

Introducing The New Gymnastics Form That’s Engaging Teenage Girls

New gymnastics form TeamGym

New research has confirmed ‘TeamGym’ gymnastics and ‘MY CLUB’ are proving a hit with teenage girls. In a week when a separate report has revealed how difficult it is to get youngsters exercising, this is music to the ears for the creators of this new gymnastics form.

These new concepts are also providing an added attraction for those girls wanting to get involved in gymnastics, but preferring to be eased gently into the more technical aspects of the sport. And let’s be honest, all youngsters should be given the opportunity of enhancing their lives through a sport of their own choosing.

Women In Sport Study

The study was undertaken by Women in Sport in partnership with British Gymnastics. It found by introducing a team ethic and a more relaxed style of coaching, those involved enjoyed the activity even more. Individuals can still enjoy gymnastics without competing, so the scheme really does cater for everyone in this sense.

The aim is to take skills from other types of gymnastics and add a team element – this means everyone works together to both learn and perform more flexible routines. This involves the tumbling track, trampette and floor, eliminating apparatus like the beam and uneven bars. In fact, many girls of this age said they’d prefer to leave those items out.

Taking away the many hours of work and discipline was also very appealing, enabling the girls to fit the sport fully into their lives and still enjoy benefits both physically and socially.

An Exciting New Gymnastics Form

MY CLUB itself is becoming a huge success, giving gymnasts total control over each session they undertake. They can pick up the skills they want to learn in their own time, and create excellent displays along the way.

One of the great things about the concept is the fact girls can choose to take part alongside friends and choose exactly which apparatus to use. It seems a lot of youngsters welcome the opportunity of developing skills they can show off to friends and family, so it’s no surprise to also discover they felt it made them proud of their bodies, and becoming very active actually seemed easier. Those teenagers interviewed said it felt better than leading a sedentary lifestyle.

Funded by Sport England, the project has completely engaged Women in Sport who feel it resonates deeply with girls. It’s all part of the plan to offer greater diversity and meeting the requirements of the all important Equality Standard in Sport.

Everyone agrees gymnastics has always welcomed youngsters keen to learn more, but this new approach is quickly winning friends up and down the UK. The fact is, this new gymnastics form is proving a great way to engage girls in a sport as teenagers but in a way that best suits them. It’s another hugely successful initiative with full credit going to British Gymnastics.

You can discover more about taking part in MY CLUB or TeamGym by visiting www.DiscoverGymnastics.uk  

Or, if you’re a club and you’d like to find out more about MY CLUB and TeamGym or if you would like to access the case study, please contact participation@british-gymnastics.org

GDPR – What Gymnastics Clubs Need To Know

 

From the 25th May 2018, the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will take effect.  In this blog article, we look at the principals of GDPR, the rights of your gymnastics club members under the new rules and give our views from a system perspective.

The Principals

The principles of GDPR are similar to those already covered under the data protection act.  Specifically, GDPR requires that personal data should be:

  1. processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner in relation to individuals;
  2. collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes; further processing for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes shall not be considered to be incompatible with the initial purposes;
  3. adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed;
  4. accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date; every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that personal data that are inaccurate, having regard to the purposes for which they are processed, are erased or rectified without delay;
  5. kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processed; personal data may be stored for longer periods insofar as the personal data will be processed solely for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes subject to implementation of the appropriate technical and organisational measures required by the GDPR in order to safeguard the rights and freedoms of individuals;
  6. processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organisational measures.

It also requires that “the controller shall be responsible for, and be able to demonstrate, compliance with the principles.

Individual rights

The GDPR creates some new rights for individuals and strengthens some of the rights that currently exist under the DPA.

The GDPR provides the following rights for individuals. Where applicable, we’ve included some guidance for those using our Gymnastics Club Manager software:

  1. The right to be informed
    The right to be informed encompasses your obligation to provide ‘fair processing information’, typically through a privacy notice. It emphasises the need for transparency over how you use personal data. GCM: We recommend you incorporate your privacy statement on the registration page and have a check-box for those submitting their information to select.  The privacy statement can be created by using the custom statement option or the ‘Insert terms and conditions option’ both of which can be found under the Admin > Forms page. 
  2. The right of access
    Under the GDPR, individuals will have the right to obtain:
    a) confirmation that their data is being processed;
    b) access to their personal data; and
    c) other supplementary information – this largely corresponds to the information that should be provided in a privacy notice. GCM: Members (or more accurately their parents) can access their data via their online Gymnastics Club Manager account, so the requirement for you to provide access to information on request will be limited.
  3. The right to rectification
    Individuals are entitled to have personal data rectified if it is inaccurate or incomplete. If you have disclosed the personal data in question to third parties, you must inform them of the rectification where possible. You must also inform the individuals about the third parties to whom the data has been disclosed where appropriate. GCM: Pay Here Limited (the legal entity in which Gymnastics Club Manager trades under) does not rent, lease or sell your club or members information.  For support purposes, information is only accessible by employees of Pay Here Limited and our development team.
  4. The right to erasure
    The right to erasure is also known as ‘the right to be forgotten’. The broad principle underpinning this right is to enable an individual to request the deletion or removal of personal data whether there is no compelling reason for its continued processing. GCM: If you receive a request for erasure, there are 2 things to consider from a system perspective; 1) Deleting a person off the system will also delete their payment history.  2) It will also delete their attendance history which will have implications if you are required to keep their attendance record for a period of time for insurance purposes.  Both reasons in themselves could be considered a reason not to comply with the erasure request.  However, to retain accurate records you may wish to delete all personal data with the exception of first name, last name and DOB so you can still keep an audit trail.
  5. The right to restrict processing
    Under the DPA, individuals have a right to ‘block’ or suppress processing of personal data. The restriction of processing under the GDPR is similar. When processing is restricted, you are permitted to store the personal data, but not further process it. You can retain just enough information about the individual to ensure that the restriction is respected in future.
  6. The right to data portability
    The right to data portability allows individuals to obtain and reuse their personal data for their own purposes across different services.It allows them to move, copy or transfer personal data easily from one IT environment to another in a safe and secure way, without hindrance to usability. GCM: It’s unlikely that your members will require their data to be presented in a way that they can port.  If this ever did arise, you can export their information in an Excel file from the system.
  7. The right to object
    Individuals have the right to object to:
    a) processing based on legitimate interests or the performance of a task in the public interest/exercise of official authority (including profiling);
    b) direct marketing (including profiling); and
    c) processing for purposes of scientific/historical research and statistics. GCM: If you use our Gymnastics Club Software for email marketing purposes, we recommend setting up a group called ‘Email marketing’ and copying all members to the group.  Send marketing emails only to this group. If someone objects to receiving marketing material from you, simply remove them from the group.
  8. Rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling
    The GDPR provides safeguards for individuals against the risk that a potentially damaging decision is taken without human intervention. These rights work in a similar way to existing rights under the DPA. Identify whether any of your processing operations constitute automated decision making and consider whether you need to update your procedures to deal with the requirements of the GDPR.

Things to think about now 

If you haven’t done so already, now’s a good time to start working towards becoming GDPR compliant.  Here are some things you need to consider:

Awareness
Make sure your staff and helpers are aware of the upcoming changes.

Information you hold
Document what data you hold, where it came from and who you share it with.

Privacy notices
Review your existing privacy notices and make any necessary changes in readiness.

Individual rights
Check your procedures to ensure they cover all the rights detailed above.

Access requests
Ensure your members know how they can access their data.

Identify your data needs 
If you don’t use it, don’t collect it. Identify the data you need and document in your privacy notice why you need it.

Consent
Review your existing consents (how you seek and record them) and refresh if they don’t meet the new regulations.

If you would like to find out more on how we can help your club become GDPR compliant, book a free consultation today or call us on +44 (1)01892 771 276.

 

Video: Manage Class Registrations With Ease With Gymnastics Club Manager’s Attendance Register App

Gymnastics Classes attendance register

Producing attendance registers is often a time-consuming task.  Compiling data from various spreadsheets, printing and if you’re club runs out of various locations, distributing copies to coaches.  With the Gymnastics Club Manager software, you can quickly build online registers that coaches can access via an App on their phones or tablets which enables them to record attendance, as well as access the latest membership and payment information at the touch of the screen.

When the app is opened, coaches can see the classes they have access to (you, as the main administrator, determine that), the current register (for example, Autumn Term) and the session.  Once they’ve selected the relevant class, register, and session, the list of gymnasts will load and display the information you selected to appear on the register.  For example, medical conditions, emergency contacts, what skills they’re working on and even payment status. 

Recording attendance at your gymnastics classes is as easy as just ticking names off and hitting record. Information on attendance is stored centrally online, so no more storing old paper registers! And you can set up alerts too, so if a coach leaves a note on the register, you’ll get alerted and if someone misses, say 3 sessions in a row, the system will alert you to that too.

The app can be downloaded from the Android and Apple app stores for both mobile and tablet devices. Check out the video below to see all these features and more in action.

Gymnastics Club Manager was created to help you improve your gymnastics club administration. By streamlining the membership process, our software makes fee collections easier and more manageable and ensures member information is always up to date.

Take our free video tour to see all the features our software has to offer and discover how you can change the way you manage your club admin – forever.

2018 European Gymnastics Championships Heads For The Greatness Of Glasgow

SSE Hydro Arena Glasgow - 2018 European Gymnastics Championships

It may be more than a year away but an exciting new multi-sport event is already capturing the imagination of British gymnastics fans. The Glasgow 2018 European Gymnastics Championships will join together the existing Europeans for Aquatics, Cycling, Gymnastics, Rowing and Triathlon along with a new Golf team championship.

But the cream for club members up and down the land will be the inclusion of gymnastics. Tickets are already on sale, and seemingly going well for an exciting event set to bring 250,000 sports fans into both Glasgow and Scotland as a whole next year.

Gymnastics Set For The Hydro Arena

From the second of August, there will be an exile rating 10-days of gymnastics competition carrying men’s and women’s competitions at both junior and senior level at the Hydro Arena in Glasgow. It’s  a particularly memorable venue for one of the sports stars Ellie Downie, who said:  “It’s going to be amazing to perform on home soil, The Hydro Arena is a very memorable arena for me, it’s where we won our first World team medal, so it will be nice to be back there. I think the atmosphere is going to be incredible with the home crowd, and there’s going to be a lot of hype around it.”

This sporting extravaganza will be staged every four years and is certain to become a top highlight on the world’s sporting event calendar. In fact, this will be an 11-day festival of world-class sporting excellence broadcast across the globe.

The initial event will certainly enhance Scotland’s reputation as a high-end sporting host – and a potential 1.03 billion viewers across Europe alone will watch the ongoing action. Indeed, as you might expect, the BBC will be a major player.

52 Nations Set To Be Involved

More than 4,500 athletes from 52 nations will be involved in a bid to be crowned European Champion, with the athletics themselves being hosted in Berlin. For the gymnasts, this will also provide the opportunity of mixing with all the other athletes, in itself creating a truly wonderful atmosphere – with an almost Olympic feel.

Ellie added: “It’s going to be unreal going in as reigning all-around champion. I’ve never been in that position before at a European Championships so it will be different in that respect, but it will still be really exciting.”

Dubbed ‘The friendliest city in the world’, Glasgow is one of the world’s top 10 sporting cities offering a number of world-class venues such as the Emirates Arena and The Hydro. This won’t be just a welcome sporting feast but also a cultural celebration everyone involved will enjoy.

Yet again, however, this sparkling event will propel the sport of gymnastics into the hearts of many new fans. It will also continue to raise the profile of some of our most talented performers, like Nile Wilson who told the media: “It’s fantastic to have it in this country, I have competed in Glasgow numerous times at the Commonwealth Games and World Championships and each time it was fantastic. To have a multi-sport event as well is really exciting, as it’s a chance to meet athletes from different sports and interact with them.”

It will be the biggest sporting event hosted in Scotland since the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. The gymnastics will be an exhibition to savour, adding to the greatness of Glasgow and the event as a whole.

Fans can buy tickets for 84 thrilling sessions of sport starting at just £10 for adults and £5 for under-16s and over-60s.

Tickets for all events can be purchased from www.glasgow2018.com/tickets and will be sold on a first come first served basis, with fans encouraged to book early to avoid disappointment.

What Makes A Great Gymnastics Coach?

Gymnastics Coaching

There is one question that troubles me greatly, and it’s one that arises in nearly ALL gymnastics coaching courses and workshops I have attended:

‘What makes a great gymnastics coach?’

Just writing it is making my blood pressure rise!

Some years ago, I would have put together a long list of qualities that great coaches have … but not today.

The thing is, I’ve travelled the world and worked alongside a tremendous number of coaches, many of whom are at the height of their respective fields. And it is during this time that I’ve come to recognise that many high performing coaches are totally flawed in the characteristics we often associate with high performance.

High technical knowledge? Not always important.

Organised? Quite the opposite.

Positive? Nope.

‘People person?’ …. Definitely not!

Growth mindset? … I wish.

You get the gist

Jigsaw Pieces Or Cogs?

I used to see the gymnastics coaching world as a jigsaw puzzle, with coaches who are lacking in important qualities as being ‘incomplete.’

I’ve now moved to a ‘cogs’ model.

The more cogs that are moving, the more efficiently a system runs. But even with fewer cogs (or in our case desirable qualities) the system still runs, albeit not quite as efficiently. The coach can still produce results, but it might require more work, or have a few more bumpy roads to ride down first.

What Makes A Great Gymnastics Coach Anyway?

Yes, there are some characteristics that many great coaches will have in common, and it’s wonderful to dream about what qualities a ‘complete’ coach would have, but we shouldn’t delude ourselves that ‘great’ coaches hold all of these.

Besides, what does it mean to be a ‘great’ gymnastics coach anyway?

The status of being a great coach often gets attributed to those who produce gymnasts that can (and do) win medals at an international level. But I’m often a little more curious (don’t mistake this for being pessimistic or cynical) as to how those results happened.

A coach whose gymnast’s win international medals, but are left emotionally broken wouldn’t earn my badge of being a ‘great coach.’ That would be mistaking being a great ‘technician’ for being a great coach. A BIG difference.

Neither would I consider a coach great who manages to squeeze one gymnast into the top spot, but in the process manages to physically or technically ‘wreck’ another 40 gymnasts.

You could say a wealthy drug dealer knows how to make money, but you’d question their ethics and are unlikely to hold them in high esteem. In much the same way, this is how I view unethical coaches who leave a path of destruction in their wake. They don’t get my vote, regardless of the size of their medals haul.

Some of the best gymnastics coaches I know have never actually coached at a high-performance level. They are, however, in the elite at running a recreational gymnastics class or a class full of pre-school children. That’s an art in itself and requires a mass of experience and skills.

So what do YOU think? I’d be interested in what you attribute the status of being a ‘great coach’ to?

Article by Nick Ruddock, Gymnastics Club Manager’s resident coaching expert and International Gymnastics Coach and Consultant.

FIG New Duty Of Care Initiative: Safeguarding Gymnasts

Safeguarding Gymnasts

The Federation of International Gymnastics is to develop a duty of care code for safeguarding gymnasts and everyone involved in the sport. Their determined commitment means gymnasts will be able to compete safe in the knowledge they perform under an umbrella of prevention, education, reporting, investigation and sanctions.

Both male and females should be able to immerse themselves in the sport free from any form of abuse, sexual harassment or bullying of any kind. This marks a clear move toward ensuring those very high standards already employed are enhanced further within the gymnastics world.

Making Gymnastics Safer

FIG President Morinari Watanabe has wasted no time since taking over in January, organising a working group charged with reviewing existing rules of the federation with the aim of re-enforcing them.

The group includes Slava Corn, Jane Allen and Steve Butcher, who held their first meeting in Lausanne between May 31 and June 1, starting from the premise ‘everyone in sport has the responsibility to develop a culture of dignity and safety.’

The group has based its work notably on the strong recommendations of the international federations of the IOC’s Agenda 2020, providing a framework outlining the key components required for the quality care of athletes. A solid duty of care code has since emerged utilising a series of supporting procedures intended to serve as an acceptable standard when both adopting and protecting policies.

Mr Watanable said: “As FIG President, I declare we will not tolerate abuse or sexual harassment in the gymnastics community. We observe the rules because we are educated to do so. But rules cannot be observed only through education and legislation. Severe sanctions are needed. The same level of severe measures as anti-doping is necessary for eradicating harassment.”

Developing Positive Methods of Safeguarding Gymnasts

In any sport of course, where coaches are working so closely with athletes – where there’s regular travelling involved, and where there are close working relationships involved, it’s vital to protect everyone. The group have since insisted, it will be the responsibility of each member federation to ensure the implementation of such policies is carried out professionally and with due care and attention.

As the governing body of one of the world’s leading Olympic sports, the FIG fully endorses these principles and is committed to strengthening the support offered to all its members. In truth, the safety, well-being and welfare of gymnasts across the world must be at the epicentre of everything the FIG does. Both now and in the future.

It was emphasised, everyone in the sport has a responsibility to both recognise and prevent misconduct, harassment and any form of abuse at the source. The FIG will also develop educational material and provide opportunities to share case studies of best practice to further assist its member federations.

This hard working group also recommends the establishment of an Ethics and Welfare Unit within the Federation’s headquarters in Switzerland. They will collaborate with other FIG bodies and their activities in the process of delivering a duty of care to other members.

Slava Corn. FIG Honorary Vice President of the group told the media: “Our member federations, in particular, must demonstrate strong leadership by identifying and eradicating unacceptable practices and implementing preventative programs.”

The Ethics and Welfare Unit will work closely with the FIG Academy programme for coaches to develop and enhance educational resources and examples of best practice when it comes to safeguarding gymnasts.

This will encompass FIG courses, World Championships, events and congresses. The whole project ensures the sport consolidates itself around leading principles as the 21st century gathers pace.

Driven Daniel Purvis: What It Takes To Become An Olympic Gymnast

Daniel Purvis: Become An Olympic Gymnast

If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to become an Olympic gymnast take a closer look at the highly talented Daniel Purvis. We all hear stories of hard work, discipline and dedication, but sometimes fate can also lend a helping hand.

And it seems for this internationally elite three-time British all-around champion in men’s artistic gymnastics, being a hyperactive child, actually created a catalyst for future glory. Along with most parents of youngsters with an energy overload, Bob and Denise Purvis suddenly had their hands full.

An outlet was needed, and what could be better than a sporting activity to both focus the mind and take care of that excess energy. After all, both were PE teachers.

But what?

Finding An Aptitude For Gymnastics

By his own admission, he was hopeless at football and other related activities just didn’t work. One of his teachers suggested visiting a gym, so off they went to Southport YMCA – a converted egg factory.

Within a few visits the coaches were remarking about his strength and ability – and then the penny dropped with Bob as he explains: “From a very early age – probably around two – we would take him to the park to do his monkey climbs on the bars just because he enjoyed that kind of activity and it helped him let off some steam. There was obviously a link between the two. We said: ‘Right, that’s enough for us’. If this is where he needs to be, this is where we’ll make sure he is as regularly as he needs to. By the time he was eight, we had to make sure he had enough fuel in his stomach once home from school and before driving to the gym. It would then be a three-hour training session.”

For Daniel himself, it was a case of finding something he really loved. And It was clear he felt very comfortable in that environment, even though many at that time still thought of gymnastics as a girls sport.

The Burden of Support

He admits to being a shy boy, and gymnastics helped him to develop socially. Mum and Dad would take him to the gym six times each week, and when he had competitions in London they’d drive him there and back.

He learned to drive as an 18-year-old, but by then his parents had already given up so much to support him. Daniel added: “It was a massive burden on them. But at the same time they were so supportive and without them I wouldn’t have been able to achieve what I have achieved. In the early days, there were only a couple of hundred people in different school venues. When we moved to where we are now there were about 450 members. Now we’ve got 1,300.”

The Role of Jeff Brooks

In the most part Olympic gymnasts have been heavily influenced by a quality coach and mentor, and in Daniel’s case, it was Jeff Brooks. He said: “When Dan was a young boy he was very introverted and didn’t have a lot of confidence. Even when I realised how good he could be, it was a long time before he accepted what I was saying could be true. That’s the biggest achievement on my part, I think.

Apart from the long hours and complete discipline, Daniel’s regime has affected life at home. From shopping in the supermarket for perfectly balanced meals the whole family can eat, to rest and relaxation, everything is geared to his performances.

His dad retired early to help support his son explaining: “It has certainly been a massive part of Daniel’s progression in this sport that as a family we have been able to support him and give him all the extra time that he needed. Gymnastics is a sport, of course, where you can’t just go in the back garden or go to the park and run around. It has to be so specific, with specific apparatus.”

It’s true athletes actually do give up so much for a chance of a medal, something fans should really appreciate.

To Become An Olympic Gymnast…

As a Junior in 2006, he came fourth in the team for Great Britain at the Junior European Championships in Greece. Two years later in Lausanne, he helped the British team win the Gold medal and individually won the all-around silver at the Junior European Championships again.

From The Commonwealth Games to The World Championships, amongst his other achievements was a bronze at the 2012 London Olympics in the all-around competition alongside Kristian Thomas, at the North Greenwich arena.

Dan stepped up to the plate with vigour in 2015, performing for Great Britain at the World Gymnastics Championships. His superb and disciplined performances across all six events played a leading role in helping the team qualify for the Rio Olympics.

All involved parties recognise success at the highest level can’t be achieved without an excellent support strategy and a lot of personal sacrifices. Dan now has his own gymnastics club called Dan Purvis gymnastics, based in the Nac Netherton and Dunes, Southport.

Who knows – there could be another star in the making, very much in the Dan Purvis mould.