We have professional Premier League football managers and coaches who haven’t actually played the sport at the same level if at all. No doubt you’ve heard people say in the past, you don’t need to have been a supreme or winning athlete to make a good coach. The same can be said for most other areas of sport, where getting the best out of individuals is down to your own character and people skills.
So, if you’ve ever fancied becoming a gymnastics club coach, but haven’t been a gymnast – or you’re a youngster dreaming of a career in coaching, all things are possible.
The Perfect Role Model
Head National Coach for Trampoline, Tracey Whittaker-Smith, began her own journey as a teenager and hasn’t looked back. “I started as a 16-year-old helping out at school”, she said. “I really enjoyed helping someone achieve something, and from then on I was hooked. It’s a great, great career, and something to be proud of.”
For those who enjoy the idea of beginning a coaching journey but aren’t sure where to start – help is at hand. You may be a gymnastics club volunteer, still at school or already helping out at your local club. It could be, you’re not currently part of the sport at all but feel you have something special to offer.
To see what we have been up to throughout June and July, carry on reading – all the changes we have made are detailed below as well as a sneak peek at some exciting upcoming features…
New Feature: Acceptance Terms in Custom Form Fields
‘Acceptance’ is a new type of answer we have introduced for custom form fields that helps you manage the acceptance of things like privacy statements, terms and conditions, photography or medical consent.
It gives your members/customers the option to agree to your policies whilst providing a hyperlink through to the wording of them. As they do, it will create a record and a timestamp on your contact’s profile that records when they agreed to your Policies, Codes of Conduct and/or Terms and Conditions, etc.
To create an Acceptance Form field:
Step 1: Go to the ‘Admin > Forms’.
Step 2: Click on ‘Create custom fields/statements’ at the top of the list of fields to the left of your screen:
Glorious Glasgow is dancing to the beat of the magnificent 2018 multi-sport European Championships. The city is pulsating with the vibe from athletes heading from every corner of the continent to Scotland’s second city, for 10 days of sporting bliss.
The Artistic Gymnastics European Championship taking place at the Hydro Arena is an integral part of the proceedings from the 2nd – 12th August. This is causing even greater excitement amongst the athletes, as they’ll have to chance to sample an Olympic type family atmosphere on UK soil. And in many ways, this can act to spur them on to even greater achievement.
This hasn’t been lost on star gymnast 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.”
The senior gymnasts are competing for team and individual apparatus titles, with the juniors contesting the team, all-around and apparatus events. As an added bonus, The European Gymnastics Federation has given British Gymnastics the rights to film all of Britain’s rising stars across male and female events.
Scotland Leading the Way in Disabled Gymnastics
Looking at the person and not their disability is something everyone should fully grasp as being a rewarding experience. We all have thought processes, internal feelings and talents, regardless of any physical or mental hindrance. The truth is, some of the most inspiring human beings have a disability. In fact, some of the most incredible role models are disabled gymnasts. Olympic Medallist Dan Purvis, for example, would certainly agree with that, having recently been a special guest at a two-day training camp in Aberdeen.
Helping the Next Generation
The three-time British All-Round Champion spent some valuable time with young disabled athletes and coaches from all over Scotland. Training had barely got underway when he made his surprise entrance, much to the delight of everyone there.
As an ambassador for the British Gymnastics Foundation, his visit was part of the charity’s Inspirational Experiences Programme. This innovative scheme aims to transform lives through gymnastics and enhance the pull of the sport as a consequence. Disabled gymnasts work extremely hard, so the advice, shared experiences and top tips Dan provided, were like gold dust to some amazing youngsters. Naturally, he coached some parts of the session himself, which had the desired effect of encouraging his charges even more.
Dan said: “When I was a kid I had quite a few gymnastics role models like Alexei Nemov and Kanukai Jackson, and I remember watching the Olympics and Manchester Commonwealth Games and being so inspired to dream big. Being at the disability gymnastics training camp today, I got such a warm welcome and so many of the gymnasts told me that I inspire them. That really is a great feeling and it fills me with pride to be doing my bit to inspire others in our sport.”
Wirral born Bobby Crutchley has made the switch from Men’s Hockey Head Coach at Great Britain to Performance Coach Developer at British Gymnastics.
There were certainly a few eyebrows raised when he resigned his post at Bisham Abbey with little more than two years to go before Tokyo 2020. But the lure of a new challenge will certainly be to the benefit of our top-class gymnasts with the next Olympics in mind.
Moving from one sport to another may seem a brave move to many. It’s true to say, however, a wealth of experience in team-building, managing athletes and helping individuals to reach their peak can help in any area of sport. Well versed in preparing athletes for highly pressurised sporting environments is what he does best of course.
A Glittering Career
In an illustrious playing career, Bobby won 80 caps for England and Great Britain in the 90’s, before becoming a coach at Bath University.
Symposium to The Future
Talk to most coaches in the field of gymnastics and you won’t find many who don’t wish to develop their skills further. Clubs right across Britain have coaches they are proud to be associated with, but just like the gymnasts themselves, they need to keep on improving their game. Experience is important of course, but in the real sense – who can ‘coach the coach’?
British Gymnastics Leads the Way
Well, this is where British Gymnastics comes in with a series of specially designed symposiums offering both learning and opportunity at every turn. They’ve covered all aspects of modern day gymnastics coaching, with the clear aim of improving the vision, insight and talent of trainers from every level of the sport. In essence, 2018-2019 looks to be the best season yet in terms of bringing coaches to a whole new level.
Every single coach looking to develop themselves will be assisted through a series of weekend workshops held at the impressive Lilleshall complex offering opportunities for progression like never before. As well as facilitating networking on a superb scale, the symposia will also bring a range of industry experts to the table.
The group will also include some high-performance coaches so everyone can get a feel of what it’s like to prepare charges at the very apex of competition. You know what they say: ‘The best way to achieve success is by copying what other successful people do’.
So, with all this mind, the people at British Gymnastics have formulated an impressive structure for both young and older alike. The brief is simple enough – ‘to maximise learning and opportunity within all clubs’. This, in turn, may well produce some of the future’s top coaches. But it also carries a bottom line in the fact everyone will benefit in the long run.
No-one could have envisaged just how key a now historic meeting on the 21st June 1888 would become for gymnastics here in the UK. That carefully planned inaugural meeting of the British Amateur Gymnastics Association would be the catalyst for long-term growth spanning across generation after generation.
And now, in 2018, we see gymnastics clubs flourishing more than ever. Something our gymnastics club software is proud to support.
Building the Future
The aims were very clear in those early days as gymnastics was slowly beginning to gain popularity thanks to the brainchild of Germany’s Friedrich Ludwig Jahn who used the discipline to improve the health and fitness of the country’s soldiers. Here, the Army Physical Training Core took up the mantle, and the rest, as they say, is history.
But, there seemed to be a growing concern over the upholding of certain standards, the certification of coaches and the development of competitions. Britain was starting to lead the way, and so a call went out to all those interested. As the years went by the sport seemed to be dominated by not just Britain and Germany, but Sweden as well. The latter two would combine in terms of creating a gymnastics model for the future.
Thousands of people across the UK take enormous pride in the work and running of their own gymnastics club. You wouldn’t expect anything else of course, given that magical sense of togetherness and belonging.
A fantastic amount of work goes into the running of a gymnastics club from administrators, volunteers, coaches and gymnasts. The good news is each and every one of those organisations can be universally acknowledged, as having the right environment in which all those involved can prosper in both comfortable surroundings and complete safety.
And it’s a fact, so much more can be achieved when all those involved are pulling in the same direction.
Both large and small clubs can currently accredit to the very popular ClubMark scheme under the umbrella of British Gymnastics. And it’s reassuring to know, the sports’ major body in Britain is continuing to work with Sport England into the foreseeable future, in order to forge a solid batch of recognised clubs.
Britain’s New Head Coach
He has a big mantle to carry but Paul Hall MBE can shine as brightly as the sun itself in his new role as British Gymnastics Men’s Head National Coach. If that famous old rugby union commentator Bill McLaren had been passing judgement, he’d have surely said: “They’ll be dancing on the streets of Huntingdon tonight.” For Paul has been a leading light at the town’s excellent Gymnastics Club since 2003. He has lectured for the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) across the globe and was awarded an MBE for services to the sport six years ago. He is in essence, a highly respected and regarded gymnastics figure with the feel of the sport very much at his heart.
The Driving Force Within
This likeable man will be practising what he’s preached over the years, having guided Louis Smith MBE to Olympic medal success at Beijing 2008, London 2012 and then Rio four years later.
But it doesn’t end there as his expertise steered Daniel Keatings to a historic world all-around Silver in 2009. In fact, his CV reads like a successful novel, with great reading at every page turn. Two Olympic Games, eight European and five World Championships, and a host of much smaller but telling achievements.
You see, Paul Hall isn’t just about medal winners – he’s also about grassroots and those club members who simply enjoy keeping themselves fit and healthy. This is why he is, without doubt, the right and inspiring choice moving forward.
British Gymnastics is changing in a positive fashion, and given the increasing profile of the sport, any head coach needs to be dynamic and understanding in their approach. You don’t have to win an Olympic medal to furnish a personal success of course. Mind you, men’s gymnastics teams around the world will have been making a note of the competition as Tokyo gets ever nearer.
Imagine working in a job that really doesn’t feel like a job at all – a real labour of love allowing you to make a huge difference to people’s lives. And, we all know, of course, how doing something we love feels. Transform this into making a living and it takes on a whole new meaning.
The good news is, for anyone looking for a career in gymnastics, applications are now open for the visionary 2018/19 British Gymnastics Apprenticeship Programme.
Even if you have no desire to be a coach, clubs up and down the land are looking for versatile managers and support staff.
The programme is looking for motivated individuals willing to learn all aspects of the gymnastics infrastructure. All the while, developing high-quality coaching and club operations. Those chosen will get first class ongoing support. And the goal, of course, is a full-time career in sport, the chance to meet some fascinating people and to enjoy the rewards of being in such a stimulating environment.
There’s much more to any gymnastics club than the coaching and work-out side of things as any manager will tell you. A number of club operations are necessary to keep things moving efficiently, and it’s very true to say every role is an important one.