British Gymnastics Inclusion Conference

Heralding a New Era of Sporting Inclusion

British Gymnastics Inclusion Conference

Support and encouragement was the order of both days as The British Gymnastics Inclusion Conference sought to inspire club coaches and managers from across the UK. The conference on February 18th and 19th was available to anyone delivering gymnastics in a British Gymnastics recognised environment. And it was fitting the host should be the all-important Lilleshall National Sports Centre, the beating heart of the nation’s sporting body. It also demonstrated just how important a role everyone plays in the world of gymnastics, right down to those hard-working club volunteers, who do their best to help others.

Presenting the Aims

The conference was predominantly aimed at how owners and associated staff could adapt their coaching, marketing and communication to become more inclusive. The world is quickly changing and there’s no excuse for any form of bias or discrimination in life generally or in any of the sporting parameters. Focus was placed on delivering activity to participants with disabilities, and how to further engage women and girls. The topic drew nearly 40 coaches from leisure centres, clubs and official delivery partner sites. Nothing stands still in life, and this includes both the structure and implementation of sporting services for individuals of all ages.

Workshops Leading the Way

This popular event included a number of important workshops delivered by vital organisations including UK Deaf Sport, Sense and Women in Sport, the English Federation of Disability Sport, Dwarf Sports Association, British Blind Sport and many others. The expertise and advice demonstrated were of the highest quality, engaging people from various backgrounds in an atmosphere of warmth and hospitality.

How to Manage Your ‘Ego’

Article by Nick Ruddock - resident Coaching Expert


Ego – ‘a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance.’

Competitive sport can brew the perfect storm for coaches and their ego’s. The truth of the matter is, we ALL have an ego. We wouldn’t be much good in competitive sport without one. But what is important is that we keep it ‘in check.’

We must remember that as coaches, our priority is to serve the needs of the athlete before addressing our own. Leading by example also sends a powerful message to those who we work with. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen athletes adopt the same characteristics and belief systems as their coach, and that isn’t a good thing if those beliefs are not conducive to both performance, and more importantly, the skills and characteristics the athlete will require once they step outside of the sport into the ‘real world.’

Being driven by ego is one such behaviour.

To be entirely transparent, let me be the first to point out that I have demonstrated most of the behaviours listed below at some stage in my career and some others too.

At times of weakness, I still do.

I can admit it, and I’m aware of it. That’s why I’m a great person to write this post.

I believe that having awareness of our ego’s and how it can drive our behaviours and decisions is a very important part of high-performance coaching, but unfortunately, many coaches never take the time to understand and manage theirs, resulting in an entire career of mistakes, poor relationships or lack of fulfilment from their craft. It could also lead to sending the wrong signals out to those around you.

If it is a necessity to satisfy your ego in order to be happy, then you will never be happy. There is always something to threaten an ego.

So here is a non-exhaustive list of coaching scenarios where ego may be evident and driving decision making, many of which are listed from personal experience. How many can you resonate with?

Complying with The Code

Gymnastics flying the flag for modern sports governance

sport england

There have been a number of sad episodes in the world of sport in recent months. This is perhaps symptomatic of the modern high-pressure world we live in, where winning results are often demanded on tap, and coaches are given little time to make an impact.

It’s reassuring then, to see British Gymnastics, one of 55 of the 58 national bodies, now fully compliant with a world-leading Code for Sports Governance. All of this followed the most wide-ranging set of sports governance reforms implemented anywhere in the world.

The move also includes a number of key aims including commitments to greater diversity, with boards employing at least 30 percent of each gender. With leadership in mind, a quarter of boards must also be made up of independent members. There should be greater transparency, so participants and fans can better understand the decision-making of their leaders. Tighter term limits need to be introduced for board and council members, to facilitate a regular freshening up of ideas and expertise, with establishing boards as the ultimate decision-making authority within a sport away from traditional councils.

In fact, a set of 58 mandatory requirements has been created for the governance of the sport across five themes. Those of structure, people, communication, integrity and policy.

Stepping Up to a Dream

Two of the UK's gymnastics stars in the making

gymnastics club manager

Late January saw the British Gymnastics Men’s Senior Squad meet up at Lilleshall National Sports Centre for their first training camp of the year. It’s always a happy occasion with new faces adding to the spectacle. We all know what it can be like moving from junior to senior school, and for those making such a leap on the gymnastics scale, it can understandably be a little unnerving. In the case of Joshua Nathan from the City of Birmingham club, and Joe Cemlyn-Jones from the Falcons Academy it was a seamless if not inspiring transition. Just as hard working as our Gymnastics Club Manager software, both youngsters are well used to training twice each day.

Becoming A Senior

The seniors, of course, are all professional athletes in terms of application and training. It comes as little surprise then to see both disciplines merging without too many problems as Joshua explained: “It’s been really good training with the other big guys, it’s really inspirational training with them, looking up to them, training alongside them. I’ve seen them from such a young age and it’s nice to finally be a part of that team and part of that atmosphere in the gym.”

Product Update – January 2018

Product Update

Well… What a month it’s been! We don’t know about you, but January always seems a particularly tough month to get through. Maybe it’s the bad weather we had, or maybe it’s the post-Christmas blues. Either way, it’s over now, and to kick us on into February we have our latest Product Update for you! Lucky, aren’t you?

Let’s jump straight in . . .

Improved Feature: Transaction Reports

What’s New…

We have given the Transaction Reports a complete overhaul in this Product Update to make them more granular and transparent.

When you go to Payment Reports > View Reports > View transaction reports, you will now see a new report from the 1st January 2018.

New features include:

  • The inclusion of PayOut ID so you can reconcile the transaction report to your bank statement.
  • The option to search for transaction ID.
  • The option to switch between a consolidated and itemised view.
  • VAT breakdown in the transaction fees.
  • A separate line entry for refunds.
  • A separate line entry for GoCardless chargebacks.
  • The ability to filter on PayPal or GoCardless payments.
  • The ability to filter on credits, refunds or chargebacks.
  • Improved table navigation.
  • The ability to apply advanced filtering options on the column headings.

Please note: This is in BETA mode, so any feedback is welcome.

Why it’s Better…

There are several reasons why the new report is better, as follows:

  1. PayOut ID: When GoCardless deposits funds in your organisation’s bank account, the amount is calculated by aggregating all payments due to be paid out that day. Funds are transferred under the reference of the PayOut ID (this is the number that appears on your bank statement). To help you reconcile the deposits on your bank statement to the transaction report in the system, we’ve added the field ‘PayOut ID’ in the transaction report, so now you have a clear audit from a single transaction to the aggregated deposit in your bank account.

To do the reconciliation, download your bank statement to a spreadsheet and export the transaction report from the system. Copy and paste the data from your exported file, ensuring the PayOut ID is aligned to the PayOut column in your bank statement.  Apply a filter to the spreadsheet and then sort A-Z on the PayOut ID column. Highlight that column, and if you’re using Excel, use the ‘Highlight Duplicate Data’ tool which will identify if there are any single PayOut ID’s. We’re confident there won’t be, but if there are, you now have the information to investigate.

2018 Commonwealth Games: Gymnastics Shining On the Gold Coast

Commonwealth Games


The gold coast of Australia will glisten even more brightly when more than 6,600 athletes and team officials from 70 nations and territories come together in sporting and cultural celebration. Much to our excitement, gymnastics will play a prominent part in the 2018 Commonwealth games from the 4th to the 15th of April.

Greatest Commonwealth Games Ever

The 21st Games of the Commonwealth will include a staggering 275 events across 18 sports, with able-bodied and para competitions running in unison. GC2018 will deliver an inclusive Games involving the largest integrated Para-Sport program in Commonwealth Games history. What’s more, there will also be an equal number of men’s and women’s events across all sports in glorious Queensland. More than 15,000 willing volunteers will help proceedings go with a swing, in what will certainly be the best Games ever.

Great for Gymnastics

With gymnastics in mind, the British format will change of course, as England, Gibraltar, Guernsey, The Isle of Man, Jersey, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales all involve their individual teams. And in many ways, this makes the competition and rivalry even more exciting. Those superb disciplines of artistic and rhythmic gymnastics will form a key part of this wonderful sporting event, broadcast to a cumulative global audience of 1.5 billion.

Katie Bowie-Hallam: The Pride of Pembrokeshire

A gem in the Welsh Disability Gymnastics Crown

Gymnastics Club Manager

Katie Bowie-Hallam has a very bright future ahead of her. Not just because her academic studies are going well, and not just because she’s an excellent role model for those around her, but because she has recently become the youngest Platinum Young Ambassador with Sport Pembrokeshire. When you consider the 17-year-old is also playing a leading role in coaching the Welsh Disability Squad, it becomes clear this is indeed a very special individual.

Supporting Disability Gymnastics

One of the main reasons for this is her selfless approach to disability gymnastics and the fantastic support given to her sister Jemma, one of the best-known gymnasts at the Pembrokeshire Special Needs’ Club. Katie has been involved from being a very small girl, so she knows a great deal about the efforts made by disabled gymnasts to reach the top of their game.

At the still tender age of 12, Jemma was offered the opportunity of joining the Welsh Special Needs Squad but still needed a personal coach to go with her. Cue Katie, who quickly underwent a whole-day course in Llanelli, learning how to care for and support a disabled gymnast. There were, of course, many more topics involved in such a short space of time, but Katie passed the test impressively enough to be able to accept her new challenge with positivity and vigour.

Two of a Kind: Gymnastics Greats Honoured in 2018

Gymnastics Club Manager


We can all name at least one person who people recognise as an inspirational figure to many of those around them. It could be a teacher, serviceman, or a neighbour. In the world of gymnastics at every level, there are countless individuals who have brought the very best out of their charges, earning great respect and plaudits along the way. These unsung heroes are seldom forgotten. In fact, they can teach us more about ourselves, and how we can use their example to help others.

Deserved Recognition

Founder Chairman of the British Gymnastics Charitable Foundation, Ray Phillips and female Chair in the Commonwealth Games Federation’s European group, Helen Phillips, are two leading examples. So much so, Ray has been awarded a Medal of the Order of the British Empire, with Helen awarded an MBE in recognition of their services to the sport. And though both will modestly accept their accolades, in terms of gymnastics, this wonderful recognition is completely respected and deserved.

GymFusion – The Gymnastics Extravaganza for All

Bringing Generations Together



Everyone enjoys a little sporting drama as athletes battle it out at the highest level. It doesn’t matter whether it’s football, snooker or gymnastics, we can all be gripped, hanging on to each move as if we were making it ourselves. We’ve all thought at one time or another, ‘I’d like to have a go at that,’ but would feel self-conscious around others’. In fact, there are thousands of people enjoying sport simply for the fun of things away from any form of competition. Well, enter GymFusion, a concept taking gymnasts of all abilities and ages to work in unison.

The Focus is On Fun With A Theme

GymFusion is largely a show-style festival carrying the universal ethos of ‘gymnastics for all’, also bringing together friends and families. It involves carefully orchestrated themed performances showcasing individual skills and talents, in a non-competitive environment. This fascinating combination is probably the main reason why the event has been wowing crowds for more than six years now.

Case Study: Witham Hill Gymnastics Club

A Success Story!

Membership Management Software

Founded by Alisa Saunders and her husband ten years ago, Witham Hill Gymnastics Club in Lincoln has more than 800 members and some 600 on its waiting list.

Gymnastics is already a popular sport, but Alisa attributes its increased attraction to the Olympic and Commonwealth Games of recent years. What the games (and specifically artistic gymnast and silver medallist Louis Smith and triple world champion Beth Tweddle) did was provide a greater awareness and appreciation of the sport, especially for those outside the gymnastic sphere.

Alisa’s club has gone from strength to strength since its humble beginnings in 2007. At first, Witham Hill Gymnastics Club was involved with other clubs and started with only 70 children. It then moved to a leisure centre, needing to move yet again to its present venue some years later due to increased membership – the club now employs 20 paid coaches and 15 volunteers.