Freestyle Gymnastics for aged 14-18

02 Jul 2014 Posted by: Guest blogger

Stars Gymnastics Clubs and Stars Coaching Services offer classes in Leisure Centres and schools across Sussex, Surrey, London and Kent (more areas soon).

British Gymnastics has acknowledged a decline in the number of teenage males who are involved in gymnastics within the UK. Freestyle Gymnastics engages young people, particularly males, in gymnastics-related movement. It is encouraging creativity, and setting and reaching goals, which in a culture where young people struggle to acknowledge their potential (e.g. high percentage of youth unemployment) is important. 

The aim of the project was to attract more young people in to the sport and retain them, particularly in the rural villages of Horsham. 

The club have had huge success through the purchase of new freestyle equipment and has been able to train more coaches through the BG Freestyle course. The courses have had a huge impact on coach confidence and ability to deliver effectively in this discipline. The current freestyle session delivered at the club was nearly at capacity showing there was a demand for the sport. However the club had a lack of equipment to provide further provision for new young people to try and get involved, so by running a sportivate session will allow the club to offer more opportunities, especially to the harder to reach community and also increase promotion through this national legacy campaign.

Project Objectives 

  • Retain 33 teenagers in Freestyle Gymnastics 
  • Establish new Freestyle sessions at club 
  • Improve School-club links 
  • Increase number of coaches trained 

Summary of Success 

  • Engagement of 50 Teenagers both male and female 
  • Retained 40 teenagers into the sport 
  • Improved Coach confidence to deliver 

What happened and how the project was delivered?

Through support of the BG Club Development Coordinator, Stars Gymnastics Club successfully applied for and received funding from Active Sussex which enabled them to start delivering Freestyle Gymnastics across 3 venues in 3 blocks (1 in each leisure centre). A block would consist of 10 1hr sessions in which participants will learn the basics of Freestyle Gymnastics. 

The 10 week block included 2 week taster sessions, 6 weeks of 'sportivate activity' and 2 weeks of interaction into the club environment. Sessions were delivered by qualified coaches. Sessions were aimed at semi-sporty young people, in particular those with little or no experience in Freestyle Gymnastics so the basics were taught first with advanced skills being slowly integrated into sessions.

A level 1 assistant coach applied to the Sussex Coaching bursary to up skill to a Level 2 and support the project ensuring they could cater for increased capacity and sustain. 

Impact & Outcomes 

  • Engaged 50 Teenagers both male and female 
  • 40 new participants engaged in freestyle Gymnastics 
  • Improved coach confidence to deliver Freestyle Gymnastics 
  • Increased number of coaches trained to deliver 
  • Increased amount of equipment improved quality of delivery

Why did the project work? Key success factors?

  • Better links formed with local secondary schools
  • Strong marketing and promotion campaign in schools and youth centres, local businesses and through papers
  • Partner working between CSP, Local club and NGB
  • Accessible coaching courses
  • Freestyle equipment accessible

Key Partners:

  • Stars Gymnastics Club
  • Active Sussex
  • British Gymnastics
  • Steyning, Henfield & Storrington Leisure Centres

What is your advice to organisations wishing to run similar projects? What key things can clubs implement (and avoid) to achieve success?  

The project was part of the Sussex Sportivate Legacy fund supporting NGB to work with Local clubs delivering sessions specifically off the back of the Olympic & Paralympic enthusiasm.

The Sportivate funding allowed the purchase of new pieces of freestyle equipment and by putting coaches on the BG Freestyle course has had a huge impact on coach confidence and ability to deliver effectively in this discipline.

Challenges were getting the equipment delivered in time, as suppliers were few and far between for this kit, but with support of a Sportivate advancement loan it was made it possible.

Future Developments 

Sportivate is just the beginning and once the Sportivate funding programme has finished we will look to run sessions as an exit route. The gymnasts will be expected to pay a weekly fee (£5 per session) for their classes, unless further funding is secured and/or the gymnast needs a charitable financial donation towards their attendance. We believe these sessions have long term potential and can be sustained. The charity fund will cater for participants who are usually unable to afford sports coaching and will help sustain the participants into the exit route that may need support in paying their membership fee to British Gymnastics.

More information Stars Gymnastics

This entry was posted in Parenting Advice, Things to do and tagged Teenagers, gymnastics, star gym club .

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