Gym for All (GFA – otherwise known as recreational gymnastics) programmes are at the very heart of every gym club. They are usually when most children get their first taste of our sports and can be what captures their enjoyment and keeps them in a sport, or what turns them off and sends them in the direction of another sport.
However vital this area is, it doesn’t usually get the attention it deserves, in terms of training of coaches, updating of programmes and general focus nationally, regionally and locally – it’s our silent majority. It would be fair to say that many clubs could put their hands up to confess that they haven’t really looked at, or changed, their GFA programmes for a long time.
It’s easy to put focus on competitive programmes, as this is where results are more visible and can be measured through success. However, a closer look at a club’s retention statistics will give a clear picture of how interesting and engaging it’s GFA programmes are.
The GFA Symposium, held in Auckland in mid-October, was designed to put the spotlight onto recreational gymnastics to help clubs discover new ideas to help revive and refresh their programmes and upskill their coaches, old and new. Over 100 coaches from all over the country attended and it was wonderful to see all levels of coaches ranging from XTND Youth Leaders through to those with many years of experience under their belt. The networking and idea sharing alone made it worthwhile but the workshops were what really got people buzzing.
Clubs in the Midlands are excellent at supporting new initiatives, and this was no different. 44 coaches from 18 Midlands clubs attended and others were involved in leading the workshops.
“I really enjoyed it, it was the first time I had done a course like it; really cool to catch up with other clubs and share ideas. I enjoyed all the sessions, even ‘Old Dogs Can Learn New Tricks’. I’m already using some of the ideas back in the gym and putting some into action for next year.” – Jo Squires, MIGS
“Loved it, a great opportunity to get new skills and do some networking. Perfect timing with displays coming up and planning for next year. We now have plans in place to do a tumbling class for next year and are working on plans for a ‘team gym’ group performance group.” – Jody Le Bas, Gymnastica
“It was good fun. Presenters were really good. Opportunity to talk to other people about their gym clubs was really valuable. Great to get some music ideas for warm-ups” – Tracey, Piako
We look forward to seeing the ideas being implemented in clubs across the region over the next few terms and hearing feedback on how the ideas and changes are being received.
In order to capture some of the momentum and enthusiasm gathered over the weekend, and to ensure that Gym for All continues to get the focus it
needs, a national Gym for All steering group is being set up to bring together a range of people to look at the best ways to help continue to grow and develop this area of gym sports.
If you missed the Symposium and would like to know more about what was covered, please contact your Relationship Manager.