New Training Guidelines Working Group

Anna RobertsonShaping Gymnastics

We are excited to announce the formation of the Training Guidelines Working Group. This initiative is an important step towards our commitment to enhancing participant well-being and aligning with best practices for long-term athlete development.

Working Group Overview
Our call-out to the community resulted in a large number of high-quality applications. Due to the volume and our commitment to ensuring diverse and varied representation from the gymnastics community, we couldn’t accommodate everyone into the working group.

Those selected for the Working Group represent a cross-section of our community. They encompass a range of roles including athletes, coaches, parents, administrators, judges, committee members, survivor advocates, and sports science experts. The collective knowledge and experience of this group is vast and varied, ensuring that a comprehensive perspective will be at the forefront of developing the new training guidelines.

The Training Guidelines Working Group brings a wealth of expertise, lived experience, and commitment to gymnastics and athlete well-being. Many in the group have navigated the demanding world of competitive gymnastics, experiencing both its international and national stages, giving them an intimate understanding of the sport’s challenges and nuances. Many are gymnastics leaders in their communities who understand the sport from grassroots to high performance. The inclusion of athletes, survivors, and parents adds depth to this perspective. Together, the working group is well-equipped to develop effective training guidelines for Aotearoa’s gymnastics community.

A reminder of the Working Group’s Objectives
• Review the research findings on training limits from the AUT report.
• Agree upon suitable training guidelines for young gymnasts in New Zealand.
• Identify what support clubs and coaches need to adopt the guidelines.
• Develop a draft of the new training guidelines for review by Gymnastics NZ.

Meet the Members

Aimee Didierjean
Aimee has a rich gymnastics background from the Christchurch School of Gymnastics through to STEP 10, and transitioned to a judge role at Dunedin Gymnastics Academy. Earning an NZQA scholarship for her work on “Balance is Better” within gymnastics, she now studies physiotherapy at the University of Otago. Known for her advocacy, Aimee champions athlete health, wellbeing, and a supportive training culture in New Zealand.

Anna Plourde
Anna’s global gymnastics background includes experiences in the USA, France, Australia, and New Zealand, reaching as high as the NCAA and Australian Level 10. With coaching credits in multiple countries and an emphasis on integrating sports science into training, she’s passionate about athlete well-being. She’s contributed to key Gymnastics NZ programs and holds degrees in diverse fields, adding a multi-dimensional approach to her philosophy.

Carmel Leslie
Carmel’s roles at the Dunedin Gymnastics Academy and Otago Academy of Sport reflect her profound expertise in managing training loads across sports. Her involvement in the Gymnastics NZ Steering Committee emphasizes her collaborative experience and commitment to building a better environment and culture for all gymnastics across Aotearoa. Using the Te Whare Tapa Whā model, Carmel holistically advocates and manages the well-being of athletes.

David Phillips
Starting as a recreational gymnast, David Phillips competed in events including the Commonwealth Games, World Championships, and Olympics. He later coached athletes in artistic, aerobics, and tumbling disciplines, guiding them from beginner stages to national representation. Now general manager at Tri Star Gymnastics, David effectively communicates with various stakeholders and manages key Athlete Advisory Group meetings. With over 30 years combined in coaching and administration, he’s deeply committed to athlete well-being and tailored training environments.

Eboni Ellison
Eboni offers a unique blend of a parent’s perspective and a professional’s insight as a musculoskeletal physiotherapist. Her close observation of training methods and involvement with the Bay of Plenty PNC ensure she understands the sport deeply from multiple viewpoints.

Emily Sidaway
With a decade-long track record of competing in NZ national championships, Emily is a junior advanced judge honing her coaching skills. Concurrently, she’s completing a Bachelor in Sport Coaching, specializing in sport science and performance analysis, and has been recognized for her scholarly investigation into Sport NZ’s “Balance is Better” Talent Plan. Drawing from her robust academic background and firsthand gymnastic experiences, Emily is deeply committed to enhancing New Zealand’s gymnastics training culture.

Esther Maihi
A competitive gymnast turned coach and manager, Esther holds a pivotal role at Eastern Suburbs Gymnastics Club. Balancing professional, parental, and judging roles, she emphasizes clear communication within the gymnastic community and champions athlete well-being.

Jaime Pavlicevic
Leading the Kerikeri Gymnastics Club and boasting a decade in the health sector, Jaime understands gymnastics from both the governance and health perspectives. Her unique initiatives and emphasis on participant well-being reflect her comprehensive approach.

Kathryn Holdsworth
Kathryn is the lead rhythmic coach at Olympia Gymnastic Sports in Christchurch with over 20 years of experience. A former NZ representative gymnast, she has guided athletes at both national and international levels, including the 2010 Commonwealth Games. With a strong educational background and a focus on athletes’ well-being, Kathryn believes in balancing competitive excellence with individual health and longevity in the sport.

Lucy Buick-Constable
Lucy is a dedicated figure in New Zealand’s women’s artistic gymnastics with over a decade of involvement, including nine national championships and roles as both athlete and coach. After facing personal challenges in the sport, she has become a staunch advocate for athlete well-being, promoting a “person before athlete” coaching philosophy. Currently, Lucy is pursuing a Bachelor of Health, aiming to shape a healthier sporting future in New Zealand.

Maree McCarthy
Maree’s vast experience in sports and wellness is amplified by her Master’s Degree in Sport and Exercise Science. With ties to gymnastics through family and coaching, she deeply understands the nuances of the sport.

Marina Kosenko
Marina’s involvement in rhythmic gymnastics, from being a parent to a coach and judge, gives her a well-rounded view. With advanced training and a strong belief in effective communication, she’s a valuable asset to the working group.

Nicole Palmer
With over 20 years in gymnastics, Nicole has seen it all – from athlete to coach to club manager at Franklin Gymsports. Her holistic perspective, supported by her academic and leadership credentials, emphasizes the importance of balance in training for the all-round development of athletes.