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Focus On ... Gymnastics

How gymnastics developed strong leaders during a pandemic 

Scottish Gymnastics pride themselves on a commitment to creating an accessible pathway for every facet of the athletic or coaching journey within the sport. This was even more important to the sport during the COVID-19 pandemic as everyone continued to support the people involved in sport to develop their leadership skills as best they could in the circumstances. The leadership pathway which has been created by Scottish Gymnastics is designed to help educate, develop and support those in clubs performing a leadership role, whatever stage they are on their journey.

The Leadership Academy

For the last four years, Scottish Gymnastics have delivered a 12-month leadership academy programme to gymnastics club leaders across Scotland. The programme aims to help leaders increase their confidence and competence as well as encouraging the fostering of a commitment to continuous personal and professional development. It also offers the opportunity to create relationships, learn alongside and network with others fulfilling similar roles within the sport. To date, the programme has impacted 19 different clubs across the country, producing 25 graduates.

Jennifer Noble from the Enigma Gymnastics Club was part of the first cohort and spoke highly of the experience;

“The Leadership Academy programme allowed me the opportunity to question my values. To ask why I behave in certain ways and how I interact with others." "I looked at how I support fellow volunteers to make sure our club is the best fit for the young people within the local community.”

Also included as part of the academy is opportunities for CPD and wider networking such as the #ScotGymHuddle where members are inspired by authors or leaders from across the sport or business world.

Leadership Award

In 2019, Scottish Gymnastics launched a new leadership award, accredited by Sports Leaders, which could be accessed by anyone aged 12 and above. When the pandemic hit, they adapted the course to be delivered online.

This was in response to clubs asking for support to engage and inspire young people in their club who may be at a transition phase or just eager to develop. The feedback so far has been incredibly positive with young leaders learning things about themselves that they have not been able to elsewhere. The Leadership award is continuing to grow, with 12 clubs currently involved. There is currently 148 participants registered with over 92 graduates having already completed the award.

Jacqui Stone, Scottish Gymnastics’ Business Manager said;

“It was really important for us to adapt the Leadership Award to be delivered online by our tutors during the Covid-19 pandemic. This was so our young members could have a positive focus and still connect with their gymnastics friends when not able to take part in their normal club activities.”

Rebekah Webb from Enigma Gymnastics Club in Fife who has recently completed the Leadership Award online spoke on the impact that the award has had on her development;

“One of the things I learnt from the course was to be more confident when speaking to others. When working with young children I know I need to be able to “speak up” to help them." "The award definitely helped my future, not only in the club but also the multi-sport classes for children with additional support needs that I help with as well.”

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- About Gymnastics in Scotland

- About Gymnastics on Sport First

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