Gymnastics in Scotland is stronger than ever before. After a challenging period, 2014 was a turning point. It was one of the most successful years in the sport’s history when Team Scotland gymnasts did their country proud. Then, in 2015, the World Championships were also held in Glasgow. We explore how Scottish gymnastics capitalised on two bounce effects to make great strides at grassroots level.
After a challenging couple of years, seeing Scottish gymnasts claim five medals at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games was a sweet moment in Scottish sport. The medal haul included the first gold medals since 2002, when Steve Frew won gold on rings at the Manchester Commonwealth Games. And then, when Glasgow hosted the World Gymnastics Championships in 2015, Team GB men’s artistic gymnasts – which included Scotland’s Dan Purvis, made history when they claimed a silver medal.
Inspiring a new generation
The performances of Team Scotland’s gymnasts in 2014 and the success of the Team GB team at the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow certainly inspired a new generation of gymnastics fans and participants.
Scottish Gymnastics has already seen evidence of this. Membership rose seven percent during 2014/15 to 17,805 members and Scottish Gymnastics’ newly launched online club finder had more than 9,000 visits in the first nine months following the Games.
A new chief and a new vision
A new Chief Executive took to the helm of Scottish Gymnastics back in October 2014 and joined the team in building upon the feel-good factor surrounding the sport. Euan Lowe, who joined from sportscotland, brought with him a new organisational direction and renewed vigour.
He said: “My first few months were exciting and challenging in equal measure. I joined on the back of a successful Commonwealth Games, and a year before the World Championships on home soil. Both events were a great advert for our sport. “Membership continues to grow year on year and our sport is in an extremely strong place. I have been working with our staff, clubs and volunteers in implementing our new organisational strategy as we strive to develop our sport further.”
Dealing with increased demand
As part of the expected Commonwealth Games bounce, Scottish Gymnastics surveyed their clubs in advance to understand their requirement to deal with an increased demand. The results of the club survey influenced the programmes provided by both the development and education teams.
Supporting club leaders and managers
Scottish Gymnastics strived to enhance club development, and in 2014 they held their first ever Club Managers’ Course. This course is designed to support and develop club leaders and managers of those clubs who are, or have aspirations to develop their professionalism. The Club Managers’ Course was the first of its kind to be run in the UK for gymnastics. Following the success of this course Scottish Gymnastics has embarked on a nationwide programme of club leadership and development opportunities.
Building a legacy
The governing body’s Education and Development teams also worked closely with the key partners of the World Gymnastics Championships and launched a number of new coaching and participation initiatives to maximise the legacy of the event which was held in Scotland.
125 years young
In the same year they welcomed the world’s best gymnasts to the country, Scottish Gymnastics celebrated their 125th anniversary. Excited about the future, they implemented a new organisational strategy and vision in the same year. The new strategy focuses on promoting world class at all levels of the sport, across all gymnastics disciplines.
The 12-year strategy takes a longer-term view, acknowledging more has to be done to ensure home grown Scottish gymnasts can excel on a world stage. The strategy has four key pillars – clubs, gymnasts, people and corporate. And the new vision is clear and simple – a strong Scottish Gymnastics inspiring, and nurturing emerging talent.
After a very memorable and successful couple of years, we look forward to watching gymnastics in Scotland go from strength to strength.
For more information on Scottish Gymnastics visit their website.
To find your nearest gymnastics club, use the club locator.