Since I was 7 years old I have been part of the same gymnastics club. When I was about 13 years old I decided I wanted to help out at the gym to help pay back some of the time that had been spent on coaching me so I began to volunteer helping out in the recreational classes for 3 hours each Saturday morning and I joined the club’s leadership academy. I enjoyed doing this and helping other children achieve in gymnastics through passing their badges and developing their basic skills. I enjoyed seeing the younger children having fun and achieving.
After doing this for a couple of years, I began to assist a more advanced coach and helped out with the young squad gymnasts who were working towards regional grades 5 and 6 which meant I learnt more about how to support skills. I enjoyed working with these children as I had completed these grades myself and I wanted to help them develop and have the same opportunity as I had when I as their age. By doing this class it inspired me to take my level 1 qualification.
After gaining this qualification I now coach on Friday evenings between 5 and 8:30 assisting the head coach and helping coach the regional squad gymnasts at different levels. I help them with their conditioning and stretching and their skills on the apparatus. For the last hour on a Friday Ii have been running an adults gym fit class for the parents. I use the pack provided by British gymnastics to help me run the class. In this class we do basic conditioning exercises and some stamina exercises. I enjoy this as it’s something different to coaching the younger gymnasts.
Since I took my level 1 I feel as though my confidence in the gym whilst coaching has increased as I feel like I understand what I need to do more and I also feel more confident supporting the children when they need it.
My aspiration is to take my level 2 qualification in the future and continue to help out at the gym. I hope to do this so I can give other children the opportunity that I had. The mentor support which I receive is very good. Once a week me and the other young leaders in the leadership academy work alongside a mentor and she assists us with anything we are unsure of and helps us to plan and work our sessions well. We also have leadership academy days where we plan sessions and all work together to think of new ideas we can use to make our classes even better.
Case study provided by West Yorkshire Sport