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Welsh Gymnastics successfully teamed up with Cardiff Olympic to roll out Proficiency Badge sessions earlier this month – and more clubs are now invited to come forward.

The sessions were launched to help community clubs who may have had to furlough their coaches and staff due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and are therefore unable to offer any gymnastics provision or live sessions to any of their members.

The idea is that the fun virtual sessions are run by clubs’ volunteer sport leaders and supervised by a suitably qualified Welsh Gymnastics coach.

In addition Welsh Gymnastics offer to write the lesson plan, mentor the sports leader before and after the session, giving them some valuable feedback and, hopefully, developing them further for an eventual return to the gym.

Cardiff Olympic were the first club to come forward, with Welsh Gymnastics facilitating four virtual 30-40 minute sessions over zoom which enabled 30 young gymnasts to complete their various levels of proficiency badges.

Children ranging from ages 5-12 were able to take part in the progressive badge scheme, which develops strength, flexibility, coordination and body confidence.

They learn 10 skills and demonstrate their proficiency in at least 8 of the 10 before moving on to the next badge level – which starts at level 8 right through to level 1.

The sessions offered on this occasion went up to badge 4 – and were certainly well received, according to Cardiff Olympic Gymnastics coach Abbie Collett, who worked with Welsh Gymnastics in order to run the sessions.

“We decided to give it a go with our kids and it turned out to be a massive success,” said Abbie.

“The turnout was for us was really good and Welsh Gymnastics were fantastic.

“Maria did the background work and then Kathryn would join the zooms with us. For our governing body to help us in that way was fab. Both were a massive support.”

The kids loved it too…

Abbie continued: “It was obviously a slightly different experience for them, as they usually badge with their coaches in Cardiff Olympic.

“But it was exciting for them with someone else there watching them who they didn’t know – and they absolutely loved it.

“We had some children starting on their first badge, which is a massive experience for them and they were able to do that over lockdown.”

And, as a result of those Welsh Gymnastics facilitated sessions, Cardiff Olympic have now decided to take the plunge and offer their own virtual sessions.

“The response has been amazing,” added Abbie.

“We’ve already had more than 60 come forward via social media expressing an interest, including parents of those who had not even thought about gymnastics yet – and we’re managing to do that and keep children fit in this whole experience of lockdown.”

Welsh Gymnastics is now in position to extend the offer of facilitated Proficiency Badge sessions to any club, who would like to take part.

For more information or if your club is interested please, in the first instance, get in touch with your Club Development Officer.