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Welsh Gymnastics’ Proficiency Badge sessions have proved a popular summer addition for Covid-hit gymnastics clubs – with Maldwyn Dragons the latest to take advantage.

The sessions were launched back in June as a way of helping community clubs, who may have had to furlough their coaches and staff due to the pandemic, to stay engaged with 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.

And, following on from the success of Cardiff Olympic, Powys club Maldwyn Dragons decided to take the plunge. It was a real step into the unknown for the Newtown-based Dragons, having never previously run any badge scheme sessions themselves.

But, guided by qualified Welsh Gymnastics staff, the club were able to offer online zoom sessions at badge levels 8 and 7 to a number of their young members all under the age of 10 – and all of who passed with flying colours!

The four sessions were delivered by the club’s sport leader Rosie Rees, who was mentored and supported by WG staff members Claire Bryant, Maria Gaynor, Kathryn Cope and Holly Broad.

“Rosie really enjoyed delivering the sessions; it was a great confidence boost for her,” said Maldwyn Dragons head coach Julia Rees.

“Welsh Gymnastics staff were very supportive all the way through.

“The online sessions were very new to us and the internet connection in Mid Wales is not always stable and can be tricky but, luckily, the four sessions we did went without any interruption!

“All of the gymnasts and parents really enjoyed the experience and the club had also great feedback and thanks from the parents for the sessions.”

The badge scheme is designed to develop strength, flexibility, coordination and body confidence.

Participants 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 with the opportunity to eventually be able to progress right through to level 1.

Welsh Gymnastics staff member Maria Gaynor added: “Rosie worked extremely hard and, although nervous, did a really good job and took all of the feedback and guidance on board really well.”

As a result, the club now plan to continue offering zoom badge sessions to their members as they prepare to re-open their doors in September.

Meanwhile Welsh Gymnastics continues 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.