British Gymnastics Olympics Tokyo 2020

“We Are Fully Determined To Make Gymnastics As Accessible A Sport As Possible.”

By Community | August 3, 2021

Gemma Barton, Head of Participation at British Gymnastics, explains how the organisation’s recently launched participation programme ‘Rise Gymnastics’ can follow up the success of the Olympic Games and give new life to the sport in the UK.

I’m absolutely delighted to announce our brand new participation programme, Rise Gymnastics. It’s been a long time in the making (not helped by the pandemic!) and as the world looks to Tokyo, it feels like the perfect time to inspire the next generation of gymnasts.

With Rise Gymnastics, we wanted to provide our member clubs and delivery partners with the most inclusive, most interactive, and most fun programme we’ve ever had. The best way to do that? To work with our community directly to create something that everyone can connect with and make their own.

“The new programme is hugely innovative and will transform the way recreational gymnastics is delivered across the UK.”

As Head of Participation at British Gymnastics, I am extremely excited about what Rise Gymnastics will mean for the future of our sport – the new programme is hugely innovative and will transform the way recreational gymnastics is delivered across the UK. 

A community-centric approach is so powerful in sport; when you’re working with people who are passionate about what sport and activity can do, especially for young people, it makes every sense to put this community at the forefront of your development stage. 

We wanted to design a participation programme in Rise Gymnastics that was entirely collaborative, so we worked closely with clubs and delivery partners and in conjunction with the four home nations. The end result – a programme that prioritises the fun of the sport, providing an explorative environment where young gymnasts can express themselves to the full, facilitated by an accessible and frictionless digital platform.

One of the most exciting aspects to this new programme is the digital element, Rise Hub. This means coaches and teachers can plan and track their gymnasts’ progress in a more accessible way. We also wanted to ensure that parents and carers were taken on that journey too – and thanks to Rise Hub, we now have the capability to provide accessible, personalised updates on their child’s achievements and development. 

“As young people have been watching the likes of Max Whitlock MBE and Jennifer and Jessica Gadirova taking centre stage in Tokyo, we hope they will have been inspired to jump, forward roll or cartwheel into gymnastics.”

So as young people have been watching the likes of Max Whitlock MBE and Jennifer and Jessica Gadirova taking centre stage in Tokyo, we hope they will have been inspired to jump, forward roll or cartwheel into gymnastics. Our fantastic GB gymnasts will undoubtably inspire many, so let’s champion creativity, to be yourself and give young people the tools to experiment and explore gymnastics in whatever way they want. 

Using the feedback and input of the community, we have created something that will give gymnasts the opportunity to experience a progressive and positive holistic journey in the sport. We are proud of what we have achieved together and cannot wait for gymnasts, clubs and delivery partners to experience Rise Gymnastics for the first time. 

Not only did we work with clubs and coaches throughout, but the programme itself carries this collaborative ethos forward – every child can shape their own experience with their coach and engage with Rise Gymnastics in a completely unique way.  

Every gymnast goes on their own journey when participating in the sport, and we wanted to reflect this by ensuring the programme was highly individualised, where each gymnast is able to learn and develop in their own way, with enjoyment at the heart of their experience. 

Recreational participation is especially important as gymnastics is a foundation sport, providing a fantastic base for discovery and development in young people. It builds skills for life, supporting cognitive development, resilience, strength, co-ordination, teamwork and leadership. 

Our sport will be an essential part of developing a more active society over the next decade, and Rise Gymnastics will enable gymnasts to experience an immersive, creative and exciting programme, achieving amazing results at their own pace whilst building these key foundation skills. 

“We are fully determined to make gymnastics as accessible a sport as possible.”

We are fully determined to make gymnastics as accessible a sport as possible. With this goal in mind, we wanted Rise Gymnastics to be extremely adaptable, with gymnasts and coaches free to be as creative as they like with how they implement it. 

Whether clubs and partners follow the program to the full, or add elements to their own existing session plans, we can’t wait to see the injection of creativity that will bring Rise Gymnastics to life. 

The programme is available to all British Gymnastics member clubs and partners and is fully adaptable to different delivery environments, meaning there is no need for deliverers to invest in new equipment. As well as being used in any setting the programme can be easily tailored for all abilities too.

Above all, we are so excited about this innovative new approach and cannot wait to see it enjoyed widely by young gymnasts across the UK. It is our ambition that Rise Gymnastics will give every gymnast the opportunity to shine.

The programme will be available to British Gymnastics member clubs and partners from September 2021. To find out more, visit www.british-gymnastics.org/rise-runway.

Gemma Barton, Head of Participation, British Gymnastics

British Gymnastics Olympics Tokyo 2020