Arklow Gymnastics Club wins “Club Innovation Award” at the 2018 JLT Gymnastics Ireland National Awards on Saturday the 17th of November. The award ceremony was a lavish affair in the Radisson Blu Hotel on Golden Lane in Dublin where Gymnastics Ireland congratulated the gymnasts and clubs in Ireland on their accomplishment and achievement including Rhys McClenaghan on his European and Commonwealth Gold medals. Gymnastics Ireland are also celebrating being named 2018 governing body of the year in the Irish Sports Industry Awards.
Arklow won their award for their new innovated online based “Tiers System” that structures classes and gymnast progress in an open and transparent way with equal access to both gymnasts and parents.
Arklow Gymnastics Club competes mainly in the Acrobatic Gymnastics discipline, this involves pairs, trios and groups, building lifts and elements together. Acrobatic Gymnastics takes a lot of discipline, similar level of skills for all partners and trust in each other.
In previous years they had a mixture of Acrobatic level classes. These included General, Development, Minor, Intermediate, Senior and High Performance. What they were aiming for was a structure which would allow for a logical, skill based flow to the gymnasts lifecycle, that would be transparent to the gymnast and the parent/guardian.
The new tier system is based on the skills needed at each competitive level in Acrobatic Gymnastics as per the Gymnastics Ireland National Development Plan (NDP) V9. This is the document that dictates what gymnasts going into competition must perform and what they are judged on.
All gymnasts started at Tier 5, which is the entry level at the moment in Arklow Gymnastics Club, regardless of their experience, to give everyone including new gymnasts a fair and clean starting point. The more experienced gymnasts in the club quickly rose to Tiers 2 and 3. Tier 3 is national competition ready with Tier 2 and Tier 1 are preparation levels for competing for a spot on the Irish National squads.
This system will improve the performances of the gymnasts as they will have the skills defined in the National Development Plan. It will also mean that when the coaches at Arklow Gymnastics Club are creating routines they do not have to simplify a routine because one of the partners does not have a particular skill, reducing the technical score for the routine and with all the gymnasts being grouped together in a class learning the same skills to can learn and help each which makes the classes more fun for all gymnasts.
All the gymnasts are given a login code to the Arklow Gymnastics Club website where the gymnast and their parents can follow their progress. Each skill is listed out for their tier with images and even instructional videos from their coaches. The coaches have an easy to use skills assessment page where they can update and review a gymnasts progress and give the feedback back to the gymnast. The coaches can also easily add skills and edit them in the Tiers to make sure that the gymnasts are all learning skills that are relevant to their ambitions.
Arklow Gymnastics Club trains in Unit 2 Knockenrahan Industrial Estate, Arklow, 5 days a week with gymnasts aged 4 and older. They have been a gymnastics club for over 30 years previously based in St Marys College, Arklow and have had a number of representatives on the Irish National team and many national and regional medals. Their website isand can be found on Facebook.com/arklowgymclub. They can be contact by phone on (085) 161 5973