So your kids have shown an interest in playing sport. But which one do you choose for them? We are lucky in South-East Queensland and northern New South Wales to have the right kind of weather to enjoy outdoor sport as well as such a vibrant and diverse sporting community. To help you sort through the options, haven has spoken to five key sporting organisations for their take on what makes their sport the best and most rewarding choice for your kids.
When it comes to gymnastics, there’s one stand-out local club for sheer strength of following. Gold Coast Gymnastics has more than 2500 members making it the biggest club in Australia in 2013, 2014 and 2015. And while that number reflects positively on the organisation, coaches and staff behind the club logo, the sport of gymnastics itself is one of the most popular among juniors (especially girls) nationally. In fact, gymnastics has the third highest female membership base of any organised sport in Australia. haven was lucky enough to get some time with busy Gold Coast Gymnastics coach Sam Thackway to ask him why kids flip out for gymnastics.
Tell us a little bit about how you started in your sport?
I started when I was eight years old when my sister was an elite standard gymnast. Every time we would go to pick her up from gymnastics I would play on the equipment so they decided to put me through a trial and the following week I was a registered gymnast in the United Kingdom.
In your opinion, why is it important for kids to play sport, in general?
I think it’s very important for kids to play sport because of lifestyle, social skills (to meet new friends) and it plays a big part in their physical development for later years.
What makes your sport the perfect choice for juniors?
Gymnastics is the base of all fundamentals. Within gymnastics you have to be coordinated and have a certain level of strength and flexibility. It also enables you to transfer across to a wide range of sports for the future.
What skills or talent does a child need to be successful in your sport?
It’s not about skills or talent. To be successful in this sport you need determination, dedication and self belief.
Do you believe kids need to start your sport by a certain age to achieve at an elite level? What is the perfect age for a child to start in your sport and why?
To achieve at an elite level, starting early does help but this sport needs time and devotion to be successful. Gymnastics requires you to make a full time commitment.
Do you have any tips for keeping kids motivated to participate in any chosen sport?
To keep kids motivated it has to be fun and enjoyable. To drive kids forward I will often set them goals and targets whether they are short term or long term. It means they always have something to strive towards and achieve.
If there’s an adult newcomer who is interested in starting in your sport, what advice do you have for them?
To offer advice, I would initially ask the adult why they have chosen gymnastics and what their goals are. From that point I can set up a program to help them achieve their goals. Most adults will ask about gymnastics because they would like to learn a specific skill rather than participate in the sport as a whole.
Who are some of the most famous local exports in your sport and what level of achievement have they reached in their careers?
Thomas Pichler was an international representative who competed in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Dehli and brought home two gold medals. He was the top AA at the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo and was the alternate at the 2012 London Olympics. Also, Georgie Godwin was an international representative who competed for Australia at the World Championships in Glasgow last year.