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Gymnastics and the art of soaring (and sleeping)
25 June 2016

Gymnastics WA: Advanced Elective Workshop

25 June 2016, DSR, WA

Story by Kat Downie, Swimmer, 2012 Paralympics 

It was an excellent Developing Champions course with the young group of Gymnasts, from Gymnastics WA, led by Heather and myself last Saturday.

I have always loved gymnastics as it parallels my own sport. I.e. lots and lots of gruelling training sessions, high levels of commitment and personal sacrifice. However instead of soaring through the water, they fly through the air. Which means the risks involved are far greater. 


The group of athletes were lively and bubbly. Eager to learn, despite it being the middle of the afternoon on a Saturday. 

We worked through the workshops called Body Management, Mental Skills and Positive Me. All athletes listened attentively, asking questions and responding to scenarios.

It was interesting to note when we came to the sleeping section of Body Management, a lot of the athletes couldn't seem to find the time to have the recommended 8 hours of sleep per day. Both Heather, the lead facilitator, and I gave them suggestions for how they can make up for the missing vital hours. Heather suggested napping over the weekend and I suggested opening up communication channels between the school and coach and athlete. Basically it became a question of time management. It was interesting to have this discussion as it was something that I struggled with during my time at School. 

My favourite part of this workshop was finding out the little different routines that the athletes had to do before their performances. It was good to note that no two athletes had the same routine and none of them teased the others about it. Routines are fairly personal and it was great to see them all enjoys the individuality of their own pre-performance. 

We held another planking competition. Despite gymnastics being a largely upper body strengthened sport, most of the athletes went down quite quickly. We were told it was due to the training session they had all partaken in earlier that morning! In conclusion it was an excellent workshop that was very successful, and thoroughly enjoyed the experiences shared by the young athletes!

Thanks again to the DSR for letting us use their conference rooms!

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