Gymnastics SA- Doing Gymnastics in South Africa
Firstly there is a big difference between competitive gymnastics sa and recreational gymnastics sa.
Recreational Gymnastics SA
In South Africa, there are many excellent recreational gymnastics clubs, that offer children a fantastic sporting experience- and even enter them into “entry level” gymnastics competitions where they compete regionally or in inter club events.
Furthermore, these clubs can frequently offer good coaching positions and job opportunities for retired gymnasts and people who enjoy working with young children.
Competitive Gymnastics SA
When it comes to competitive gymnastics, one must be careful before taking the “big leap” into this side of the sport.
The Gymnastics World Standard is exceptionally high, and the sport of artistic gymnastics requires on average, up to 30 hours of training per week, at the highest level.
Gymnastics SA- Factors to Consider in Competitive Gymnastics
Before getting into coaching or training at this level, consider these factors:
1. What are the gymnastics training and competition facilities like in gymnastics SA?
2. What kind of funding and sponsorships are available for top gymnasts in South Africa?
3. Are there career opportunities for young adults in Gymnastics SA?
4. Is there up to date Sport Science support for our top gymnasts in South Africa?
5. Is there a decent Coaches Education, Enrichment and Reward System in place in gymnastics SA?
For recreational gymnastics, South Africa has many halls that are perfectly adequate to teach children the basics of gymnastics, giving them a fun and healthy experience.
Indeed, school halls are often used and are big enough to give many children the benefits of this sport at an introductory level.
While top class facilities do exist in South Africa, with all the state of the art equipment, safety training aides and permanent fixtures [like safety pits], they are still few and far between.
There are about 10 top level training facilities in the whole of the country. Here are some of the best known:
- Phillipi Cape Town. [No pit].
- Krugersdorp School of Gymnastics.
- Centurion Gymnastics club in Centurion.
- Tuks Gymnastics at Pretoria University.
- There’s a gym at RAU [with a pit]
- Visions Gymnastics [not sure if there's a pit or not?]
- Johannesburg School of Gymnastics.
- Then there”s Pinetown Gymnastics Club in Natal.
As you can see, even though these are excellent facilities, they are few and far between in South Africa.
They do exist, but there are less of them around!
Make sure you find a gymnastics club venue that is safe, clean, warm and has the equipment and teaching aides required to teach a child the advanced movements of competitive gymnastics.
Gymnastics SA- Funding for Top Level?
Here in SA, you need to be VERY rich just to be able to pay gym fees, uniforms, kit, travel, medical and competition expenses.
There are some bursaries available to talented underprivileged gymnasts, but initially before they’ve “proved” themselves, the bill is still for their own pockets.
In recreational gymnastics lessons, the classes are very affordable and don’t require sponsorships!
Gymnastics SA- Career Opportunities?
After their competing days are over gymnasts have a wide variety of choices and opportunities in the fields of PR for gymnastics, gymnastics management and administrative positions, top level gymnastics coaching and gymnastics positions in sport science.
For South Africans, the market is small but growing. High Level coaching positions are becoming more abundant and training in sport science is of the highest calibre at our Universities.
Its also a good career move to get a Physical Education degree and specialize in recreational gymnastics coaching.
This way, with a bit of business training and entrepreneurial skills, you can run a recreational gymnastics business that earns a good living and allows you to do something you love!
Gymnastics SA- Summing it Up
So, to conclude, it is definitely a good thing to let your child do recreational and “entry level competition”gymnastics in SA, as it will give them all the healthy benefits of life.
It’s also a good idea to become a coach in recreational gymnastics as it is a very viable business model, and career opportunities in this area are abundant.
When looking at top level gymnastics- as either a gymnast or coach- it is also truly a wonderful profession and sport to be involved in.
I speak from experience and was both National Champion and National Coach for the Women’s Artistic Gymnastics team for many years.
Just ensure you do your research properly so that you find the best venues, funding opportunities and coaching [if you're a gymnast] or Coach-In-Training Programmes [if you are a potential coach].
This way you’ll be guaranteed of good training facilities, coaching and sport science support. In addition, you could make the connections and network with the South African gymnastics fraternity which helps keep you updated with training techniques, trends and provides great support.
Or Call the Gym Wizards office on: 021 785 2003 [Mon to Fri 8-1pm]