We’re extremely proud of the wide range of sports – represented through so many different and wonderful clubs across the UK and beyond – on our books. We believe that says everything about the versatility and quality of our teamwear. One of those clubs is Suki Aerobic Gymnastics Club…
CLUB IN FOCUS: SUKI AEROBIC GYMNASTICS CLUB
Suki Aerobic Gymnastics Club is a club that shares many of the values that we believe in – particularly inclusivity and using sport as a force for good in life both in and outside of the sporting arena.
We spoke to Head Coach Natalie Dickinson all about the club and how it has coped with and emerged from a turbulent last 16 months.
KUDOS: So it’s been an incredibly difficult 16 months or so for everyone. Firstly, how did you as a club cope with those first lockdowns and complete inactivity for your members? We you able to organise anything remotely?
Natalie Dickinson: The last 16 months for the team have been difficult. We moved all of our training over to Zoom as we knew it was important for our gymnasts to continue having access to what they loved. In the first lockdown, the committee confirmed our team did not need to pay for their fees, but could make a donation should they wish to, as a lot of our families were hit financially by the pandemic.
We lost a lot of our gymnasts who trained in our one hour general gymnastic lessons, however we are now building those teams back up. We worked with our gymnasts and their families to work out what was best for them for training, when they wanted to train and if there was anything they wished to focus on. During these difficult times, we understood the mental well-being for our team was the most important thing, and we needed to do all we could to support that area. We did not lose many competitive gymnasts, which was incredible, and we are extremely proud of them all. We did however lose two qualified coaches due to moving out of the area / country.
Presumably, like all clubs, you have lots of volunteers, without whom the club couldn’t function? Was it possible for them to stay engaged during the lockdowns?
Our team is mainly run by volunteers and we appreciate all their help, support, guidance and advice throughout the year. Without them we would not have our club. We have group chats with them all, we also sent through optional CPD training opportunities and met up when possible.
It must have been amazing when everyone came back to action – was there a sense of renewed and even greater excitement and enthusiasm than usual?
When the team returned to training they were extremely excited. You could feel the excitement in the room when they entered and chatted. Our competitive gymnasts had a competition planned for May which also gave them the buzz to work hard to make sure they were ready to compete. We have also had five people step forward who wish to complete their level 1 coaching course, which is incredible!
And so now competitions are up and running again, how have your gymnasts got on?
Our team has had two virtual competitions so far. The first one was different due to no audience or judges, but they enjoyed it. The second one was very recently, on the 3rd of July, and again the gymnasts loved it. We entered a bigger team for the second as more of our gymnasts were physically, mentally and emotionally ready to compete. We are now waiting for the results which should be with us at the end of the week. We hopefully have one more competition this year, the British Championships and NAC Cup, in Surrey. We are unsure how this will look, whether we will have an audience and judges, but just the thought of one more competition sends a buzz through our gymnasts.
We noticed young Sophie was selected to represent Great Britain this coming August! What an incredible honour and source of pride that must be not only for Sophie and her family, but for everyone at Suki?
Sophie has done amazingly and we are extremely proud of her achievement! We cannot wait for Sophie to go training with her new GB team mates and travel to Plovdiv in August with Team GB! We will continue sharing her path on our social media pages for everyone to see.
Lastly, how does the future for the club look after the turbulent last 16 months? In good shape?
The club is on fire at the moment, we are working towards bigger and better things. I think covid has allowed us to strip the club back, check what we can do to make our club better, readdress timetables, and have a fresh chapter for 2021 and 2022! I would highly recommend watching our social media pages as all of our success stories are put through these channels.
Thanks so much to Natalie for her time and a really interesting chat, and good luck for the rest of the year and beyond! You can follow the club on their Facebook page.
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