Keeping Teenage Girls in Gymnastics - update

25th July 2022, 12:34p.m. | National

As part of the new 2022 strategy “Keeping Teenage Girls in Gymnastics”, Gymnastics Ireland hosted a one-day face to face immersion & innovation workshop on Monday 18th July. The purpose of this research-based workshop was to share and apply insight, build solutions and generate new ideas that will support the development of the new Gym4TEENS Programme, and support our work to prevent the drop out of teenage girls from gymnastics. The research, commissioned by Gymnastics Ireland, and funded through the Sport Ireland Women In Sport (WIS) programme, was carried out by Women in Sport UK and involved member clubs, coaches, gymnasts and parents.

Attending the workshop were Gymnastics Ireland staff members, 12 member clubs covering the length and breadth of the country and a team of external experts which included representatives from Sport Ireland - Nora Stapleton, Women in Sport lead, Sheelagh Quinn, Head of Corporate Services and Declan O’Leary, Head of Research & Design.

“Creating sustainable programmes and system wide changes to how a sport is normally run and delivered requires a strong degree of consultation, innovation and creativity. It was great to join Gymnastics Ireland for their workshop on the topic of teenage girls in Gymnastics. The workshop provided an opportunity for participants from clubs to share current best practice ongoing, but also to explore what is needed in Gymnastics in order to make the sport even more appealing and exciting for teenage girls in Ireland. I think if some of the ideas discussed come to fruition then we’ll see a lot more teens, young women and adults participating in the sport for years to come” said Nora Stapleton, Sport Ireland's WIS Lead

" (...) The research presented by Women in Sport (UK) on the current involvement and the needs and wants of teenage girls in the sport in Ireland provided a clear foundation for the attendees to develop ideas for programmes and pathways for teenage girls in gymnastics..." Sheelagh Quinn, Sport Ireland's Head of Corporate Services added.

This gymnastics-specific research will be supported by the Sport Ireland “Adolescent Girls Get Active Research Report” launched in 2021 and will form the backbone of the development of the new Gym4TEENS programme due to be launched in January 2023.

Gymnastics Ireland's Participation Manager Aimi Baker said:

“We were privileged to have a room full of such motivated and knowledgeable people working together towards a common goal. Huge thanks to everyone who made the effort to attend. A special thanks to our external experts from Sport Ireland and lecturer in Sport & Exercise from University Ulster, Sinead Connolly. We look forward to the completion of the final phase of the research. We will then be fully armed with the knowledge to review existing programs and pathways to make them more relevant for our teenage members”.

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